Generally I am on the side of renters at the moment and think they get a bad deal. The odds are stacked against them in this country with both prices and regulation. But occasionally the boot is on the other foot of the landlord cops a bad deal. Here are some weird and wonderful stories from the world of tenancy.
Don’t pick up that phone!
“I heard the phone ringing late at night but didn’t pick it up. I heard through the answer machine someone say, ‘I hope this is the right Ryan Wright, I’m calling all of them in the phone book and I am halfway through. My toilet is really backed up and I have really bad diarrhea, but I can’t use the plunger because my ex boyfriend broke both of my wrists.’”
“I got a call from someone who had goats in their rented inner-city high-rise apartment. The goats had eaten the carpet and curtains. I just said to them: “Look, you’re living in someone’s home, if you leave it a lot worse than you found it, don’t you think it’s fair that they get some money to help fix their home? They agreed that they probably deserved to lose their bond.”
“There is a very healthy debate among landlords on whether you should let animals in your property. I mainly rent out units and I don’t mind pets. I usually ask for a nonrefundable pet deposit and a higher rent rate.
One time a woman was relocating and paid a deposit and first month’s rent before seeing the place. Everything was going great for about seven months, but then we stopped hearing from her. She had moved, stopped paying rent and had simply abandoned everything in her unit. When I finally got hold of her she told us we could have everything … including her cat.
Wait a minute. How long had her cat been in this unit? This cat had been in the unit for months, but we found it still alive! The place, however, smelled beyond disgusting. To make matters worse, we had just paid to install carpet before she moved in. We have now switched to hardwoods, and we don’t rent to cat owners anymore!”
“I had a tenant pour concrete down the drains. There was no repair possible. It was literally more cost-effective to demolish, salvage what we could and rebuild. It even got into the septic system and we had to settle with the city for damaging their infrastructure. Biggest nightmare ever! We sued the former tenants, but when you’re suing a scumbag, best case scenario is you might get a 1990 Toyota or something.”
This takes the cake.
“I worked as a property manager in California. I saw lots of weird things but this one takes the cake. A tenant complained about a black mark forming on her ceiling. We cut an investigation hole in the ceiling and found out it was caused by the apartment upstairs. The woman there had an old single door fridge. The freezer had frozen to a solid block of ice and kept the door from shutting tight. This caused the fridge to never stop and the water was melting through the floor and formed a black mould circle.
That was the least of it. The woman was a hoarder. Her toilet was completely full of spiders so she didn’t use it. Her neighbor noticed that she kept emptying a cat litter tray into the skip bins but she never had a cat. That was where she was doing it, but not all the time. She also used adult diapers. She would just fling the full diapers into the corner near the radiator. The whole place was full of garbage. Two years of accumulated garbage. We had to clear it all out but the worst thing was clearing the ceiling. It was full of fruit fly nests, which was impossible to clean. We had to be on ladders and spray bleach and wipe. We never got it fully clean so just kept painting it white. It took many coats.”
“I was renting to a family but they somehow sub leased to a relative of theirs. He stopped paying the rent so I had him evicted. When I got the property back I went to inspect it. He had removed every piece of trim and architrave from every door and window. He made some kind of weird sculpture with it on the lounge room floor. It took me days to figure it all out like a jigsaw puzzle and put all the pieces back together in their right place.”