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McCleary School orders eviction of renters who owe thousands in rent

The McCleary School District has found itself with a landlord problem.

Some years ago, prior to the economic recession, the district acquired a piece of property next to McCleary School with it’s eye on expanding its parking lot. The parcel has a house on it, and the district subdivided the parcel with an intent to sell the part with the house and use the other to expand its parking lot.

But when the recession hit and the bottom dropped out of the housing market, the district was forced to sit on the land and rent the house out.

Its most recent tenants moved into the house last summer and are way behind on their rent of $850 per month, so the district and its property management firm, Premier Realty, have gone to court to force them to either pay up or move out.

The district served a “Three Day Pay or Vacate Notice” on the tenants on June 4, stating they owe $8,687.68. Of that, $4,111.68 is in back rent owed with $852 in late fees. The rest is accounted for in non-refundable deposits and notice fees.

The district has also filed an eviction summons in Grays Harbor Superior Court. It gives the plaintiffs until June 30 for a written response to the lawsuit.

“I’d be thrilled if they just paid the rent,” said district Superintendent Tita Mallory, who said she was somewhat “surprised” to learn that she was also a landlord, when she took over the post a little more than a year ago.

Mallory said the school board will have to decide what’s next for the property once the eviction process is complete.

“We’ll have to look at whether this is an appropriate time to sell it or not,” said Mallory, noting that the real estate climate has improved somewhat in recent years. “We’re trying to be fiscally responsible and trying not to lose money on the deal.”