The Top Five Gifts Left By My Tenants

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As a landlord, I receive gifts – left by my tenants – every once in a while.  And since this is the time of the year when many of us exchange gifts, I thought I would share my top five favorite tenant gifts with you.

5.) Cleaning Supplies –

From brooms to dustpans and from Windex to Lysol it seems there are always some cleaning supplies gifted to us.  I actually cannot remember the last time I had to put any type of cleaning supplies on my shopping list.  Don’t get me wrong though.  I am happy to get these gifts because I use them and it means my tenants also used them.

4.) Lamps –

I do not know what it is about lamps, but many times they just can’t seem to go to the new home, even though they are nice and functional.  I have added several of these gifts to my own home and office, but please, I have enough lamps now and do not need any more.
Screenshot 12:23:12 9:11 PM 2

3.) Various Medieval Weapons –

I do not really get this one.  Maybe they are trying to tell me something akin to that famous line from the movie Pulp Fiction.  So far I have collected a scimitar and a flail or chain mace.  The scimitar weighs about 11 pounds and is quite the weapon.

2.) $54.36 and a Mini-Playmate Cooler –

We once purchased a building and inherited some tenants.  Since we wanted to completely rehab the building the tenants were given 30 days notice.  After one of the tenants had signed the Release to Rights of Possession form we went in to begin clean up. Screenshot 12:23:12 9:11 PM The tenant had left the place a mess, with junk furniture, empty liquor bottles and to my surprise loose change scattered everywhere.  And I do mean everywhere.  I found a Mini-Playmate cooler, the kind that will hold a six pack, and nearly filled it up with the loose change!  It totaled $54.36.  Why would you just abandon that?  It was on that day that I stopped trying to figure out why tenants do what they do.

1.) A Clean Apartment –

This one has got to be my favorite.  Over the years we have implemented various systems and practices that give us back a clean and ready to rent apartment.  Yes, there might be a few places to touch up some paint and perhaps a small repair or two but generally we get our properties back in nearly rent ready condition.  And isn’t that really the best gift of all to a landlord (other than prompt rent payments of course!).  I know, those are not really gifts, but it is really great when you have good tenants and your systems work.

So what kinds of gifts have your tenants left you?  What are your top five?  Let me know with your comments.

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Photo: Shawn Kinkade

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About Author

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in and manages rental properties in Memphis, TN and is a past president and vice-president of the local REIA group, the Memphis Investors Group.

39 Comments

  1. Medieval weapons wow! That’s pretty unique. I’ve seen just about everything on the list except that. I love when they leave cleaning supplies. I usually just leave them for the next tenants. The most common items I see are pong tables and lamps. (I rent in a college town which is why I see a lot of pong tables).

  2. Brandon Turner

    Great post Kevin!

    My Top 5:

    5.) Canned Food – (I don’t know why it’s so hard to check 12 cabinets – but almost every tenant forgets at least one)
    4.) Fleas (ugh…)
    3.) Women’s Clothes ( I don’t know why men don’t leave theirs – but women seem to all the time!)
    2.) Loose Change (same as you!)
    1.) Antique Dresser (a really cool one I use now)

    Also – I’d love for you to elaborate on the methods you use to get tenants to give you back a clean apartment! Ours are generally okay, but I’l love to hear more tips. (next blog post idea!?)

    Thanks Kevin!

  3. Clever article, Kevin. Ahhhh, the # 1 gift would definitely be the clean unit. Rarely happens, but when it does those folks are memorable!
    I often get lots of toys and/or children’s clothes. Did these folks ever hear of Goodwill?

  4. Tenants have left me hundreds of dollars in change along over the last 10 years.
    Besides the money I have also been left a Golden Retriever, which the nice woman sharing a backyard took off my hands.
    I picked up a nice WW2 French 8 mm Calvary pistol, and 4 boxes of ammo.
    A 50 gallon fish tank with salt water fish, sold that entire deal for $150 on Craigslist.
    Five boxes of syringes, and two boxes of condoms totaling 288 condoms.
    Sports cards, DVD’s, Comic books, Cable boxes, TV’s, can goods, etc….

    My most loved tenant disappeared 2 years ago (figure he is in jail) leaving behind a totally furnished apartment, with a fully stock liquor cabinet and two cases of my favorite micro brew. This is my one and only furnished apartment that I rent.

    The worst tenant leave behind was himself, he put a rope around his neck taped the door shut in a closet and smoked pot and took pills until he passed out and hung himself.
    Bad thing we did not know about his actions until his family contacted us a week later wondering why he did not come to Easter Dinner. It took them a week to wonder why he did not come to dinner? Later I found out he had a problem with drugs, he was sober for near a year but had relapsed.

    Sorry to leave this on a bad note, but this is low income in Philly.

  5. I’ve never had any of the above left for me . . . I think I would have enjoyed a few of them. Great idea for a post! I hope to hear other interesting things from the commenters to come.

    That said, I am sorry to hear about Dennis’ story. That’s terrible.

  6. 1. Healthy Pot Plants growing in the back yard.
    2. Cockroaches/Fleas/Silverfish
    3. Various hand tools
    4. XXX Videos
    5. Hangers, hangers and MORE HANGERS!

    • Kevin Perk

      Mike,

      Yes, I have had some XXX stuff left as well from a tenant we inherited when we purchased a building. Did not make the list. Same guy had a postcard inviting people over to a “Bring your own porn party.” Ewwwwww!

      Have found pot seeds but not actual plants, not that I would know what any of that looks like. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Kevin

  7. Hi, folks. I need your help, please. I have a rental where the tenants have been repeatedly harassed by their neighbors who are leasing also. To make a long story short, these people have been terrorizing the neighborhood for several months. Three other neighbors have had trouble, but are afraid to come forward. My tenant has called the police and they have been out at least 20 times, yet refused to do anything as they don’t have additional witnesses. They “pretended” to run over 8 & 10 year old brothers walking home from school…twice…but again not additional witnesses.
    They now attacked my renters, gave the husband, wife, and 10 year old daughter all three black eyes. Police finally arrested 5 of them (3 are minors); none of us know exactly how many people actually are leasing the home, but it’s several. The main offender, who pulled a gun on my renter, has already been released but scheduled for trial.
    I have checked the landlord/tenant act for AZ, and contacted HOA. No help there. We have spoke to their landlord who doesn’t care either, or the fact that they are not taking care of property.
    In my 20 years of property management, I’ve never faced anything like this. This is a nice, middle class neighborhood that is usually quiet. Any help you all can give would be appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.

    • Rita, I’d install a security camera to the front of the rental, possibly one with a wide angle lens attached to a recording device.
      I don’t know what the law is where you are as far as video recording people, so check that, but if something happens on your property, the cops may take it more seriously with proof.

      • Thanks, that’s good advise which would probably be helpful. My tenants did have very rough videos on their phones, but police wouldn’t take interest in those either, I suppose because it was not third party. Appreciate the thoughts!

    • Kevin Perk

      Document, document, document everything! Every who, what, where, when and why. Eventually you may have to bring a nuisance suit against the tenants and the property owner.

      I have found that these types of situations usually move on for some sort of reason sooner or later. But waiting that out is hard.

      Until then, would a really tall fence help?

      Good luck,

      Kevin

  8. Jay Aroundtheway on

    Various Tenant Gifts I have received:
    1) A Sony Ps3
    2)An Automatic putting system with golf club
    3) Cleaning Materials( brooms, Pinesol, Detergent.)
    4) Canned food
    5) Designer Clothing

    Cheers,
    Jay Aroundtheway

  9. We’ve never had any gifts left behind except for a clean unit (which is much appreciated). But we do know a guy that claims a drug dealer left behind $10K in the unit after he was arrested. Unluckily the landlord missed seeing it in the attic, and the cops got it when they did their sweep. That would have been way better than $54. =)

  10. I would also say that the best gift is a clean place. I too would love to hear your system and practices for getting tenants to leave a clean place. If we know a tenant is going to be moving out, we send a detailed list of exactly what they need to do and clean before they move out, which has helped quite a bit.

  11. Aaron Mazzrillo on

    The headline in the email is “Tenant Gifts” so I was expecting an absurd article about what us landlords should be giving to our tenants. So glad to find your article on the funnier and more interesting side of this business. I’ve collected lots of change over the years as well, but my best gift thus far has been a completely remodeled kitchen with granite countertops and a remodeled bath. The tenant only stayed for about 8 months too.

  12. A .380 pistol
    Mounted deer head- now over my desk
    A suitcase full of womens’ clothing at a gay crossdresser’s house
    Polaroids of my fenale tenant’s privates. She moved across the street so I stilll see her.
    Frying pan to the head murder cleanup. The police remove only the body.
    Brand new Carhart jacket with tags in my size.
    Meth lab cleanup $47,000.
    Purple walls with black ceilings.
    Tools, toys, appliances, sheds, fences,
    And some sparkling clean homes!

    • Kevin Perk

      Quite the list!

      $47,000 meth lab clean up! Ouch! Was that out of pocket or did insurance help?

      Did they not throw glitter in the purple paint also just for fun? :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Kevin

  13. I enjoyed the article and have been a property manager for a number of years. The best (and worst) case of tenants moving and leaving a nearly full apartment happened a few years ago. These girls moved away together and for awhile brfore the move had a couple of low-life male roommates. When they left I found everything from knives to poker sets, stolen guitar ( returned to a local high school) and a guitar hero drum set. There was too much for me to get rid of so I hired my nephew to empty the place out. As he was loading stuff into his truck he found his own (stolen) winter coat in a dresser! We figured that one of those guys was a thief which is why they left it all behind. Always interesting dealing with tenants:)

  14. I’ve found guns, meth, a big box of drumsticks, and more left by tenants, but the most curious is pennies. Esp. evicted tenants, they always leave behind pennies. One tenant I evicted left 254 pennies, all over the unit (yes, I counted them). I know pennies aren’t much to fuss with, but I wonder how many people will never move beyond being tenants and evictions and all the rest when they can’t even manage THEIR PENNIES.

    • Kevin Perk

      John,

      You are on to something regarding the pennies. When I go look at a foreclosed property for potential purchase, if it has not been cleaned out yet many times I will find all sorts of loose change all over the place. I can also see where the big screen tv used to be. You can tell what their priorities were and it was not counting their pennies.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Kevin

  15. my tenant just left me an alive and very pissed off pit bull! Of course, she was not allowed to have pets but that didnt seem to matter.

  16. I think I see a difference between tenants and owner finance folks.

    Tenants leave me …all of the above and a bill for changing locks, fixing up the place and legal bills and my time for chasing their cheap asses up for unpaid rent and damage.

    Owner finance folks (whom for some reason decide to move) leave the place empty, pretty clean and apologize if they don’t. They keep sending me Christmas cards, pictures of their new house and ….referrals as they are grateful to me for giving them a house and a chance to get back on their financial feet when nobody else, and no bank, ever would.

    i really need to get rid of my last 2 rentals! Dear new years resolution list …

  17. We were left a large amount of de-greaser and cleaning materials that my tenant never used over the 2 years they lived there.

    Had my first tenant just up and move out breaking our lease after living there for only 4 months and left

    -2 very large TV’s (old school so I don’t want em)
    -Aaron’s rental washing machine and dryer so we had the hastle of calling them to schedule a pick up
    -broken window
    -broken furniture

    Love the blog Kevin!

    • Kevin Perk

      Lisa,

      Hope you are having better luck with your tenants these days. If not, check out my posts on tenant screening.

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I do appreciate it. And thanks for reading and commenting!

      Kevin

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