Being a landlord is not an easy job. These landlords share the nastiest thing tenants left behind when they moved out. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“They Did All Of ‘That’ In Three Months”
“The tenants left a packing box, the size a large washer or dryer might come in, full of Bud Light cans and bottles, along with nearly every surface in the place (window sills, fireplace mantel, kitchen counters, tables, etc.) covered with more cans and bottles.
They left a stove with what amounted to an entire three-pound coffee can full of bacon grease and other fats melted into all its drip-pans, crevices, and corners, all the way down to the floor. How they didn’t burn the place down I can’t imagine. I had to basically disassemble the stove to clean it.
They left three urine-soaked mattresses on the carpeted floor, with mold growing underneath them where the urine had soaked into the floor. The rest of the fully carpeted apartment also had to be stripped of all its carpeting (less than a year old at that point) and padding because there was so much grease, urine, pet (and possibly baby) feces, and other dirt ground into it; it could not be cleaned.
They left grease, baked-on food, and melted plastic and scraps of used diapers all over the floor and hearth of the fireplace where they’d apparently been burning their trash.
The refrigerator and freezer had been filled with rotten food for so long that no amount of cleaning would get the smell out — I tried. It had to be thrown out.
The bathrooms don’t bear speaking about.
And they did all of that in three months and one week. They moved in, paying first and last month’s rent and small deposit (I think it was around 300 bucks), and never paid another dime. I was fortunate in being able to get them out without going through an eviction, but it took me six weekends of driving about three hours every Friday night after finishing work for the week, working on cleaning all weekend, and driving back very early Monday morning to get to my office by eight am.
The first two or three weekends, the smell was horrific; I slept in my car rather than in the apartment. After I got the junk furniture, mattresses, and carpets out I was able to sleep on the floor of the apartment, but it still didn’t smell OK until I’d washed and repainted all the walls and ceilings and sealed the bare floor before re-carpeting.
And people persist in thinking that landlords make ‘passive’ income.”
Sir, What About Your Wife Stuff?
“I once worked for the Housing Authority managing several buildings one of which was a family property. One of the residents was a family of four. During their time at the apartments, the wife became sick and passed away. The husband and sons carried on living there for about two years before falling on hard times which resulted in nonpayment of rent and eviction. When the husband moved out, he took with him two suitcases. That was all.
Upon move-out inspection, I found he left everything. Furniture, clothing, his sons’ belongings, but most disturbing was he left all of his deceased wife’s things. Her glasses, jewelry, dentures, notes between the two, and most disturbing were her ashes. He just walked away. I don’t know about disgusting but certainly disturbing.”
“The Walls Were Yellow”
“When we bought our first building, a duplex, we had one tenant and we moved into the other unit. We couldn’t inspect the other (occupied) unit until we had made (and the seller accepted) an offer. We had a great agent and she had a strong suspicion that the tenants had or were creating all sorts of issues. There were just a few months left on their lease and our agent told us that we just needed to assume the worst and make an offer based on those assumed ‘worst case’ conditions (which we did.)
After the offer was accepted, we did an inspection of the unit. Everyone in the family smoked (except the cat), and this included the two teenagers who were ‘sneaking’ smokes and hiding the butts in a hole they made into the attic. The unit really reeked of smoke and this was not just from the smoking inside, but also the fact that they kept the blinds/curtains as well as the windows closed.
It was REALLY bad. As bad as the worst bar you’ve ever been into ‘bad’.
The short version is that not very long after we moved in, the tenants in the other unit moved out. The day they moved out, we did a walkthrough. The blinds, doors, and windows were all opened, and still, the smell was hardly diminished. With sunlight streaming in, we could see the walls were yellow. Let that sink in.
We had NO idea what we had ahead of us.
That week we stripped the carpet and foolishly had tried painting the walls. Before the paint dried, the nicotine had already leached through. It looked like brown splotches coming through the wall and streaks running down sort of like some crazy horror film where the walls were bleeding.
My father, who had owned a number of rental houses and apartments over the years suggested that washing the walls with TSP (Tri-sodium Phosphate) was all that was needed and kindly brought some over for us.
So we got to work with buckets and scrub brushes. And the water ran brown (well, really yellow-brown) down the walls.
So we’d mop up the water and scrub the walls again. And the water ran brown again. We repeated this cycle a few more times before we gave up realizing that there was apparently an endless reservoir of nicotine and that we needed another solution.
Eventually, we had to simply seal up the walls of the entire unit (1700 square feet) since there was no other solution to stopping the nicotine from leaching out and staining the paint.
It was pretty much the most disgusting thing ever and I’ve had to deal with a toilet that had been plugged and filled with poop. The walls were more disgusting than that.”
“I had a tenant once that moved his crazy girlfriend in. About a month after she moved in, they got into a fight where the cops were called. She even threatened the police with a knife but they didn’t arrest her. Before anyone asks I got that from the police report. He moved out so I had to evict her. She didn’t have an income to pay rent. When I served her the eviction notice, the threats began.
Once the judge gave her the date to be out, she got worse. She had a court date (for assault and battery) four days before she had to be out and she didn’t go. The police showed up with a warrant as she and the new boyfriend were in the middle of a physical altercation. Perfect timing. The temperature outside that day was about -20 degrees Fahrenheit; it was cold. They took him out rather quickly bleeding from his face. She ripped his facial piercings out. It took them another 45 minutes to get her into handcuffs and they dug her out wearing a thong and very tiny t-shirt. No shoes or pants. She was released the next day.
She had to be out by five pm on Sunday so I monitored the house and went in at exactly five pm. It was still well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. She left all the windows and doors open and all faucets turned on. There was blood all over the carpet from the altercation. She left used tampons all over. She scooped Spaghetti-Os into wall openings. There were pickles smashed into the floor. There was a lot of damage and she took a bread drawer out of the kitchen cabinets. It was a mess! I won damages in court but her boyfriend left the country and never paid. She ended up in and out of court for battery and domestic abuse for several years now never spending more than 30 days in jail. One charge was for throwing bodily fluids on healthcare workers. She is a nasty person.”
He Was A Family Practice Doctor
“When I was a Senior Executive Assistant to the President of a hospital, I managed and was in charge of leasing apartments/houses owned by the hospital.
Another of my duties was in the recruitment of new medical staff, primarily physicians.
Often a physician would move to town before his family as the spouse would be packing up the home while the kids finished out a term or year in school and selling the home, etc. Also, they would rent while looking for or building their new home.
Upon a tenant vacating a unit, I always completed the departure inspection on my own before bringing hospital cleaning or maintenance staff in to clean, paint or do repairs.
One such physician rented an apartment for almost a year. When he left the apartment it was an absolute filthy sty. I was appalled. Everywhere I looked, I just could not believe the unhygienic stinking mess. And it did stink. Then I opened a closet door. The entire floor was covered with ‘Playboy’ magazines and at ‘least’ a thousand used Trojans. I was afraid to turn around and walk back out of the room as I knew what the carpet in that room was covered in.
I almost gagged. The stench alone could have knocked over a horse.
And this man was a family practice physician.
This was a potential PR nightmare. How was I to bring hospital staff in and keep a lid on it? Well, I did contain the event and was able to get a very trustworthy staff member who would and did keep the situation under wraps. We couldn’t even risk disposing of the ‘trash’ on campus. Just having to ask someone to handle that mess was truly one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever had to do.
I did need to bring the situation to the attention of the President. He immediately called in the Executive Vice President. Needless to say, that doctor was covertly watched with extreme care. He only lasted a year or so with the hospital before he moved on, of his own accord.”
“Who Doesn’t Know How To Put Garbage In A Can And Set It Out On Garbage Day?”
“I had rented a suite to a young mother and her baby because the girl’s mother signed for her and vouched for the rent. They seemed to be normal people and the mother’s bank checked out.
After a few weeks, I noticed a large number of garbage bags standing outside the back door of the suite. They were full of used pampers. There were mice tearing into them. I called the girl to tell her she needed to deal with this and all her garbage in the way that was explained to her. Who does not know how to put the garbage in the can and set it out on garbage day?
She said she would.
Things went on for the next two months and all seemed fine. The next thing I know, her mother was complaining about the mice in the suite. We had never had a mouse problem. I asked to come in and check on the situation. The whole house was full of garbage bags with used pampers and other household garbage.
I told them I would get a truck to come and pick this stuff up but they would need to pay for it.
The next day I noticed the front door wide open and went to check. They had moved out and left all that garbage behind. None of the phone numbers I had for the mother were working numbers.
I got the truck and paid for it out of the deposit they made before moving in. I also now had to hire a pest control company to deal with the mice. By this time, the deposit money was gone. I was glad the women left.
Two weeks later the mom called me to ask for the deposit back! I told her a few things.”
“It Wasn’t Us, Must’ve Been The Last Tenants”
“Many years ago now, it was my first ever rental house. The house had been rented to two other families previously over the two years since I bought it and there was never once a problem. However, within a week of arriving these new people, they blocked the toilet.
In those days, my father and I did a lot together, he was retired and liked to potter about. So he drove over to my home and we went to this house about 10 kilometers away. We saw the toilet was on the ground floor and the drain/sewer cover outside the back door. We lifted the drain cover and it was full of human waste, small plastic toy soldiers, cardboard, and a kitchen towel. The kitchen towel is of course designed to NOT break down when wet, unlike toilet tissue.
So anyway we dug it out, flushed it out (You’re not a real man if you do not own your own drain rod), and returned it to working order.
I then told the guy, ‘Please no more kitchen towels, no more toy soldiers or cardboard. OK?’
His reply was, ‘Wasn’t us, must have been the last tenants!’
I just left it and went, hoping he got the message.
A week later? Same deal. The same thing happened and I got the same, ‘Wasn’t us’ reply.
Two weeks passed and nothing came from the place. It was excellent. Then the next day, we got a call to go back there. We spoke too soon. All the same deal again.
I was now getting somewhat fed up with this.
The guy said, ‘Oh, by the way, we are going on vacation for a week.’
I said, ‘Cool! Do you mind if we come into the house and sort out the toilet piping?’
‘That’s fine,’ he said.
So while they went on vacation, we saw how the four-inch sewer pipe went on a slightly crazy pathway to the back door. So we dug a new trench across the floor and fitted a whole new pipe, which was one straight run, toilet to sewer/drain manhole. New pipe, brand new shiny pipe.
Eight days later, just as I was about to take my wife out to dinner for our anniversary, the phone rang. It was the tenants.
He said, ‘The toilet is blocked again.’
Now my wife is a doctor and a real trooper. She said, ‘Come on. Let’s go unblock it.’
So we changed out of our fancy clothes and headed out.
The man was at the back door, while we lifted the lid. He said, ‘I can’t stand that smell, I’ll be sick.’ Then he shut the back door. So, I knocked on the door and told him he needed to see this irrespective of his tender tummy.
Once again we were faced with a kitchen towel, various toys, and so forth.
He said, ‘It wasn’t us must have been—’
At which point I exploded.
I asked him, ‘How freakin’ stupid are you?! We have replaced the entire sewer line you imbecile, it MUST be yours!’
We left soon after. The next day, I sent him a written eviction notice due to his actions. I mentioned if the toilet was blocked before he left, I would employ a professional company and he would get the bill.
He and his family left that very same night, without paying for the month’s rent. However, as he was on state benefits the local council paid me his rent. So all good, right?
No. Far from it.
It turns out Mr. Toilet Blocker had been claiming all his benefits whilst working as a cab driver for months. He was caught by the Benefits agency. I knew this because I got a letter from the council saying,
‘We paid you the rent for Mr. X, so you owe us 1800 euros. You have a month to pay up or we take you to court.’
So I had to pay and unblock the toilet one last time.
I tried again some years later, selling one business and then buying several rental houses, this time using all professional services. It was an awful experience, didn’t make a cent. Seriously, it was a phenomenal tax loss, which I wrote off against some of my other enterprises which did actually make a profit.
Moral of the story? Do NOT be a landlord. It really, really sucks big time!”
“I was the cleanup and pest control man that got called in to take care of this terrible job. A cat lady had 40 or 50 cats in her little apartment.
The landlord, a nice lady down in West Palm Beach Florida, had to call social services to get the woman help and to rescue the woman and the animals.
The woman was taken to mental health care. I was put in charge of cleaning out the terrible mess of cat feces literally three feet high inside the apartment complex and fleas that were so bad you could not enter the building without a complete white Tyvek suit, gloves, and boots.
It took me most of the day to shovel the feces into a wheelbarrow and bring them to the dumpster.
It took me most of the next day to spray the building to get rid of the fleas.
I got a chance to visit the old woman in the mental health care center and I asked her, ‘Why on Earth did you let the cat poop pile up three feet deep?’
She said, ‘I didn’t want to take it to the dumpster because they would have found out that I had cats in the house and take them away from me.’
I asked the woman, ‘Why didn’t you just throw the feces in the toilet and flush it?’
She said, ‘You know I never thought about that.’
Well, I wished her a good recovery and went back to work.
This is what happens to you when you have a million fleas biting you and breathing the ammonia from 45 or 50 cats peeing and pooping in your apartment.”
They Got A Notice From The City, That’s How Bad It Was
“We had a couple that rented a property we own. They paid rent every month, no issues. The house was nothing fancy, a tiny little place. Turns out they were hoarders.
The neighbor complained so they cleaned it up. Then my hubby had to work on the sink. It was disgusting. The place was roach-infested. Rotted food was all over the counters. After they cleaned up the mess, we roach bombed the place.
Finally, we got a notice from the city. Now (within months of cleaning) the debris was overflowing, all around the property. We had to evict them. My poor husband had to do the cleanup, well, we could have hired someone, but it is so hard to find people to work these days. Their belongings were pulled out and placed in heaps in the alley stretched for 30 feet. They left everything there. He had to gut the place.
He roach bombed it again, but when he went to pull the cap off the toilet pipe (he had to replace the toilet) roaches came pouring out of it. it was horrid. Like from an episode of hoarders.
It’s all renovated now, and all is good.”
“We Had To Drain It Every Week”
“My tenant poured mechanics’ grease and gunk down the bathtub drain, which caused it to back up into the bathtubs on both the first floor and second floor.
We rented out our first and second-floor apartments to other tenants, while this tenant lived on the third floor of the building.
We had to call in a plumber to snake both tubs so that the drain would drain out the bathtub water. We had to drain it every week, because of the gunk grease buildup. It was an expensive undertaking because it was a weekly thing.
This tenant was evicted for not paying her rent. Each month she kept giving us an excuse, ‘My grandfather has the rent.’ ‘My grandfather isn’t in town.’ Or, ‘I was in the hospital’. It was always something or other.
My realtor had screened her application, and she did have a valid job. She just didn’t want to pay. The day the sheriff came out to physically remove her from the building, she was loading up her car with her belongings. Once she was gone, we had to scrub the apartment, repaint all the walls, and put in a new bathroom floor. The toilet seat broke, and she never told us. She wouldn’t let us in the apartment while she occupied it. It was quite a job to get it up and ready to re-rent.”
“Neighbors Could Smell That Disgusting Odor For Weeks”
“My former landlord had multiple flats. In one of his flats in the same building I used to live in, there used to be a family of three or four people, and it was a rumor that they were running an unauthorized kitchen business from their home. Soon, the rumors turned out to be true, and since it was undertaken without permission, they had to be evicted. However, they left without notice, almost as if they had already found another place; mostly because of how terrible the fallout was with the landlord.
A couple of weeks later, when the landlord found out they weren’t home, he had to get people to break into that apartment. They found out they had left everything behind, but more horrible was the way they had left all the food right there. Since it was peak summertime with temperatures soaring high, the food had rotten and was spread all over the kitchen and the living room. The smell of rotten fish, meat, and vegetables were so bad, that he had to bring in professional cleaners to fumigate and clean the entire apartment, at a high cost.
It was just so terrible, that neighbors swore they could smell that disgusting odor for weeks.”