If you’re a property manager, you probably know all too well that some tenants can be an absolute nightmare. Between collecting rent, managing maintenance requests, and communicating with owners, dealing with crazy tenants is the last thing you want to add to the load.
If you’ve had a few unbelievable experiences, you’re not alone. Here are 10 of the best tenant horror stories we’ve gathered from landlords on Reddit and other sources.
1. ‘I rented to (then evicted) Spiderwoman’
“Area Manager in the Midwest. I have 427 doors currently. I’m in my 7th year in the business. I’ve seen some shit, lol, but this one… This one was one for the books.
I was at one of my properties one day when a random guy came in. He says, “Yeah – Hi. I work across the street. I happened to be looking out the window a little bit ago and saw something that didn’t look right so I recorded it.”
Me: “Oh, God. What???”
Cue me watching a video of one of my residents climbing over her second-floor balcony onto her next-door neighbor’s second-floor balcony and letting herself into the apartment. 🤯 lol, wut.
Me: “When did this happen?” RG (Random Guy): “Just a few minutes ago.” Me: “Wait, what? It JUST happened?” RG: “Yeah, she did it a few times.” Me: “JFC, thank you. I’ll take it from here.”
I give him my phone number and ask him to send me the video. He does, then he leaves. I run upstairs, knock on both doors, and get no answer at either. I’m going back downstairs to get the tenant’s phone number and RG texts me…
RG: “She’s out there again.” Me: “Right now?!?!” RG: “Yes.”
I run back up there while I’m calling the tenant to tell him I’m going in his apartment. I get up there, go in, nothing. Tenant works 5 minutes away, so I wait for him to get home. He asks me to hold off on calling the cops until he gets there.
Tenant gets home, scours the place to figure out what she’d stolen.
Turns out, he’s friends with the girl. That’s why he wanted me to wait on the cops. He had to see it all for himself. He starts texting her. She tells him she’s out of town. I pull security footage and find her walking out no more than two minutes after the last time RG saw her on the balcony. She has the bag with her that she had when she was coming and going from the other apartment. Even with this, she CONTINUES to deny that she did anything.
Police report gets filed, eviction gets filed, life goes on.
Court date comes. SHE SHOWS UP. Her argument? SHE HAD PERMISSION TO BE IN HIS APARTMENT THAT DAY. I legit lol… in court.. in front of the judge and everything. Whoops. “Wait – I thought you were out of town?”
The timing was as if it was a scene straight out of a movie. As those words are coming out of my mouth, the tenant walks into the courtroom.
“Sorry I’m late. I was printing the texts between my wonderful neighbor friend here and myself.” Cue him pulling papers out and giving them to the judge. Spiderwoman’s face said everything.
Judge, “Well, this is interesting. To be clear, she did not have permission to be in your apartment that day?” Tenant: “Sir, why would she take the route she did to get in if I had given her permission? No. She did not have permission to be in my apartment or take my ~$400 in change.”
Game. Set. Match. She’s given 72 hours to vacate.
Bye bye, Spiderwoman!”
2. ‘He transformed his apartment into a maze-like labyrinth’
“We once had a tenant, let’s call him Greg, who was a passionate DIY enthusiast. When he first moved into one of our high-end apartments, we were impressed with his enthusiasm for making the place feel like his own. He asked if he could make a few changes, nothing structural, and promised to reverse everything upon moving out. So, I thought, “Why not? It’s just some temporary decorations.”
Fast forward a few months, I got calls from neighbors complaining about the noises of drills and hammers late into the night. Concerned, I decided to pay a surprise visit. To my astonishment, Greg had transformed his apartment into a maze-like labyrinth. Walls made of plywood had been erected everywhere, creating a myriad of twisting pathways. It looked like something out of an escape room. Although it was incredibly creative, it posed safety risks, and the potential for property damage was high.
Regretfully, we had to ask Greg to vacate the property, given the extent of the unauthorized changes. It was a memorable experience, a testament to human creativity, but also a lesson in the importance of clear lease agreements and regular property checks.”
Submitted by Jim Olenbush of AustinRealEstate.com
3. ‘A latex-dog poo lasagna filled the entire room’
“Had a whole house being rented. Evicted tenant. Went to clean up after they left and this was the basement. They had a dog that went in the basement to crap. Instead of cleaning it up, they poured latex paint on it to seal in the smell. The dog kept crapping and they kept pouring. A latex-dog poo lasagna filling an entire room. The floor was a mound about 4ft high and 10ft wide, filling the entire basement, of nothing but layers of latex paint and dog crap from several years of them living there. Took air hammers and chisels and weeks of work to clean.
Once we got that done we were able to get the the storage closet in the basement. It was jammed shut from this crap on the floor but the door had a hole in the top. They used this closed-off room with the hole as a diaper disposal for their infant. A room about 4ft x 4ft filled to the top with years of dirty baby diapers.”
4. ‘Total cost in damages was around $10,000’
“Once had 2 tenants, an older couple, rented to them for about 6 months before they stopped paying rent. I showed up there, talked to them at the door after they had been ducking my calls for over a week.
Really I’m a pretty lenient guy, not quick to evict – I just wanted to know what was going on.
They told me that their only child died – got shot through the floor of an apartment building – and that the funeral cost a lot. I was sympathetic, told them hey – do what you can. Sorry that happened, just try to get it together.
They don’t pay rent for 3 more months, keep ducking my calls. I show up there this time and they get shitty with me – like it’s somehow my fault when I’ve already been so nice about this. The conversation ended with them slamming the door in my face.
The next week I get a call from the police, they raided my tenants and found felony quantities of pills – told me if they have another incident with one of my properties they’d shut it down for public nuisance.
I wrote up eviction papers that day.
They ignored the 3-day notice, had the lawyer send a server for the court date – they didn’t show, and were given another 30 days to move. They didn’t move, sent another server for the next part – they didn’t show again, had to pay $600 to have sheriff’s forcibly remove them and store their stuff in storage.
I get in the house, they tore out the drywall, stole all the fixtures, used 1000’s of staples on every door frame and window, broke the refrigerator, stove, faucet, left a huge water leak in the basement ($1800 bill), tore up the carpet, and finally booby trapped the yard with uncoiled springs.
It was devastating financially, nearly cost me the house. Total costs, just materials as I did all the labor myself taking nearly 3 months, was around 4k, plus the 9 months I didn’t collect rent, the lawn mower I busted… total was somewhere around $10,000.
I documented everything and sent it off to collections, it’s been over a year and I still haven’t seen a penny of that – nor do I ever really expect to.
The fucked up thing is this lady, after her husband was in prison and I was in the throws of repairing the shit they did, she had the audacity to text me and say shit like “I hope you’re happy, I live in a tent now” and all sorts of other garbage like I could ever feel bad for her. I text her back and told her I hope her tent burns down.”
5. ‘We found a sea of cats living there’
“This was in a top floor 1 bedroom apartment of about 650 square feet. We got complaints about the smell emanating from this apartment. Upon inspection, we found a sea of cats living there with two people. Dozens of cats. When we called animal control, it took every truck in the city several trips. The final count? 62 cats? I love cats, but that’s too much.”
6. ‘Turns out he was breeding huskies in the apartment’
“I managed a 6 unit apartment building at one point and the person who moved in the 3rd floor was an absolute nightmare. He stopped paying rent pretty quickly, and knew the laws for eviction, so there were several months I couldn’t get access to and none of the other residents ever saw the guy. They knew he was up there because of the noise and more importantly, the smell. Eventually I got him out.
When I went in there the smell was almost overwhelming. Turns out he was breeding huskies in the apartment. 5 months, breeding huskies, never taking them out, never taking garbage out. There wasn’t an inch of floor that wasn’t covered in shit. When I moved the shit covered mattress, that was the only spot on the floor where I could see the actual carpet. I ripped up the carpets, cut out the floor, bleached every surface and closed off that apartment.
When I took the asshole to court, he showed up and tried to press charges for defamation of character based on me referring to him as a scumbag. I told the judge that I stuck with that assessment and showed photos. The judge laughed at him. Never got a dime from that worthless dude. I never took care of residential apartments again.”
7. ‘They were knocking out the walls inside the house’
“My dad owned some rental properties.
A Hispanic family rented the house out. A few days after they moved in my dad was driving by and his saw about 10 guys carrying sledgehammers and drywall bits and wood out of the house.
My dad pulled over, and they were knocking out the walls inside the house. My dad was flipping his shit. They said that they had a big family and knocked down the walls so they would have more space, swearing to have the walls back up and painted when they moved out.
Lease was up a year later, and they moved out. Dad went to check on the house, and it looked better than it did when they moved in.”
8. ‘Meth-heads make horrible tenants and leave toxic messes’
“I accidentally rented to a guy that was cooking, selling, and running a pawn for meth business out of the house I was renting. I didn’t realize the extent of it until I got a call from the neighbor across the street saying the front door of the house had been open for three days, and I should probably come check on the property.
The tenant had vacated the home but left behind 10 trailer loads of electronics in various states of disassembly, broken furniture, crack pipes, dirty needles, and rotting garbage piled 2-3 feet deep from the front of the house to the curb.
There were also piles of dog waste where he locked up a dog in a back bedroom and a hole in the hardwood floor where the dog tried to dig an escape.
He kept 2 fish tanks, one was a high dollar 150-200-gallon salt-water set-up that he kept immaculately clean, and the other one was his 55-gallon feeder fish tank, that was never cleaned. Apparently he stored drugs under the gravel of the filthy tank so that if they were ever raided, the dogs couldn’t smell the drugs over the stench of the water. I don’t know whether this is true, it was explained to me after the fact, that this was the logic.
Well, he carefully disassembled the nice tank and drained much of the salt water onto the rotting garbage piles. The feeder tank was too much trouble, so he smashed the front with a hammer, and retrieved his stash. This let 54 gallons of swamp water and rotting fish pour all over the front room of the house, soak into the abandoned furniture, the carpet, and hardwood floors.
Tl;dr: Do good background checks and charge sufficient deposits. Meth-heads make horrible tenants and leave toxic messes.”
9. ‘There were 23 mattresses in the house’
“My parents rented out our old 1,500 sq ft house to a nice looking couple. They had one child, and seemed very clean. A few months goes by, and we start getting calls from the neighbors stating that there is a really terrible odor coming from the house, and they believe the tenants may have another family living there. My parents make plans to go check on it the next day.
Well, they postponed it until the next week until they received another call – the tenants had left during the night. My parents are quite busy and ask me to go assess the damages. I go over there, get out of my car, and the smell hits me in the street, a full 20 feet from the door. I said to myself ‘fuck this’, left and grabbed a respirator and came back. I didn’t want to walk through the house and inhale whatever the fuck was making the smell.
Came back, opened the door and nearly passed out. Furniture was covered with shit, holes in walls, carpet was stained in damned near every spot that you could see. I say ‘every spot that you could see’ because you couldn’t really see much of the floor. There was way too much trash.
As I’m walking through the living room, I’m wondering how this small family and even another family managed to accumulate this much trash and cause this much damage. It’s not until I get to the basement and the bedrooms that I see why. There were 23 mattresses in the house. No box springs, no frames, just dirty stained mattresses on the floor. 23 or more people living in this small house…
There were other things, but the amount of disgusting mattresses and the shit-stained furniture were what stood out to me the most.”
10. ‘The cabinets had a dozen chickens living inside’
“Buddy of mine owned a 3-story house. Got a call from the 2nd floor tenants that water was coming through his roof. He went to the 3rd floor and when the tenants opened the door he could see one of those blow-up swimming pools in the living room. Not the little ones mind you but one of the big 24-inch deep ones. As if this wasn’t shocking enough, the tenant had also removed all the kitchen cabinet doors and replaced them with chicken wire and had a dozen chickens living in them.
Landlords, we know your job isn’t easy, especially when you have to deal with nightmare tenants. Here are some resources to make your life easier: