The downside of fleeing the nest and finding a new place to call home is the common inability to be able to call it "mine." It may be "home," technically, but the true owner is none other than the landlord. Some get lucky with the person they pay rent to. Others get the devil down below. Just ask these people.
Tenants looked back on, or shared their current experience with, the worst thing their landlord has done to make life a nightmare for them and shared the story to Reddit. These are the funniest, and most frustrating, moments we found.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"My landlord had a maid she used for 40 years that came to our house once a month. My roommates and I split the bill of $120 bucks and paid it directly to our landlord.
My roommate told the maid one day, 'You are well worth the $120 we pay each month.'
It turns out the maid gave the landlord a considerable discount of $80 to clean our house and the landlord was pocketing the other $40 for about 8 months. This led to the maid quitting on the spot.
The landlord still stops by our house once a week to blame us for the maid quitting. She has also refused to honor any of the maintenance requests we put in. My roommates and I are very ready to move out come the summer."
"Growing up we didn't have much money. We lived in this rough trailer out in the country. Our landlord was a horrible person all around, had several animals he completely neglected, and treated everyone like dirt.
One time he saw my sister and I in the grocery store and started yelling at us about how our parents need to pay him rent and asking us where they were. It was terrifying. I cried. My sister told him to leave us alone and that she didn't have to tell him anything. A woman who worked there and knew the situation with him ended up kicking him out of the store.
He wouldn't fix or replace the leaking water heater, so the room my sister and I shared was 70% unusable because the carpet was soaked. There were a million different times that little things, like him stealing our mail, happened. The real kicker (and when we finally moved out) was when we were at a wedding all day and when we got home, the door wasn't closed right. I don't remember much because as soon as my parents saw the inside of the house my mom made us get back in the car and wait for them there.
I remember chairs being turned upside down, a basket of laundry had been thrown all across the room, there were bullet holes in our TV, he had broken my dad's guitar into three pieces, and smashed in the front of my grandpa's stand-up bass. I remember sitting in the back seat of our blazer with my sister as my dad was crying and screaming 'You animal!' from the front porch.
We stayed at a friend's house that night and a motel for a few weeks. We moved around to a few different places until my parents were able to get a place for us to live again.
When I was in high school I would see him from time to time at the store or something in town. He would always give me this creepy smile and my heart would start pounding and I'd want to run away. I no longer have to see him ever because I moved away and rarely visit my hometown, so it's easy to forget that part of my childhood, but sometimes I still have nightmares about the things that happened."
"I subleased a room from my friend one summer while he did an internship. His three roommates also were out of town the entire summer but paid rent and their portion of utilities for the summer.
At the end of my sublease, I cleaned the house, moved my stuff out, and turned in my key. Three months later, I get served with a lawsuit for over $5,000, alleging excessive damages and cleaning fees. I sent them back a letter demanding an itemized list of all fees I was being sued for.
When I get the itemized listing, it was absolutely stupid. For example, they'd charge me a $500 'chandelier cleaning charge' to clean the dining room overhead light, then a $300 'chandelier maintenance fee,' and then a $700 'chandelier replacement charge.' $1,500 to clean, maintain, and then throw away a chandelier? Nope.
They also, obviously, fluffed their expenses, charging me $25 to replace a lightbulb in the basement and charging me $750 for 2 hours of 'lawn maintenance,' which was the responsibility of the landlord in the lease anyways! It turns out they also filed a separate lawsuit against each of us, so they were suing us all for $25,000 total for what couldn't have been more than $1,000 in expenses (covered by our security deposit).
Anyways, I work for the Housing Department of my city and sent them a response on my office letterhead saying that I refuse to pay for the damages and that they could come and get me if they wanted to try. I never got a response, but the suit was dropped and I promptly advised the city to deny them any future city contracts for what I alleged was extortion of a college student.
Get stuffed, Jeanne, you cheap loser."
"I never actually met him, but we nearly ended up taking him to court. We complained about a ton of broken things that he would never fix. When they did get fixed, it was by the unqualified worker that he hired from the Home Depot parking lot. No offense to those guys, but they didn't fix our roof correctly.
Being college kids, we went to the free legal council our university offered, hoping we had some options to get things fixed. The lawyer found out that the house we were renting had been foreclosed on two months prior and the bank owned it now. Extremely ticked off, we decided to stop paying rent to this guy while we got our things in order. We never did get our two months rent back from when he didn't own the house.
About six weeks later, he came by the house, furious that we hadn't paid rent in over a month. My roommate simply said, 'We aren't paying you anymore. Get the heck off this property.' This ticked him off even more and he started threatening my roommate until my roommate said, 'We know you don't own this place anymore and we are going to sue you for the money you stole from us.' He shut up at that point and left, never to be heard from again. We didn't sue him because each of us were only out, like, $600 dollars. Rent was stupid cheap for four college kids in a big city.
We made a deal with the bank to pay them the same rent we had been paying in order to stay until graduation in May. We were also responsible for cleaning up the yard and they would get someone out there to fix a few big issues (roof and plumbing) since they were going to sell the house anyway. We held up our end and enjoyed our last few months of college without a cruddy landlord."
"I subleased from a woman who had some serious mental issues. I knew she was a bit quirky but I didn't know she was a legit psycho.
She did a bunch of things that weren't right, but the worst was when I was sitting there, my car was in the shop (so she thought I wasn't home) and walked into my room. She said, 'Oh, I didn't know you were here,' and then continued to go into my bedroom and bathroom and do things, while trying to have a casual conversation with me. This was when I realized that, she was going into my space whenever she thought I was not home, and she was not even embarrassed about it. She legit thought it was OK.
She was much older than me, and she kept thinking that she was the mom and I was the child. She felt so comfortable going into my room, that I went out and got cameras. Sure enough, she was going into my room every day. She wasn't taking anything. She was just looking around at my things - looking in my closet, my underwear drawer, my trash can, my bathroom cabinets. It was very bizarre. It was like I was a teenager and she was looking for contraband or something. The first time I confronted her, a little too gently, she immediately deflected and told me I don't take the trash out enough, or something like that. She felt 'disrespected.'
She got crazier and crazier and I started having images in my head of her breaking in and standing over me with a knife or something. So, I broke my lease. I gave her notice, but she decided I had to leave the next day. After I left for work, stupid me didn't lock my door and I left the cameras on. She rampaged through my room, broke into my computer, iPad, deleted emails, sent iMessages from my iPad (she used my iPad so much that day, that she actually confused it for her own iPad, so she sent iMessages thinking it was her account). The woman was so psychotic that she literally thought she was entitled to my stuff, as if she were my mother.
I booked it out of that nightmare after I saw her messing around on my iPad. I watched it happen from my office (I saw iMessages going out, that I didn't send) and locked it with the Find My iPhone app, and left a threatening message. This caused her to run out of the house. I left work and went directly to the police station. A cop helped me move out, and my boss was understanding enough to actually compensate me for the lost hours
Her excuse for going through my things? 'I have a right to do inspections. You buy candles and other things, and I'm afraid of fires!'
She did other things too. Like, when my side of the duplex had water spewing out of the sinks and toilets, I notified her immediately (since we had a contract stating as such) and her response would be, 'Can't you just get your dad to fix it? I'm golfing.'"
"It was an apartment complex, but this one stands out still.
They didn't pay the power. Not, 'they forgot to pay the power.' Not, 'they were in financial trouble.' They just wanted to see if they could call the power company's bluff. The power company killed and locked half the breakers in every building.
I don't know if you've ever seen a riot take shape, but try cutting off the AC and refrigeration for a few dozen Alabamians in the middle of June in a heat wave."
"I used to get medication shipped to me. It was a self-administered shot with a spring-loaded needle casing. I had a safe disposal method, etc, all set up. It was a medical issue. Well, the little coolers of medicine each month went to the main office of my cruddy apartment building. For the first year, everything was fine, but then my building was sold to a new company and we got a new weirdo running the place.
The first time my meds got shipped to me, I went down to get it from the office like always. First off, there is a massive sticker that said, 'Refrigerate upon delivery.' The previous people always just popped it into the fridge that was set up in the office for me. This woman did not. She left it in the sweltering back room instead. Rude and inconsiderate, but I could deal with it.
But then, when I asked for the meds, she did the thing where she mimed like she was handing it to me and then pulled it back when I reached for the box. She then asked me, 'Are these needles? Are you having needles delivered?'
I was like, 'That's not any of your business. Give me my medication.'
She kept holding on to it and said, 'Well, some of the neighbors are concerned because needles usually mean illegal substances.'
You freak, my neighbors have never seen my needles and even if they did, you can't actually see the needle part because it's all encased in a spring-loaded tube. There is no way my 'neighbors are concerned' about this, they have no clue that this is something I need.
I told her again that it wasn't any of her business. She finally gave me the box, but she gave me the stink eye every time I received my medication after that.
Theresa, you're a nosy freak, you know that?"
"My cousin and her husband started renting a place that needed a lot of work done (important things like fixing the roof and floor, plus more cosmetic things like new paint). The landlord refused to fix anything, even the stuff that made the place borderline uninhabitable.
My cousin's husband is a bit of a handyman and the stuff needed to be done, so he made the repairs himself with the landlord refusing to even deduct some of it from the rent. I'm not sure why they didn't just move out or complain to the proper authorities, but I'm guessing it was a combination of the rent being cheap and his being a sort of recent (legal) immigrant and therefore being nervous about rocking the boat too much.
After he made all of these repairs (again, out of his own pocket and with his own hands), the time came to re-up the lease and the landlord raised the rent. His justification?: 'Well, I have to raise the rent because the house is worth more now. It has all new flooring and the roof has been recently repaired, there's a new paint job...'"
"I moved into a tiny studio apartment that was basically a single room with a sink in the cupboard, a bed, gas cooker from the 1980s, and a table. The room was in a large house with six other one-room apartments. For the first couple of nights, I smelled some hints of gas, but assumed it was just my imagination since I have a really awful sense of smell.
I woke up in the middle of the night one night to a VERY powerful smell of gas which seemed to be coming from the bottom of the cooker. I bolted out of bed, turned off the gas cut-off valve to my room, and sat on the garden wall at about 1 am trying to phone the landlord's emergency contact number. His phone wasn't turned on. I left a bunch of messages explaining the situation. In the end, I called the gas leak phone line, who sent out an engineer straight away. The dude disconnected the main gas line to the house since he was still reading a drop in pressure in the boiler. I wrote notes explaining why the gas was turned off (didn't want to wake up my new neighbors) and posted them under the doors of the other flats and went back to bed.
I woke up at 7 am the next morning to pounding on my door and shouting. The landlord was outside, DEMANDING to know why I had turned off the gas to the house, screaming that it might be days before it could be reconnected and that it would mean seven tenants without hot water or cooking facilities. I demanded to know why the heck his 'Emergency contact number' didn't work.
He responded with, 'I have young kids at home. If people phoned that number after 9 pm, it would wake them up, so I turn it off.'
I. Was. Freaking. Seething with rage. Glad to know emergencies only happen during waking hours.
The gas technician arrived, went to the boiler, then asked the landlord to come down and see. They spent about 20 minutes there before the landlord came back up and mumbled some nonsense about how I was right to call the gas company to disconnect the house. Without explanation, he got every tenant a new electric cooker that afternoon. I'm guessing the thing had been leaking for ages. Moron."
"This was more recent when my SO and I were looking for a place together. We found a first floor one bedroom that my gut said 'no' about but we had been looking for close to 3 months and just wanted the search to be over. We sign the lease, get the keys, start moving my boxes of stuff to be moved in.
Surprise, lost! You got roaches. The German kind, because get wrecked. These landlords were also family; a husband and wife with a son who acted as the liaison because the parents were not native English speakers. Yeah they could speak and understand English but not as well as their adult son. We called the son about the infestation.
'Oh yeah haha, this is a city so there are roaches' he said cheerfully.
I cussed him out. Because this was not a roach or two, but thousands. Everywhere. The molding on the ceiling was caked with roach filth. You don't notice it during the walkthrough when the lights are on and people stomping about but upon our inspection it was evident that the roaches had been there for a long time. It was a couple who were there for 2 years before us and they had been living in this filth.
What occurred was 6 days of terrible experiences. At one point, the wife called me at 9:30pm, hysterical, because 'why was I doing?' 'why was I such an awful person?' For breaking the lease and moving out of their roach motel. Lots of screaming involved. I essentially told them to get lost for knowingly letting us move into their disgusting place.
We broke the lease and the landlords came over to collect the keys. Over the 6 days my boyfriend and I were there, we did not clean up a single roach after we killed them out. Hundreds of roach bodies on the floors. The husband took a look-see, shrugged, and said 'It's not that bad.'
What disgusts me most of all is in both situations, the landlords had children. I asked both sets of landlords, 'how would you feel about your daughter living in these conditions?' to which they could not answer. I despise slumlords. Most operate without a license and all their properties are gross biohazards."
"My best friend was going through some pretty rough times at her home (smack addicted parents, neglect - it was bad) so we let her stay with us for a while. A while turned into forever as she became my foster sister. Now my parents are her legal guardians and it's great. She's finally happy and safe.
Unfortunately, we had a complete witch of a landlord (landlady? I don't really know how it works) who said that my foster sister was causing 'unnecessary wear and tear.' She wasn't, at all.
We were all PEEVED. This was while we were in the middle of dealing with bad social workers, payments not coming through, and being completely ignored by anyone who could help us. But we weren't going to give up on my sister, not after the amazing amount of effort my parents put in trying to keep her with us. So, obviously, we weren't going to kick her out. Despite barely being able to afford it, we were forced to move out. As we all know, the housing market isn't the greatest, so we had to move into a more expensive nightmare.
Honestly, I'm happy we got away from that imbecile landlord. It was obvious that she was completely obsessed with the house and didn't want us changing even a single freaking lampshade. I just wish it didn't have to happen like this."
"I moved in with my brother for six weeks. Three weeks in, his landlady showed up saying he had not paid rent and she wanted him out. I needed a place to stay for a little bit as I had just moved to this new city and I had scored a great job so I was like, 'I'll take over the lease if you want.' She agreed, told me the tenancy agreement was laying around somewhere in the house, and to sign it when I was free.
A couple of weeks after that, my kids were coming to this new city and I needed to get them enrolled in school, and for that I needed to prove my address. I asked her if we can sign this agreement. I offered to catch a taxi to her place and we would sign it. She declined and told me to forge her signature. I did not feel comfortable with that at all and didn't forge her signature. Then, she called me the very next day flipping out and saying NOT TO forge her signature, refusing to sign it, that she wanted her money, and physical threats of violence against my brother, who apparently still owed her. All the while, he was adamant he had paid her the whole time.
At that point, I was looking for another place ASAP. I found a great place, moved out, cleaned her apartment beautifully, and had every intention of paying two rents for a couple weeks while she found somebody else. The very day we left and cleaned, she showed up at the apartment and let herself in. Then, she proceeded to screech to everyone she could that I had done a runner and I owed her all this money and sent me threats of court and nasty text messages.
She's still on a witch hunt to find my new address so she can serve me papers. I got a random text from her months afterward saying she called Centrelink (social security) and told them I wasn't paying rent with the intention of having my rent assistance cut off! The lady is craaaazy! Turns out my brother had been paying rent the whole time and his bank statements prove it, as do mine."
"I lived in a cruddy two-bedroom apartment with no ventilation. It was more like a glorified shoe-box than a house. One day, I got mail from the landlord. She wrote a letter saying that she was walking past the property the other day and they noticed mildew on the corner of the front window. The letter said that this was really bad for the house and we had to get rid of it. This was a little weird and pedantic, but, OK, whatever, I'll clean it.
But the letter went on to say that we should take steps to prevent it from coming back. The letter included a list of things that caused mildew and recommend that we avoid doing things that can cause mildew. I got to the last item on the list: 'Breathing'
Breathing can cause mildew. The landlord tried to ask me to stop breathing in my apartment."
"Lived in a house with, among other flatmates, a lovely young gay man whose mother owned the house and was a crazy evangelical Christian maniac. She didn't live there but came around whenever she wanted in the guise of visiting her son even when he wasn't around. In my country, it is illegal for landlords to enter the house without giving all tenants 48 hours notice, unless there's a genuine emergency.
She pressured him and put her son down constantly because of his orientation. She would leave incredibly offensive and homophobic 'reading material' on the hallway table mixed in with his mail and threatened to disown him if he went to a real, accredited university instead of a useless indoctrination center disguised as a tertiary institute.
She insisted on decorating the house herself, complete with Christian platitudes implying that only Christians are worthwhile people (I am atheist - she knew this from the beginning; I think she may have dreamed of converting the poor ignorant atheist) and an entire bookshelf filled with such gems as guides on how to be a good Christian wife (to be fair, these had solid entertainment value).
She would come around at 6 a.m. and mow the lawns in her bra. I'd get up to make a coffee and she'd yell about how I left a book or a jersey or whatever in MY living room. I'm talking a single personal item, not a big mess. If I came home in the morning after a night out and she was around, she would make snarky comments implying I was a loose woman.
When she decided the kitchen wasn't clean enough (again, she didn't live there and this was not a designated flat inspection so she had no right to say a darn thing) she wrote an angry note in ALL CAPS in permanent marker on the wall. It was so big she must have stood on a chair to write the top couple of lines. She decided me and my friends drank too much, so she posted an AA pamphlet on the toilet door and circled every reference to God or religion.
She was generally a nasty, toxic person to be around who felt the need to control everyone around her. She had no leg to stand on to make us change, because we weren't doing anything to damage the property and it was my home, NOT hers. So she just made everyone around her miserable instead. When I moved out, she started only letting rooms to Christian international students, which was probably better for everyone involved. Except I am 99% sure she was exploiting and controlling the new tenants thanks to their ignorance of our tenancy laws."