You're not really a landlord until...

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. :slight_smile:

I don’t understand it either. I guess as things get slowly worse, they get used to it.

I spent a week of vacation cleaning my dads house this summer. I had to rent a 20 yard roll off dumpster.

Ended up using a rake inside his house to gather up the trash.

Because they are so easy to use, I also bought him a Dyson vacuum.

I work in rental property management, and nothing is worse than the revenge of a tenant who has been evicted for non-payment of rent. NOTHING! I’ve seen all the above and more. Vengence is hell. I’ve seen apartments destroyed by people who then try to get their security deposit back.

Photograph everything!!

Then sue.

Your management company is grossly negligent!

No reason al all for you to stand losses in value by damages.

I heard a guy on the radio recently talking about his experiences as a landlord. One of his tenants had cut the power cord off the vacuum cleaner and was using it as a washing line.

Holy crap, I’m so sorry you had to deal with people like that.

We have had some pretty awful tenants, and some really good ones. Most people fall in the middle. But yes, you do get absolute, complete, non-paying pigsty-living losers.

Your property management company dropped the ball on this one. Non-payment of rent is a huge waving blinking flashing red flag.

Reading your story, and again, I’m sorry it happened to you, is a good reminder of why those rental property inspections are so important to schedule and follow through on completing. Our office is so damned busy that it’s really easy to keep putting aside the chore of contacting tenants and scheduling inspections. It’s really important to get a property manager inside the rental unit to see how the tenants are keeping the place.

We have had great tenants, people who took better care of the property than the owners did. People who improved the property during their tenancy. People who paid in full, on time, and who promptly advised if any repairs/maintenance were needed. Tenants that we were genuinely sorry to see go when it was time for them to move on. People who it has been a pleasure to give a reference for. Tenants that I have urged to have any future landlords contact us so I could give that reference!

Then you have the nightmares… They do slip in, even for my company, a professional property managment company. The only thing you can do is keep an eagle eye on them, inspect, inspect and inspect some more, and evict as soon as you can (under the Residential Tenancy Act here) when the transgressions warrent that eviction. Here, you can evict for consistent late/incomplete rent.

When I and then my husband and I were renting, we always got 100% of our security deposit back, and left the place clean. That’s last not-fun part of moving: leaving all the cleaning supplies, garbage bags (and a radio! Leave a radio so you have something to listen to in the empty apartment as you clean!) in the vacated suite, and going back to clean it. But we did it, and did it well. Got our security deposit, positive reference, and the good feeling that comes with doing the right thing.

How can people live like your tenants? I don’t know. If we slack off on the housekeeping, it gets to us, because we don’t like living in squalor, even Squalor Lite. It feels so good to have a clean, ordered and pleasant home! Even if it’s a rental apartment, it’s been my home and I want to be happy and welcomed in it.

Your property management company should have got thorough tenant references for these people. How did they take care of their last place? Was rent paid on time and in full? Why are they vacating?

Oh, and to be on topic:

You’re not a landlord until you call “tenant landlord references” and realise that you’re not speaking to Ms. Potential Tenant’s current or previous landlord, but a friend of hers who is pretending to be a reference, so we will rent to Ms. Potential. Because they don’t want us to talk to the actual current/previous landlord…

My dog’s got no nose

How does he smell ?


Ah, but do you replace the blinds the parrots were asked to chew up? :smiley:

One of our tenants favorite tricks is to run extension cords from the outside lighting into their apartments, so we have to pay for it. We’ve called the Fire Dept. on them and then had them evicted and prosecuted for stealing.

And of course, if they get evicted and leave their stuff behind and then come back to get it, suddenly people living on welfare had 50 inch big screen TVS that were stolen…

The fake landlord reference problem is so bad we verify the owner of the prospective tenant’s current address and either call them at home or go see them.

Dude…I am horrified. It’s bad enough when people live like this in their own homes but to live like this and simultaneously trash someone else’s property?! Holy crap!

The house I bought last year was a rental for about 20 years. Even though it was cleaned up enough to be presentable when I bought it, there’s a lot of evidence of abuse that probably wouldn’t have come from a family that owned the house. Only crap that would happen with a neglegent landlord and a dozen families of babboon renters.

Improperly-wired phone jacks in odd places. Neglected yard with a lot of fruit trees. The strangest trash all over the yard (socks, toys, candy wrappers, buried tools, wine bottles in the drainpipe). Oodles of permanent marker drawings on the basement floor. Names scratched into the floor beams in the basement. Slits cut in the window screen. Some sort of bullet holes in the siding. Rusty old weight plates in the basement with bits of wire tied to them. Random holes drilled in the middle of the floor for wires.

My neighbor tells me of one “pedophile” renter who threw trash right out the window. Even threw a TV out the window once.

Amazes me what people will do to a rental place. Also amazes me that the landlord (the guy I bought it from) wouldn’t have been, you know, better at giving a shit about what these assholes did to the property. Seems like a vicious cycle - renters trash the house, and the only people who will rent a previously-trashed house are the sort of people who will trash it again. In the end the house stays in a state of disrepair and the landlord washes his hands of it.

By selling it to me, natch :wink:

(not accusing the OP of anything. I have full faith that Subway Prophet will make the home as pretty as a peach. I am wishing my seller had been as diligent!)

I own a house that is divided into two apartments. I live upstairs, and a tenant lives downstairs. I’ve had very good and very bad, and am currently on a very good tenant. He used to be my next door neighbor. Lived in that house for forty years, raised the family. Now the kids are grown and gone, and he’s a widower, and the house was a big one. So he sold it and went looking for a decent apartment. Turns out my downstairs came empty( an eviction), and it fit his budget. So I got someone I knew wouldn’t be having wild parties, and was quiet and reliable. I hate the thought of him having to leave someday.

When I advertise my place I always do a credit/legal background check. I figure the $20 is worth it. Since I started using the company I’ve had only one bad tenant(the previous tenant.)

Sorry , Wrong thread . :smack:

A friend and her husband bought a house that had been a rental, to fix up and sell. She said it looked like it had been abandoned for years, but the owner said the last tenants had been gone for a month.

Rotted carpet, paneling and wallpaper peeling off the walls, unrepaired leaks in the roof and from the second floor bathroom, ceiling tiles missing, windows painted shut, no A/C, crumbling concrete walls in the basement, leaks everywhere.

The renters had been in the house for several years, and the owner had never fixed anything. When the plumbing went bad, he brought the renters a garden hose and hooked it up to the outside faucet, told the renters to use it to flush the toilets.

From the outside, the house looked fine.

You have to feel bad for the renters, a working family with kids (nice people) who couldn’t afford better, and didn’t have the money to fix things themselves. And why fix someone else’s property?

When my friend showed me the house, I almost cried, thinking how it must have been to go “home” to that place every day.

I don’t get people who live in filth they create, and I don’t get property owners who take advantage. The guy who owned this house own four others, all in the same kind of shape. He needs to be reported, but if the houses are condemned, where will the renters go? There’s a dearth of rentals around here.

I’ve never worked directly with a homeowner, but all of the apartments and townhouses I’ve rented required an application fee (separate from the security deposit) of $20-50 – specifically for things like running a credit check. I’m at the point now where I think I’d be suspicious of anyone who didn’t run a check on me. :slight_smile:

Unbelievable. I’m with Bosda on this: you need to photograph all the damage in the house. The company should have seen this if it was monitoring the property as promised.

There was a young family that lived under similar conditions in my last apartment complex. A mother, a father and two girls (approximately 9 and 2 years old). They also had two dogs and a cat. I don’t know if they were evicted or left on their own, but the landlord frequently posted notices on their front door regarding nonpayment of rent.

I didn’t realize the conditions that this family was living in until I came home from work one day and saw a clean-up team in hazmat suits working on the apartment. The stench was ungodly. My front door was about 15 feet across the open, outdoor hallway, and the fumes were making my eyes burn. A maintenance man told me that almost every square inch of the carpet had been used as a toilet at some point. The walls were smeared with feces, and the kitchen appliances were unusable due to the filth. The apartment managers ended up gutting the entire unit and rebuilding it.

Another neighbor told me a few months later that the parents were drug dealers. I still think about those two little girls from time to time and wonder if they’re OK.

In northwest Georgia, the fun is in trying to guess which of your tenants might be manufacturing meth.

I accidentally opened a letter that came to my house, from my landlord to the former tenant(s). Seems he’s suing him/them for $60,000 for damages. After that, I decided you couldn’t pay me enough to manage rental properties, and it’s not worth the hassle to own one.

WTF? was my initial thought, until my landlord told me what these people did to this place. Rotten floors, cigarette burns on the walls, mold, filth, nasty carpets, torn-up lawn, etc. It’s beautiful now, but only because landlord had it remodeled (and landscaped, too!) Still, how in the world do you destroy a house to the tune of $60K?

We’re prissy tenants, because this is our dream house and we’re going to buy it next year. My husband is a handyman, so he fixes anything around here that needs fixin’, and we make improvements to the house and property ourselves, at our expense. But damn, I can’t blame our landlord for wanting to unload the place, after the headaches he’s had with the previous tenant(s).

I’ve read one real estate type who says that rental management companies are, in general, so corrupt and/or incompetent that it’s a waste of time and money to even hire them in the first place. I dunno if that’s true or not, but stories like the OP’s certainly don’t fill me with confidence.

A few years ago on this board, probably in the IMHO forum, there was a thread titled something like, “What’s the biggest mess you ever had to clean up?” and the most amazing stories were all told by landlords who had to clean up after tenants who had moved out.

I’ll do a search for it; it should be required reading for anybody wanting to rent out property.

My grandparents made their living as landlords. When I turned 18, my grandfather offered to buy me a rental house to get me started in the family business. Having seen what they went through over the years, I declined the offer.