Whether you like them or not, landlords have a tough job. Landlords have to maintain their property, handle tenant concerns, foot the bills for insurance, taxes, and utilities, and replace appliances that get broken or worn out. Basically, it's no easy feat. But their jobs become *extra* tough when dealing with people and situations who just make the experience a living hell.
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So we recently asked landlords of the BuzzFeed Community to share the wildest things that have happened on their properties. Here's what they had to say:
1."Property manager for an office building here. One place had an employee who was apparently too lazy to walk the 200 yards to the restroom. The janitors would come in each night to find garbage cans full of pee under the desk."
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"I'm talking gallons of pee in a clear plastic bag. It took the company days to figure out who it was. He was promptly fired as soon as they figured it out."
2."We had a tenant in the late '90s who seemed pretty nice. My parents had just started renting, so it was new to us. One day, the CID (that’s the FBI in India) came knocking on our door. Apparently, this tenant’s job — and we knew he was a recruiter — entailed a lot more than we knew."
"He would take money from people and promise to take them overseas to find them jobs in the USA/Canada. He would take over a lakh ($1,300–$2,000 USD) and keep their passports and say he’s looking for a job for them. So my mom took the cops over to the rental, and by now the tenant had abandoned it. We obviously had no idea. One of the drawers in the rental had passports from eight different men — all of whom were robbed of their money. The tenant’s girlfriend was arrested and taken in for questioning. My mom was also taken in for questioning. It was wild. To this day, as far as I know, this dude hasn’t been arrested. He’s probably living abroad off of the money he stole."
3."We had two young women from our hometown split the rent in one of the apartments. One of them got married after a year and moved out, and the other couldn’t afford to pay the entire rent, so my mom asked her to pay half for three months — which should be enough time to find a new roommate."
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"She owned three cats, so no one wanted to room with her. At the end of those three months, she couldn’t find anyone. She continued to pay half for the next few months, and she struggled doing so. My family went through a tragedy shortly after, and my dad passed away; she was the last thing on our minds. After staying for around eight more months, she told us she was moving back home, and in a way we were glad.
Once she vacated, I accompanied my mom to the apartment, and it was the worst thing I stepped into. The mattress on the bed was stripped bare and had yellow stains and smelled like cat piss. We threw it out. On the grills of the window was an uncleared litter box. The air conditioner was ruined and had to be thrown out. The place was disgusting and filthy. This woman still owed us the last three months of rent (not even the full rent, just her half), and she had the audacity to ask for their deposit back. The deposit was again 50/50 between her friend and her. We were going to return her friend’s but not hers. She asked for her friend’s money, saying, 'I’ll send it to her.' But we declined and said we’ll do it ourselves."
4."We bought a large house that had been split into a duplex. My husband, our baby, and I moved into the small one-bedroom apartment in the back while we renovated and then rented out the larger apartment."
"There were two garage bays: one we gave to the tenant, and the other I used to store some things that didn't fit in my very tiny apartment, like my lovely kitchen table that I had bought before I was married. Our tenant let her grown daughter and boyfriend move in with her — not really a problem — but then this boyfriend asked my husband if he could use our garage bay to park his car for a few days while he did some repair on it. No problem, my husband said, because we still had plenty of room there. One afternoon while I was washing dishes in my apartment, I heard some strange noises from the garage. I looked out my window to see this man doing the deed with an unknown woman (not his girlfriend) in our garage bay, with the door open, ON MY KITCHEN TABLE. Really soured renting for me."
5."I moved out of Maryland a few years ago and decided to rent out my house. I had a tenant who was great the whole time they lived there. After a couple of years, the tenant decided to move out a few months before the lease ended. They claimed they were closing on a new home purchase and had to 'move fast.'"
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"No big deal, except (RED FLAG 1) the tenant gave me less than 30 days notice and wanted to try to get out of paying the remainder of the rent left on the lease — three months' worth. State law says that I could enforce payment of the remainder of the rent, so I did; the tenant reluctantly agreed but only paid for one month. Then, after the tenant moved out, I discovered that (RED FLAG 2) they did not pay the water bill for a year and never told me or the water company. State law says the landlord is responsible, and I can only hold the tenant responsible for accrued late fees. Because of the pandemic, the water company never assessed any late fees. So I was stuck with a $700 water bill and could not use the security deposit to recover."
6."The husband and wife seemed perfectly normal when they moved in. A few months later, the police raided the place. Turns out, they were white supremacists and members of the KKK. They spray-painted swastikas and racial slurs all over the walls."
7."A tenant burned down our rental house. He fell asleep and dropped a cigarette onto an alcohol-soaked carpet. The house went up like the best bonfire ever built."
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"Then he called us to get his security deposit back because he said that since we had been reimbursed by our insurance company, he should be reimbursed by us! He literally burned it to the foundation. A beautiful 1920s two-story lake cabin, and he wanted his security deposit back!!!"
8."We had a very religious woman stay for a couple of years. Once she vacated, my mom and I went to check the place, and I was amused to see the random Bible quotes printed out on papers and stuck all over. Like behind the main door, by the window, on every wall, etc."
"I spent the next hour ripping off and scraping off the paper from various places."
9."My parents had to rent out our newly built home when my dad was transferred overseas for a while. The home had only been a few years old when we left, but when we moved back in 10 years later, the hardwood floors looked a hundred years old."
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"The floors were rough and really, really worn down with deep grooves. We couldn't figure it out until we found several pairs of roller blades stashed in a closet. Apparently, they would let their children skate around, and the whole second level of the home was used like a roller rink. They also used to hunt with crossbows, which we learned when we opened up the crawl space and found six lifelike deer mannequins riddled with arrows. It was the scariest thing I'd ever seen when our flashlight lit it up. For a moment, we thought we had found a pile of rotting deer carcasses."
10."I'm not a landlord myself, but I know a couple who used their inheritance to buy a house in Southern California and rent it out. The tenant stopped paying rent around six months before COVID, and these landlords, who had been trying to be understanding and give her time if she needed it, were starting to consider evicting her."
"Then COVID and the eviction moratorium hit. This woman has not paid rent in over two years. The homeowners can’t even get mortgage pauses or anything on their end because in order for the government to help the landlords out, there needs to be evidence that the tenant suffered a COVID hardship. But the tenant can’t fill out that paperwork because she didn’t; the tenant has had the same income this whole time. So she has lived completely rent-free for no reason for over two years, while the landlords are hemorrhaging money and unable to get help from the government. And on top of all that, she’s letting the pot farm next door use huge amounts of water and electricity on these homeowners’ dime!"
11."I had a nice older couple apply for my apartment. Apparently, at the place they currently lived, another tenant was cooking meth all day long, thus making her sick, and nothing was done about it."
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"I was happy to get her out of that situation. Not even a week after moving in, she let me know that the other tenants in my building were cooking meth as well. She could feel it. She'd wake up in the middle of the night with her mouth burning. Prior to this, we'd NEVER had any concerns about drug usage, as we manage our buildings well, and the other long-term tenants were great. This continued on for months. She'd accuse them of making meth, confront them, and wake up in the middle of the night, blowing a whistle to try and stop the tenants from cooking these alleged drugs. It got to the point where I let her know that she needs to call the police if she believes someone is making drugs, and other than that I'm happy to let her out of her lease early. Utter nightmare."
12."The daughter of my grandpa's former tenant kept coming to the property and breaking into the locked pool gate to throw parties at night with random friends — even while my family tried to sell the property after my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. It confirmed my dad's desire to never ever ever become a landlord."
13.Lastly, "As much as I love animals, I have a pretty strict no long-term pet policy for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, one of my tenants thought it didn't apply to him, and he got a cat. His other roommates never saw it because he kept the poor thing locked in his room all day."
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"When he moved out, I had to hire a specialist cleaner (like the folks who clean crime scenes) after my normal crew refused to go into the room because of the smell and what can only be described as 'mystery substances' smeared on the walls. It looked as though he hadn't provided a litter box for his cat, and the room was carpeted. The carpet was soaked in urine, and I had to rip it out completely, clean the cement subfloor, and replace a good bit of drywall that had been damaged. All in all, it took about three months to get the smell out and for it to be clean and livable to rent again. That poor, poor cat. I hope it ran away and found a better home with someone who will take care of it."
Landlords, what are your best tips for managing rentals and working with tenants? Share them below!
And while you're at it, check out some of our other personal finance posts.