This article is based on the AskReddit question “Landlords of Reddit, what is the weirdest or most disturbing tenant you have ever had?”
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
19. So much for lowering his rent payment
Our parents rented a floor of their 2-family home to a guy who was an electrician. In return for lower rent, he did electrical improvements and minor repairs to the house.
All of a sudden, our parents’ electric bill nearly doubled. So they called the power company for an inspection and discovered that the tenant had actually illegally re-wired his connection so that it was drawing most of the current for his apartment from their electric meter instead of his.
They had given him a substantial break in the rent, and he abused their kindness. Dad simply said, “No good deed goes unpunished.
18. The toaster will forever remain a mystery
Real nice older guy lived in the apartment next to mine for several years. He was quiet, and I didn’t notice when he had not been around for a while. The landlord asked me to go into his apartment with her, kind of afraid he might be dead inside – he had never been late on his rent before. We went in there, expecting the worst, and all that was in the entire place was a bare mattress in the living room with an enormous stack of porn, both magazines and DVD’s, and a toaster. My elderly landlord quipped, “How do you think he used the toaster?
17. Oh, poor Annie
My dad rents a few houses out and about 10 years ago he was going to collect rent from an older couple in one of his houses. Lets call her Annie, answered the door and made my dad a cuppa. He was surprised her husband, lets call him Frank, was not sitting in his normal arm chair, he was quite a big man and was always there when my dad came round. So dad asked Annie where he was and she said ‘He’s in bed, he died last Tuesday, I’m not really sure what to do.’ This was Saturday and dad asked where she had been sleeping, ‘In beside Frank.’ she said. So dad was able to help Annie with the undertakers and had to help them get big Frank down the narrow stairs. He got Annie sorted with a new house to rent as well. Grief can make people do very strange things.
16. No money to pay rent but when it comes to a futon and a bag of clothes
I had a female tenant who lived in a basement apartment. We regularly heard a dog barking in her unit. Funny thing though, she didn’t own a dog. She had every light in the unit on, 24/7, until she called complaining about not having any power. Went in to check it and she had power. Every light bulb was burned out though. All she had in the place was a futon and Bibles. Bibles in every room, open to different pages. When we finally got her out for nonpayment (of course), she hired a moving company to move her belongings. The futon and a garbage bag full of clothes.
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15. But WHY?!
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.
14. How do people live like this?
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. Feces literally smeared on the walls. Cigarette butts and soggy pizza boxes everywhere. The room where they kept a dog (and never let him out) had a massive pile of accumulated dog shit in the corner. Piss stains on the walls. 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.
13. Just awful!
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.
12. When tenants make it their goal to ruin the place
Upstairs carpet ruined with fertilizer because they grew weed in there, wallpaper ruined by pouring ashes from the stove behind the bed, downstairs wooden floor ruined and needed to be sanded, window smashed, one door had a hole in it made with an axe, rent unpaid and loud parties in the yard. Needless to say, we went to court.
One truck driver’s family on the other hand managed to turn white bathroom sink and tiles almost black, an accomplishment in itself. Not to mention not paying the rent.
Multiple tenants over the years, from the past 15 years I can count exactly one who paid rent on time and kept the place in good condition. One.
I would sell the damn place tomorrow and quit being a landlord, but I’m not the only owner so it’s not exactly up to me.
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11. Cant open the jar lid? Call Stephen!
I have had the same old lady tenant since I bought the building. She chain smokes, watches tv, and collects social security. That’s it.
Whenever there’s an issue, even if it doesn’t concern me, I get a phone call every 15 minutes, with a 30 second voice mail each time, until I call her.
Cable goes out? “Stephen, it’s Janice, [complaint and threat about moving]. It’s snowing? “Stephen, it’s Janice, [complaint and threat about moving]. Other tenants making noise at 2pm? “Stephen, it’s Janice, [complaint and threat about moving].
Over and over and over, in her raspy smoker voice.
She doesn’t understand the concept of “I’m at work!
It’s gotten to the point where I listen to the first 5 seconds of the first voice-mail and just delete the rest.
10. You’ve got to love cats and their sense of humour at 3 AM
I had a couple who lived on the third (top) floor of one of my buildings. They were very quiet, always very nice, always paid on time. Sounds good, right? Well, the tenants in the building weren’t very friendly with one another. They didn’t fight or have problems really, they just didn’t get together or really even converse at all. So, they didn’t know one another. One day the second floor people heard a loud crash coming from upstairs. I get a call from them and they say that it sounded like a dirt bike revving, tearing through the house from one end to the other, a scream, and a loud crashing sound. This is at 3am, mind you. I think someone must be hurt because I’m calling them repeatedly and no one is answering. I go over to check it out and find out they had gotten a new home theater system and their cat, by some freak chance, had stepped on the remote and turned on the system, mid-action movie. I’ll tell you, I was super relieved.
9. When the people in the sky need your tenant, he HAS to go!
My parents were landlords for a little while and definitely struck out a few times. New England house split into 3 units, my parents were living in one and had a good view of the driveway and could vaguely monitor the tenants.
So this one guy was middle aged single white guy, seemed a little neurotic but nice enough. He was bothered by a few minor dents and asked my parents if he could repair them…small holes in sheetrock etc (like when the doorknob slams into it). He did a good job and my parents were happy. He disappeared out of nowhere for awhile and was late on rent. One day my dad is home alone and the guy knocks on the screen door. Dad answers and can immediately tell something is off with him. Guy proceeds to rant and rave to my father about how the people in the sky are after him and he needs to leave town NOW, graciously invites me father to join him. All the while he’s pausing between words to make “BZZZT” noises like a radio or something. I don’t know if he paid his last months rent but they were OK with him leaving.
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8. Some people like to live frugally. In the weirdest way.
Most disturbing were the tenants that turned the house into a brothel (illegal here). The police cracked down on them hard and they were arrested. The neighbours were the ones who suspected them, with people constantly entering and leaving especially at night.
The weirdest were the elderly couple with young kids who didn’t use water, electricity and sparingly used gas. They drank and used only cold rainwater including to bathe, with a bucket and sponge in the garden. I have never seen light being on in their home, instead they used candles. They cook once a week and tend to only eat their food cold. The house was filthy, freezing cold and always insect infested. It’s not like they can’t afford the bills or a clean up, they can, but they choose to live like this. It’s frustrating because we had to fix up the whole place. Radiator pipes need to be used especially in winter, or else they freeze. Windows need to be opened for ventilation because of damp air. I’m pretty sure it was some health and safety hazard, but the police and the council are aware of the issues, but took no action. We eventually let them go, as the house was falling into a bad state.
7. Sure, paint the walls, but not like that!
I own a 2 family house so I rent out the other unit. One of my first tenants, let’s call him Richard, was a young kid just out of college. He was a nice enough guy and we became friends. I have a decent sized backyard with a grill and a pool. We spent the entire summer drinking and hanging out in the backyard.
The fall comes. Richard gets it in his head that he wants to re-paint his living room. He asks me if that’s ok and I say sure. He says he will paint it himself if I buy the paint. I buy the paint he picked out which is a nice neutral color. I’m kind of impressed that he had such good taste. He starts painting.
About a week later I get a call from Richard in the middle of the night. I was in bed with my wife and sleeping. He says he’s having problems with the paint and asked if I could come up to help. At that point I thought he was done painting. It doesn’t take a week to paint a room. WTF? I begrudgingly agree to go upstairs and help.
I walk up the stairs in the middle of the night. I hear music blaring from the apartment. The door to his apartment is open and I walk in. There’s Richard. He’s completely naked with an erect penis, a roller in hand, and dancing to Goodbye Horses. I noped out and told him to put some tarp down since he was getting paint on my hard wood floors.
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6. The crazy cat man strikes!
I’ve owned and operated a trailer park for over a decade. Every single DAY there is outrageous behavior. I love it! Here’s one: Old dirty guy lived in a smelly, nasty, run down trailer on the end. His clothes were never washed and just matted and caked with filth. He was a nice, soft spoken man though, and always paid his rent on time. He had many, many indoor cats and even getting close to his trailer, the stench would just be unbelievable. Well, as we worked on making the trailer park nicer, it came time for him to clean up all his stuff outside- refrigerators, old torn up couches, etc. He opted to move to another piece of land close by, where he could have all his trash heap in peace. Fine. Sayanara! Flash forward a few years, to the other day a local comes in to the store, and says, “Hey! That dirty guy used to live here, didn’t he?” “Yes…?”
“Well when he left here, he moved next to ME. With no trailer park rules, he has acquired more and more trash and more and more cats- he is the crazy cat man, even has an extra trailer for JUST cats. I’m talking over a hundred- they just kept multiplying and multiplying. The yard was overrun with cats…I woke up a week ago in the middle of the night to what sounded like a party at his place- weird. So loud, I went to check- and there was a massive coyote-cat carnage going on. The noise was the animals screaming as they were being eaten and killed by coyotes.
5. How do these people live with themselves?! awful!
Dads a landlord. He had one property where the guy was retired navy and lived in the house when my dad bought it. They had arrangement where the guy would take care of the upkeep of the house in exchange for reduced rent, so my dad hadn’t been there in several years.
Turns out the guy became a drug user and had a bunch of other drug users living with him, plus his kids and their kids. Dad had to evict them and when we went in the house looked like something from hoarders. Trash and cockroaches and stuff everywhere. According to the neighbors they used to send the children around with buckets to steal water from people’s hoses. They were stealing electricity and cable, and even though they hadn’t had water in months, they continued using the toilets.
We had a company that removes trash come out and they wouldn’t even make an offer on the job. We had to gut the place ourselves and we carried this toilet full of poop out to the trash thing. I still remember the dry heaves.
The thing that I thought was the saddest was a note from one of his kids teacher. The teacher was begging the father to actually show up to a parent teacher conference. You could tell she was annoyed and had waited for him on several occasions before, and she was legitimately concerned with the child’s welfare.
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4. As long as the homeless tenant pays his rent
I rent out my basement suite and had a guy punch holes in my walls three weeks after moving in.
More interestingly, though, was when I worked at a storage unit company and had a homeless man renting a storage unit to sleep in. He never admitted it, but you could see from around the corner that the only thing in his storage unit was a mattress. He’d come almost daily at some point in the morning, go inside his unit, shut the door, and not come out for about 3-4 hours. I never said anything to him or the managers because he always made his $250 rent every month and never bothered anybody.
3. Tenants with ridiculous excuses
My dad was a landlord and he had to deal with lots of terrible people. I’m not sure about the privacy of most stories but there is one that will always stick out, the man that tried to smoke out his neighbors. A lot of my dad’s tenants were somewhat out there but this guy was long gone. His upstairs neighbors were annoying him where he actually set his apartment on fire to “smoke them out”. It was also supposed to be a suicide attempt but according to him, “It got too hot” so he left. The tenant got sued, but plead insanity so I don’t know what happened to him but I remember my dad had to pay all off the repair costs because the tenant apparently couldn’t.
2. Report damages? haha no.
My step-mom rented her house to a guy who she later found out was having constant drug fueled parties. When she went to inspect it, she also then discovered that a water pipe had burst and had been running water all over for a good month or two and he never bothered to tell her, causing $25,000 in damages that took them months to repair. Since it’d gone unreported for so long insurance refused to pay for it.
After fixing it she decided she’d never rent again. When she talked to her insurance company they told her that rentals are cheaper to insure than empty homes because ‘there’s someone there to report damage.’ We couldn’t help but laugh at that.
1. Illegal activities is an immediate eviction
I own a commercial building which rents mostly to small businesses. One tenant was a “consulting firm” run by two Scandinavian girls.
Every day, men (and only men) would be coming in and out of their space. Other tenants complained that some kind of weird vapor or steam would regularly escape from their unit.
As I recall, it turned out they were running an unregistered sperm bank and the vapor was coming from a big container of liquid nitrogen used to store the sperm donations.