SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Todd Kohlhepp was a licensed real estate agent and had several properties in the Upstate until he went to jail. His real estate license was temporarily suspended on Friday.
Even though he was on the sex offender list, he was able to get his license in 2006 after self-reporting the felony to the South Carolina Real Estate Board.
For a decade, he sold and rented homes in the area to people like Michael Foster, the associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg.
Foster met Kohlhepp for the first time in August. The former landlord sold the home where he and his family were living, so they needed to move quickly.
They moved into Kohlhepp’s property in mid-August. He says he’s been on the property alone with kohlhepp and even texted him as recently as two weeks ago.
“He is very sloppy, very explosive, very big personality…it’s weird to think that I was just inches away,” Foster said.
Foster believes his home was one of the last Kohlhepp rented before Kala Brown and Charlie Carver went missing.
“Realizing the potential danger you or moreso my wife had been in for the past couple months, when that reality hits you, you kind of tense up,” Foster said.
He said Kohlhepp wasn’t a bad landlord, but he did find it strange that he didn’t look into his credit or references.
“He didn’t really check my background at all,” Foster said.
He said Kohlhepp made him uncomfortable but didn’t think a man who has keys to his home was capable of what deputies say Kohlhepp has confessed to doing.
“Now, I have to decide how I’m going to let this shape future relationships,” Foster said. “Am I always going to be paranoid?”
He says he’s choosing not to live in fear. As for his rent that’s due in two days, he’s reached out to the original home owners to work something out. He said they live out of state and were not aware of the situation.
Any of Kohlhepp’s other clients can go to the Spartanburg Board of Realtors for help. They said it’s likely a temporary broker will take over the property.