Investing in rental property can be very lucrative, but you'll think twice about that after reading these horror stories!
Near Death Idiots
“A few years ago the very early morning hours of July 5, I awoke having to pee. I shuffled to the bathroom and on the way back to bed I passed my husband in the hall on his way to pee in his bathroom.
And 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 because of the pressure. Also, we’re 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!’ And the guy is close.
Turns out, some idiot in our apartment complex was wasted on the Fourth of July and duct-taped a bunch of fireworks together. He then set it down in the middle of the street and lit it, only it went off much faster than he’d anticipated. There was wire shrapnel everywhere. Embedded in cars parked on the street, embedded 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!
Oh, and 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.”
Kate The Nightmare
“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 the ‘worst tenant’ per say, but I 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. 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.
Same summer. My dad awakens me at 2 a.m. saying the local police department is at the apartment on a report of shots fired. When I arrive at the apartment, the place is 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. 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 just 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, so 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.”
Look For The Warm Roof!
“When I was young, my dad owned three duplexes in a row. One winter (around 1995), he noticed that the energy bill for one of the units was exorbitantly higher than the other units. He was curious about their energy consumption and paid a visit to the property one day while the tenant was at work. He entered the basement and stumbled upon hydroponics galore. He said that there were more than 30 ‘illegal’ plants, each with their own UV lamp and watering system. While this kind of thing is legal in Colorado now, it certainly was not 21 years ago. He told the tenant that he would be entering the basement in two days with a maintenance man to perform ‘routine boiler maintenance.’ When he returned in two days, the plants and hydroponics systems were gone. Growing up, my dad always told me you could identify a grow house from a mile away because it was the only house in the block that did not have snow on its roof.
My dad leased two or three units to the local Mormon church at the 80-unit apartment complex I helped manage for a summer. The idea was the church would house their missionaries in my dad’s units while they completed their mission. As a result, the apartment inhabitants would rotate every year or so. Well, one rotation, my dad had a particularly ‘un-Mormon’ batch of Mormon missionaries. This batch threw ragers so loud that the noise could be heard four buildings away; they were also known to frequent the local ‘ladies of the night’ and associated substance scene. As you may imagine, my dad had quite the uphill battle to fight when it came to addressing the missionaries’ extracurricular indiscretions with the Mormon church. I believe he eventually did successfully evict them, though.”
Two Insane Nightmares
“I have a couple tenant nightmare stories.
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 went down to the courthouse to file an unlawful detainer on them.