Oh man, Subway Prophet, I’m so sorry you have to deal with that! How maddening (and disgusting)!
I’ve been a renter for 12 years (I’m about to move into my 5th rental), and even though all I do is treat where I live as though it’s my home every single apartment complex/property manager has commented on how well I take care of the property and how good a tenant I am (responsive, honest, etc.). The owner of the house I’m moving out of had the place assessed last year, and even the guy who did the assessment commented on the fact that the house was in good shape. He said he’s seen some horrible rentals. There has been a lockbox on the front door for a couple of weeks, and when I asked my realtor to come give me some tips on how I can help make the place show better she said, “Well, no one can have any complaints about the condition of the house!” I have gotten back 100% of every security deposit I’ve ever had, even during the years when I had a pet.
Yet, despite this spotless rental history, potential landlords/property managers are verrrrry wary when interviewing potential tenants. Not that I blame them, because even though I’m amazed at how some people can live and treat the property of others I know that the horror stories out there are true, but it can be tiring to be constantly on the defensive while looking for a new place to live. The good thing, though, is that having my rental history (and being a single, female, nonsmoker without a pet) gives me an edge over some other applicants.
I wish there were some way to make sure that bad landlords/property managers wind up with bad tenants, and good landlords/property managers wind up with good tenants.