Owning property can be exhausting work, especially when dealing with sketchy tenants and odd situations. These 10 landlords share their most stressful situations on the job. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“You Are A Dead Man”
“A family had been renting one of my houses for several years. Then, the husband passed away and the rent was suddenly late every month. I went by to see what was up and saw that numerous people not on the lease were living there. They had damaged the walls in every room (holes in the drywall, etc); they had totally ruined the carpet in a couple of rooms, (hunks of it missing, not just dirty); the oven was being used to store car parts and the grills were missing (later found them in the back yard); in short, they were in the process of destroying the unit.
So I filed an eviction, for cause, which they protested. They lost. Then, when the constable arrived to evict them, they refused to leave because of ‘the covid’. Of course, that doesn’t work when you are evicted for cause, and the constable had to remove them with their weapons.
Then I had to store their stuff for a month (it is required) and on the third occasion of them coming to get the rest of the stuff, they brought a large hoodlum who assaulted me and told me he was going to kill me, several times.
He said, ‘You are a dead man.’
Fortunately, I carry concealed so that didn’t last too long and they left. Loaded a dumpster with the rest of their stuff and spent 6K repairing all the damage they did.
Yeah, that was fun.”
He Claimed To Be An ‘Electrician’
“I had a tenant who was a certified electrician who said he was traveling a lot for work and basically just needed a place to put his stuff. So we didn’t see him much (the property was around the corner from our house), rent was paid on time, and no complaints from the neighbors.
But then one day, I got a call from the police that they had conducted a raid on the place, and let us know there was a dope growing operation there.
The ‘electrician’ had pulled out the furnace and made several illegal and unsafe taps into the electrical panels to run big banks of grow lights. He had pulled out fixtures in two bathrooms and set up big tanks to support the hydroponic grow op. The place was being heated by the lights. Also, tore out walls, and put up additional walls, including one that attached to the middle of an overhead garage door.
When cleaning out the place, we found a copy of the police warrant. It was for the murder of a person. It was for his ‘roommate’, and not the guy we had rented to, but still. Over 100k in damages to the place, and after two months of submitting claims to our insurance company, we were told they were denying the claims, even though it was insured for vandalism and other damages. Why?
Because they said the damages were caused by someone who was legally allowed to be in the place.
Always read the fine print.”
His ONLY Key
“Being a landlord, a new landlord during this global crisis to be exact, with nightmare tenants will ruin the property. I’m scared of what one of my tenants has really done, besides the visible, things, and all the things, they’re going to steal when they leave. They’ve stolen. Quite a few things.
I have been living in the stress of, them trying to manipulate things from day one. That was 23 months ago. They paid three of those months. Last year, they did take somewhat of care to the house. Now, they don’t do anything and he rents out several rooms, I believe, the other unit as well. I’ve heard he asks for utilities, also. I provide all utilities, which they abuse. Because he retaliates, I don’t use my landlord’s authority for him because it will be worse for me.
The other tenant that isn’t quite as bad, makes rules too. She was asked to leave when her lease expired. She wasn’t living there. Then she claimed to be moving out, since February. Because I was stupid and lent her my only key as her son took it by accident, with the promise of returning it the next day. She still has it and has excuses not to meet with me. I need to go in there.
She has claimed she would finish getting her stuff out by the ‘end of the month’. Six months later, she’s not out, and still not met with me. She may say, ‘tomorrow morning’, I as for a time, and don’t receive one. Then, when I ask what time do you want to meet, she’s unavailable. Most communication is in text. She actually said, she would be available, for showing the apartment. Showing who what? Why can’t she show it to me, and give me the key? Nine days ago, she claims she’s moving back in. Uhm what the heck?
This is the most stressful, frustrating, expensive, time-consuming nightmare, I’ve ever been in. Getting two deadbeat tenants that are taking advantage of me, the global crisis, and most of all, the future of the ‘rental system’, for every honest good tenant. I doubt they understand they’re causing this because they aren’t responsible for their consequences. They don’t do any wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault. Because of their lack of life’s responsibilities, we, every responsible, honest human, that falls into the landlord and tenant category, are facing their consequences. It’s quite obvious, future rentals will be very different for all.”
What Really Happened That Night?
“So I own my house and I rent the rooms out to other people for a little extra cash. For the last year, I’ve rented to two guys who have kept to themselves and maintained the place. There were never any issues other than someone gaming too loud at night. It was honestly the best living situation I could have, given the circumstances.
I rented to an 18-year-old male, Todd, and a 24-year-old male, Carson.
Todd was always really quiet and stayed in his room whenever he wasn’t working. I never thought much about it, just assumed he was an introvert. He was a pretty quiet guy who kept to himself. Carson had a dog and wasn’t working at the time so he usually just hung out at the house or went and chilled with his girlfriend at her place. Recently his girlfriend got a dog so he was over there more than not.
Almost 10 months after both of them moved in, there was something strange that happened one night. I was out at my boyfriend’s place that night and so was Carson, so it was just Todd, and Carson’s dog, and my two cats home that night.
I went to bed pretty early and woke up the next morning to three missed calls from Todd at one am. I texted him and asked him if he needed something and he didn’t reply until later that day. When I came home after work, I noticed the spare bedroom at the end of the hallway had the lights on which was weird because no one went in there. So I turned it off then went downstairs to my bedroom. I noticed something was off right away because the basement closet, spare bedroom, laundry room, and my room all had the doors on which was extremely odd because I was the only one who used the basement since it was under renovation. My bedroom light was also on, something that I’ve never done.
I texted my parents to see if they came over when I was at work. I texted Todd and Carson asking if they were in the house because I think we might have been broken into. Carson came out and told me when he came home an hour before me, the back door was unlocked and no one was home.
Then I finally got a call from Todd.
So apparently that night he had come home straight from work and fell asleep after having been up for two days. He then proceeded to wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone in his closet. He freaked and grabbed his machete to protect himself. Then he saw them run off into the hallway and disappear. He was freaking out and came out of his bedroom and saw my sister standing over top of my bloodied body. He ran back to his room and called his mom to call an ambulance for him. While he was waiting, he could hear someone in the house. When the cops arrived, they searched the house to make sure no one was there and then told him to come out with his hands up. Apparently, he was freaking out too much and didn’t let the machete go. He walked out of the house in handcuffs and was released into the care of his parents. He said he was probably going to be home later that night.
I relayed this to Carson so that he wasn’t worried that the place was robbed. Unfortunately, he began to worry because the animals were here when this all apparently happened. I had no proof of any of this happening. According to the cops, it was a private matter so I was unable to know the details other than what my roommate told me. So Carson began to feel uncomfortable and dipped out fast. He left within two weeks of the incident trying to claim his security deposit back without proper notice. Todd was still in the place, haunted by whatever happened that night, and didn’t leave his room anymore. He found out Carson left because of that night and was so upset.
Todd had already agreed to move out before Carson even left the place so now after one insane night, I had lost both of my tenants of almost a year. And I will never know what actually happened that night. It’s been the wildest last month trying to fanatically get rooms rented.”
She Was A Well-Liked Teacher, But No So Much As A Tenant
“I inherited my grandmother’s house (200 miles away from where I lived), after my father passed, which my father had rented to a local teacher and her daughter.
A couple of months later, the rent checks stopped. I spoke with the mother over the phone, and she said it was a bank issue, but the money never came.
Long story short, I had to hand-deliver an eviction notice and found six people living in the house, in clear violation of the lease.
A month later, I received the keys in the mail, so I went to inspect the house. They had stolen all the appliances, including the hot water heater, all the light fixtures, the handles from the kitchen cabinets, and the carpet… all the carpet!
The police would do nothing because all appliances were over five years old and therefore had no value. Suing the tenant in court would have cost me a fortune, and since it was a small town, and the teacher was well connected, there was a slim chance to win anything, because, ‘How dare I slander her good name?’
The house is a total loss, and the property is unsellable for the last decade.”
“There Are Large Animals In The Attic Every Night.”
“One of the rentals I bought was quickly rented by a single mom with two boys. The lease said, ‘No dogs.’ We had completely remodeled this place from top to bottom. It had a new roof, new siding, new windows, new cabinets, new flooring, and the bathrooms were completely redone. One day after school let out, one of the boys called my wife to see if she could bring a key by because they were locked out.
She said, ‘Sure, no problem.’
She took the key by and the mom was at work. The boys said she wouldn’t let them in until she got home from work but the Rottweilers could live in there.
We requested an inspection after that and found the dogs. She was asked to move out and she did. When we hired guys to clean the place up to rent to someone else, we moved the couch and all I could say was, ‘Wow.’
This lady was so lazy that she couldn’t bother herself to get up to change her tampons, so she would just keep a box by the couch and change them there. The used tampons went under the couch. That explained the smell.
At another place, we had a tenant with some mental issues that kept calling.
She would say, ‘There are large animals in the attic every night.’
We sent exterminators up there and they never came up with anything. We finally figured it out after the tenant next door was arrested for dope. We decided to go into the attic space and found out what the large animals were. It was this guy after his night of ‘deliveries.’ He would return his dope and cash to the attic space so if he ever got arrested, the police wouldn’t find it. They didn’t but we did so we went to the Sheriff’s office and turned it over to them.”
“My parents had a tenant who had a total mental health breakdown while sharing a property with them. Initially, he seemed normal, but over time he started exhibiting paranoid delusions and serious rage. It was terrifying. He would have screaming fits while all alone, sometimes in his house, and sometimes on his patio (yelling into the shared garden space). My parents started to fear for their safety. They basically kept their doors locked at all times and only walked outside sparingly, with a panic button in their hand for an armed response company. At some stage, he started regarding the rental house as ‘his’ – not as if he was grabbing what he could get, but as if he genuinely believed it.
Evicting a tenant in our jurisdiction requires a court process, and they were afraid of what would happen after he was served with a court notice. They were in contact with the local police too, but having him arrested overnight and then released in an enraged state also seemed really dangerous. They needed him out for good, with no way of coming back to take revenge.
At some stage when he seemed a bit more coherent, my parents tried telling him they couldn’t renew his lease because they needed the house for their children. This resulted in him tracing me online and contacting me. And when I didn’t respond, he contacted the chairman of the large company where I worked to rant about me.
Eventually, with some co-operation from his family, the police and a very brave social worker, and a lot of prayers and luck, they were able to get him committed to a mental institution. His parents then came to fetch all his things and my parents changed the locks. They’d lost many months in unpaid rent, but they were, mercifully, unharmed.
Years later, I read an article about a man with paranoid delusions who believed himself to be the owner of someone else’s house and ended up murdering his own brother. My hair stood on end: reading the description of his behavior leading up to the event, it sounded so much like the behavior of my parents’ tenant. They were pensioners, alone on a shared property for this man for many months. They were incredibly fortunate to make it out of the situation unharmed.”
“Friends of my husband’s moved in which included his friend, the friend’s girlfriend, the girlfriend’s son, and the girlfriend’s brother. They had a Great Dane, which was the least of the issues.
Per the lease, we mailed them six months’ notice that we were going to do some renovating and their year lease would be ending (this was their second year). They were enraged that we did not call them with this news. Explaining to them that the lease required a letter made no difference to them.
Upon finally moving out, we found heaps of garbage, and both bathrooms absolutely disgustingly filthy. The girlfriends’ brother used a wheelchair and there were scratches along every wall where his chair made contact. One room was apparently used for housing several cats, litter boxes, and all, which were left behind. Not the cats, just the smells, and messes.
When my husband went over the first time to assess the shape of the house, upon entering he heard a voice call out ‘Hello.’ To which, my husband replied ‘Hello?’ with a question mark at the end of his greeting, having assumed the house was empty.
Out of nowhere, the girlfriend’s brother wheeled down the hallway in his chair crying that they had left him there on purpose because they didn’t want him to live with them any longer. He had no place to go. We called agencies and found him a bed in a shelter. He had to remain in the house for several days until his placement was available, so we brought him meals and anything else he needed in the meantime.
When friends ask if tenants leave things behind, we never thought we’d reply, ‘Yes, a human.'”
Rental Assistance Issues
“I have a tenant who is a single mom. She had a job loss or job reduction due to COVID. She did excellent keeping up on rent for nearly 18 months, but then something changed.
November rent came due. She claimed inability to pay due to COVID. Since she is seeking assistance from the state, I don’t really need to know if her claim is valid or not. Not really my business at THIS stage. However, I got the email link to her case from the State yesterday. It requires me to verify her email address and phone number. I have a phone number but no email address.
I have called twice and have sent three messages to the number I have in the last 12 hours. No response. Hmmm… I’d think that if I was asking for rental assistance so I won’t be evicted during the holidays that I would work with the landlord HARD and FAST to ensure the work is being done to keep me and my son out of the cold during the holiday season.
I’d think. But this isn’t the case. It’s been beyond frustrating. I can’t complete the application on her behalf without those two pieces of info. And I don’t know what to do next.
Do I call my attorney to start eviction on December 7 when the second month of rent is overdue? Do I send someone to bang on her door unmercifully until she answers? I’d do it myself but I am four hours away and I have work. So the saga continues.”
They Thought She Left
“I rented to a woman with two small children. She struggled with the rent payments and finally went on to section eight. I got a notice from the state that she had been arrested and her children taken away. She was in a rehab hospital. I saw an attorney and he suggested that I pay her to move out which I did. She took the money and agreed to move out.
My husband and I waited a few days and drove over to the apartment. She had put a ladder up to the deck on the second floor, broke through the sliding door, and was sleeping there. The police came and told her to leave. I didn’t press charges. We moved all of her belongings into an extra garage we had. So when she called several months later to say she had found a new apartment, we packed up all her belongings and moved them to her new apartment. We both felt sorry for her. She did get her kids back and seemed to have straightened out.
We never saw a dime from the agency that was paying her rent. This was one of the first tenants I had. I had no real estate training. Forty years of experience has taught me a lot.”
No Pets Allowed
“We had renters once, who always kept every blind and curtain closed. One day my daughter knocked on the door to try and sell them Girl Scout cookies, and she heard dogs barking. This is a no pets allowed apartment.
My husband immediately went there, only to discover they had two dogs and three cats, that NEVER left the apartment. NEVER. And one was a GREAT DANE.
They had been using a leaf rake to take the dog poop into a pile in the corner of the living room. We of course had to evict them. When we finally got access to the apartment again, all the professional cleaning services would not go in. They just wouldn’t.
We paid a man 1K to wear a hazmat suit and gas mask, go in and empty the apartment. After that, we had to remove the wallboard as the Great Dane had been peeing halfway up the walls and it had soaked in. The flooring had to be pulled up, even the plywood subfloor, as the pee had soaked into the plywood.
After it was gutted, we rented a machine that you pour, this 100 dollar a gallon liquid in it, seal the apartment, and the machine sends out a vapor to rid the last of the smell.”