Yesterday, we shared with you the story of Z, the room he rented in a small city in central California, and the landlord who thought it was totally okay to stay in his bedroom while he was out of town. We didn’t expect to get an update this soon, or for the story to get even stranger. It turns out that while the owner of the house may be mentally ill, according to local police, she has definitely been running a scam for at least the last few months that consists of collecting rent and deposits, then terrorizing renters so they move out. Whether the “terrorizing” part is intentional or not isn’t clear.
While most of us are sporting yellow and blue and leaving tributes to Leap Day William, one Milwaukee landlord is trying to spoil everyone’s fun by not only using the calendar blip to push a tenant out early, but to screw him out of his damage deposit.
Z picked up and moved to a new city for work, and rented a room in a three-bedroom house with an out-of-town landlord. He found the rental on Craigslist. Not his dream home, but not so bad either. Until he came home from a conference and found that the landlord came to visit, and stayed in the house. With all three bedrooms rented out, where did she crash? Z’s room, of course, which she also rummaged through and rearranged the furniture.
When a landlord says that the cost of water is included in the rent, one might assume that this landlord is dutifully paying that water bill on time, or at least every few years. But tenants at an apartment complex in Georgia recently found out that the owners of the buildings hadn’t paid the water bill in five years — and that the water would be shut off in a week.
Putting a home up for rent could be an avenue to easy, endless income or arduous, unceasing headaches. Much of your fate as a landlord will depend on your ability to select the right tenants. Some landlords get greedy or frustrated with a tough market and accept the first potential renter they come across, but those who know what they’re doing make careful choices.
Earning money by renting out property seems like a dream job, but it takes a certain mentality and skillset to succeed as a landlord. Meek or lazy people can turn the gig to a nightmare for themselves and their tenants.
Those good-for-nothing bums down at Zuccotti Park put down their free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for one minute and became quite good-for-something. Instead of occupying Wall Street, they occupied 142nd Street, and got a new boiler installed in a building where the heat and hot water has been spotty for years.
A new study by the U.S. Forest Service found that planting trees along the perimeter of a rental property increase the rates the landlord could charge by $21 a month.
Investors have been snatching up houses in Philly and then applying a “rent ’em n’ forget ’em” policy. Once-picturesque blocks where neighbors competed to have the nicest flowerbed have degenerated into ones where they seem to be fighting to see who can have the highest unmowed lawn.
A Wisconsin landlord has been sued by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development after refusing to rent a property to a single mother. The landlord, who is a woman, said it was because the renter didn’t have a man “to shovel the snow.”
SJ has been battling door-to-door salesmen and flyer stuffers in his neighborhood for years. After getting fed up, the block held a powwow and everyone decided to get “No Soliciting” stickers to put on the doors. Yet the flyers still keep cropping up. Here is a recent picture SJ took of his door, with a flyer for “Shiraz Pizza” stuffed in it, right above the “No Soliciting” sticker. He diagrammed and labeled it to make it easier to understand, and sent it to the pizza parlor along with a complaint letter.
A man named Chen woke up recently to find a scorpion crawling over his body. Snapping on the bedroom light, he found his bedroom to be full of scorpions. He gathered his family and worked to capture several hundred of the arachnids. When they left the apartment, they found their neighbors had been battling the poison-tipped beasts, and their landlord, who wants them out to make way for a construction project, is suspected of letting them loose.
Greg was pretty ticked off. After two weeks of complaining to management, the tall tree outside his apartment complex still had garbage hanging from its branches. It looked like some sort of foul Christmas Tree for hobos. He couldn’t use the parking spot he pays $94 a month for because the building staff had removed all the “Tenant Only” parking signs and not put up the new ones. People who didn’t live in the building were parking in his spot. Only after sending a string of admonishing emails to the building manager, his bosses, and the board of directors did Greg finally get The Tree Of Garbage cleaned up. Here’s the chain of emails:
D. hates her current apartment, and is looking for a new place to live. The catch? She works as a temp, and has had some credit problems. She has a steady work history, and also a decade-long history of on-time rent payments to the management company she currently rents from. She wonders: what advice does the Consumerist Hive Mind have for her as she looks for a new home?
S. rents a house in Florida, and the refrigerator needs repair. Her dilemma is that her landlord wants to use a specific repairman, who is only available when S. and the rest of her household aren’t available to wait around. The landlord has offered to let the repairman in, but S. isn’t comfortable with having anyone in her home when she’s not around. What would you do?
Being a landlord can be a dream, with an easy stream of income with little ongoing effort required, but the career can also be a nightmare of repair bills and troubling tenants.
Raymond and his wife had a leak in their master bedroom ceiling that they begged their landlord to fix for five months, with no result. With a baby due in a month, they really needed full use of their bedroom. Then Raymond wrote a very good complaint letter specifically citing his state’s landlord-tenant law and proposing a retroactive rent reduction for all the months the leak wasn’t fixed. That got their attention.