By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento landlord says a tenant was running a motel and meth lab out of one of her properties – but she couldn’t evict him for months.

Sacramento Code Enforcement confirms the house saw fire damage and had no power when the tenant finally saw an eviction notice. Now, the homeowner is hoping a restraining order will keep the troubled tenant out for good.

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Neighbor Corey Gamble says he’s had a front-row seat to the troubled tenant across the street for a year.

“The stuff started showing up, then the cops started showing up. There were people in and out of there all the time,” he said.

Katherine Wylie, who now lives in Los Angeles, owns the home. She says the tenant turned the house into a meth lab and motel, complete with check-in and a registry.

Inside, the chalkboard sign left behind reads “Leasing house.” Wylie says because of the eviction moratorium, which protects renters during the pandemic, she couldn’t kick him out.

“Our hands are tied,” she said.

Wylie says she found evidence her tenant was making meth inside. In January, there was a massive explosion at the home.

“They had to go replace all of these rafters right here, the fire came through the roof,” said one friend.

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Wylie says it finally took the fire, which destroyed the garage, to get the tenant out. The place was no longer considered livable.

“None of us want to kick people out of their homes,” said Wylie.

After he was evicted, the tenant somehow managed to sneak back in while the house was under construction.

“The small landlords, we can’t handle it at all,” said Wylie.

Now having to hire a lawyer, Wylie filed a restraining order against the tenant, in hopes he stays away for good.

“There’s really nothing that anybody can do,” she said.

Now, the lock and key were changed and the hope is this landlord’s fight to take back her property is over.

Wylie estimates the tenant is responsible for $30,000 in damages to the home since March 2020.

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The eviction moratorium is expected to go through the end of the month.