I've never been a landlord, but I did run a property management company. Part of our job was to clean up and clear out properties after tenants had been evicted or abandoned the place. They say you can tell a lot about a person based on what they leave behind and how they live. Sometimes, though, you'd honestly rather not know.
There was one elderly gentleman who passed away, leaving his entire home full of his stuff. His neighbors all liked him, but his adult daughter told us he was a creep and she wanted nothing to do with him or his stuff. She even let us keep his car when we found his keys. We learned a lot clearing out that home. For the first three hours we thought the walls were painted seafoam green. Then we started taking down art. The walls were actually blue but years of smoking inside of the home had left a thick film of yellow nicotine all over everything.
They needed to be steamed and scraped before they could be painted.
He also had an alarmingly large collection of neon man-thongs which he kept stored with lotions, lubes, body washes, hair gels, and jelly - anything slippery.
It was ... interesting. One Reddit user asked:
And yeah, our racist closet neon thong dude was NOTHING compared to some of these tenants.
After evicting a tenant, I found multiple adult toys in a birdcage in the garage. I'm guessing it was art or something.
Several years ago I rented to a Chinese family that had moved to town and opened a restaurant. One day they told me that the bath tub was clogged. I hired a plumber and went over there. While snaking the tub or whatever it is that a plumber does, it was full of chicken feathers and bones. They had been slaughtering chickens in the bathtub, presumably for the restaurant.
When a guy moved out of my parent's rental property, they found out he had a beach party before leaving. There was a wrecked boat in the backyard and the lawn and carpet were completely covered in sand.
Rented an apartment for a 6 month lease. tenant paid all 6 months in advance as well as a deposit. never made a sound and never really saw him. One day the upstairs neighbor said he heard someone leaving in the middle of the night.
We went expecting the worst. Apartment was immaculate. Looked like no one ever lived there apart from some food in the fridge. Cleaned it out and went to the dumpster out back where we found parts of a hydroponics set up. Plastic sheeting, tubes, empty nutrient jugs. Guess they would rent a spot, grow and leave after a harvest or 2. Genius and not mad really.
Took the PVC pipes bout 8in diameter with 4 inch holes every few inches, put dirt in it, and turned it into a hanging outdoor planter for flowers.
A few weeks ago the maintenance guy at my apartment complex brought me a guinea pig. I answered the door and he was like "hey, I know you have one of these hamster things. It looks like the one you have. Do you want it? I have no idea what to do with it." Apparently, the people next door had a guinea pig and didn't want it anymore so they just let it loose in their apartment and left. He found it in a closet hiding under some clothes they left. I was afraid it might a girl because my boy guinea pig started freaking out, he was hopping around his cage and squeaking really loud. I took the guinea pig to my vet who told me it was a boy. He was just excited to have a friend. They're best friends now.
This was after said tenant was arrested, we had to clean out his place and it was full of garbage, used condoms, more clothes than one man ever needs, needles (used ones were in those nice biohazard containers at least but unused ones were strewn everywhere) and illegal testosterone + weight gain drugs (guy was a bodybuilder)
He had 14 Miley Cyrus shirts, and all 3 walls in his living room were plastered with her posters. It was very weird.
My parents rented out their empty house while they were staying out-of-state to a couple who really needed a place to stay. The couple ended up trashing the place completely and my parents had no experience as landlords and were totally taken advantage of. Their small dog chewed up all the siding up to his height level in the backyard, all the fans were missing blades somehow (we found them in the bathtubs), they dropped a weight on the floor and it went straight through the subfloor (they covered it up with a sticky tile), they had their bedroom set in the living room and used the bedrooms as a living room because the wife said she was diagnosed with Claustrophobia...it was all really weird.
But the strangest thing we found when we helped my parents clean it up to sell it was that they had been using one of the bedrooms as a home gym and we couldn't figure out why there was grease stains all over the walls. It was like a border of grease all at torso height. We later found out from the neighbor (who the renter tried to get to join CrossFit in his home gym) that the husband would do handstand push-ups in that room and the grease stains were actually all sweaty butt prints.
We did AirBnB for a while (>2 years) and had a variety of people come and go. One person did not listen to us when we said you need to hold down the handle when flushing a #2, just because our plumbing was old. A diet consisting largely of milk, butter, and bread resulted in lots of clogs. This person thought plungers were dirty, though. So they would go to the yard, get a large twig, and break up the clog with that then re-flush. The stick would then go into the trash.
When they (finally) left our place, we found a bunch of sticks in their closet for just that reason, waiting to be used.
I worked for a company with rentals many years ago, and they had rented to a South-East Asian family after they had been relocated to the US after the Vietnam war (and subsequent violence there).
One day I went to the property and went downstairs which was ENTIRELY flooded (I'm talking like 5 feet of water) where they were raising hundreds of Carp and other fish... presumably for many years. Complete with other plants, rice, and as a result many other living things in there.
They didn't really know any better... old men and women ripped out of their homeland after 50-60 years, and transplanted to the Midwest. They did what they thought was completely normal.
There was one lady, not a move-out, but was a welfare-check due to a really bad smell in her apartment. She had barricaded the door to the wall opposite it. Six cops couldn't take it down. Finally maintenance had to disassemble the lock from the outside (which means basically prying it open and destroying the siding). Come to find out she's alive and fine (albeit bat-sh!t crazy). She had gotten a frozen turkey and left it in the kitchen sink for three months. The carcass was the source of the smell, and the reason for the welfare check.
Some trashy tenants got evicted and they left behind pretty much everything they had except their TV. I found a cookie tin with old military photographs that I guess were their grandpa's along with two pipes and a lighter.
They also left behind a few hundred VHS tapes that were ruined and several of those huge gas station rolls of toilet paper.
My mother-in-law had rental property on the poor side of town. Most tenants were welfare recipients and though the rent was paid by welfare The money was given to the tenant to pay to the landlord As a result she had lots of people take the last 2 months of rent a skip out to Ontario or Alberta (she was in Newfoundland ). Her garage filled up with really sh!tty furniture after a Couple of years.
Funny footnote my girlfriend needed a toaster so I check with now ex mother in law. And sure enough she has one I can take for gf. It's an antique from the fifties one of those upright ones that can hold 6 slices. Gf is delighted at this beautiful appliance..... until she makes toast with it and instead of toast when the sides snap open it flung 4 fireballs across the counter. Lucky no damage was done.
A long time ago a fellow rented a store from my parents. Was an artist he said and was going to paint landscapes . After 3 months he stopped paying rent and was ducking out and hiding. After a while mom loses patience and changes the locks and confiscated everything in the place. We found he was living in there ,no furniture ,no bathroom ,no water. All that was in there was sheets of masonite (some made into really shitty paintings ) a bunch of painting supplies and paint. There was several months worth of garbage ( think bread bags full of shit) and for some reason a deep freezer full of ice cream and nothing else. man did the place stink.
I was the resident manager at the 'Y' for many years. Because we are right downtown next to the bus station and by all the social service agencies, we end up with people whose first step to structured housing is at the Y. We also have people who just left treatment, prison, etc - I strongly believe in second chances and for the most part, people didn't take advantage of that. However, there were so many incidents that would come and go with the times. Most recently, and the most heartbreaking was the amount of syringes and those orange needle caps I'd find. Everywhere. Others had hundreds of empty oxycontin and klonopin prescription bottles all over their rooms. Some were people I knew had a drug problem, others were people who I had no idea were using (or selling - I never could prove it).
I first arrived in the winter and the week after I started this job there was a woman on the top floor who we all knew would smoke with her window open and look out at the city. One morning I was woken up with frantic knocking and I went running outside to discover she had jumped. Sadly she was in her early 80's, found out she had cancer about a month earlier and decided she didn't want to go through all the treatment. Her life was not easy; she was one of the women on the 'women's-only floor' who moved in when she was in her 40's and never left. By the time she hit her 80's she couldn't get around much, and we had one of those old sliding cage elevators you don't see much anymore. When the elevator would break, she was trapped on the 5th floor and couldn't go anywhere. We would all chip in and bring her groceries, meals, etc. When she jumped it was especially difficult for me because it had been snowing, and there was blood and other fluids in the snow - that image has never left my memory.
We had an 18-year-old diabetic woman who moved in who had a very serious drug (oxycontin) problem. She told me this from day 1, she just finished treatment and wanted to start her life. She was estranged from her parents, but they sent the money for her deposit and first six months' rent. She was a small-town girl and I tried to look in on her to see that she was okay. She befriended this man on the 2nd floor who was in his 50's and very shady. Before I knew it she was spending the night in his room and he became more and more controlling. He came running down the stairs to the lobby one night and said she was very sick and needed an ambulance. We called and later on she died in hospital. Turns out he was withholding her insulin and not letting her leave his apartment...but we couldn't come up with anything to bring charges against him. It was just our hunch. The worst part yet was when her mother showed up and - didn't ask about her daughter's death or anything just 'where is the deposit money?' got it and left.
There were many interesting people who weren't addicts or sick or criminals. I'll never forget how many people I met from all over the world just starting their lives here, and just listening to their stories of where they came from or what they had to do in order to come to Canada; their lives back home and many held very prestigious jobs that unfortunately didn't have the credentials to transfer to a similar job here. Many who were white-collars back in their countries were night shift workers at 7-11 here or sold tickets at Greyhound or something. A LOT of the young girls were strippers who made decent money, but their drug problems ate up most of that money. Many of the young people moving in were gay/lesbian and had no family support, so we were the only sense of 'home' they had. Many evenings I'd be working at the desk and I'd invite them down to eat in the lobby. I think that gave them some sense of home - at least a home where they could be who they were without fear.
For the most part I liked that job, but such a dramatic change in the last 3 years in particular - so many overdoses, so many thefts to get money for dope or pills - that energy that I saw when I first started was gone. The drug problem here has been massive and has claimed a lot of lives. Many of whom were people I didn't even know had a drug problem. And I think that's one of the biggest problem we take on today working in housing. Especially in big cities in the middle of downtown in SRO (single room occupancy) places like the 'Y', you have people who sit in those little rooms and don't talk to anyone and never go anywhere. The loneliness is palpable. It's not hard to see why these addictions to substances that make someone feel happy and euphoric begin.
I have a ton of stories about crazy stuff...there was a 3rd story apartment that was empty, or so I thought. I got a call from the cops asking for permission to the apartment so I go over there to find out 3 drug dealer squatters were living there. I kicked the door open since they had barricaded it. they then jumped to the next buildings roof and made a break for it. but left goodies behind. which included a ps3, 4 games, 3 remotes, a 42in Sony flatscreen tv, a fridge full of food. needless to say I got a free rv and ps3 that day.
I lived in an apartment building and my next door neighbors were a Japanese family that owned a sushi place around the corner. One day I noticed them moving all their stuff out and asked the caretaker what was going on. He said he figured out they were cooking all of the restaurant food in their apartment and then carrying it around the corner.
I've had a tenant renting a room for a month before the other tenants and yours truly discovered that she was a prostitute working from home.
Took me 3 weeks to realize that a new person coming over every day between 1 and 2:30 in the afternoon was suspicious.
We rented apartments with autonomous heating and in one apartment from one time and on the usage of heating in the winter was minimum ( the tennant lives over 5 years in the same apartment).
After he left we found out that he had disabled the regulator in order to have hot water when the rest of the apartments used the heating. So every one paid his comfort.
Guess strange might not be the most accurate word. Wild maybe.
We had a family in one of our houses who we struggled to get rent from regularly before they eventually got evicted. Which landlords know is a goddamn awful process when they want to resist.
Well we end up having to get an entirely new water meter installed when they're finally gone.
Turned out they were never paying their bills and cooking meth. When the power got shut off they stole it. Which isn't unheard of.
But they somehow stole water too and the water company came out and removed the entire water system. We spent a lot of money getting that fixed.
Rented an apartment to a nice family; mom, dad, three young kids. Always paid rent, were always easy to deal with, never reported any problems. Model tenants, right?
A week after they move out, grandfather goes in to check the place out to sign off on security deposit and get the place ready for next tenants.
Everything was gone. Everything. Little stuff like curtains and light bulbs, but also the curtain hooks, rods, and light fixtures. Carpets. Interior doorknobs. Light switches, power outlets, and most of the associated wiring. The dishwasher, oven, kitchen sink, toilet. An attempt had been made on the bathtub, and that ended up being the only fixture in the place not taken.
Court happened. Grandparents were awarded almost the entire value of the apartment in compensation.
My parents bought a place that they were renting to my brother and his friends throughout university and they would sublet it out for the summers. Anyways... some random day when I was in high school there was a knock on the door. Standing there was these two incredibly gorgeous women and their boyfriends. They explained that they were subletting from my parents and handed me an envelope of cash containing the damage deposit and all four months of rent for the four of them... in cash. I assumed they were involved in organized crime somehow. Nope. They were porn stars. 6 months later one of my brother's friends found all the pornos that they had been filming all over my parent's house.
My dad rented out a property a few years back where the tennant just stopped paying rent. Eventually she gets evicted and dad goes in to clear up and dispose of her stuff....
Well turns out she'd be using it as a brothel.
Loads of 'sexy' costumes. Oodles of porn. Just what you'd expect really. And a little black book of clients.
Evicted a hoarder tenant after some serious issues with their cleanliness and late rent issues. Their hygiene was so bad that other people in the complex were actually complaining, and upon walkthrough I found some serious issues that were causing mold and other damage to the unit. One being that the toilet had fully over capacity and was filled with stagnant old feces.
Anyways about a week after cleaning out the unit, fixing the damage, and assisting the old tenant with finding new residence, the owner of the other unit called me Concerned because the smell coming from the unit was still present. I Realized we hadn't cleaned the garage.
When we went over, we opened it up, we found trash bags. Many. Old moldy fast food. Some trash. But lots of sh!t.
Father-in-law and I are landlords; mine are upscale places, but his are more lower rent types. Anyway a murder had been committed in one of his small two room cottages. The coroner had removed the body and the police had finished their investigation so we were cleared to clean up the place.
There was no one you could hire to do this cleanup back then so we did it ourselves. The victim had been stabbed in his bed so the mattress was a huge sponge soaked in blood. The perpetrator had dragged the body off the bed and out to his car. There was this long blood smear across the bedroom floor, through the living room floor and across the porch where the body had been loaded into a car.
The police had gone through the rooms with a huge black marker pen making big circles around anything they thought important; like holes in the couch could maybe be bullet holes, they put a big felt marker circle around the holes. Sofa is now junk, it and the blood-soaked mattress went to the dump. Blood cleaned off the floors.
A suspect had been pulled over, the empty trunk of his car was filled with blood but NO BODY, so he wasn't charged. Never found out if anyone was charged or convicted for that murder. Cottage cleaned up we put it up for rent again.
When I was younger, my mother rented out our basement suite to a woman and her grown son. She was dressed well and had great manners, the whole nine yards. After a while we noticed people coming all hours of the night, but no excessive noise, so my mom had no issues. After two months she didn't pay the third months full rent so my mom decided she'd just add it to the next month as a little leeway. The next months rent was the same, just a little, not the full amount. This is where things started to get weird and go down hill. One night my mom was taking out the garbage and saw the woman and her son making out behind the garage in the alleyway. My mom was shook and I remember her coming into the house as white as a ghost.
The next little while whenever she saw them they were really touchy feely and I remember the woman didn't look like how she did when she first showed up. She was haggard and her eyes looked sunken and her hair was ratty. She became pregnant soon after and I remember my mom and grandma talking in hushed tones about how she's having her son's child. It was scandalous. It took my mom close to a year to kick her out, she had to go through the courts and a lot of the rights are in favour of the tenants so we had a long uphill battle. But we finally got her out where the bailiffs came and she could grab whatever she wanted to take with her.
She left a lot behind and my mom had to clean it up and this place was a mess. Dirty clothes, diapers, and best of all, needles. So many needles all over the place. It looked like a dump site for junkies.
Manage office buildings. One that comes to mind is a tenant that knew for some time they were going bankrupt and handled it in the worst possible way. Rather than tell us they moved out in the middle of the night. So instead of happily finding a new tenant in the several months they paid (building was 100% occupied and new tenants were about 10% above their rent) our legal team went after them. Ended up getting in to personal assets of the owner because we were entitled to several more years rent and unamortized costs under their lease.
They also left furniture electronics and supplies worth about two years rent in their space for us to claim and sell. Yet they took some rented or leased OT and office equipment and had vendors hunting them down.
Had a tenant that was raising birds and would just hose down the bird poop and the water would cause a leak for the neighbour downstairs. And left a bad smell in the building. We asked him to leave so before he left he poured cement down every hole in the apartment (sinks toilets. Bathtub. Gutters). Needless to say repairs to get the apartment ready for the next tenant wasn't easy.
Rented to a family (mom, dad and son) that practiced Santaria. My wife entered the property and found a decapitated sheep hanging in the garage. There was a pentagram drawn on the floor beneath the carcass. She ran home screaming "Call 911 call 911!" Turns out there's no law against sacrificing a sheep in our town.
Alright boys and girls, hold onto your hats cuz I got a story for you.
The tale of Two dead bodies.
- There was this one particular property I was involved with a few years back... it wasn't a particularly bad property, but it wasn't necessarily a great one either... mostly due to minor stupid things... like people stealing random sh!t like two large blue recycling bins went missing one summer... we figured it was most likely local university kids using them for some drunk stunt or whatever... Jackass was popular back then and it was a university neighbourhood.
So on one fine summer weekend the on-site super gets a complaint that there is a horrible stench in the hallway on one of the floors. He heads over to investigate, upon arrival the smell is overpowering... anyone that has experienced decomposing bodies knows the smell all too well. The super proceeds to enter the apartment that the stench seems to be emanating from, and he immediately discovers a guy keeled over, back of his head bludgeoned to smithereens, face down on the couch. Blood is splattered everywhere and it was pretty recent by the looks of it.
So the super calls the cops who come in, cordoned the apartment and do whatever it is they need to do, the coroner removes the body, and everyone is gone after several hours. The body had ID, and it was NOT the renter. This is an important detail... the renter was nowhere to be found. The cops obviously peg the renter as the main suspect, they now need to find him. Low and behold they find him a couple of blocks away at a bar having the time of his life. They pick him up for questioning, he admits to the murder of random dude, and that's that... case closed right? Na uh... now when the police inform him he's being charged with one account of murder supposedly he responded by saying something along the lines of "Ay, just one?! That's great, there's at least one more in there."
... the cops were completely bewildered... there was a second body and somehow NO ONE seemed to have noticed it. Very odd considering they had cordoned the apartment and conducted an investigation or whatever. So confused they quickly called the on-site super to stand by and unlock the apartment when they arrive, they're coming back to take another look around the apartment. Long story short they show up, cops and super enter the unit, stench is still as strong as ever and finally the super makes the discovery. In a closet is one of the missing large blue bins, the second body (female) was inside. Why the cops didn't think to look inside of an obviously out of place giant blue recycle bin that clearly doesn't belong in an apartment and is hidden (barely) in a closet is beyond me.
So what was the story here... simply the killer's girlfriend was cheating on him, he finds out and kills both. Stealing the buildings blue recycle bin and stuffing the girlfriend in it and shoving it in his closet.
Now the part that still irks me to this day... we had two blue recycle bins stolen... we only found one of them... and the killer admitted there was "AT LEAST ONE MORE IN THERE"... as in there is at least one more in the apartment, but also maybe Hinting at the possibility there's another body (in a blue bin?) somewhere. What are the chances we had two bins stolen around the same time by different people... too much of a coincidence if you ask me.
Now for those very perceptive readers out there... how is it that the woman's body was decomposing and rancid, but the dude was freshly bludgeoned? I left out some details that I will now share with you. Apparently the killer discovered his girlfriends infidelity several weeks prior... when he found out, he killed her, stuffed her in the bin and shoved it in his closet. Knowing he was running on borrowed time and not giving any f***s about life from that point forward, he gave his notice that he was vacating (60 days legal notice is the requirement in my area) and planned to bugger off into the sunset at some point. Meanwhile, for a couple of weeks our leasing staff proceeded to show the unit to prospective renters... and one peculiar issue that was discussed was that the unit had a very bad odour when entering it, and the renter always apologized for the smell making excuses that it was his girlfriend and some such nonsense that honestly the leasing staff weren't paid enough to care. They had several apartments to rent, they eventually focused on others and figured they'd let maintenance sort out the smell issue when the resident moves out.
So initially for weeks people had been entering the apartment smelling the rancid smell of a decomposing dead body that had been shoved hidden away in the closet. Oh my god yuck...
As for the dude who got killed, after not being able to contact the girl, he must have been concerned and come looking for her... which is when the killer exacted revenge to the back of his skull.
I got plenty more great stories, but this one by far stands out as the most insane/interesting/funny/cringy story I have from my days in operation.
I had a tenant I had to evict. Found that he had taken out the electric hot water heater & installed his own (not approved for houses) gas hot water on demand. He replaced the electric dryer and the electric stove with gas units all by himself without a certified professional. All in 4 months. Cost me $4000 to fix the damage
My grandma was renting out the bottom half of our duplex for a long while. We ended up evicting the tenants for not paying rent. Well several days after they left we heard strange noises coming from down stairs. We thought they had broken in the house.
Finally after looking around we found an older black cat. They gave their cat a bowl of water and some dry food and left the poor thing there for us to find. They had stashed the water and food in the back of the closet and we didn't see it when we changed the locks. Cat lived with us for a year or so until it got out the house and became an outdoor cat.
My Mom rented our old house to a nice young couple with a newborn. A year later the wife called to say she was moving out because the husband was shot and killed in a bank robbery in Florida. Apparently he travelled around the country robbing banks.
I had a restaurant rent my storefront for their dining room. They did a quick renovation of the space to repaint and remove all the shelves and counters from a small pharmacy that was there before. Instead of hiring a dumpster they piled all the construction debris in my basement.
I was doing a property investigation at an apartment complex for new purchase. The second floor tenant tore out the entire kitchen and lined the floor with plastic and filled it with water, 18 inches deep for an orgy. It was nsane. We noped out on that property after that.
I've had family that worked in property management, and the one story that sticks with me, was that one tenant managed to get a jar of peanut butter into the toilet pipe.
We're not sure how this happened, because we're pretty sure a couple laws of physics were broken doing it. It was a plumber hired to fix the toilet and... he was the one that found it.
Tenants skipped town owing one month's rent. Left a ton of stuff behind, including: a bottle of HIV meds, several perfectly good mid range watches, lots of special edition gaming merch, and the entire back wall of the garage was lined with heavy duty trash bags that were filled with used kitty litter.
My parents had rented out an apartment to an Indian couple who had a 5 year-old boy. When it came time for them to leave my parents went to do the routine check and found all the corners of the walls were chewed roughly three feet up from the ground.
Turns out their son would gnaw on the walls because he had some sort of calcium deficiency. The parents tried to argue that it wasn't their fault and that they wouldn't pay. Eventually my parents got them to pay for the damages and then sold the apartment.
My grandparents rent out rooms in their house. They rented one out to this guy who kept all of his dirty dishes in a suitcase in the closet with empty BBQ containers from fast food spots. My grandparents provided all the dishes and had a dishwasher they just asked that the tenants rinse and they would load them. It was odd.
Dudes mom in the unfinished basement that wasn't fit for human habitation. It was sealed off, and had to be accessed from outside. Basically just the furnace room. She was in a hospital bed and buckets laying around.
I got a great deal on a house because of one of these.
My former landlord showed up to an empty house needing a complete renovation. Broken windows, blood. Walls had been knocked down. Electricity rewired to bypass the meter. Remnants of a grow-house.
And a nice friendly note from the DEA demanding that he proved he was not involved.
The funny part to me was that he had a security screen door on the front of the house that apparently was too hard for the DEA to bust through. So they broke down three doors on the side of the house.
The next door neighbor was a sheriff and had no idea until the raid.