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When Landlording Goes Wrong: 5 Tenant Horror Stories

When Landlording Goes Wrong: 5 Tenant Horror Stories

Most of the landlords we know have had some amazing tenants, but also have a few tenant horror stories, check out these landlord stories from Reddit below. We’re feeling very grateful for our good tenants today!

The Tenant Who Complains… About Everything:

 trashed apartment, tenant horror stories

From Captain-Poop on Reddit:

We had one tenant who wouldn’t pay rent. We followed the protocols to evict him but he kept getting the judge to agree to an extension. He ended up staying rent free for 7 months. He also complained about anything and everything. “The neighbors are too loud” “Someone’s car alarm went off across the street”, “one of the neighbors has a cat and I’m allergic”. There is literally nothing I can do to remedy those situations.

When he finally got evicted he left the apartment in shambles. Holes in the walls, curtains stained with what I can only assume was doo doo, and the rug was littered with cigarette burns.

I wouldn’t wish someone like that on my worst enemy


Landlord, Or On-Demand Pest Controller?:

large_house_spider_in_kitchen, tenant horror stories

From ally-saurus on Reddit:

When I was a little kid, my parents bought a cheap house in a neighboring town and fixed it up to rent. Two young women moved in and were great. Just out of college, working entry-level and kind of getting by, no trouble. They called at 6pm on Christmas Eve because there was a spider.

My dad called back when we got home from church service and asked what they wanted him to do. They said they wanted him to kill it. So he went out on Christmas Eve to kill their spider. They seemed to think this was normal, like about on par with what you’d expect your landlord to do if your water pipes burst on Christmas Eve – the least he could do given the situation.

Not a horror story by any stretch, but it makes me laugh. He told me that I was not allowed to move out until I could kill my own spiders.


The Tenant Who Is Never Satisfied:

 tenant horror stories

From Totes_Incognito_Yo on Reddit:

I have a crazy/manipulative tenant. She looks after the place well, but I wonder if the psychological damage is worth it.

Early on in the tenancy she complained about the shower curtain sticking to her. It’s a shower-over-bath setup, and since she pays her rent reliably and keeps the place clean, we thought, “Oh, okay, what the hell” and paid to have a glass screen put in.

We specifically instructed that the glass screen go in front of the shower head (as any sane person would). After it’s installed I get a complaint from her about how she has to turn the shower head 45 degrees to stop the water hitting the ground. I go to inspect and find that the glass is inexplicably at the other end of the bath.

Turns out she’d insisted that the installer ignore our instructions and put it there, for whatever reason I don’t know.

I told her that since she’d countermanded our instructions on something we were paying for that was now a permanent fixture in our property, that she was bloody lucky we didn’t charge her for it and that she was going to have to live with the setup she’d insisted on.

She asked if she could put a cat flap in the back door. We agreed, on the provision that she pay for it herself (see, we’re learning) and that it be a proper cat flap, not some home-dodgy version.

She puts in a rubber-flap cat door, which I personally wouldn’t have gone with but whatever. She’s happy. We let it go.

Little did we know what that was leading towards.

After the first winter in the house, she emails us copies of her electrical bills and says that the house needs better heating because her bills are too high.

Looking at the bills, we agree that the house must need better heating, and we invest in a 7kW Daikin split system.

She tries to tell us where to put it and we tell her that the installers have designated spot X as the most effective, and that we’re not open to alternatives. We instruct the installers to refuse to shift the unit (learning!) to another location unless they deem it to be superior, because she’s not paying for the damn thing, we are.

After the installation, the installer says to us, “Hey, just to let you know, the reason her bills were so high last year is that she pulled the cat flap into the ‘open’ position and left it hooked up that way all winter.”

Yes, she created a deliberate hole between inside and outside, left it fully opened for an entire season, then complained that her heating wasn’t effective, all so she could score an expensive new heater that wasn’t required.

At this point, I started thinking, “Is she really that manipulative? Would anyone deliberately freeze themselves just to make me fork out thousands of dollars for new heating? Is it really that important to her to screw me over for no purpose?”

Surely not.

Surely, surely not.

Next, she asked for permission to get a dog. We said, ‘yes’. She then told us she’d purchased a puppy and it would be ready in 3 months – but oh, hey, that side fence needs replacing or else he’ll get out.

The fence would have needed replacing within 7 or so years anyway, so we figure “Okay, that’s probably not entirely unreasonable” and agree. We’re not keen on the way she’s manipulated things by getting us to agree to a pet and then using that to pressure us, but we take the attitude that if we get the fencing job over with now, it’s done and won’t be a problem later.

Then she says that the neighbors are druggies and so she wants the fence extended down the driveway to stop them hovering near her car. We can see her point (the neighbors definitely are criminals and constantly in trouble with the police).

Fair enough, we think, so we say we’ll look into doing that as well.

The druggies are evicted a few days later (hurrah!) and Social Services put the house up for sale.

We put the fence on hold until the sale goes through.

A nice bloke buys the house and starts renovating it for his family. Great guy. We replaced the fence at our expense and he helped with the labor.

However, we’re not learning fast enough. In fact, we are total idiots, because it seems that now she’s not getting that dog after all. The dog ploy was sufficient to get the fence replaced; no dog necessary now.

She has a shiny new fence.
But she’s not happy.
No, she wants that fence extension put in.

“But”, we point out, “the new guy is a quiet family man and no threat to anyone. There is no need for a fence extension, and so we will not be putting one in. You have a brand new fence; be happy.”

She is not happy.

She sends me a text about a week later saying that she really needs the fence extension put in, because – and I quote: – “the Police are all over and there’s dead bodies in the street“.

As you can imagine, I’m floored by this. Aside from the now long-evicted ferals, the house is in a nice street mostly populated by retirees. It is not, by a long stretch, any kind of ghetto.

I ring the new neighbor to confirm, and he says that no, there’s no Police anywhere and that the street is, as usual, quiet.

He questions whether perhaps my tenant is schizophrenic.

God knows. Maybe.

I think more likely she’s just compulsively manipulative, because she’s got a very clear end game in all of this and she’s showing remarkable dedication to coming up with complete bullshit to achieve it.

But anyway, back to the ‘police in the streets and dead bodies everywhere’.

Turns out, there was an accidental carbon monoxide death of two people on a boat moored at the nearby bay, and police were attending the accident.

No crime. Nothing but a tragedy a couple of blocks away, which was being attended to very respectfully by the authorities.

I tell her that no fence extension is going to be forthcoming.

End. Of. Story.

Or so I think.

Few weeks later, she tells me that she needs the fence extension because the neighbor’s gate keeps swinging into her driveway and hitting her car.

I pop ’round to speak with the neighbor (because god knows I can’t trust a single word that comes out of the tenant’s mouth) and while I’m there he demonstrates that lo, the gate cannot in any way enter her driveway – even in a gale, even if he swung it really hard, it cannot enter here or there; it cannot enter anywhere on her property – because the gate is INSET from the end of the fence and there is literally no way for it to swing past that point.

At this stage, I told her, through gritted teeth, that I have spoken with the neighbor and that her car is safe from his gate.

In the three years she’s been with us, she hasn’t had a rental increase, and she’s always paid substantially under market rate because it was more important to me to get someone who looked after the property than to get the best price for it.

However… the very next time I get some made-up psychotic babble from her that’s designed to manipulate me into yet another expensive and unnecessary upgrade, her rent is going to suddenly go up to market comparable.

If I have to put up with any more of her crap, by god she’s going to start paying for it. And if it means that she moves on and I take my chances with a new person, then so be it.

I’ve already checked with the tenancy tribunal here and I can put the rent up by $50/wk to match the market rate without them so much as blinking. (And that’s just to make it market comparable with the houses that don’t have new fences and expensive heating.)

She’s gone radio silent for a few months now. I hope maybe she’s finally worked out that she is on a ridiculously sweet deal and should quit while she’s massively ahead.


When A “Perfect Tenant” Hits a Downward Spiral:

tenant horror stories

From BradZiel  on Reddit:

My wife and I have had rental houses for a number of years. One of our houses was in located in a very rural area and was rented out to a woman who was a “truly wonderful tenant.” She “checked out” as a perfect renter in every respect – verified employed, banking info, references, single, mid 40’s, no criminal history, etc.

For the first two years we had absolutely zero issues – and our visits to the property revealed absolutely no problems. Yard was perfectly kept. Inside was spotless. Any minor maintenance issues that came up she resolved on her own and just sent us a receipt for reimbursement. There was never so much as a single complaint to us or even a minor issue with her as a tenant. At the end of year two, we signed a lease renewal for another five years thinking we had hit the “long-term renter lottery jackpot,” and honestly, and we just left her alone based on the previous two years of good dealings.

Since the house had been completely redone prior to this tenant, and based on our experience with her, we knew there shouldn’t be any issues with anything…no exploding water heaters, no need for paint, no worn carpet, no leaking roof, nothing at all to worry us…so we left her alone and just collected our rent checks.

Well, about 18 months into the second lease term we got a call from the local police department that we “needed to get to our property…now.” The policeman refused to tell us more. We dropped what we were doing and drove over thinking there might have been an accident or something like that.

Oh, how wrong we were…

When we arrived there were about twenty police cars, about five fire trucks, maybe ten animal control vehicles and at least fifty various people wearing hazmat suits and gas masks going in and out of the house. There was a makeshift shower thing in the street with a line of scroungy dogs getting hosed off. Our tenant was sitting in the back of one of the police cars, naked and handcuffed, and screaming through a gap in the window.

Obviously, and of course, we asked what was going on and we were eventually informed by the officer that called us that our home was being used as both a dog breeding facility and a meth lab.

Yup, in just 18 months our house had been gutted and was being used as both a dog breeding facility and a meth lab. Our “perfect tenant” had developed a whole new set of meth cooking/dog breeding friends and they had stripped the entire interior of the house in which to operate their enterprise.

It seems our “perfect tenant” had developed a crack and meth habit that she didn’t have the ability to pay for…and after being fired from her job for theft and drug abuse had made a deal with the local meth ring to “sublet” our property to them to cover her habit…

Between the absolute filth and destruction from the dogs and the toxic waste cleanup bills from the meth operation, the total damages to the house were over $90,000 resulting in our insurance company declaring the home a total loss and it was eventually bulldozed.

Arrests were made. Prosecutions occurred. People went to jail…including our former “perfect tenant”.


With The Bad Always Comes The Good:

In case you are thinking to yourself right now, omg… I will never own a rental home. Don’t be scared! There are way more good landlord/tenant stories out there then they are bad ones, and in some cases you can even find stories of how good tenants helped landlords fix bad situations. See the story below to understand why tenants can be a blessing, not just a curse.

How The Right Tenants Can Restore Your Faith in Humanity:

tenant horror stories

From rvncto  on Reddit:

This is a two part story. First was the worst tenant. Second was the tenant that was sent from above.

The first tenant who was a “friend”, lived in the house for 5 years. We never visited, because it’s like 50 miles away. TRASHED THE PLACE. Slept on a moldy mattress in the living room with no sheets…. smoke, cigarette butts, and bottles everywhere.

The backyard was just a weedy, garbage mess. There was black mold everywhere because the dude grew weed, and the humidity he kept in the house was just disgusting. There was a hole in the bathroom wall in the shower. I can only imagine the reason. He said we can keep the deposit, gee thanks.

Anyway, a few weekends of elbow grease and the place was at least showable. I wanted to rent the place to a “friend’s friend” for cheap, but thought, well lets open it up to the public. The first people to view it were a Brazilian couple, wife owned a house cleaning business, and husband was a subcontractor. We thought about renting it to some young professionals… but gut feeling went with the older Brazilian immigrant couple that spoke very little English.

Omg that was probably the best decision ever. We got higher rent by 400$/month over if we had handed over to the “friends friend”.

Well the couple got to work immediately… cleaning up the place… wow the wife put her skills to use. The place has never looked better, they painted, they fixed. They cleaned up the whole backyard and planted veggies, corn, roses. Put in an irrigation system. Tore down and rebuilt the storage shed. Installed a backyard patio/deck for bbqing. The place looks amazing… We went over for Christmas and they had a big tree and decorations and lights… oh man, what a difference.

They are never late with rent. They are the best tenants. Gave them free rent for last December cause of all the work they put in at their own expense. I hope they never move out.

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