Many have probably heard about the "Nightmare Nanny" case out of Upland, California. A couple hired a nanny from a Craigslist ad they posted. The nanny was hired and began working for room and board in the couple's home. Three months after she moved in, the nanny either just stopped working or was fired for taking sick days, depending on whose story is to be believed. Then, nanny refused to leave the home and threatened to sue for breach of contract, wrongful termination and false imprisonment. Because she had established residency in the home, it could have taken months to evict her, after she stopped working and earning her room and board.
The formal process of eviction is long, and if the rules are not followed closely, as the family in this situation discovered, the landlord has to start all over again. Landlords are also strictly prohibited from "self help" actions such as changing locks or cut off services.
Since the story broke, it appears as though the couple and the nanny have come to terms regarding a July 4 move out date. What happens next remains to be seen. But more importantly for those of us who are not already in this situation, is how can we avoid situations like this one? It is certainly not ideal for a family to have an unwanted third party living in their home for free. Well, there are a couple things that this particular couple could have done.
Always do your research on who you are hiring. There are many resources available to learn more about a potential employee than what appears on his/her resume. The state of California has a Vexatious Lawsuit List that could have been helpful in this situation. The nanny is on this list, which is compiled of individuals who have been found to bring multiple and frivolous lawsuits. The nanny, according to the Daily Mail, has been involved in 36 lawsuits in her 60-odd year lifetime. Civil filings are also public.
Now, hiring a live-in nanny from a Craigslist ad may seem like an odd thing to do in the first place, but as long as references are provided and called, and a background check is performed, it does not have to end up like the soap-opera-esque situation in Upland.