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Rental Owner Gets Burned

Published Date: Jan. 12, 2011
by Timothy McClanahan

The owner of a home in Escondido, CA found out the hard way that sometimes a security deposit just isn't enough. Officials of San Diego County did a controlled burn on her rental home because the renter had been found to be stockpiling bomb-making materials after a gardener was injured in an explosion in the back yard. Officials said it was safer to burn the house than try to remove the materials.

The owner's attorney released a statement saying the action was unwarranted and that the county should pay for the cost of the home when it authorized the controlled burn on Dec. 9 last year. The burn also forced the occupants of 80 nearby properties to evacuate for the day.

The renter, George Jakubec, is an unemployed software consultant, and is currently in a federal prison in downtown San Diego. Jakubec faces federal bomb charge. He is also accused of robbing two local banks.

The home contained "the largest quantity of these types of homemade explosives at one place in the United States," according to Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez, in a statement to Judge Marshall Hockett.

While the home owner is trying to sort out who gets the bill for the destroyed home - the renter, her insurance company, or San Diego County, it's certain that a background check is going to be a higher priority for her before signing any future rental agreements. Jakubec was on three years probation for commercial burglary charges in 2009, which would definitely have raised red flags in a background check.

A name and location is all anyone needs to run a background check, and if you want a more thorough check, you can run an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) check using a social security number, if authorized by the person being checked. The cost of a tenant screening - typically charged to the applicant - could save you your property.

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