Investing in rental property can become a very lucrative career. It also has the potential for meeting some nice people. However, sometimes, that dream can quickly become a nightmare, all by the actions of one person.
Some tenants are too loud, too demanding, or believe their building is inhabited by demons. The poor landlord has to be the one to clean up their messes. The following stories come from landlords, property managers, and superintendents who encountered people who defined the term "tenant from the underworld" and shared their experiences on reddit.
He Called These People Friends?
“My parents have owned properties for a while and there have been quite a few troublesome tenants. The one whom I am personally invested in is the last one to grace our property.
They decided to rent out my childhood home. I suggested it to a coworker. I worked with this woman for several years at that point and thought she and her family were decent people. I trusted them.
They brought bed bugs into the place and did quite a bit of damage to the walls. They also pulled out and sold 100-year-old hardwood trim, removed the central air unit and sold it, and messed the place up. They then proceeded to skip town after being kicked out once they found out that their wages were being garnished.
Having tenants leave behind a pile of trash, horrifying bathrooms, and holes in the walls is common, but I hold a bit of a grudge on this one.”
“A Loud, Concussive ‘BOOM!'”
“A few years ago, in the very early morning hours of July 5, I awoke having to pee. I shuffled to the bathroom. On the way back to bed, I passed my husband in the hall on his way to pee in his bathroom.
Then, we heard and felt a loud, concussive BOOM! It was actually uncomfortable to feel because it almost felt like my heart skipping a beat due to the pressure. Also, we were adults living in the post-9/11 world, so we were immediately concerned.
I even said, ‘That was a bomb!’ Car alarms throughout the neighborhood were going off like crazy. It was warm and we had our windows and sliding glass door open, and I heard a guy scream, ‘CALL 9-1-1!’ The guy was close.
It turned out that some idiot in our apartment complex was wasted on the Fourth of July and had duct-taped a bunch of fireworks together. He then set it down in the middle of the street and lit it. It went off much faster than he had anticipated. There was wire shrapnel everywhere – embedded in cars parked on the street, in trees 30 feet away from the blast site, the street. Holy smokes, the street. It looked like a cartoon with a black blast smear in the middle of the street, right on the yellow line!
Also, the idiot blew his lower leg off and had shrapnel embedded in his arm. He coded in the ambulance but they managed to bring him back.”
No Building Repairman Could Fix Her Loose Bolts
“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. I acted as the stand-in manager until he hired a new manager. I have a few funny stories surrounding one tenant named Kate.
One day, we were served a notice that Kate was taking us to small claims court. Why? Because her in-unit washing machine was not working. Had she reported the problem to management? Nope. The maintenance man and I entered the unit that afternoon to fix the washing machine. The problem? It was unplugged.
During that same summer, my dad woke me up at 2 am saying that the local police department is at the apartment on a report of shots fired. When I arrived at the apartment, the place was lit up like Christmas with squad cars. There must have been 20 officers at the scene. What prompted the call? Kate and her bimbo friend were walking back from the bars hammered. 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. It is also worth noting that this happened on the Fourth of July.
The unit that Kate lived in was townhouse style with the first floor consisting of a one car garage and a staircase leading up to the living area. My dad’s manager was posting a few available units on Craigslist when she happened upon another curious posting. Kate had posted the garage for rent on Craigslist under the premise that somebody could live in the garage and they would be able to come upstairs to use the kitchen and restroom. The manager immediately marched over there to notify Kate that her posting violated the lease, which specified no subletting, and Colorado housing code, which specifies a maximum occupancy of two people per bedroom plus one. Kate lived in a one bedroom with her husband and child.
Kate was unable to comprehend what the manager was saying. She kept repeating, ‘But think of all of the extra money we could make each month!’
My dad said she simply could not wrap her head around the fact that her idea would be violating a legally binding agreement AND state housing code. They had to get her husband involved to have her remove the post.
Kate called on Christmas Eve one year complaining that the heat would not turn on. My dad is a good guy and does not mess around with things like tenants being without heat. He immediately got up from the holiday dinner with extended family to fix her problem. The issue? The breaker for the HVAC system was flipped.”
It’s Never Great When Law Enforcement Has To Get Involved
“In 2007, an older couple decided to quit paying their rent, but they had pretty good excuses. I didn’t evict them until after three months of not paying. Finally, I went down to the courthouse to file an unlawful detainer on them.
We had 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. Eye roll. This jerk didn’t need one. They claimed I was a slum lord and never fixed anything, but I had receipts for every repair, including a new AC unit.
After I got the judgment against them, I tried to garnish the man’s wages, was told he worked for the Coca-Cola Company. It turned out they had never heard of him. After a little digging, I found out they had both been arrested for selling coke, but not the soda. The officer showed me mugshots dating back to the early 1980s!
They also stole the refrigerator.
Another nightmare of mine happened this past summer. I had a family of seven move into a five-bedroom house. They paid their deposit and the first month’s rent. That was it. I had not seen another dime from them. To top it off, they did not get the power switched into their name, so I got a $400 power bill. About a month ago, I called the water company. It turns out they never had the water turned on, so they had been stealing water. The water company pulled the meter.
When I gave a 24-hour notice to do a walk through (with the police present), the woman who answered the door told me, ‘You can’t come in and we’ll get out when you follow all the procedures and the sheriff kicks us out.’
I think they had done this before.”
The Danger Next Door
“We had a couple move into a house. They were young and were using benefits to pay their rent, but the landlord wanted to give them a chance.
Two months later, we got a call from a locksmith contracted by the police. The police raided the house the night before because the young man was slinging illegal substances. They smashed the front door frame out of the wall and the locksmith was called in to make good.
We called the girl. The young man was in police custody and she couldn’t afford the rent. She wanted out of both the tenancy and her relationship.
We made a house visit to check the state of the door. It was bad. They had a dog (in a house with a no pets policy) and it had been shut in a bedroom a lot. Feces, chew marks, and scratch marks were everywhere. They had smoked (in a house with a no smoking policy) and it stunk of stale smoke.
The landlord agreed to let them out of the tenancy and get the house back on the market. It cost thousands to fix everything – new front door, all new carpets. It was just about ready to advertise when we had a call from the neighbor. 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 then had a visit from his supplier, whom he owed a lot of money to. His supplier ended up stabbing him. He almost bled to death on the brand new cream carpets.
Once we got MORE new carpets in and fixed the broken window from where he had broken in, we found a new, reputable tenant. He was a nice young man who was an abuse counselor, which 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. He had a lot of visitors in the beginning, but knew how to deal with them.”
Can’t Deny The Inventiveness Of Such A Prank
“This happened to my friend’s rental. A guy got evicted. Instead of trashing the place like a normal jerk, this guy cut off chunks of drywall, put dead fish in the walls and sealed it back up. He was a carpenter.
The owners could not figure out the smell for weeks. They repainted the walls, got it professionally cleaned a few times, and searched it endlessly. Eventually, they figured something died in the walls and started knocking holes in the wall.
It turned out to be that piece of trash move by the tenant.”
The Most Manipulative Tenant Ever
“I have a crazy/manipulative tenant. She looks after the place well, but I wonder if the psychological damage is worth it.
Early on in the tenancy, she complained about the shower curtain sticking to her. It was a shower-over-bath setup. Since she pays her rent reliably and keeps the place clean, we paid to have a glass screen put in. We specifically instructed that the glass screen goes in front of the shower head. After it was installed, I got a complaint from her about how she had to turn the shower head 45 degrees to stop the water hitting the ground. I went to inspect and found that the glass was inexplicably at the other end of the bath. It turned out she’d insisted that the installer ignore our instructions and put it there, for whatever reason.
I told her that since she had countermanded our instructions on something we were paying for, that was now a permanent fixture in our property and she was lucky we did not charge her for it and that she was going to have to live with the setup she had insisted on having.
Later, she asked if she could put a cat flap in the back door. We agreed, on the provision that she pay for it herself and that it be a proper cat flap and not some dodgy-DIY version. She put in a rubber-flap cat door, which I would not have gone with, but whatever. We let it go. Little did we know where this was leading.
After the first winter in the house, she emailed us copies of her electric bills and said that the house needed better heating because her bills were too high. Looking at the bills, we agreed that the house must need better heating. We invested in an expensive system.
She tried to tell us where to put it. We told her that the installers had designated spot X as the most effective and that we were not open to alternatives. We instructed the installers to refuse to shift the unit to another location unless they deemed it to be superior because she was not paying for it. We were.
After the installation, the installer said to us, ‘Hey, just to let you know, the reason her bills were so high last year is that she pulled the cat flap into the ‘open’ position and left it hooked up that way all winter.’
Yes, she created a deliberate hole between inside and outside, left it fully opened for an entire season, and then complained that her heating wasn’t effective, all so she could score an expensive new heater that wasn’t required.
At this point, I started thinking, Is she really that manipulative? Would anyone deliberately freeze themselves just to make me fork out thousands of dollars for new heating? Is it really that important to her to scam me for no purpose?
Surely not. Surely, surely not.
Next, she asked for permission to get a dog. We said, ‘Yes.’ She then told us she had purchased a puppy and it would be ready in three months, but her side fence would need replacing or else he would get out. The fence would have needed replacing within seven or so years anyway, so we figured, Okay, that’s probably not entirely unreasonable and agreed. We were not keen on the way she manipulated things by getting us to agree to a pet and then using that to pressure us, but we took the attitude that if we got the fencing job over with then, it would be done and would not be a problem later.
Then, she said that the neighbors were addicts and she wanted the fence extended down the driveway to stop them from hovering near her car. We saw her point. The neighbors definitely were criminals and were constantly in trouble with the police. Fair enough, we though. We said we would look into doing that as well. The addicts were evicted a few days later (Hurrah!) and Social Services put the house up for sale. We put the fence on hold until the sale went through.
A nice bloke bought the house and started renovating it for his family. Great guy. We replaced the fence at our expense and he helped with the labor.
However, we were not learning fast enough. In fact, we were total idiots, because it seemed that, now, she was not getting that dog after all. The dog ploy was sufficient to get the fence replaced, but no dog was necessary now. She had a shiny new fence, but she was not happy. No, she wanted that fence extension put in.
‘But,’ we pointed out, ‘the new guy is a quiet family man and no threat to anyone. There is no need for a fence extension, so we will not be putting one in. You have a brand new fence. Be happy.’
She was not happy. She sent me a text about a week later saying that she needed the fence extension put in because, ‘the police are all over and there are dead bodies in the street.’
I was floored by this. Aside from the now long-evicted ferals, the house was on a nice street mostly populated by retirees. It was not, by a long stretch, any kind of ghetto. I rang the new neighbor to confirm. He said that there were no police anywhere and that the street was, as usual, quiet. He questioned whether, perhaps, my tenant was schizophrenic.
Who knows? Maybe. I think, more likely, she was just compulsively manipulative because she has had a clear endgame in all of this and was showing remarkable dedication to coming up with complete nonsense to achieve it.
As for the ‘police in the streets and dead bodies everywhere,’ as it turned out, there was an accidental carbon monoxide death of two people on a boat moored at the nearby bay and police were attending the accident. No crime. Nothing but a tragedy a couple of blocks away, which was being attended to very respectfully by the authorities. I tell her that no fence extension is going to be forthcoming.
End of story.
Or so I think.
A few weeks later, she told me that she needed the fence extension because the neighbor’s gate kept swinging into her driveway and hitting her car. I popped around to speak with the neighbor. While I was there, he demonstrated that the gate could not, in any way, enter her driveway, even if he swung it hard. It could not enter here or there, it could not enter anywhere on her property because the gate was inset from the end of the fence and there was no way for it to swing past that point. At this stage, I told her, through gritted teeth, that I have spoken with the neighbor and that her car is safe from his gate.
In the three years she has been with us, she has not had a rental increase and she has always paid substantially under market rate because it was more important to me to get someone who looked after the property than to get the best price for it. However, the next time I get some made-up psychotic nonsense from her that is designed to manipulate me into yet another expensive and unnecessary upgrade, her rent is going to suddenly go up to market comparable.
If I have to put up with any more of her crap, by God, she is going to start paying for it. If it means that she moves on and I take my chances with a new person, then so be it. I’ve already checked with the tenancy tribunal here and I can put the rent up by $50 a week to match the market rate without them so much as blinking.
She has gone radio silent for a few months now. I hope, maybe, she’s finally worked out that she is on a ridiculously sweet deal and should quit while she is massively ahead.”
Shout At The Devil!
“I had a female tenant in her 50s. She was a tall, thin white woman, and she had nasty dreadlocks and considered herself a true believer of the Rastafari faith.
She rented one unit of a fourplex. I got a complaint one day from the neighbor tenant who said she had been pacing around the entire fourplex all night long and was shouting incoherently at people who were not there. It was the 1st of the month when I went there to talk to her. She yelled and screamed and wrote the rent check out to the ‘Devil and his followers’ and signed it, ‘I am signing under duress!!!’ in the signature box.
The amount was correct, however.
Once I had the check in my hand, I noticed it had her father’s name and phone number on it. He lived in the neighboring state. I called him and explained the situation.
‘Please have her arrested,’ he said. ‘She is off her meds. Her mother was the Devil yesterday and I was the Devil this morning.’
I explained that he was off the hook, as I was now the Devil, and then I called the cops. They had to fight her into the car, even after handcuffing her. Three days later, she was back, back on her meds, and apologized for the issue.
That is why all the units have individual yards and it would be impossible to walk laps around the house now. The side benefit is that people will pay a little more if it has a tiny yard.”
Every Tenant Has Their Secrets
“I was a landlord when my girlfriend moved in with me. She had an empty condo. The first two renters were fine, but then there was Kevin.
Kevin was a single male with a good income who seemed like a perfect tenant. When we got into month three, the rent checks stopped coming in. We went to the condo to find out what was happening. First off, there was a nice, new flat screen TV, but no furniture and a giant beanbag chair.
‘Where’s the money?’ we asked him.
Kevin looked frantically through his Bible.
‘I lost the money order, he said. ‘Sorry.’
Angry, we did a little more looking. It turned out that he had a roommate – a silent, muscular man.
‘OK, whatever,’ I said. ‘But if you have a roommate, you have to tell us, Kevin, so we can put him on the lease.”
Kevin stayed silent.
A few days later, we came by to serve him papers and to begin the eviction process. Kevin’s no-named roommate turned out to be a felon who was out on parole. We were right across the street from a school and ol’ Kevin was violating offender legislation. Thank goodness he left without much of a fight and we were able to dump the condo at a modest profit.”
He Had A Taste For The Theatrical
“I had a tenant call me because the toilet needed fixing. I came over to check it out. It was a simple fix. I just needed to run to Home Depot. Then, she said there was something else.
It was the across the street neighbor – a 20 year-old male. He was apparently off his meds and was performing theatrics, a bonafide drama king throughout the night: yelling, screaming, pacing in and out the slamming the front door. He was schizophrenic to my untrained diagnostics. All hours, for three nights and days, just ranting. My tenant felt concerned and nervous. I suggested calling the cops for noise complaints.
I took off to Home Depot and got what I needed. I returned to find the guy outside, yelling about aliens and Queen Elizabeth invading. No biggie. I went inside and fixed the toilet. I reassured her that he seemed harmless
‘Has he made any threats?’ I asked. She said no. I decide to scope out the fellow. I went outside, made friendly eye contact, a smile, a wave, and a ‘Hi.’ He proceeded to go on a barely coherent rant, barely acknowledging me, but did say, ‘Hey, you,’ as I was walking back into the house. I reassured my tenant of his concerning mental condition and promised to figure a way to contact his landlord and advise calling the cops if it went past midnight.
I left and then found him on my property, ranting like he was in a play. This frightened the girls. Having had enough and being Texan, I kindly requested, then kindly advised him to return to his property. He did not acknowledge, so I called the cops for trespassing.
The cops showed up and he ran inside. He did not make any direct threats and, as the cops said, ‘It’s not illegal to be crazy inside your own house.’ Nothing could be done. Then, the other neighbors were scoping out what was going on, with the cops called. I spoke with them about the current situation to calm them down. One lady was going to look into mental health hotlines.
Things calmed down for a few days. I never met the crazy man’s landlord and had no contact. I was not sure how to reach out. For all I knew, the landlord lived in California. I poked around on some public records, but got no real results.
Friday approached. It was the SXSW Interactive Festival. I am the CTO of a virtual reality startup. Our investors were hosting a Roof Top event, we had some B-celebrity musicians with record labels reps, guests, our company, and of course our big donor-investors.
I was key to the tech operation of the event and was a bit stressed showing off some hot new finicky tech. I got a call from another neighbor saying that the crazy guy was out ranting, and a jogger passed by and overheard the crazy cry out, ‘I’M GOING TO RAZE THE GREEN HOUSE DOWN.’
The jogger stopped and said, ‘Excuse me?’
‘I’M GOING TO RAZE THE GREEN HOUSE DOWN,’ Crazy repeated, aggravated. That was my house. The jogger informed the neighbor who called to inform me. NOT THE BEST TIMING DUDE. This was one of my major events of the week.
I ducked out to the bathroom to call the cops again. Fortunately, it was nearing the end of the event, so I packed up the tech to the extent that required my attention, informed the party VIPs of my exit, and booked it to my property. Three cop cars were there and the crazy guy ran back inside. Again, there was not enough to bust in.
I spoke with everyone, gave them the news, my plan for the next steps, and calmed them down. The lady looking into mental health got a number but did not have it on her. I said I would come back the next day. She also gave the news that the guy was living alone. He was dumped by his mother at that house because she was also not mentally fit to care for herself, let alone him. Crazy ran in the family, I guess. The father was a wealthy contractor working in the Middle East who disowned him, but had the obligations to pay his rent and bills. There was a guy who came by periodically to ‘provide food’ and make sure he was okay. So the crazy dude had no responsibilities and only had the one visitor per a week. Great.
The next day, I drove by and saw the visitor. I stopped to speak with him, informing him of the ruckus the crazy guy was causing. The visitor said that he had meds, but that it was beyond his duties to ensure he took them daily. He shared with me his business card and left swiftly.
I went over to the neighbor with the mental health hotline number.
‘Enough is enough,’ I said. ‘One more outbreak and we’ll call them.’
After chatting, I walked back to my truck. The crazy dude had a samurai sword, swinging it while reciting his theatrics. He stood in my way of my truck. While on the phone with 911, the dude said, ‘KILL ME, KILL ME, KILL ME NOW!’ and ran into the house with the sword.
I explained the history to the 911 operator and the sword. Ten cop cars showed up in a standoff. I walked to one and he busted out of a trunk what appeared to be a weapon. I’m thought, Great. We’re in Texas and they won’t tolerate anything. It’s about to go down.
The crazy dude eventually came out of the house in his Mad Hatter ways and got tackled. Thank God there were no weapons involved. The cops saw the sword on his couch and entered. The crazy guy got arrested and, I will say, they must have had some mental health training because they handled him with the utmost professional kindness and caring manner.
I calmed the neighbors and tenants. Days went by, and the dude turned up again, but much more sane. At that point, the girls were seeking to break the contract to move away from him. Thanks, buddy.
A week went by and he was starting up again. But, soon after, the kid disappeared. The last anyone saw of him was with a backpack packed up, planning on walking to a festival? There were no festivals that I knew of going on in the state. He had left all of his belongings and his father had auto pay going for many many months. Not my problem. Eventually, new neighbors moved in.
We need better social mental health care in Texas!”