The Worst Landlords In The World

If you thought your landlord was bad, check out this story. This San Francisco couple is facing several felony counts after conducting a campaign of terror against its tenants in an effort to get them to to leave the building. The crazy things they did include:

  • Cutting a giant hole in one renter’s floor
  • Breaking into a tenant’s apartment and pouring ammonia on their clothes, bedding, and electronics
  • Cutting the support beams to a renter’s apartment
  • Illegally entering a renter’s apartment and dismantling their furniture
  • Turning off the water,power, and electricity to tenant’s apartments

Suffice to say, landlords aren’t allowed to do those sort of things just to get you to skedaddle. What’s the worst landlord you ever had and how did you deal with them?

S.F. landlords charged with tenant terror [SF Gate] (Thanks to Paul!)

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. missdona says:

    My ex-landlord did a number of awful things:

    He was supposed to fix our droopy ceiling while we were on our honeymoon. While he (kinda) did, he also sawed through our back door lock to gain entry and charged his jeep with our electricity for days on end. He neglected to fix a toilet that functioned but “ran” for 3 months. Then he got a shocker of a water bill. Heh.

    We escrowed-escrowed-escrowed until we were ready to move and then we settled nearly a year later.

  2. rob_p says:

    Worst thing a landlord did was shoot fireworks at my family from the neighboring lot.(which they also owned)

  3. missdona says:

    And we called the housing inspector and had them cited for every possible infraction. They did not have a C/O and they did not register us as tenants and that screwed them even more.

    Now, we wait the arrival of our deposit and anticipate the small claims court case it’s going to take to get it back.

  4. fhic says:

    When I lived in NJ, one of my ex-landlords was caught red-handed burglarizing a tenant’s apartment. He was arrested but then released; the prosecutor wouldn’t prosecute him for burglary because he didn’t have any of the tenant’s stuff by the time the cops got there. But two days after he got out of jail, he vanished and hasn’t been seen since.

  5. theblackdog says:

    When I was getting ready to move out, my ex-landlord sent us a “final statement” that had no charges on it, with a note asking us to call their “community relations department” to get the final bill if we were moving.

    I called, and called, and called, and they never answered the phone or responded to the voicemails I left. On the 7th day of the month, I received a summons that they were taking me to court to evict me. I showed up in their office and proceeded to rip them a new one for it, and in the end, they had to eat all of the late fees and lawyers fees and I paid the amount of rent I was supposed to for that month.

    On top of that, they took over 3 weeks to fix my back door. I attempted to invoke their “maintenance guarantee” (If we don’t fix or update you on it after 24 hours, each day we don’t do it you don’t pay rent) and they ignored it, I called their corporate office and they ignored it as well.

    The worst was when the central A/C broke down in the middle of summer, the apartment was 85-90F for nearly 5 days before their tech showed up to fix it. If I had known more about tenants rights I would have had the health dept on come in to measure the temperature.

    Never again will I rent from AIMCO

  6. lttlelindsey says:

    I had a landlord leave a hand written note on my door telling me I was evicted and must leave in two weeks. I was only 19 and I really didn’t know how illegal this was and so on the last day of the “two weeks” I showed up with some friends and a truck to move out. When I arrived I noticed the door had a dead bold on it. I called the landlord and they said they were glad I was there they would have the police come by. They showed up minutes before the police and would not let me into the apartment until the cops got there. You must first know that I was never late on my rent and that I am a neat freak, so the pace was in great shape. The landlord asked the police to enter the property first without me. They went in (which is completely illegal. It amazes me how out of line the cops were. When they returned to the door where I was waiting the cops presented me with a small amount of low grade, dried up marijuana seeds and stems they had found in my roomates closet. The landlords had found the marijuana when they were there without me knowing packing all my stuff up for me. They had packed open shampoo bottles and food on top of hand made quilts my gradmother had made ect ect. The cops yelled at me until I was sobbing I was scared to death. The cops told me I had two hours to get out. I have never been in trouble with the law and did as they said. Now years later and much more informed I am appauled that a young woman like myself could be trreated like this, especially with the police there. The landlords excuse was that I had a loud party. The party they spoke of was a family dinner in which one of the guests was my roomates father who is a HWY Patrolman. Their claims were completely false and there was no police report to back it up. As I am sure you suspected I never saw a penny of the $1000.00 deposit. Oh if I knew then what I know now. Know your rights!

  7. davebg5 says:

    In college we rented our fraternity house. The proeprty was not zoned to be a fraternity house, but the landlonrd knew what was going on and didn’t seem to care as long as he got paid and no attention was called to it.

    Eventually, we drew the attention (and subsequent ire) of the university, which pressured the landlord to make things “difficult” for us (among other things, he refused to make repairs or fill the heating oil tank in a timely manner.) We withheld rent…he sued us. Both sides were at fault for various things…the house he rented us was a dump and we treated it as one.

    In the end, our lease was up and we were not renewed. Before patching up all the holes in the walls, we made a trip to the supermarket and bought a few boxes of frozen hamburger patties, which we dropped in the walls.

    I bet that place smelled great that summer.

  8. overbysara says:

    my landlord is dragging his feet on repairing our cracked shower that is leaking into the walls and the laundry room. :shrug: it’s his wall. his water damage.

  9. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @davebg5: Next time don’t let yourself get caught up in Double Secret Probation. :)

  10. brennie says:

    not me but a friend. After giving 30 days notice he was informed that the lease called for 60. He checked the fine print and they were right. He ate the extra month and decided to move his stuff gradually, leaving the lame duck location as a glorified storage unit. Once the initial 30 days passed — on day 31 — the landlord opened up his place and emptied the apartment and threw out all his stuff. It took quite a while to get any money out of them and of course his stuff was long gone….

  11. forgottenpassword says:

    ugh! landlords! I have never had one that was decent & held up their end. All they seemingly want to do is collect rent & grudgingly provide any upkeep/repairs to the property (if you are lucky) …and when you move out… they “find” a reason to keep your deposit.

    My current landlord has yet to repair a porch light fixture that hasnt worked since I moved in.

    Funny story, I told my landlord that I once worked in residential alarm installation & that I would be installing a security system with cameras etc. etc..(I even let it go off once so that he knew I wasnt just bsing him). Never had him once sneak in to snoop. And all I have are two $10 motion-detecting alarm modules,a locked decoy alarm box and a cheap single camera module recording every minute I am gone from my apartment.

  12. racerchk says:

    wow i hope these ‘landlords’ rot in hell. that is terrible. im getting mad just reading this story!

  13. apeguero says:

    Stories like these are the main reason why the house I bought was a single family and not a multi. I agree that many landlords are complete a’holes, I have also heard of some pretty idiot tenants. Best thing to do on my part was to just get a single family and not have to risk dealing with people not related to me living in my own propery.

    As for my experience with bad landlords? Really: none. I guess I was lucky. My mother, however, had to eat like 5 months of no rent for her very expensive 3 family home in Boston because a section 8 tennant decided to use the rent money for her drugs. My mother had to pay to start the process to evict the junkie. Meanwhile she couldn’t just kick her out. After losing 5 months of rent, the a’hole tennant decided to simply leave, thereby avoiding losing her posetions from the apartment. And, of course she never paid back the late rent. The law was that the landlord had to wait 6 months of no rent from the tenant before the landlord could finally take their own apartment back, as well as whatever personal property was in it that belonged to the tenant, but that property had to go into storage which the landlord would have to pay. The landlord then had to wait an additional amount of time before they could claim the personal property left by the tenant. Yes, it was that f’d up. I don’t know if that’s still the case though as my mother did the best thing she could do and got rid of that house.

    I agree that there are a lot of nut case landlords but sometimes the good landlords get shit upon by both the law and bad tenants.

  14. Techguy1138 says:

    @davebg5: You are why I won’t ever rent to college students, especially Greeks.

  15. jtkooch says:

    Funny thing is, one of these landlords is kind of a notable FreeBSD developer.

  16. deedrit says:

    Omg, read the whole story…

    “When Hernandez came home and confronted Kip Macy as the landlord was ransacking his apartment, Macy kicked him in the chest, the suit says.”

    Holy shit!

  17. forgottenpassword says:

    Oh… I forgot one story told to me by an old friend (no longer a friend anymore) who’s friend was a cop. The cop was renting out a house he bought in a bad neighborhood. Granted the people he rented to were scumbags & werent paying the rent, but the cop brought my friend over to go “shopping” in the apartment when they werent there. Basically said to take anything he wanted.

    Best advice… NEVER have a landlord that is ALSO a cop.

  18. Bladefist says:

    I was moving out after a lease was up, and the house was a complete mess due to some crazy roommates who just didn’t care. I wanted my deposit back, and the landlord lady said no one was moving in until June. (it was april) and she said I couldnt live there in may, but she would leave it to me to clean it all up, and what not, and if it was good enough, give my deposit back.

    Well, day after the lease was up, I went there to start cleaning and stuff. I had left a couple personal items. She had a huge metal dump truck bin parked in the front yard, walkd inside, and the place was gutted. She through away my laptop (likely stole it), half my clothes, shoes, computer parts, my personal ‘box’ with all love letters and gay crap from HS and college from chicks.

    It was my fault for leaving it. I trusted her. I had good intentions. She screwed me on purpose, and I hope she rotts in hell for taking advantage of a college kid. Of course I had no proof of our agreement, so legally, I was screwed.

  19. ilovemom says:

    Rent from an owner who lives in the property (two or three family home). The added frustration of having to behave is worth living in a home that someone actually cares about. Just make sure they’re not too crazy by asking the current tenants (if possible). Avoid large property management groups like the plague, unless you know your rights and enjoy small claims court. They are investors interested in the one thing investors usually care about – money. And they know most tenants are too lazy to understand their rights. You can make decent money, depending on where you live if you get screwed by a landlord.

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    Software engineers have SUCH great social skills. I guess this is the Libertarian Paradise which they yammer on about so much.

    Here’s Kip Macy’s email address. Anyone have his picture?

  21. Corydon says:

    I have to say, I’ve never really had too much of a horror story with any landlords that I’ve known. I was thrown out of one apartment building that the landlord wanted to renovate and rent at a higher rate, but I had plenty of notice and was on a month-to-month arrangement by then.

    My current landlord is a gem. No increases in rent since I moved in more than two years ago, repairs done in a reasonable time and he even buys me a drink or two at the bar he owns when I drop off the check.

    I have seen some truly awful tenants. My SO used to own a house in Florida that he was renting out to some bona fide North Carolina trailer trash, who thought they could take advantage of the fact that he lived out of state.

    Rent was never on time, they had to have eviction papers served on them multiple times to get them to pay up (Florida law bends over backwards to preserve the rights of tenants). The one time I was present when he served papers, she called the police and accused him of trying to give her AIDS.

    When he finally got rid of them, we had to clean up the place. It was a complete disaster. I doubt they even cleaned the place once the whole time they were there. Nasty black mold growing everywhere…cabinets and trim destroyed by their dogs…the yard was a mess…ugh! It took a whole week of going over that place with industrial strength bleach to render it fit for habitation.

  22. dtmoore says:

    all through college I had scummy landlords that would attempt to keep the entire rental deposit for various things. (Apparently dust on top of a shelf in the hall closet is a $85 deduction of deposit); somehow it all magically added up to just about the exact amount of the deposit.

    Anyway, in Iowa a landlord is required to give you explanation of all withholding from your deposit within 30 days of vacating the property or they are required to give you your entire deposit back. 3 out 4 years they were late and through some coercion i ended up getting my deposit back in full.

  23. bravo369 says:

    i’ve had good landlords luckily. My parents owned an apt building and we saw the worst of the worst. It really is amazing how some people will “move out” yet leave all their trash and stuff they don’t want in the apt. These weren’t even bad tenants who got evicted. They just figured they aren’t taking it with them so why bother.

  24. eeg1977 says:

    I had one who refused to remove the feral cats that were living in the crawl space underneath my house. Yowling at all hours of the night, making kittens right and left. Finally, my friends and I put out a bunch of cat food and a bunch of traps and trapped about 15 cats one night, and I left them on my landlord’s doorstep.

  25. redqueenmeg says:

    I wish I’d known that “Florida law bends over backwards to preserve the rights of tenants”… I might have had fewer problems.

  26. Coder4Life says:

    No hot water for 6 days in March 2008…
    Wanted us to pay for a new water heater if we wanted it fixed or she would pay the $17 part if we would wait for 6 days.
    hmmm.. I dont think so…

  27. trk182 says:

    Not trying to start anything but, fire is a very useful tool.

    Just saying.

  28. angrychicken says:

    In college I had a landlord who rented us his house near the University (he had a permanent residence in Princeton, NJ). Nice enough guy when we met him, but he turned into a horror. He would drive to the house which was 90 minutes from him in the middle of the night and mow the lawn. A week after we moved in we found roaches, which he blamed on us because some of us came from New York City and they must have jumped in our boxes and moved with us. He would call in the middle of the night, he would randomly appear in the house during the day. The last straw was when we had a puffback in the furnace which forced us to call the fire department (the only people in the house at the time were two 19 year old girls, we didn’t know any better). The fire department came with the Fire Marshal (who’s name was Bill, true story) who called the landlord and forced him to drive from Princeton to the rental house so he could personally cite him for the numerous fire hazards in the house. We decided in the end to break the lease because of the fire hazards he wouldn’t fix, which involved all 5 of us loading our cars in the middle of the night and moving to our new location. He held our security deposits for the longest time until my father (again, 19 and stupid in worldly matters)called him and threatened to take him to court.

    Every landlord has been a peach ever since, even the one who would randomly show up to plant flowers in the yard.

  29. redheadedstepchild says:

    I once rented a place that had a LEAKING half full fuel tank on the backside of the house. Property manager had no intention of fixing. I’ve heard the place has since burned down.

  30. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: Generalizing like that makes you sound extra smart. I’m a software engineer, not because I was an outcast, but because computers just come easy to me.

    You don’t have to be one of the guys from columbine to be a software engineer.

    There is also Government low-income housing in every city. Go checkout how nice those places are run.

  31. gig says:

    My experience is not nearly as bad as some of the others that have posted but at the time it seemed awful.

    I had moved to Queens from upstate NY to go to college and found this really cute apartment within walking distance of school. It looked clean when I first saw it. I signed a one year lease and moved in and that first night when I got up in the dark to go to the bathroom and I opened the light there were cockroaches everywhere and little baby ones crawling in my toothbrush. I told the landlord and she said her religion forbade killing bugs and that she could not exterminate and she said I could not exterminate either. I told her I wanted to move out and she said I could go but she would not give me my deposit back or any portion of the rent I had paid. I had only stayed that one night. I moved out anyway, letting her keep the deposit and rent. I just wanted to get out of there.

    I ended up moving into this gigantic house nearby with the landlords living in the house (I was desperate). They were a young sister and brother who had very rich parents who lived in Hawaii. These two spent every day hanging around smoking pot, drinking beer and listening to music. They didn’t work, go to school or do anything but smoke pot. Although I didn’t smoke pot I thought it was still better than cockroaches and I needed housing so I stayed for a while.

  32. Bladefist says:

    @angrychicken: I have always been taken advantage of by land lords too, but there is strict law, and the laws on security deposits and such are very clear. Now I have a house and its too late, but should have small claims court every single one of them. They just took my deposit. Never offered any line item detail as to why.

  33. esd2020 says:

    The guy who disappeared for months after I moved out (with my security deposit), then claimed I owed him a move-out fee and that the rest of the money went to replacing the lock on the mailbox, since I never had a chance to return the mailbox key. Jerk.

    I even offered to settle for deposit less the possibly-fake move-out fee, but no dice.

    I had to hire a process server to hunt the guy down, but I finally took his ass to court. And won. Of course.

    I probably would have won treble damages too (DC has awesome renter laws), but he lied his ass off in court and I couldn’t prove malice.

  34. manicsoprano says:

    I haven’t had any direct experiences with landlords.

    A friend of mine just moved out of a crapartment (to quote Grey’s Anatomy). There was no heat during part of winter (did I mention this is in Canada). Just last week, black sludge starts coming out of her bathtub drain.

    So she goes to the superintendent (who intends to go out of town that weekend). He says “Wow. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” He just stood there, until finally she actually had to ask him what he was going to do about it. He shrugs. She had to argue with him quite a lot before he agreed to “call a plumber or something…”

    Fortunately, she moved out today.

  35. esd2020 says:

    In fact, of all the places I’ve ever rented, it’s been a pain in the ass to get the deposit back. It’s always taken *at least* a threatening letter.

  36. forgottenpassword says:

    One suggestion for renters…. buy a hidden camera that is set up to record once the picture changes (meaning when someone moves into the room) & install/hide it in a HEAVY piece of furniture & check it often. You never know when the landlord is sneaking in to your apartment to sniff your underwear, snoop thru your things, look for drugs etc. etc.. In other words… “NEVER TRUST YOUR LANDLORD!”

    I remember a video blog a while back of a man who was living in hong kong, singapore, thailand(cant remember) who’s male landlord was sneaking into his apartment after the tenant left, so the tenant decided to use his laptop & cam with some special surveilliance software & caught the landlord going thru his things, hiding in a cabinet, sniffing his used underwear, jerking off with his used underwear, jerking off into/onto food items in his refridgerator & all kinds of disturbing things. If someone could post the blog (I tried to find it)… thanks.

  37. Corydon says:

    @redqueenmeg: Seriously, IIRC, even if the landlord jumps through all of the hoops and properly serves the delinquent tenant at the proper times, you can still skate without paying any rent at all for up to three months, depending on how much you want to fight for it.

    Then you just vacate and you get away scot free, unless the landlord has the resources and the inclination to hunt you down (which most small landlords don’t). That will just take you into small claims court.

  38. jpx72x says:

    If anything, this article tells us that rent controls are a horrible, horrible thing. Of course landlords will hate tenants that are paying thousands of dollars less per year than they should be paying.

  39. fluiddruid says:

    @Corydon: Not “scot free”. Any eviction on your credit report means it’s nearly impossible to get decent rental housing. Further, just like with any other bill, the landlord can employ a collection agency to ruin your credit and pursue you for seven years.

  40. Please only tell these stories to this venue. Please, do not give my landlord any ideas.

  41. bohemian says:

    Has to be the landlord that knowingly rented us a house with a failing septic system and mold issue but didn’t disclose any of this before we moved in. His drinking buddies tried to replace some windows, trashed a ton of our stuff and released some odd strain of mold all over everything making everyone sick. Then the septic system failed, we were told not to wash clothes or shower any more. The septic failed while they were still trying to sort of clean up the mold. Needless to say we withheld rent and moved the heck out asap. He tried to take us to small claims for the lease and lost.

    Honorable mention number 1, goes to the landlord that rented us a house knowing it didn’t pass city rental code. It was minor stuff that really didn’t matter like no rail on the garage stairs. But the city told him he must fix it or be fined. So he put the house on the market and told us we had to move even though we had a year lease. Then he had a realtor friend try to get us to leave while she was going to change the locks, she promised she would give us a key when she was done. yea right.

    Honorable mention number 2 goes to the landlord where the house had a collapsing sewer line and was backing up toilet and all other sewage into the finished basement. He refused to fix it, we got to clean that up ourselves three times before we bought a house and moved out.

    I also gotta mention the apartment super that was going into my apartment while I was at work to go through my underwear drawer.

    Needless to say I freaking hate landlords.

  42. Verdigris says:

    I lived in a two family house that was owned by a property management group. The place itself wasn’t too bad, plus they let me have pets and even put a trampoline in the back yard. However, the reason we were living there was we were in the market for a home and nothing was open yet.

    We moved in there knowing that we were under a lease, but this prop group had some special deal with tennants in my situation. When we found a place to buy and move into they would start advertising the place for rent again and we would only have to pay 100 dollars to transfer the lease to the new tennants.

    Sounded too good to be true, and it was. They never found anyone to move in. I’d call and call and they would say they were showing the place to tons of people, but not one of them returned to move in. 6 months this went on with me paying a mortgage and rent there, as well as utilities, and being the middle of winter thats quite expensive.

    Anyways, after being dead broke and putting lots of stupid purchases on credit cards that shouldn’t have been (food, gas, etc…) we are finally out of the lease. And wouldn’t you know it, the DAY our lease is up, moving trucks show up at the place…

    Coincidence? Or some company not wanting to do jack squat until they no longer make money from a situation.

  43. forgottenpassword says:

    Note: about tenant’s rights. SOme states have prettymuch none. Like for example… in my state…. there is no standard or law that says a landlord has to provide notice before coming in to inspect the apartment for ANY reason. So… basically he could concievably come & go as he pleases.

  44. @trk182:
    Fire worked for me! Not on purpose, but last summer in the house I was renting, I set my kitchen on fire, thanks mostly to the circa 1967 stove.

    The landlord was ecstatic because he got to totally update the kitchen and insurance paid for it all. Joy all around.

  45. How much would it cost to set up a camera to take pictures while your out? Thinking of doing that but can’t find anything wireless.

  46. bohemian says:

    @hypochondriac: It depends. If you can use a wired camera, the cost of a webcam. We have one in my hubbies office with a program that detects motion. It is to notify him if the kids go into his office.

    We bought a wireless security camera for about $50 at Radio Shack. Has everything.

  47. viqas says:

    I had a landlord who didnt pay the mortgage after we signed the lease. We kept getting letters from the mortgage company and didnt think about it.

    Then jan 7th we got a foreclosure hearing notice. when questioned the landlord said that it was a paper work mistake when the mortgage company sold the loan to another company. Knowing that she was lying i sit and wait till 5 days before the hearing date. I called the lawfirm that was doing all the work for the bank, they said that the process is still going through.

    The date was moved but that was to buy them time. I heard about numerous attempts of investors trying to buy our place at fair market value but they wanted more. They owe the HOA 20,000 dollars in back fees, and never fixed anything. i have a leaking toilet, my locks are flimsy, and my dishwasher is broken.

    They did eventually file bankruptcy but are not picking up their phones. I sent their mail via certified mail with repair requests last month and havent heard a thing from them. I am at a position where I am sending them another letter via certified mail stating that if they want their rent checks they need to call me to make arrangements to make the repair.

    this is the worst experience, it had affected my studies at school and stressed my self out. I however will not pay the last months rent because i know i will not get my deposit back.

  48. viqas says:

    oh to add to my story.

    on the weekend of the second hearing we had people trying to change our locks. Had i called the police then i would have my justice.

  49. @bohemian: Thanks. do you remember which one you bought and was setup easy. connecting the camera is easy what about setting it to upload pictures automatically?

  50. StevieD says:

    Sounds like the plot line of a movie

    (????? late 80’s ??????)

  51. forgottenpassword says:


    $50-100 bucks?

    There are a bunch of different devices on the net that allow you to do it easily. Like buying a all-in-one device that basically looks like an digital alarm clock. And has a hidden camera inside that would take pics every second & store it on a memory card. Things like that.

    Check out the various online security camera websites until you find something you like & then start searching online for the cheapest price. Beware of those online security websites as they are insanely overpriced. Good example…. I once bought a security module that would call me & allow me to listen in to the area when it detected movement. It was sold online from anywhere from $100 dollars to $400. I found it the cheapest for about $80.

  52. bohemian says:

    @hypochondriac: Motorola home monitoring system model HMEZ1000. Radio Shack online is frequently sold out of them but the stores seemed to have them when we got ours. It has a couple of settings including motion detection to start filming, a way to view remotely online and it is outdoor and night view capable.

  53. XTC46 says:

    Ive always had good landlords…just lucky I guess.

  54. Zimorodok says:

    My bizzare landlord story:

    I come home after Thanksgiving weekend to find my landlord had ripped down the plaster ceiling in the kitchen, without bothering to inform any of the 3 tenants. He didn’t even close anyone’s doors or hang dropcloths: there was an eighth of an inch of plaster dust coating every surface in the apartment. It looked like a volcano went off in there. To top it off, he took the dirty dishes from the sink (one of my roommates was notorious for leaving dishes out over vacations) and placed them neatly, carefully, unwashed, beneath the sink — while leaving the clean dishes in the dishdrain to get covered in plaster dust. I would open a cabinet and a rain of dust and pebbles would fall out.

    Neighbors said they could hear my screams from 1/2 mile away.

  55. mtaylor924 says:

    Never had a bad landlord experience myself. My only rental experience was a basement 1br in a house that was converted into 4 separate units. Worst problems were high heating bills in winter (poor insulation) and once the sewage pipes clogged and the toilet overflowed.

    In both cases the landlord, a local contractor who privately rented and managed his properties, took great care of us. He paid for and put up multiple layers of plastic over the windows in the winter, and checked around the door to find and plug air leaks to help us lower our heating costs. When the toilet overflowed he made sure we were home before bringing someone in to repair it, and taped a note to our door when it was done giving us a pro-rated rent forthe month for the temporary loss of our bathroom – and we didn’t even ask for it!

    I definitely recommend renting from private owners – they take better care of their properties and of their tenants.

  56. dohtem says:

    @fhic: Is he “sleeping with the fishes?”

    I only ask because I know how y’all East Coast folk roll.

  57. dantsea says:

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned after years of renting, it’s that a deposit might as well be considered earnest money because most landlords will do everything in their power to hold on to it. I used to leave my former apartments as sparkling clean as possible and still got screwed. The only time I ever got a deposit back was when my building went condo and they didn’t care what state it was left in since they were gutting the entire floor the day after move-out.

  58. parad0x360 says:

    @dohtem: Alot of us are too big to roll, now most bounce =0

    Worst landlord i ever had was in Lowell, MA. The rent wasnt bad considering how big the apartment was. It was a 3 bedroom 2 living room apartment for $800 a month and it was pretty nice inside. New kitchen, carpet etc. It was great during the winter but then summer came…and with it came bugs. There was some creepy looking **** crawling around which we managed to get rid of ourselves.

    the biggest problem was slugs outside. They were EVERYWHERE and you would constantly step on them. Some would also get inside the kitchen door and make their way inside. I tried everything I could to get rid of them because multiple calls to the landlord did nothing. I ended up breaking the lease 6 months early with no penalty and i also got my deposit back when i told the landlord I would take him to court.

    It was a problem that probably could have easily been fixed with an exterminator and one visit from someone to do some decent landscaping.

  59. forgottenpassword says:


    I’d takes slugs anyday to what i have to put up with now.

    My current apartment gets infested with poisonous brown recluse spiders every summer. I suspect the basement is just infested with them & they are making their way into my apartment from there. My landlord refuses to do anything about it. So i basically have to plaster my apartment with stickytraps to keep their numbers down. Seems to work pretty well.

  60. Jon Mason says:

    Last year of college moved out of rental house that was in terrible condition – 80% of it was like it when we moved in, 20% we had trashed. Requested deposit back from landlord, got a letter saying no. Requested it with a threat of small claims court. Received a letter back from landlord’s lawyer saying no because I had not returned the key (!!??). If they had put any other reason I probably wouldnt have been able to deny it, but luckily I had mailed the key with delivery confirmation and once I informed the lawyer of this I got a check within days…

  61. DrGirlfriend says:

    This didn’t happen to me, but it involved a landlord at one of my previous employers (a property management company).

    The apartment manager at one of the company’s apartment buildings got caught stealing money from a particular tenant’s apartment. She used it to play Keno (she admitted she was very addicted to it). This tenant started to notice that small amounts of money would be missing – say, $5 to $20, since he didn’t keep large amounts of money lying around. Basically, the pocket money you might leave on your dresser. He set up a camera to record whole he was away. It caught this lady in the act, and he turned it in to the management company.

    It was really weird – this was a very sweet lady. No one would have suspected her.

  62. Buran says:

    @alphafemale: Yikes. You accidentally linked a tiny thumbnail. Is there a larger one?

  63. differcult says:


    In Iowa, all universities are free from ULTA restrictions. They charge students for everything, $200 to the floor (so 200/50) for ONE piece of paper on the hall floor. Broken heaters and air conditioners that they don’t fix. Mold! 50 year old carpet. On move out, they nickel and dime you for EVERYTHING.

    Moved off-campus. My landlord isn’t the best, but at least I have legal rights against them.

  64. @forgottenpassword: @forgottenpassword: I hope you’ve never gotten bit by those spiders. They give a nasty ulcer

  65. JiminyChristmas says:

    No harm done in this story, but it is too bizarre not to share. I once rented the lower half of a duplex with a friend. The landlord lived upstairs.

    He was in his 70s. He had lived in this duplex his whole life, with his mother. They had the downstairs unit until mother died. Part of the reason for this state of affairs may have been that he was crippled by polio he had contracted as a child. Nonetheless, the guy had issues. To top it off, he had spent 40 years working in the printing business…back when all the type was made of lead. We were pretty certain he was in the throes of permanent neurological damage.

    Anyway, that was all just to set the scene for one evening when me and my roommate are having dinner. We hear the smoke detector go off upstairs. Initially, we ignore it, thinking it was due to cooking and would soon turn off. A couple of minutes pass, and the alarm is still going. We become concerned and head up the back stairs and knock on the landlord’s door.

    He tells us to come in. The room is full of smoke, and the landlord is sitting on a stool eating a slice of pizza. He tells us he didn’t turn off the alarm because he was afraid he would just fall off the chair if he stood on one to turn off the alarm.

    Then, we see the cause of the smoke. In the oven are: two frozen pizzas, four pot pies, and a whole roast duck. The fat from the duck was dripping everywhere and causing the smoke.

    Dumbfounded, but glad the place wasn’t on fire, we head back downstairs. The best we could figure was that the landlord was a Depression-era child, and was trying to make the most efficient use out of firing up the oven to roast his duck.

  66. dulcinea47 says:

    I live in a college town, there are no shortage of landlord horror stories. My favorite is from my friend’s apartment building. There were some *extremely* rickety wooden stairs, outdoors, leading to the upper floors of the building. A few of the tenants got together and wrote and signed a letter to the management company about the condition of the stairs. The management company responded that if someone were to fall through a stair, they would “fall safely to the stair below.” Fall safely!! As if it were all okay! The tenants forwarded this information to the city, and next thing you know the mgt. co. is redoing all the stairs and walkways.

  67. MyPetFly says:

    Well, I do have to stick up for one landlord — my dad.

    Back when I was in my teens, my dad owned several houses and a small apartment complex. He realized the value of keeping property well-maintained, so his tenants rarely had much to complain about. Sure, he wouldn’t do things that weren’t needed, like painting just to change the color, but you can bet the painting was kept up to make the property presentable — I did a lot of the painting for pocket money over the summers — and other things were taken care of, like backed up sewage systems. Guess who mopped up the watery doodoo? : )

    I’m sure that part of it was due to the (I assume) higher standards that the State of California places on landlords, but I do know that my dad wasn’t too anxious to get sued or fined, or to have his investments tank, so things were kept up.

  68. JiminyChristmas says:

    Oh, and the moral of the story to the above post: When we signed the lease, the document was 11×17, 8 point type, printed both sides. It was full of weird provisions like “2a) All plants must have watercatchers.”

    Our attitude at the time was, “Well, it’s weird but what harm could it bring.” Wrong choice. If it seems weird, just. walk. away. The landlord ended up withholding half our deposit. It was due to the botched floor refinishing job he was still working on the day we moved in, but he blamed us for all the “acid and booze” we poured on the floor.

  69. Corydon says:

    @fluiddruid: No doubt true. In this case, there were two individuals who owned the property, and it was difficult enough for them to navigate the eviction process.

    The tenants knew they weren’t dealing with people who were full time landlords and exploited that to the fullest.

  70. forgottenpassword says:


    I have done quite a bit of research on them since I first discovered them. Seems that a minor bite can be prettymuch harmless… its the prolonged bite of a spider pressed up against the skin (like rolling over on one in your sleep or one trapped in a sweater sleave while you are putting it on) are the bites that are dangerous.

    I could have been minorly bitten in the past & not even known it.

    I have already trapped maybe 11 spiders since i put the traps down two months ago (3 BIG ones & the rest tiny). Gonna have to put down a lot more stickytraps in the coming months.

    They are mostly active at night where the odds of rolling over on one is the real danger, but I work nights during the week & am awake all night on the weekends so it is unlikely. I had two incidents with BIG ones crawling across me (one on a blanketed shoulder & one on bare leg) while I was laying in bed wacthing tv.

    This place has cheap rent, a safe/convenient location, so i can put up with the spiders as long as I can keep their population to a minimum by plastering stickytraps all over the place.

    I’ve also read that they are not as easy to poison or get rid of with an exterminator …. so… *shrug*.

  71. Ramses says:

    I have been leasing from Peach Properties HM for just under a year now and it has been the worst rental experience of my life. They promised a whole lot at the onset of the lease (a washer and dryer, water paid, working dishwasher) and it was like pulling teeth to get them to follow through on their commitment. Also, a serious maintenance issue was ignored by them for 9 months (almost the whole lease term!) and I actually had to cite Arizona Landlord-Tenant laws just to get them to complete the repair. Because I have asked them to keep the property in a fit and habitable condition, they have asked me to leave at the end of the lease. Nevermind the fact that I have paid my rent on time or early over the entire lease term. On more than one occasion I have had to send certified mail with a return receipt just to get this company to acknowledge my service request. Apparently months of phone calls were not enough.

  72. bohemian says:

    @JiminyChristmas: One of our nightmare landlords tried to get us to sign a statement written on eraseable bond typing paper. That would be the landlord of the house with the failing sewer & mold who lost the small claims case. No I didn’t sign it.

  73. rellog says:

    One landlord I ALMOST had…
    When I went to look at the place, it seemed fine. It was an upper unit in a duplex. Looked clean and smelled good.
    I happened to drop by a week later to check on room sizes and the upstairs had an extremely strong smoke odor. Turned out the lower renters (and property managers) were heavy smokers. They aired the place out extensively before I showed for the primary tour. After being closed up the whole placed smelled like a dirty ashtray. I backed out, and the landlord tried to withhold my deposit. I ended up getting it back after threatening to report the varies “issues” the property had.

    And FYI. If you get a camera, better stick with the wired versions. I saw a news report just a couple days ago about how the wireless can be easily picked up with those newer after-market wireless “backup” cameras made for cars…

  74. AlexDitto says:

    Man, the people in my buildings are the luckiest people in the world. In comparison to these stories, my Grandfather is an awesome landlord. If something breaks or someone calls with a problem, he drives an hour from where he lives to come almost immediately and try to fix the problem.

    Believe me, though, we’ve had some really horrible tenants. One couple were druggies, never paid their rent, and it took my grandfather months to work through all the necessary paperwork to have them evicted… he couldn’t even force them to leave once he had gotten the paperwork signed, and had to wait for the police. Of course, the police scheduled him an appointment… for two months later. He lost a lot of rent to those jerks, and had to completely redo the apartment, they had trashed it.

    And then there was the guy who painted giant floating eyeballs with black paint all over the nice clean white walls… and he wanted his deposit back. My grandfather gave him most of it, and would have given it all if my mother hadn’t forced him to deduct the cost of the paint we had to use to cover them up….

    What is it with tennants and painting their apartments with insane colors, then moving out? We’ve had hot pink bathrooms, pea-green kitchens, enormous holes punched in walls… it’s not all peaches and cream, you know.

    In regards to the lease with lots of strange provisions: my grandfather has one of those. They’re basically to cover his ass. His lease says “No Pets,” but nearly every tenant in the building has at least one pet. Cats, dogs, birds, whatever. The clause is in there so that, if your dog barks all night and drives your neighbors insane, he can do something about it. Ditto for the “no plants” and “no satellite dishes.” You’d be surprised at the ugly crap people are compelled to bolt to their exterior walls.

    Yes, I’m sure there are lots of bad landlords. Just remember that there are lots of bad tenants, too.

  75. AlexDitto says:

    Oh yeah, and we’re in Florida, by the way. The State really does make it very difficult for small landlords to do anything about tenant problems, and makes it very easy for tenants to rip off landlords. There’s two sides to every issue… nothing is black and white, etc etc, insert appropriate idiom.

  76. timmus says:

    @dantsea: Agree, a deposit money should be considered gone. If there were any real renters rights in states, deposits would have to be put in escrow, not spent on the landlord’s plasma screen TV.

    Basically when I rent, EXCEPT when I have exemplary landlords, I don’t clean the place. I’m not talking leaving it like a dump, but I don’t go out of my way to work for the deposit. We’re fastidious and yet we’ve rarely gotten any deposit money back.

  77. timmus says:

    We’re fastidious and yet we’ve rarely gotten any deposit money back. (I should add that is back in the days when I DID try to work for the deposit money)

  78. Tsalagi says:

    All kinds of hidden cameras can be bought from here.

    A friend of mine got a clock camera from there when he suspected someone of breaking into his house and stealing from his coin collection (i’m not talking about collecting state quarters, dude had some really valuable coins). It turns out it was the landlord doing it. The look on his face was priceless when my friend showed him the pic of him stealing the coins and threatened to call the cops. He got his deposit, all the stolen coins (minus the two the landlord had given away), and his last months rent back. He also left a nice going away present (an opened 5lb pack of hamburger meat) in the air conditioning ducts before he left.

  79. EyeHeartPie says:

    One apartment I lived at a couple of years ago required a month’s rent as a deposit, and the rent was $1800 for a 3-3 (I had roommates). However, when lease was up and we were ready to move out, the landlord skipped our scheduled time for our walkthrough to check for any sort of damage so he could point out to us why we weren’t getting our deposit back.

    However, under Texas law, a landlord is required to conduct the walkthrough with the tenants present in order to verify the claims. Since he didn’t, we got our entire deposit back, minus a nominal cleaning fee, because we were lazy college students :p

    The apartment I live at now only required a $200 deposit, so even if they decide to screw me over, it’s not like I’m losing too much. I don’t think they will though, as they are all nice people, and have not had any problems with them to date (9 months).

  80. bohemian says:

    Something I did as a just in case when we moved out of our last rental was to go through with my camera phone and take pictures of every room and every potential dispute area like the bathroom & kitchen. I even had pics of the toilet close up to show it was properly cleaned. The landlord didn’t do a walkthrough so I kept them as CYA until the deposit was refunded.

  81. Pfluffy says:

    I sympathize with everyone who has had a terrible landlord, but if you’re going to leave any meat inside of walls or A/C vents, in my state, that’s considered to be simple criminal damage to property. Not only could your landlord keep your security deposit AND sue you for the damages, the landlord could also press criminal charges against you. Wrecking your credit is one thing, but to have a criminal history follow you is something else.

  82. luckybob343 says:

    In college, I rented from a company that also ran a used car lot. That should have tipped us off, but we were looking for the cheapest place and they offered it.

    – The first apartment had a window unit A/C unit in the living room. That was it for ventilation. It didn’t turn on until you took a broomstick and manually got the fan turning.

    – The first apartment also had the master fuse panel for the entire building in my bedroom.

    – The first apartment had cheap wood paneling on the walls. There was no insulation in the entire building. I could talk to my neighbors with no distortion. In the summer, it was a furnace. In the winter, it was bitterly cold.

    – The second apartment was a two bedroom single-family house in a complex of single-family houses. The landlord’s maintenance crew would routinely loot food from my kitchen.

    – The hot water heater burst and flooded the house. They took one month to fix it and I had horrible mold problems until the lease was up. The maintenance crew took my TV, stereo head unit and several guitar accessories during the cleanup.

    Alabama allows exculpatory clauses in leases, letting landlords disclaim liability in all cases. Makes for horrible landlords.

  83. spunky_redhead15 says:

    thank the lord my husband and i bought a house around this time last year. our landlord sucked ass. things looked great when we looked at our place, we signed a one year lease and were moving in a month later after the place was cleaned by a professional cleaning lady.

    come move in weekend, my mom comes to help and do some of the basics like clean the bathroom and wipe out the cupboards in the kitchen before putting the dishes away. the apartment had not been cleaned as promised. the backsplash behind the stove was all grease spotted, the cupboards had greasy fingerprints all over the doors. windows were not clean and the mantle above the fireplace was dirty. we complained after doing about an hour’s worth of cleaning and were told that we’d be reimbursed off our rent for the time both of us spent cleaning and that someone would come in and finish it. the cleaning was done, but i never saw reimbursement. the dishwasher was broken, but that got immedeaely replaced, and the front door didn’t latch properly, which was promised many times to be fixed, but a year later, was never done. the liner inside the bucket of our dryer was wearing out and caused rust spots all over my white clothes. the dryer was replaced with a crappy used one and i was never reimbursed for any damaged clothes.

    a few months later, i had an accident going down the stairs. at the time i worked as a server at a restaraunt and i was wearning sneakers that had some kitchen grease on the soles. it had rained and i slipped on the metal edgining on the stairs and injured my back quite good (a year and a half later i’m having problems still). when i approached them about getting some help since i had injured myself on their property, i was told that they “didn’t wanna get involved”, because it was something that was taking more han just a “simple chiropractor visit” to fix.

    then comes move out. we put in our 30 days. the management company tried to show my place several times with only two hour’s notice. each time i told them they could not. i can think of one time that they did show it (our shoe rack by the door had shoes that had fallen off of it when we were leaving that morning, they were in my bedroom when i got home). THEN, in order to get us to show the place, we get told that technically our lease wasn’t up for another 60 days instead of the 30, due to a mistake she had made on the lease and that if it wasn’t rented out, we would be responsible for the last month’s rent. i pointed out that the lease stated “one year, 12 months” and the duration of the lease 1 April to 31 May was not 12 months, it was 13 and i would take them to small claims courts.

    we hired someone to come and clean the carpets and the management rep insisted on babysitting the tech because it was a company she’d never used before (it was one of the most reputable in town) and she was afraid of them oversoaking carpets.

    i got charged for 4 hours of cleaning on my deposit, even though myself and my mother, who used to clean houses professionally, spent two days cleaning top to bottom, leaving it in better shape than when we moved in.

    i’m glad that the only “landlord” i have to deal with now is myself and my husband!

  84. kimdog says:

    @davebg5: People like you make me sick. I happened to be the person who rented a house after some schmucks like you left. The house was being renovated when we signed the lease, then the idiot frat boys came back during the work, punched more holes in the wall, wrecked the toilet, and broke all the telephone jacks. This delayed our move-in date, and put us in a bind with our current landlord. Then two nights before our move, I was in the house doing some painting, alone. Suddenly, I heard someone in the house. Yup… frat boys back to do more damage. Scared the shit out of me (I didn’t have a cell phone at the time). Thank god that my boyfriend showed up then and threatened to beat them into a pulp. I wish we had called the cops. They needed to be taught a lesson.

  85. mammalpants says:

    i just wanted to say thanks for helping condition me to the word “terror”. it seems a lot more tolerable now since everyone is doing it!

  86. FLConsumer says:

    I usually buy my cameras from Super Circuits. [] Lots of great little cams, very cheap. Hidden them in light fixtures, air vents, plants, A/V equipment, T-grid ceilings, just about anything you can imagine.

  87. fhic says:

    @dohtem: I have no personal knowledge, but yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he was a few feet under out in the Pine Barrens someplace. Even if I’d seen anything, I wouldn’t have seen anything, if you get my drift. There’s a special place in Hell for scumbags who steal from old people.

  88. Parting says:

    I had only one unpleasant landlord. But he was livable.

    All other landlords were great. Especially our first ones. They even babysited my baby brother at the time.

    However, we always rented in 2-3 family houses, with small landlords.

  89. godawgs7 says:

    To the guy who mentioned the “no satellite dishes” clause…It’s actually against federal regulations to prohibit satellite dishes. I lived in an apt that was not wired for cable and wouldn’t allow me to have it wired for cable (also a federal violation…) and tried to prevent me from getting DirecTv because they had some deal with Dish Network. I ended up going with Dish but it was such a hassle.

    The best advice I have as a tenant is to let them know you mean business. For example, when you complain about something being broken, submit it in writing, date it, and let them know you keep copies. If it is not fixed, tell them you will fix it yourself and deduct it from the rent. It’s a legal contract and you better believe they will nail your ass to the wall if you violate it. Why shouldnt you hold their feet to the fire?

  90. micasaessucasa says:

    My problem with my landlord started when they didn’t scoop out any of the 8+ inches of on the sidewalks or parking lot. Luckily there are some nice people who spent the next couple days cleaning it off.

    At the time, I didn’t realize that this was in violation of the city code, but a couple weeks later there was an article in the paper about the snow storm that mention the snow had to be removed in 12 hours. Jerk!

    This got me interested in researching the city code and as I went through it, I realized that there were numerous code violations. When I first inquired with the city about the violations, the individual asked who my landlord was. I told her only the last name of the landlord because that is the name of the management company as well. Her response “o I’m sure James knows all the code violation rules.” Because you see my landlord is who I could hire to sue my landlord.

    I was kind of dissolutioned about the whole thing because she kind of blew me off so I just hung up.

    A couple months later, after reading more things online about the code I finally went down to city hall and filled a report. The city inspectors came out and found 8 violations that they had to fix.

    Although not everyone at the city is in cahoots with my evil landlord. One other infraction came up so I called the city. They asked who my landlord was and I told them “my landlord is who I would hire to sue my landlord” she got it right away and was actually compassionate the the situation.

    And since my landlord has figured out that someone in the building can read past the 8th grade level; they have been doing a much better job about not letting things get derelict.

  91. Eilonwynn says:

    My landlord’s latest sin was letting a live bat live in the hallway outside my apartment. An EECB with pictures, and a veiled threat to call the local news got it taken care of.

  92. trillium says:

    Had a landlord server me an eviction notice for some 13 months of missing rent. After digging around I went to court with all but two receipts. Those two I wrote a check for pretty much immediately.

    The final straw was the swarm of termites on my kitchen floor. This was after the downstairs neighbor shot into my ceiling, the ceiling immediately under my bathroom collapsed into the downstairs neighbors bathroom, the wall in the downstairs back bedroom fell down due to water damage and my personal favorite – due to terminate damage I could poke holes in my drywall with my finger.

    I didn’t even bother trying to get the security deposit back. It wasn’t worth the grief.

  93. forgottenpassword says:


    what some apartment complexes are doing now to discourage tenants from putting up their own dishes is that they are requiring tenants buy “supplemental insurance” just in case the dish falls off the building onto someone. However a lot of tenants just mount their dish on a pole & sink it into a bucket of concrete & have that sitting on the floor of their balcony or just inside a window.

  94. EyeHeartPie says:

    I thought the law was that they couldn’t restrict your choices to just one company to prevent kickbacks. As long as they give you the option of more than one TV provider, they are allowed to tell you that you can’t hard-attach satellite dishes to the walls and/or rooftops.

    For example, they can’t forbid use of satellite dishes and then only allow you to sign up with Comcast and not allow AT&T techs onto the grounds.

    My current apartment allows satellite dishes as long as you aren’t hard-mounting them to walls or the roof. That means you can mount them on your balcony railings or on stands on your balcony. However, due to some architecture blocking my balcony’s view of the southern sky, I am stuck with cable, and for me that means Comcast :(

  95. Stanwell says:

    Whats with the people leaving hamburger meat in the rentals they’re leaving, to get even with a landlord? That’s just petty, spiteful, vindictive, and mean.

    And anyway, fish heads are much more effective.

  96. forgottenpassword says:


    fresh egss ,strategicly & gently placed…. are the best! Takes a while for them to go bad & REALLY REEK!

  97. StevieD says:


    A bag of frozen chicken is really the best…..

    (ask the people of Mississippi that had 1,000,000 lbs of frozen chicken from one of the ports rotting in the sun after Hurricane Katrina)

    ….. eventually the bag expands and then starts to leak

  98. PinguPingu says:

    After my first horrible renting experience in college (in order to show the apartment they would just give keys to whoever wanted to see it…can you say bye bye graphing calculator prior to a physics exam)After that I brushed up on Texas renter law and got every single deposit back after that apartment.

    The law states that you MUST receive an itemized statement of damages taken out of the security deposit within 30 days of moveout or you are entitled to triple the amount of the security deposit plus court costs. Did I get the run-around? Heck yes. The best was the apartment whose manager bailed three times on a walk-through. Then they attempted to back-date their notice but accidently left the current date on. The small claims court judge read them the riot act for trying to cheat me.

    Basically, not a single landlord seemed capable of doing something as simple as itemizing something and sending it within thirty days. I own my own home now and I give thanks every day that I don’t have to deal with a landlord.

  99. @StevieD: I really do not understand this petty and vindictive behavior. I know you are not the only one who has endorsed this kind of revenge, but I do think it’s childish and ineffective. It breeds bitterness, not satisfaction. This sort of action doesn’t make the tenant feel much better, doesn’t make up for the hideous actions of the landlord, and will likely make the landlord treat future tenants with even less respect and care. Worse, it is probable if not likely that the next tenant will suffer the effects of such misbehavior. I really can’t believe adults would do this nonsense.

  100. Ailu says:

    More gory details to this story… []

  101. Trai_Dep says:

    They’re being held in SF County jail now. Their lawyer tried to get their bail reduced from $350k to $110K, but the judge denied the motion. It looks like it’s a couple of speculators that got squeezed, so it’s less likely they’ll be able to make bail, so hopefully they’ll spend all the time before trial with large concrete, barred rooms filled with lots of umm likely renter types.
    Adding to the charm of this couple, the man they assaulted and stalked the worst was on disability: Macy literally kicked a cripple.

  102. Uriel says:


    wow, what a couple of fucking crazy people. I sincerely hope they each get life sentences + a few to grow on.

  103. SkipT says:

    Nearly every single comment has me terrified about renting for the first time in my life next year.

  104. goodywitch says:

    @SkipT: Make sure to talk to the previous tenants if you can to see how they liked the landlord. Talk to the person who’ll be managing the place (maybe the owner will show you the place but someone else will manage it), always pay rent 2 days in advance, mark every nook and cranny for pre-inspection so they can’t get you on damages prior to moving in, and be pleasant if something goes wrong, expect around a week for them to get to you if it’s a minor damage. This will greatly increase your chance of not renting to a jerk. And always document any complaints you make to your landlord, like how often you ask for a leaky faucet to be repaired, etc.

  105. vermontwriter says:

    I saw one on television – Smoking Gun’s World Dumbest Criminals or something like that. They had a landlord went into a tenants home, pulled all the food from her fridge and then urinated all over it. As it turns out, she’d become convinced he was going into her apartment without notice and set up a hidden camera.

    He was arrested, but it makes me glad I don’t rent!

  106. bohemian says:

    @generalhousewifery: I think the better solution is some sort of landlord database. Supposedly there is some data base like a credit report that some property managers use to report tenant past behavior.

    I found out after the fact by doing some research that one of our former landlords had been taken to court for some pretty unflattering things by other tenants.

  107. bonzombiekitty says:

    @timmus: When I’ve rented, my landlords have all held my deposit in a separate bank account. I don’t know if that’s PA law or not.

    I’ve never had a problem getting a deposit back. The only time I’ve ever not gotten a full deposit back was one house I was renting, we were supposed to be paying the water bill but the landlord never gave us the bills, he just ended up taking the bills off the deposit. We still got about half the deposit back.

  108. humphrmi says:

    Post all your bad landlord stories? This post would be a lot shorter if they asked us to post our good landlord stories.

    I’ve rented: apartments (2 in Seattle, 2 in Chicago) and a house (in Seattle). Of all five, only the house landlord was cool, the rest have all the same horror stories as above, so I won’t repeat them.

    I think state licenses should be required to become a landlord, mandated at the federal level by HUD. In order to get a license, you have to pass some basic common-sense knowlege questions. Sure it won’t prevent abuse, but it will remove the argument that landlords use “I didn’t know…” or “All landlords do this…” etc.

  109. thwarted says:

    Our last landlord flat-out refused to give us his phone number. (We’re not the type to call and complain about anything unless something is broken, so I don’t know what he was worried about.) We were supposed to contact his lawyer’s office instead, and the lawyer would then contact him. Which basically worked OK, until the Sunday the landlord’s elderly father (who lived in the apartment downstairs) turned on the gas stove, forgot about it and then went outside to garden. Or the Saturday the radiator broke and flooded the apartment. Did I mention the lawyer didn’t work on weekends?

    I’m so glad we don’t rent anymore.

  110. Angryrider says:

    Someone told me that their landlord took advantage of the rat problem in the city and stuff dead rats under their floorboards from the floor below in an attempt to evict the family.

  111. My parents rented for years…. I don’t remember how many times I had to clean these places out with my dad, make repairs, and the most HORRIBLE shit they neglect to tell the landlord! My dad never made a fuss about serious repairs, he’d rather soak the money into it before something even worse came about. We watched renters let their TV Antennas fall THRU the roof and not tell anyone! Having problems evicting renters, how they turned properties into a dumpster… The hot water tank stopped working in one place, instead of telling my dad, they just left it, full, in the closet for 6 months-year… by the time my dad asked them to leave, the tank was so rusted out you couldn’t drain in, hell, he barely got it out of the house without the tank bursting apart. They didn’t have hot water for HOW long… and they wouldn’t tell my father, because he’d have to enter the premises to fix it and see the hellhole they created. I’ve been nothing but decent to my landlords, but there are always those BAD APPLES. Still waiting for my $500 deposit back, and we’ve owned our house since last December… *sigh* guess I should call the AG…..

  112. A tip – Anyone renting, if you report problems to your landlord, put it on your RENT check! Under the memo for smaller stuff, and I always wrote severe problems or arrangements above the endorse lines on the back. “WASP INFESTATION REPORTED 4/07” and when he endorses it, he admits he was notified about the issue. If you have a cell phone, use the cell phone to call your landlord to report problems and keep the records. Severe problems going unrepaired, send notice certified mail. My sister used to put small things into her door before she left her apt., (like a match, or rubber band on the top of the door) then if those things were moved by the time she got home, she KNEW someone came into her apt… tip to people who can’t afford a security system LOL

  113. bonzombiekitty says:

    Worst landlord I had was probably my first one. He wasn’t too bad of a guy though. My friend and I rented a shitty basement apartment. By sheer coincidence I happened to know the girl that was living there prior to us.

    We go to move in, and it’s like she and her room mate never moved out. Almost all her stuff is there and the place smells like cat urine. We give her a call and find out that a couple months prior, her room mate just up and left, leaving all her stuff behind. All the stuff left was her old room mate’s and the landlord was supposed to send someone to get it all.

    We spent the entire day cleaning out the apartment and moving all the crap to the back patio. Called the landlord to have it removed. Took him two months to get rid of it all. But he did end up compensating us some for having to clean it all up.

    Then winter rolls around, the heater isn’t working and the apartment is drafty as all hell. He comes by with some space heaters that he tells us we can keep and he’ll fix the heater and the draft problem. He never fixed the draft problem, and he did attempt to fix the heater but failed and gave up at trying to fix it. Since he had given us the space heaters, we couldn’t really with hold rent because he was technically supplying us with working heat.

    Then the bathroom ceiling started leaking water. Again, he tried to fix it but failed and gave up.

    Didn’t renew the lease on that place. But at least I got my deposit back.

    Landlord #2 wasn’t bad and generally fixed problems we had. We had small leak when it rained a whole lot that we told him about. He didn’t do anything about it, and it didn’t cause a problem for a while because it didn’t rain much. Eventually, it rained enough to leak again and ended up ruining my room mate’s computer. Landlord ended up helping to pay for a new one.

    Landlord #3 I never dealt with, since I only lived there for a couple months, half of which I was away for.

    Landlord #4 was great. Problems were fixed immediately. I had I think 3 problems I had to call about (broken toilet and other leaking stuff). I’d call in the morning when I got to work, and the problem would be fixed by the time I got home. The building had a problem with the fire alarm malfunctioning and going off for no reason. After the fourth time, they said they’d pay us every time it would go off if we were home. But they finally managed to get it fixed. They were a bit overpriced though, but you get what you pay for.

    Landlord #5 is an ok guy. I more have an issue with the guy he uses to fix stuff. It took months to get the guy to show up to paint stuff that was supposed to get painted. The job never got finished and I just got tired of dealing with it.

  114. RandomHookup says:

    I rent the other apartment in my 2-family building to a group of 2nd year law students. I figured they would be all over the move-in inspection paperwork and other documents — giving me grief over little things, but they didn’t really seem to care and never returned the inspection docs.

    Remind me not to use them as my lawyers once they pass the bar.

  115. digitalgimpus says:

    Sounds like a small scale version of the infamous Windermere case


  116. backbroken says:

    @humphrmi: Yes, we definitely need more government involvement. Especially when, as you admit, it won’t stop the abuses anyway.

  117. backbroken says:

    Where did the ‘you are a moron for buying a house’ crowd go? If this was a Countrywide mortgage thread, we’d be swatting them like flies.

  118. forgottenpassword says:


    I still wouldnt own a house unless I got one helluva sweetheart deal & could pay at least 75% down payment & could possibly rent out a portion of it.
    Building upkeep, insurance costs, financing (being in debt up to your eyeballs),inflated property tax costs,having to mow the lawn, dealing with anal rententive home-owner associations or insanely uptight local ordinances….. just doesnt make owning a house worth it to me.

    I will stick with my cheap $350 a month rent (in an area where rent is typically $800 & higher),located in a nice neighborhood in an apartment- converted house with only two other tenant neighbors, where my vehicle is only 8 feet from my front door…. all the while living cheaply and socking away 35% of my income year after year living without ANY debt thank-you-very-much!

  119. forgottenpassword says:


    Granted… I do live with a few poisonous spiders during the summer. *shrug* (but the traps catch probably 85% of them).

  120. backbroken says:

    @forgottenpassword: But the sweetheart renting deal you have isn’t available to everyone. For you, it’s the best solution. Buying is still the best solution for those who can afford it.

    (I’m using the now antiquated definition of ‘afford’ here.)

  121. backbroken says:

    @backbroken: IMHO.

  122. Cupajo says:

    Years ago I moved into an apartment after looking at the model (because my unit wasn’t ready at the time). While the model looked fine, when I got into my apartment, there was no ceiling liner on the patio and there were exposed roofing tacks pocking through. I’ve got several tall friends and was afraid they were going to stand up and perforate their skulls.
    So, I notified the management and was assured that it would be taken care of. Weeks went by and nothing. So I notified them again. Assurances again, but no results. Finally I did a little research into the law and found out what my rights were. Then I wrote a little letter (“Pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statute #XYZ, this letter is notice that we will be withholding rent until the following issues are resolved.”) and then i listed every single litle thing that was wrong with the apartment and dropped the letter after business hours in the little mail slot where I normally drop rent.

    They had 8 workers out at my place the next day. The moral of the story is that renter’s have rights. Educate yourselves and demand them.

  123. forgottenpassword says:


    But be prepared to not have your lease renewed when its up. The idea of moving every year would NOT be fun, especially if you have decent rent/neighborhood situation.

    And if you are on a month to month lease….. well, be prepared to move within a month or two.

  124. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Crap and a half!

    These stories always bring out the scariest comments.

  125. Cupajo says:

    @backbroken: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that you’re stupid for buying a house, but I also think it’s a stretch to say that someone is stupid for renting. I’m a 35 year old renter *by choice*. I looked at that cost difference between renting a property and buying the same property, and I found it to be about 40-50% cheaper to rent, once you factor in all costs. I take that price difference and invest it every month in things that are a lot more stable and lucrative than housing.

    That’s not going to work for everyone, but it works for me and it works for a lot of other people as well.

  126. bdgbill says:

    I suggest The Consumerist follow up this post with one about “The Worst Renters”. The stories will be worse.

    The landlords in this story are being prosecuted and are almost sure to lose and lose big.

    Most of the housing laws around the country are designed to protect the renters. Landlords have no such protections. In some states people can stay in housing for years without paying a dime of rent before you can actually get the police to come and turn them out.

  127. Cupajo says:


    This was 10+ years ago. We were on lease and they had no options but to make the repairs they had promised. And when I left a couple of years later, it was on my terms, not theirs.

  128. unklegwar says:

    I rented a room from a guy who owned a big house and was single.

    The house had horribly inefficient heat, and this guy was never home, so he didn’t care. He would come and go and leave doors wide open, so my lower level “living room” would always be freezing cold.

    Worst things he did tho:
    1) Casually take the Long way to his office when he KNEW i had a date over, so he could stroll by when he KNEW we were getting busy on my couch. (Thank goodness we had a blanket!)
    2) Expose himself to and proposition my GF for a threesome when she, I, he and his girlfriend were in the hottub, and I got out to use the john. To her credit she later related to everyone what a small peepee he had, and that he was insane for showing it to ANYONE.

  129. missdona says:

    When we moved into our last place, the landlords asked us to document all defects and they would “priortize” them. When we moved out there were still several “low priority” items that were never addressed.

    At one point, they taped a couple of letters to our front door that said it was “formal noticed” to remove our belongings from the basement and backyard.

    I wrote them a letter to advise them that taping letters to our door was an inappropriate method of communication.

    We left them hanging there until we moved out. If they brought any prospective tenants to see the vacant apartment, they would see them.

  130. RandomHookup says:

    @bdgbill: One of the things the Small Property Owners Association (I assume they don’t own a lot of property, not that they are Little People) is pushing for in Mass. is a mandatory escrow account for those withholding rent. You need to have some skin in the game or otherwise it’s just a way to avoid paying rent.

    If someone puts together that list, I’ll add the jerk I bought my house from. He moved in with his girlfriend who was renting the other unit and refused to pay rent for 6 months while I evicted them. Crooked landlords make the worst tenants.

  131. Goodnightbabytron says:

    My first landlord was a sweetheart — I didn’t realize at the time how great I had it. It was a retired couple that owned 5 properties, my wife (actually girlfriend at the time) and I were renting the upstairs apartment in a small house they owned. We had a few things break now and then — in retrospect it was normal wear and tear in an older home — and it drove me nuts. I was too young and inexperienced to appreciate how reliably the landlord showed up within 2 hours of me calling about ANYTHING. One time I broke a window after locking myself out, and paid to repair it myself. He found out I did that and insisted on reimbursing me for the cost of the repair because, as he’d said, “he’d been meaning to replace that lock anyway” and felt bad that I’d had trouble with it. We lived there for 2 years before moving on to one of those massive suburban complexes. We were excited to get more space, but didn’t realize how much personal attention and landlord integrity we were giving up. The rental agent at the complex told us that the landlord’s wife actually cried when she was giving us a reference, saying she wished they had a bigger place for us because they enjoyed having us as tenants. We lived in 3 more rental properties before buying a home, and never had an experience as great as that first one. If I’d known then what I know now, I might not have moved…and I’d certainly have appreciated that couple more. I just took it for granted that that’s how a landlord would behave.

  132. backbroken says:

    @Cupajo: Totally agree with you on this. I rented for 10 years because I knew I would eventually relocate, didn’t need the space, and thought real estate was overpriced in my area.

    At some point, buying became the best decision for me as I think it is for most people who have the means.

    But yeah, not stupid to rent at all for a lot of people.

  133. RandoX says:

    Had a landlord that wouldn’t do anything about the mice. I laid out traps but it wouldn’t do anything for the numbers that this place had. I moved out when I found a pile of dogfood under my pillow.

  134. forgottenpassword says:


    Well, then you were lucky you didnt have a vindictive landlord who was going to kick you to the curb the very second your lease was up.

    I was just saying, if you are going to be forcefull & demanding while quoting housing ordinances (even to get the landlord to do what he is supposed to do)…. you run the risk of getting kicked out the moment your lease is up. And to be prepared.

    Landlords HATE tenants who are informed of their rights & will often want to get rid of them in favour of tenants who arent informed.


    But in a lot of the “poor states” mostly southern states…. its often the complete opposite, where tenants rights laws are almost nonexistant or if anything…just the bare basics. ANd the landlord’s rights are a priority over tenants’.

    @Cupajo: (… your response to backbroken.) :

    I am pretty much in the same situation as you (even the same age) & have also decided it was cheaper & less of a hassle to rent instead of owning a home.

  135. The Commenter Formerly Known as StartingAces says:

    The manager of my current apartment occasionally lives in the unit over us (when it’s not rented out, it seems).

    The benefit of having attentive help far outweighs the ability to host epic ragers in my opinion. I am extremely happy with our current situation.

  136. vdragonmpc says:

    Oh lord…

    When I was in college we had a great idea to rent in Hopewell Virginia.. We found a place that was 385 a month with 3 bedrooms and a nice sized living room and kitchen. Only one bathroom though.

    Funny thing the landlord was a plumber. Guess what problems we had? When you took a shower you would see soapy water come out the left side of the house foundation… If you wash clothes same thing.. Let me tell you it was fun. The satellite guy was pissed when he came out and told me there was a pond under there that was horrific. I told him “to hell with that, just run the cable under the carpet we will deal with it”.. Then we found out the bathtub had a crack in it that went from the drain to the back. We found that out when my future wife moved in and tried to take a bath. Water would not stay in the tub, it simply ran under the house!

    But hey at least the lovely neighborhood scum welcomed me to the neighborhood by breaking into my Blazer and stealing the stereo! That was awesome. Not as awesome as finding out later that because we had noticed so quickly we had them pinned down in a camaro out front and didnt know it until the cop went outside!

    Renting sucks. Nothing to show for years of payments… Just as bad as leasing a car.

  137. BrianU says:

    If you read the history of the immigration waves of Europeans to America, the main reason wasn’t war, or religious freedom, etc. it was landlord abuse. Of course back then it mostly the owner of the land that they farmed to go deeper into debt every season, but moving to the factory cities and tenement landlords was even worse. Landlords should have been banned when they wrote the U.S.Constitution as it usually keeps people too poor to become property owners, and to prevent the situation of having to pay another individual for the right to live in your own country.

  138. othium says:

    Love the photo for this article. It was taken from the March 7th, 1949 issue of Life Magazine, from the article: “New army has a housing scandal, Fort Dix shacks.” The woman pictured was renting tents and shacks for high rent ($55 a month – quite a bit back in 1949!)

    As usual. Great story and I appreciate the information. Being a renter, I find it very useful to know my rights when dealing with the rental agency/landlord.

  139. That70sHeidi says:

    The only major problems I had with renting were some renovations/problems with pipes. They always seemed to turn the water off on days I has just started my, you know… cycle. As I was not working at the time, I had ALL DAY to spend in an apartment with no working toilet. It was eerie how they managed to time it just right each month.

    But you learn to live with roaches. Even when they end up half alive in your sweatpants. That you’re wearing.

  140. SeanMike says:

    I think the biggest problem I had was with a landlord when I was in college. She’d take forever to cash our rent checks.

    If she’d cashed them each fairly quickly, it wouldn’t have been a big problem, but she’d save them up. So all of a sudden a poor college student who doesn’t keep track well enough of his own finances (obviously, totally my own fault) would start bouncing checks everywhere…

    But the rest of the landlords I’ve had since then have been great.

  141. samurailynn says:

    My first landlord was great – a sweet little old lady who lived in one of the 13 apartments in the building. We knew just about everyone in the building, and you would usually find the landlady out planting flowers or inviting someone in for tea. She even loaned my roommate and I a dining table and chairs when she found out we didn’t have them.

    Since then I’ve had good and bad renting experiences. The last landlord was what made me really want to own a house though. He would call and yell at us for asking for things to get fixed and tell us that we had no right to ask for things to get done. We ended up talking to one of the neighbors and it turns out we weren’t the only people he was constantly trying to intimidate. I guess he had actually showed up at the neighbor’s place without prior notice to yell at them.

    Owning a house is a bit more expensive, but if we stay in it for the rest of our lives, we will eventually not have to pay rent.

  142. Bog says:

    The only really odd thing my landlord does is frequently take off for a few months a time, “we’ll settle up with the rent later.. By the way can you take care of my dog? I will give you $20.00 a day off the rent, save any receipts, etc.” At least the dog is really good, ‘cept it chews on my shoes sometimes. But hey, it amounts to free rent.

  143. missdona says:

    My landlady (wife of landlord, above) showed up at my door with a plumber and no advance notice to fix a faulty faucet. The housing inspectors were due about a half hour later. She thought she could squeeze in a repair at the 11th hour, 59th minute.

  144. algormortis says:

    My landlord is pretty much the picture of perfection. When i asked if i could paint the walls, he responded “Just pick some color two coats of white will cover.” When my hot water heater went out at 2am on a Thursday, it was replaced by 5pm that day. When some thieving arse tried to break in and slashed all my screens, the screen guy was there the next day. Oh, and when i cleaned my carpets because i’d been there for two years, the property manager reimbursed my rug doctor rental. (oh no, i paid for the soap!) When the showerhead started spraying funny, he told me to go get what i wanted at Home Depot and just include the receipt with next month’s rent and deduct the amount.

    Everyone in my building’s pretty nice, there’s a big and loud but sweet as heck family behind my building, and my rent’s been $475 for four years. (I live in Seattle, my landlord lives in SF.) Needless to say, my landlord’s a keeper, my building’s a keeper, and, oh yeah, when i e-mailed the gent a link to the story, his exact reaction was “Find their address, i have a tire iron.”

  145. unklegwar says:

    OMG, I was just reminded of my friend’s landlord. He rented a room in some old crazy lady’s house (it was cheap!).

    She’d call him at work to come home and CLEAN HIS ROOM.

    I joked that she probly sat in his room all day sniffing his boxers.

    He lasted 4 weeks there :-)

  146. Cupajo says:

    @vdragonmpc: “Renting sucks. Nothing to show for years of payments… Just as bad as leasing a car.”

    That’s a ridiculous generalization. I have a friend that makes a similar claim that renting is “throwing money away”. No, not true. I am, in fact, trading money for a service. That service happens to be shelter. By taking your argument to it’s logical conclusion, I could say that, by not building a cistern on your roof to collect rain water, you’re “throwing money away buying water from the water company”.

    By renting for a full 8 years longer than strictly necessary (so far), I have an investment portfolio and a 401K that rivals that of most people 10 years my senior.

    If I had bought that house at age 28, the lion’s share of my monthly payment would still be going towards interest for another 4 to 6 years. Lousy math. It’s shelter. Not an investment.

  147. Uriel says:

    Buy a houseboat. That’s what I’m gonna do.

  148. chrylis says:

    @Cupajo: While buying instead of renting is certainly a wiser financial choice for many people, renting can make a lot of sense–and you’re getting more than just a place to sleep.

    I currently live in an apartment complex (owned by BH Management) that is run by a very good management team. For my rent, I get not only a place to stay, but also a (basic but serviceable) fitness center, free cable TV, a portion of water, and most important, maintenance on plumbing and electrical, usually taken care of the same day.

    I do intend to purchase property and build a home someday, but at that point, I’ll still have to pay property taxes and to keep the place in working condition–something that my rent includes.

  149. kyle4 says:

    There’s these two customers who keep coming in to buy stuff and told me about their landlord who is absolutely crazy (these people don’t live in the best parts). She said he has snuck into their apartment and actually tapped it, she found some recorders. She said she’s in her third lawsuit with the guy, he left death threats when they were living there, he’s wanted on charges etc. It’s crazy.