Creeped Out Landlords Talk About Their Tenants From Hell
Buy a property, rent it out, and live your life. Well, being a landlord is tougher than that for sure. Here are some landlords who've seen the worst tenants you can think of.
Our parents rented a floor of their 2-family home to a guy who was an electrician.
In return for lower rent, he did electrical improvements and minor repairs to the house. All of a sudden our parents' electric bill nearly doubled. So they called the power company for an inspection and discovered that the tenant had illegally re-wired his connection so that it was drawing most of the current for his apartment from their electric meter instead of his.
They had given him a substantial break in the rent, and he abused their kindness. My dad simply said, "No good deed goes unpunished."
I felt pretty comfortable renting it to this student because his dad owns a building moving company and had deep pockets. I thought I could expect rent on time and I didn't need to worry too much about recovering money in case of damage to the property. The father signs on the rental contract and pays the rent.
In January the AC unit in the house went out and I was quoted several thousand dollars to get it replaced. Due to unrelated personal financial issues I wasn't able to get the work done immediately. I didn't want to leave my tenant without AC so I offered his father the chance to prepay 4 months rent so I could get the AC replaced immediately. I was just trying to make the best of a bad situation.
The father was rightly pissed and chewed me out over the phone for a bit. Two days later he showed up at my house drunk and threatening/screaming/etc and said I'd pay for screwing his son. He left after I threatened to call the police. I never heard anything from him after this, but rent kept showing up, so I decided to forget about this since the son shouldn't suffer for his father's faults.
I finally had the money to get the AC replaced so I scheduled the contractor to have it installed on Wednesday and texted the son that the AC would be replaced on Wednesday. He just said "sure."
On Wednesday the contractor couldn't find the house. He told me there was no house at the address I gave him. I double checked the address with the realtor and against some documents I had, but the contractor insisted it was wrong, so I scheduled him again for yesterday morning so I could drive him to the house myself.
The contractor was right, there's no longer a home at the address!
The neighbors confirmed that the house had indeed been taken by the father's moving company. Now I'm really shocked and don't know how to precede.
These tenants were absolutely terrible. They rented a small house on the back of my property and I personally called the police on them three times in the first two weeks due to theft or possession of stolen goods like my 20 beer kegs.
I realized they were well-known thieves in the neighborhood, having multiple arrests and single handedly causing at least half the police calls in the neighborhood. On top of that, they were dumb thieves - caught on video stealing from a place only a couple of blocks away from where they lived. They caused the previous owners a huge number of issues and multiple police reports, with the city slapping all kinds of fines on the property for nuisances varying from running car and bike chop shops in the backyard to illegal parking, to noise violations. They never seemed to get arrested for long and had a large number of associates visiting the place. The main house is a Victorian era house split into multiple units.
They tore down the house's original garage after "accidentally" setting it on fire. But that wasn't a problem because they built this really cool two story shed that they rented out to their criminal friends.
Upon purchase, we gave them a 90-day notice of eviction. They immediately stopped paying rent. During that time, they broke into another vacant unit that we were remodelling, twice, despite us changing door locks and adding extra security and stole all my power tools plus a ton of building materials.
They went to court and played all the laws they could, getting two 15-day extensions and using various other tricks so it was 150 days before they were finally evicted by the Sheriff's department. But I also had to keep all their stuff in storage for 45 days after that point since they never came to take it away, and never made arrangements, that is, paid their over due rent, to get it.
Upon entering the unit I found a large quantity of drugs. The water heater and electrical wiring was completely pulled out of the unit. Plus all their personal stuff and the stuff they had stolen over the years was still there. During the 45 days, they broke into the house three times to pull their stuff out, or just to spend the night - attempting to burn it down at least once.
When I finally got to the point that I could get rid of their stuff, it took a 40-yard dumpster and three days of work to fill it. Not to mention all the stuff that I gave away and let neighbors and employees of nearby businesses just take. Plus the half dozen pickup truck loads of yard debris that they for some reason collected into huge piles.
It cost me over $5000 just to get rid of them and their stuff. Making the house habitable again is about $15k and it still needs a lot work, most of which I'm doing myself. I still have stolen bikes appear in the backyard occasionally, along with druggies looking for a supply, and others looking for a place to sleep.
We rented to a family we met through our daycare who were looking for a place. We were foolish about it due to a need to move and this was 2008 when you couldn't just sell a house through the internet, so we were pretty desperate.
It went okay for a while. I did an inspection after 8 months when I was back in town and noticed a few things like they had painted some rooms but I didn't make a fuss about it. Then the rent payments started coming late. Then not coming at all. I tried to work it out, told them they'd have to let me know if it was going to be late or I would kick them out. I had to kick them out.
When we got the keys back, oh my.
They stole our stove. They painted every room, mostly dark colors, without any masking or obvious painting skill. They stapled fake ivy vines all over the house, requiring hours of staple pulling and puttying tiny holes. They coated over my butcher block countertop with some kind of resin. There was dog pee all over - we had to replace the carpet and padding everywhere, as well as replace some of the trim that was just soaked in dog pee. They also left behind trash everywhere, including a home gym and a pool table. I got a 30 cubic yard dumpster and had to make several trips in a truck after that was filled up.
The backyard was even worse. They had cut wood out of the deck and built a 'shed' onto the side of the deck using chipboard, which was waterlogged and weighed a ton. They still had piles of scrap wood in the back yard. On top of all that, when we got the house back the water and power were shut off for non payment. They owed $2,000 on the water bill! Apparently they watered the lawn every day all summer for hours and were at least 6 months behind.
I sent them a bill for about $7,500 for cleaning, repairs, trash hauling, past due rent and past due utilities. Of course they didn't pay, so I turned it over to a debt collection company specializing in real estate. They sued them, and of course they didn't bother to show up in court so we won easily.
We got a judgement against the wife, who had worked for a credit union for years, and as soon as that landed she quit her job and went underground. Never saw a dime from them!
I mostly feel bad for their kids. After I kicked them out, they moved into another rental. I followed the public records, and they had an eviction filed from there within 9 months. Poor kids are getting shuffled around because their parents are dumb. And I hate saying that, but the parents were making a lot of poor financial choices while not being able to pay rent.
When I was a little kid, my parents bought a low budget house in a neighboring town, fixed it up and rented it. Two young women moved in. They were just out of college, working entry-level jobs and kind of easy to talk to.
They called at 6pm on Christmas Eve because there was a spider. My dad called back when we got home from church service and asked what they wanted him to do. They said they wanted him to kill it. So he had to go out on a Christmas eve to kill their spider.
They seemed to think this was normal, like about on par with what you'd expect your landlord to do if your water pipes burst on Christmas Eve - the least he could do given the situation.
Not a horror story by any stretch, but it makes me laugh. He told me that I was not allowed to move out until I could kill my own spiders.
My dad owns quite a few apartment buildings throughout Colorado. One summer while I was in college, he was between managers for one of his 80 unit properties, so I acted as the stand-in manager until he hired a new manager. I can't say she was a 'worst tenant' per say, but I definitely have a few funny stories surrounding one woman named Kate.
One day we were served a notice that Kate was taking us to small claims court because her in-unit washing machine was not working. She hadn't even reported the problem to management. Anyway, the maintenance man and I entered the unit that afternoon to fix the washing machine. It was unplugged. End of story.
Same summer my dad awakens me at 2 am saying the local police department is at Kate's apartment on a shots fired report. When I arrive at the apartment, the place is lit up like Christmas with squad cars, there must have been about 20 officers at the scene. What happened was Kate and her friend were walking back from the bars hammered when they heard two loud pops and decided someone was firing at them. What actually happened? Two guys launched a bottle rocket from a nearby balcony. Also worth noting that this happened on the 4th of July.
Tenants can be a consistent pain, just like your sorry child, but you can't ground them or even scold them. Or they'll call the cops.
In 2007, an older couple decided to quit paying their rent, but they had pretty good excuses so I didn't evict them until after three months of not paying.
Finally we went down to the court house to file an unlawful detainer on them. On our day in court the female who was usually dressed nicely, with fake nails and an expensive weave, showed up looking like an old hag. The guy was using a walker - though he never needed one before that day. They claimed I was a slum lord and never fixed anything. Fortunately, I had receipts from every repair including a new AC unit.
After I got the judgment against them, I tried to garnish the man's wages. I was told he worked for Coca-Cola Co. Turns out they'd never heard of him. After a little digging, I found out they had both been arrested for selling drugs. The officer showed me mugshots dating back to the early 80s!
They also stole the refrigerator.
My friend's a landlord and he had this really bad tenant whom he had to evict. The tenant, instead of trashing the place, cut off chunks of drywall, put dead fish in the walls, and sealed it back up. Tenant was a carpenter.
My friend couldn't figure out the smell for weeks. They repainted the entire house, got it professionally cleaned a few times and searched endlessly.
Eventually, they figured something died in the walls, and started knocking holes in the wall until they saw what this tenant had done.
I had a tenant remove the kitchen island and bring it outside by the pool because they needed an outdoor serving area.
Apparently they didn't realize they could have just installed a new table by the pool.
My mom and step dad have full time jobs and started buying rental properties a few years back. Being inexperienced they thought they were good judges of character and didn't do background checks. It mostly worked out for them, but this time they got totally burned.
They had some tenants in a rental property who apparently were serial defaulters and would live in a place until they got evicted, then move on to the next place. They'd do things like not pay rent while claiming AC was broken or some other property related issue then avoid actually letting it be examined or fixed. Long story short, after getting evicted they waited until the very last minute to move out, left a bunch of their stuff behind, and filled a microwave with hot dogs which they left to rot.
While my mom was in the process of getting a court order the TV show "Hot Bench", a Judge Judy spinoff, called and asked them to come on. Everyone got flown out to LA and my mom got her money and the tenants got berated on national daytime TV, so I suppose it worked out in the end.
My parents had some tenants when I was probably 7 or 8 that never paid the rent and they wound up getting evicted.
My parents decided that they would save some money and would just clean the place up ourselves. This was their worst idea ever. I didn't know what a lot of the stuff I saw that day was until much later in life.
The first thing I saw when we walked in the door was a fish tank full of dead, exotic fishes. In the bedroom, we found used condoms, used tampons, and used needles. Just laying around. Once we saw that bedroom my parents gave up and hired a cleaner.
My parents did report them, but unfortunately nothing came of it.
We had a nice couple, a sharp young man and a beautiful young women, move into a house.
2 months later we got a call from a locksmith contracted by the police. The police had raided the house the night before because the young man was a suspected drug dealer. They had literally smashed the front door frame out of the wall and the locksmith had been called in to fix it.
We called the girl. The young man was in police custody and she couldn't afford the rent and wanted out of both the tenancy and the relationship. We made a house visit to check the state of the door. It was pretty bad. They had a dog, in a house with a no pets policy, and one could say it had been shut in a bedroom a lot from the feces and chew marks/scratch marks everywhere. And even though there was a strong no smoking policy, the house stunk of cigarettes.
The landlord agreed to let them out of the tenancy and get the house back on the market. It cost thousands to put the house right. New front door, redecorations, all new carpets, etc. It was just about ready to be advertised when we had a call from the neighbour. There had been a disturbance the night before and he had to call the police. The young man, upon being released from police custody and unable to get back with his girlfriend, had broken back into the property a couple of days earlier to squat. He had then had a visit from a supplier he owed a lot of money to. His supplier ended up stabbing him in the house. He almost bled to death on the new carpets.
Once we had MORE new carpets installed, and fixed the broken window from where he'd broken in, we found a new, reputable tenant. A nice young man who was actually a drug counsellor. This turned out to be good because a lot of the local addicts didn't get the memo about their dealer being arrested and then stabbed, so the counsellor had a lot of visitors in the beginning, and knew exactly how to deal with them.
My dad owned a property that used to be a restaurant, and one day he asked what I knew about "Kim". She was a year ahead of me in school and seemed smart and reliable and so my dad rented the old restaurant to her family. Big mistake.
They TRASHED it. Their two gross big ugly dogs crapped and peed everywhere, they put holes in the walls, they took plates and cups that had been part of the restaurant's original collection and broke some of them, they just in general ruined the place, it was horrible. They ended up not paying several months rent and eventually my dad kicked them out.
It's horrible. You never really know someone until you see how they live. I just don't know how some people can be so horrible and trashy.
My girlfriend moved in with me, and she had an empty condo. So we experienced being landlords to few tenants. The first 2 renters where fine, but then there was Kevin.
Kevin was a single male with good income and seemed like a perfect tenant. We get into month three and the rent checks stop coming in. So we go to the condo to find out what the deal is.
There is nothing but a nice flat screen TV and a giant bean ball chair in the condo. No furniture. We ask where the money is. Kevin looks frantically through his bible and is all like "I lost the money order, sorry." Pissed off, we do a little more looking and it turns out he has a roommate, a silent muscular man. Okay whatever, but if you have a roommate you have to tell us, Kevin, so we can put him on the lease. Long story short, Kevin stays silent and a few days later we come by to serve him papers and to begin the eviction process.
Kevin's no-named roommate turns out to be a sex offender who is out on parole. And that's great and all, except we were right across the street from a school.
Thank god he left without much of a fight and we were able to dump the condo at a modest profit.
I was renting a house and subletting a room to an 18yr old couple. Real nice, considerate, devoute Christians.
Now I had to leave for 2 weeks and just asked them to keep the house clean. I came back a couple days early to find they had completely trashed the entire house, crack den status, moved the mattresses and the TV down into the living room. They went through all of my stuff and incorporated it into their stuff, adopted 2 cats 2 days after I left. There was kitty litter in every square inch of carpet, used condoms everywhere, and the whole house smelled like cigarettes even though there was strict no smoking policy.
They pawned our $800 drum set and $200 bong and stole most of my sentimental keepsakes I kept in a small box since I was a child.
I called the cops on them but they were legally in the green, and were left unharmed. Then they proceeded to pack up whatever they wanted, including our stuff, and left with their parents who "didn't care" what their kids had done.
It was my fault for accepting someone who wanted to keep three cats. But surprisingly none of the trouble stemmed from her pets, which she kept immaculately clean. In fact, it was the cleaning itself that grew out of control.
The first few months passed peacefully, with no problems. Then, she started lagging with her rent. This wouldn't have been a terrible issue, since I'm tolerant of a few days late and maintain a healthy savings buffer for unexpected expenses, vacancies and late rent checks.
It was when I surprised her in the middle of one of her cleaning binges that things began to disintegrate. I had stopped by to grab some supplies in the house for a minor repair, or for a monthly inspection. She didn't expect me to appear in the building, and was carrying a spray bottle and rag around the house in her hands.
Apparently, this had been going on for some time. Another tenant warned me of some eccentric behavior she had noticed in her housemate, but didn't go into details. I should have seen the warning signs, but brushed it off at that moment.
Her cleaning and reorganizing grew more intense, until it transformed into hostility towards the other tenant who did not share her intense focus. She insisted that the three of us meet, to compile a schedule of how and when each tenant would participate in cleaning of the house.
The other housemate found this absurd, and would only agree to a general description of the cleaning tasks. Our negotiations failed to converge on an acceptable schedule, and I had to excuse myself while 'the Cleaner' shouted for me not to leave. After that, she bullied the other tenant and patrolled the kitchen any time her housemate walked through or prepared coffee. Was it an obsession, or just a front?
She stopped paying rent. This drama might have been just a distraction to earn extra time out of sympathy. In the end I had to evict her. Strangely enough, both of them left at the same time, and I think that she might have shamed her housemate into footing the bill for her next apartment.
Looking back on the whole thing I'm surprised that she didn't find more success in a job where she cleaned houses.
I rented one of my house to a lady I worked with.
She was a mother of 2 and married. She did okay at work so I didn't worry much about her. Also, this was my first, and last, time renting out. I was forgiving and chill if rent was a few days late.
You see, I was a student and was busy with school and needed someone urgently to get some money out of the property. However, I didn't know the laws well and she took me for a ride.
Soon I knew all the laws and had to go to court twice. I was lucky in that A) we communicated via text and I saved every message. I gave a copy to the judge. And B) her boss wouldn't give her the day off to go to court so her husband was stuck alone, trying to defend them for not paying.
She claimed I talked crap to her when i didn't. Anyway, those messages saved me big time and luckily they got kicked out with very little damage to the house.
My wife and I help manage my father-in-law's rental properties. Once I had a tenant let her sister move into her house "for a weekend visit". That Monday the tenant moved back in with her estranged husband and the sister stayed.
After a month of normal payments the tenant missed a payment so I messaged the tenant and was told, "I don't live here anymore. My sister has a key and won't leave. Sorry."
Where I live, squatters can not be kicked out of a house, it must go through a judge after 3 billing periods of non-payment. The land lord must pay the court costs, and the squatters still have a minimum of 1 billing period to get their items out of the house.
Luckily we have a billing cycle of 1 week so we were able to get her out rather quickly.
We had a tenant who lived in a shared apartment room for a few months. His flatmate complained about smells and cleanliness issues. When we checked, everything seemed sort of normal, very messy, but nothing extraordinary.
Anyway, when the guy failed to pay his rent 2 months in a row, we evicted him.
One day before the eviction date I sat with him and we agreed that he could leave some heavy furniture in the room to be picked up a few weeks later. I told him the room needs to be otherwise cleared out and he has to hand over the keys. He agreed that he would comply with everything the following morning.
Well, the next day he did not give the keys back in the morning and his room door was locked. I texted him and he claimed he had forgotten to return the keys and took them with him. I explicitly asked if the room was cleared out - except for the furniture - and he wrote "Yes.".
I fetched the spare key and opened the door and to my disbelief, the room was not cleared out.
At first I only noticed about 8 plastic shopping bags on the ground, a lot of rubbish, including rubbish bags lying around openly with actual rubbish in them. Dirty dishes all over the place, especially on the table. A lot of personal items still flying around.
At first it seemed his room was so messy that he simply couldn't finish cleaning it up, and had to leave after starting. But then the real horror came to light. The plastic bags were filled with plastic bottles, and in those was urine. There were about 30 or 40 of them, each containing about 1 or 1.5 liters of urine. Then I saw the dishes were also awful, they had been standing around for several weeks by the smell and larvae in them. The least problematic dishes only had fungi on them.
Opening the wardrobe it was clear that he had stored wet clothes in it. The whole thing was already falling apart. The solid wooden boards were so soaked that they were bending from their own weight. The wall behind the wardrobe was full of mold. Under the table was some spilled food on the carpet, which was moldy as well. The same for under the bed.
First off, we were evicted from every house we lived in. As a kid I didn't understand this. It was likely a combination of missing rent, garbage piling up, neighbor complaints about no one ever cleaning up dog poop, noise complaints, drugs, etc.
When I was 12, my grandparents let us move into their rental. When I was 21, we were evicted. Don't get me wrong, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I grew up immediately and have never looked back.
My parents stopped paying rent shortly after we moved in. My grandmother let it slide because she was looking out for me. I had no idea about this until I was much older. When I turned 18 my mom said I had to start paying my "share" of rent ($200). I didn't know she was pocketing it until I started paying my grandmother directly, talk about chaos.
When we finally moved out, I packed ALL of my stuff in a moving van and went to an apartment. My parents did not. They left 90% of everything they owned in the house, but they didn't leave it neat. It was like they threw a tantrum and spewed almost everything they owned around the house. Water damage, wall damage, garbage everywhere.
I, along with some of my friends, later helped my grandparents get my parents mess cleared.
Have you had any experience like that?
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.