Landlord Rescue: Nightmare tenants (with pictures)

9 Replies

@James Wise shared a horror story so I'll share my most recent example. This isn't Cleveland but we still have our problems.

I pick up a lot of business from private Landlords that manage their own rentals. This is a recipe for disaster because most of them have no clue what they're doing. They eventually get in a bind and come to me for assistance. In the vast majority of cases, I handle all the work and put more money in their pocket. Some owners have doubled their income AFTER paying me fees. It's that bad.

So a Landlord had been managing several rentals on her own and was in over her head. It didn't take long to realize it was worse than she thought! Her first unit was in decent condition but the tenant was several months behind on rent and utilities. I evicted her, turned the unit around, and got it rented. The owner was so happy she asked me to help with a second property that was a lot worse.

She gave me the address and the name of her tenants. I recognized the tenants because they had applied to rent from us two years prior. We rejected them immediately but they managed to talk this poor Landlord into giving them a chance in her newly purchased investment property. 

Rent was $1,200 a month but this couple earned less than $1,000 a month. As soon as they moved in, they applied for assistance through a local church. That church paid their entire rent for a year! Unbelievable. Once the tenants sucked that teat dry, they convinced the Landlord to lower their rent. She agreed to charge them $400 a month for six months, then $800 for six months, and then it would go back to $1,200. They had been at $400 a month for six months and were already a couple months behind.

I asked if she had inspected the home. She admitted she hadn't been inside for nearly two years but said it looked good from the outside. I warned her that non-paying tenants normally don't take good care of the home. She insisted it would probably be OK because it was in "perfect condition" when the tenants moved in. I secretly laughed.

I walked up to the house and saw this:

...and this:

This was all visible from the street. It's close to my office so I drove by it regularly and knew the tenants were destroying the place. The Landlord clearly wasn't keeping an eye on her investment.

I counted eight broken window panes just in the front windows. When I knocked on the door, their dogs went into a rampage and started slamming their paws into the window panes and door. One of them managed to break out a window pane while I was standing there!

The tenant opened the door but left the storm door closed. Despite the closed door, I got a strong smell of sewage inside. I introduced myself and gave him written notice that I would be inspect in seven days. Even though they had a week to prepare, the home was a disaster.

They had a washer/dryer (more on this later) but were apparently just throwing dirty clothes in the corner instead of washing them. I think they were throwing dirty clothes in the corner and getting "new" clothes from the donation center. This is a common practice among poor people in our community. Notice his boots appear discolored from water?

I chose a bad day to wear flip-flops!

This is the drain for the washing machine. It was clogged so the tenants ran an RV sewer hose from the washing machine to the bathroom. However, the sewer hose leaked (notice the orange tape) and the bathroom shower drain was also clogged. He had been running a shop vac that morning trying to clean up the standing sewer water throughout the basement.

The above picture shows the RV sewage hose, along with some other goodies. Those clumps of brown stuff? It's what you think it is.

See the board above the pillow?

They put boards down so their children...yes, children...could safely walk to their rooms without stepping in sewage. One of the rooms is on the left, just before the bathroom. I don't have a picture of it but the toilet was cracked and leaking at the base and had a huge turd floating in it. The window was broken out and replaced with plywood and none of the lights worked. There were approximately 10,472 flies in this hallway and bathroom with a child sleeping just feet away. The carpet in the kid's bedroom was saturated, as were his clothes and mattress, all of which was on the floor. Nothing was hanging in the closet or in a dresser.

This was the back yard. They had piles of garbage bags because they didn't want to walk 20 feet to the dumpster. The yard was full of weeds because the tenants didn't turn the sprinkler system on for two years. The garage was full of trash and the other side of that fence had all kinds of broken junk.

We called Dept. of Family Services and had the children removed immediately. I got the tenants out without going to court and the home was ready to be cleaned and renovated just 20 days later. Unfortunately, the owner ignored my advice and hired strangers to clean and renovate. It took them six months to do what I could have done in 30 - 45 days. It cost her twice as much, plus 4x the vacancy and now we're stuck trying to find tenants in the dead of winter.

I always hear investors say, "Nobody will care about your investment more than you!" I can find you dozens of examples where that isn't true because most investors have no idea what they're doing. 

Being lucky is not a business plan.

Wow.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

@James Wise shared a horror story so I'll share my most recent example. This isn't Cleveland but we still have our problems.

I pick up a lot of business from private Landlords that manage their own rentals. This is a recipe for disaster because most of them have no clue what they're doing. They eventually get in a bind and come to me for assistance. In the vast majority of cases, I handle all the work and put more money in their pocket. Some owners have doubled their income AFTER paying me fees. It's that bad.

So a Landlord had been managing several rentals on her own and was in over her head. It didn't take long to realize it was worse than she thought! Her first unit was in decent condition but the tenant was several months behind on rent and utilities. I evicted her, turned the unit around, and got it rented. The owner was so happy she asked me to help with a second property that was a lot worse.

She gave me the address and the name of her tenants. I recognized the tenants because they had applied to rent from us two years prior. We rejected them immediately but they managed to talk this poor Landlord into giving them a chance in her newly purchased investment property. 

Rent was $1,200 a month but this couple earned less than $1,000 a month. As soon as they moved in, they applied for assistance through a local church. That church paid their entire rent for a year! Unbelievable. Once the tenants sucked that teat dry, they convinced the Landlord to lower their rent. She agreed to charge them $400 a month for six months, then $800 for six months, and then it would go back to $1,200. They had been at $400 a month for six months and were already a couple months behind.

I asked if she had inspected the home. She admitted she hadn't been inside for nearly two years but said it looked good from the outside. I warned her that non-paying tenants normally don't take good care of the home. She insisted it would probably be OK because it was in "perfect condition" when the tenants moved in. I secretly laughed.

I walked up to the house and saw this:

...and this:

This was all visible from the street. It's close to my office so I drove by it regularly and knew the tenants were destroying the place. The Landlord clearly wasn't keeping an eye on her investment.

I counted eight broken window panes just in the front windows. When I knocked on the door, their dogs went into a rampage and started slamming their paws into the window panes and door. One of them managed to break out a window pane while I was standing there!

The tenant opened the door but left the storm door closed. Despite the closed door, I got a strong smell of sewage inside. I introduced myself and gave him written notice that I would be inspect in seven days. Even though they had a week to prepare, the home was a disaster.

They had a washer/dryer (more on this later) but were apparently just throwing dirty clothes in the corner instead of washing them. I think they were throwing dirty clothes in the corner and getting "new" clothes from the donation center. This is a common practice among poor people in our community. Notice his boots appear discolored from water?

I chose a bad day to wear flip-flops!

This is the drain for the washing machine. It was clogged so the tenants ran an RV sewer hose from the washing machine to the bathroom. However, the sewer hose leaked (notice the orange tape) and the bathroom shower drain was also clogged. He had been running a shop vac that morning trying to clean up the standing sewer water throughout the basement.

The above picture shows the RV sewage hose, along with some other goodies. Those clumps of brown stuff? It's what you think it is.

See the board above the pillow?

They put boards down so their children...yes, children...could safely walk to their rooms without stepping in sewage. One of the rooms is on the left, just before the bathroom. I don't have a picture of it but the toilet was cracked and leaking at the base and had a huge turd floating in it. The window was broken out and replaced with plywood and none of the lights worked. There were approximately 10,472 flies in this hallway and bathroom with a child sleeping just feet away. The carpet in the kid's bedroom was saturated, as were his clothes and mattress, all of which was on the floor. Nothing was hanging in the closet or in a dresser.

This was the back yard. They had piles of garbage bags because they didn't want to walk 20 feet to the dumpster. The yard was full of weeds because the tenants didn't turn the sprinkler system on for two years. The garage was full of trash and the other side of that fence had all kinds of broken junk.

We called Dept. of Family Services and had the children removed immediately. I got the tenants out without going to court and the home was ready to be cleaned and renovated just 20 days later. Unfortunately, the owner ignored my advice and hired strangers to clean and renovate. It took them six months to do what I could have done in 30 - 45 days. It cost her twice as much, plus 4x the vacancy and now we're stuck trying to find tenants in the dead of winter.

I always hear investors say, "Nobody will care about your investment more than you!" I can find you dozens of examples where that isn't true because most investors have no idea what they're doing. 

Being lucky is not a business plan.

 lol, what kind of maniac wears flip flops to one of these dumps?

+1 To Julie. Wow.

I only have one rental (for now) and I'm lucky enough to live less than 2 miles from it and have personal friends who live in the same neighborhood. Its very easy for me to stay up with it.

You are correct, it's very common to talk to other landlords who should turn management over to someone else. Its common to get the deer in the headlights look when you start talking about normal repairs and its obvious they just turn a blind eye and hope for the best.

Wow. I’m in awe of how some people can live in and more importantly create such a horrible living environment where CHILDREN??!!! lived. There are people living in 3rd world countries who don’t have running water, dirt floors, but manage to have a somewhat decent living environment considering the resources they have available.   And that would be a big step up from this environment.  It makes me so frustrated that people who have access to good resources are just too lazy to use them.  I mean, really??!!    You can’t take out the trash?  Call someone if you have a water leak to fix it so your children are safe?  Big props to you for contacting DHS and getting those kids out of there @Nathan G!!  

We bought one in very rough condition ($19,000) from investors with equally bad tenants, but no where near the 'turd house' you pictured.

I hired a couple of young kids who do clean up for me as I knew couldn't hold my lunch down in the kitchen or bathroom areas. After they completely cleaned out the place (2 days) & the dumpster & stench was gone I sat down with them & asked the young woman. "Can you believe people live like this".  Her reply "I have relatives who live in far worse".

It was a huge old home that must have been a classic in its heyday. We sold it for $45,000 'as is' & hold the note. They have completely rehabbed it to it's old glory.

Wow. Just.... WOW.

Beyond unbelievable that people can live like this. 

And YES, many landlords are much better off getting a property manager! I personally know that I don't have the patience to deal with tenants, and I would rather use my time and energy doing other things. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that that some PMs are just as clueless about what they are doing (or just incompetent) as hapless landlords, so the key, I think, is not just getting a PM, but being able to find a truly GOOD one. 

Well thank God you got DHS to get the kids somewhere safe. 

Thank you for this incredible real life story!

I shudder to think there are people in our own backyard to that would create such a horrible living condition for themselves and their poor kids. Even people in third world countries would not subject themselves to living as such...

Thanks for sharing. It is an eye-opener.

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