It pains me to write this article because I’ve recently been on the receiving end of a former roommate who did not clean up the space on their way out of my apartment. I mean, come on, we’re all adults here, how hard is it to throw your garbage out?! I’m not your maid! Here I am complaining about a few rotten vegetables left in a fridge but that’s nothing compared to what these landlords deal with all the time.
Landlords of Reddit were asked: “What is the strangest thing you have found that a tenant has left behind after having moved out?” These are some of the best answers.
One of my residents was paranoid and thought his upstairs neighbors were whispering his name through vents and gassing him out with poison. When he finally abandoned the apartment, he had filled every possible hole inside the place with insulation. Every outlet, vent and even windows were completely blocked off. He also tore out all the duct work for the A/C and owed about $8,000 in damages.
I helped clean out my parents’ rental property two years ago this June. They’d had to evict the tenant, a single mom of a five year old boy, for two consecutive months non-payment of rent after she and her well-employed baby daddy broke up.
We found a large black and white striped mini shark / pleco in a fish tank that first appeared to contain only black stagnant water, 1/4 full.
The general state of the place could only be described as disgusting, featuring such lovely surprises as a half eaten bowl of cereal left in an open drawer in the master bedroom… for weeks; evidence that the cat has been trained to use any of the hall closets as litters; and the piece DE resistance: three, count ’em THREE freezers full of meat both inside and outside on the property.
Did I mention she was evicted for non payment of rent? She’d failed to pay the utilities for months and therefore the electricity had been cut off six weeks prior.
… It was like cleaning up a body farm. And she’d been living in this with her five year old right up until eviction day.
This happened to my friend’s rental. Guy gets evicted. Instead of trashing the place this guy cut off chunks of drywall, put dead fish in the walls, and sealed it back up. Tenant was a carpenter.
The owners couldn’t figure out the smell for weeks. They repainted, got it professionally cleaned a few times, searched endlessly. Eventually, they figured something died in the walls, and started knocking holes in the wall. Turned out to be that piece of crap move by the tenant.
The tenants left the most unbelievable thing: an empty apartment.
Of course, it had been rented to them fully furnished.
My dad is a landlord and I used to help work on the houses when I was a teen. One time he evicted a tenant and we went to go clean the house out with some other workers. We opened the door and cockroaches fell onto us. Inside was the most vile scene I’ve ever seen.
Dirty diapers strewn about. Cigarette butts and soggy pizza boxes everywhere. The room where they kept a dog had a massive pile of accumulated dog poop in the corner. A crib with cockroaches crawling around and piles of trash everywhere that made it hard to see the floor.
One of the guys ran outside and vomited the smell was so horrible. It disturbs me to this day how a person could live like that.
Went to go check on an old lady who hadn’t paid their rent yet which was odd because they were always on time. Opened the door and there she was dead, sitting in a chair with her collection of dolls piled on her. Disturbing as all hell.
My dad worked at an apartment style retirement home as a maintenance man and part of his job was cleaning up after folks had moved out and moved on. Anyways, he got a call one day to check out an apartment that had been left vacant because the managers heard some weird noises coming from the unit.
My dad walks up there, he’s being really cautious because he has a suspicion that the guy had come back and snuck into the unit and was living there. So he cracks the door open and calls out to see if anyone is in there, and about a millisecond later a knife comes flying across the room and sticks into the door a half an inch from his head. He peeks around the door and the old man is standing there with three knives in his hand and he says, “I don’t want to hurt you, Nick, but I have to.” Dad nopes out and calls the police.
I was about sixteen, and I had only ever seen my parents drink once, which was at their wedding, but when he came home that night he immediately sat down and started taking shots of jack.
We had a tenant who lived in a shared apartment room for a few months. His flatmate was complaining about smells and cleanliness issues. When we checked, everything seemed sort of normal, very messy, but nothing extraordinary. After the guy failed to pay his rent again, 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, but the room needs to be otherwise cleared out and he has to hand over the keys. He agreed that he would be able in 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. Since the room was supposed to be rented to another person a few weeks later (luckily I already expected some troubles and postponed this), I had to start cleaning it up.
Then the real horror came to light. The plastic bags were filled with plastic bottles, and in those – you guessed it – was urine. There were about 30 or 40 of them, each containing about 1 or 1.5 liters of urine. The dishes were also awful, they have been standing around for several weeks by the smell and larvae in them. The least problematic dishes “only” hat mold/fungi on them…
It took me and 2 other people about 3-4 hours to superficially clean the room out. It took another few days of a few hours work each to renew and clean up the whole room (mold removal, wallpapers, carpet, cleaning doors and windows, …)
We never saw anything of the rent that was still due and that guy even had the audacity to threaten to sue us. Also found out that apparently he has very high debt everywhere, so suing ourselves would not bring us the money back. We got really careful after this with our tenants.
I once rented a room in my house to a guy I found on roommates.com. He came to look at the apartment one night at around 10:30 PM and asked if he could move in…at that very moment. I should have taken this and realized that his living there may be a bad idea.
This guy did so many bizarre things, I won’t even be able to remember them all. He used to sit in the kitchen with the lights off, eating saltine crackers and watch my girlfriend and I watch TV. He went through a 24 oz bottle of listerine every 3 days or so. About once a week there would be crap on the toilet seat. He’d always talk about how cheap the gas at the gas station across the street was but didn’t own a car…
Anyway, when he moved out, he did so without notice. I came home and there was a note on the kitchen counter that said “Sorry, I don’t have the rent, but you can have this.” He had left me half a bottle of Dawn dish soap.
My parents found some unfortunate stuff after a tenant moved out. They had rented a small house to a young guy. The guy had been pouring cat litter on the carpet instead of a litter box. He had also approached the neighbor to save some money on trash service. The neighbor would just pay him half the garbage service fee and leave his trash there. Unfortunately the tenant had canceled his service too and was just cramming both their trash in the house’s crawl space.
I used to manage a short-term apartment building. One of my responsibilities was inspecting for damage and stuff after tenants left.
One time I went in and it was a disaster zone. Their child had stuck stickers all over the wood floor and walls, as well as scratched the walls up, the sink was piled with dirty dishes, the blankets were filthy, there were garbage bags everywhere…but the worst is that they had left remains of a watermelon.
A watermelon that they had cut open on the glass coffee table, no plate under it or anything. Sticky watermelon juice everywhere, forming a puddle on the floor, watermelon seeds flung everywhere, watermelon on the floor, even a slice on the couch…and the rest of the carcass just chillin’ on the table.
Like what were they doing?
I moved into a rental that my landlord had just purchased. They fixed a few things and let us move in, letting us know that they hadn’t cleared out the random garbage from the attic.
A few months into living there, curiosity got the best of me, and I went up to explore. I saw the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen: a baby crib, right in the center of the attic, filled with a huge collection of long, rusty knives.
My last landlord had in our agreement a “mold clause”. Basically he explained that he rented a unit to a guy and he lined the walls of the apartment with what I can assume was plastic wrap. and got the humidity in the house so high and was growing mold and mushrooms on the walls of the place. So when the guy eventually was evicted they had to gut the entire unit.
My mom had some tenants in a rental property who apparently were serial crap sacks 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 crap sacks got berated on national daytime TV, so I suppose it worked out in the end.
As a teen, worked with a friend whose dad did rental property management. Yard work, painting, light carpentry, and the like. Good job.
Come the day he sent us to a rental house where the people had skipped out. He forewarned us, but… most windows broken, doors torn off hinges, holes in every wall, holes in the ceiling. You name it.
The worst was that the toilet was ripped out and laying on it’s side in the bathroom. Then people “sat” on the drain opening. When that got plugged up, they’d used the floor to urinate/defecate and shovel in dirt from the yard to cover up their mess in the bathroom.
Not weird maybe, if maybe chimpanzees were living there? Yet for sure like a war zone is how I can only describe it. My outlook toward “humanity” took some heavy notches downward after that experience.
Parents had rental houses growing up. One tenant got evicted and, before leaving, poured wax down the drains and used cat litter in the vents.
I was a landlord! We had a trailer (as part of some other property we purchased) rented out for $200 month. The type of people who live for $200 a month are not very clean as it turns out. Much less care about….well…anything.
When they moved out…
Where the refrigerator would have gone (they didn’t own one) was piled bones from chicken. Including an entire thanksgiving turkey…just the bones. They had cats that must have eaten the meat off the bones…
How did we know they had cats? Although they did have a litter box for the cat(s), to clean the box, they would simply open a window off of where the ‘kitchen’ was and dumped the litter out… There was a 7′ (foot) tall pile of kitty litter up against the trailer….awesome!
Oh, the house that was in front of this trailer, when those tenants moved out, they stole all the windows, trim, doors….everything. Carpeting, tile, wood flooring….it was all gone!
Went to an apartment after tenants evicted and found Nazi propoganda, a couple rifles, and an Uzi in it’s original box with extra magazine, folding stock and a book on how to convert it to full auto.
Used to have a job that involved cleaning and minor repairs of rental apartments and houses between tenants. Usually it was easy enough, but the ones who were evicted often made it a point to wreck the place on the way out.
One particular jerk decided to pack plumber’s putty into the sink and bathtub drains, then turn the taps on before he left. They had to get professional contractors to fix most of it, but I got to rip out a bunch of stinky wet carpet and water-damaged floorboards.
When I was moving into a house once we offered to clean it for a reduction of the security deposit. I found a half eaten sandwich in one of the closets, and 20-30 used diapers in the oven.
My older sister and her boyfriend rented out their house when they moved out west for work. After several months of non-payment, the young adult male and female tenants were told to move out. Right before leaving, the smeared feces on the floors and walls, removed every light switch and electrical outlet cover, destroyed the bathroom, and removed the locks on the doors, and left the doors wide open.
My stepdad is a landlord, and he needed help moving out a tenant’s stuff because she suddenly stopped paying rent and wanted to move out at once. She is 55 years old or so, and a grandmother.
So I go in and here is the usual cloths, furniture and the kitchen stuff. Then I found a porno in one of the drawers, I show my stepdad and we start laughing at this unexpected find. Them we make our way downstairs to her concrete, unfinished basements. It was kind of creepy. Only one single light, concrete pony walls which were falling apart and had leaks. Then we see, in the middle of the room, screwed to the ceiling, a sex swing. I was creeped first and them couldn’t stop laughing hours later.
One of my dads units was rented to a sexworker, we had no clue when he rented it. The laws in Quebec being what they are, he couldn’t evict her until she stopped paying. She herself moved out soon.
When she left we found a black book, apparently her’s, with names of a few quite popular hockey players as well as some popular local business man with a family.
Not a landlord but was an RA (resident advisor) for dorms in college. We didn’t necessarily evict but we definitely saw some stuff when we did the final inspections of rooms after the academic year was over.
In any case, one year there was this girl who had a single room and she was SUPER quiet. I’d say hi to her in the hallways and stuff but mostly she kept to herself.
When the year was up, she signed up for a room checkout inspection but when I went in, she was already gone. That’s not that unusual; sometimes things happen, but usually students will let their RA know if they won’t physically be there for the inspection.
I did my usual check of stuff – ok the fridge is cleaned out, nothing in the drawers, etc.- and everything was pretty normal. Then I opened her closet door. There was an entire self portrait mural covering her entire closet wall…painted in her own blood.
There was a lot of weird stuff I saw as an RA, but that was probably the weirdest.
Our friend rented a house to this girl. After the girl moved out, (a couple days later) our friend went into the house to begin cleaning & discovered a little brown dachshund puppy had been tied up inside. We adopted him. Some people are just jerks.
My uncle had a small house broken up into four apartments, arranged so there were two on the bottom and two directly above those. The family that lived in a bottom apartment complained about something brown seeping through their ceiling so my uncle went to see the people in the above unit. That family refused to let my uncle in until he threatened to evict them.
Once my uncle went in he noticed a terrible smell coming from the kitchen so he goes in it. He sees that they took off all the cupboard doors and converted them into chicken cages… Each one holding about 3 chickens. He was surprised but still needed to find out what the brown stuff was so he continued through the apartment. He get to a bedroom and is quite shocked when he entered. The room was full of dirt about a foot thick and they were growing plants in it. There was a lady inside who was watering the plants. They didn’t have anything on the floor protecting it from the dirt, it was just the dirt on the carpet.
Some of this material has been edited for clarity.