As a landlord, you expect to encounter difficulties with a handful of problematic tenants. For instance, even though you have a no-pets policy, someone will inevitably bring a dog into the house, and of course, it will be the kind of dog that enjoys chewing walls and messing all over the floors. You also know that someone will try to hand you an obviously fictional sob story to avoid late fees. These things happen. They're unfortunate, but dealing with them is part of the job.
Then there are nightmare stories that sound too horrific to be true. Here are three of the most terrible landlording stories of 2015. Hopefully, you never have experiences like these. The next time you're having a bad day, just read these stories to keep your troubles in perspective.
The Indoor Barnyard
What's the worst thing you can imagine a tenant doing to your property? How about creating an indoor barnyard complete with a pond and chickens?
This apparently happened to a landlord who owned a three-story house. The second-story tenants called to complain that water was leaking into the apartment. Concerned about his tenants and his property, the landlord headed over to see what was wrong. The water was obviously seeping through the ceiling, so he went upstairs to pay his third-story tenants a visit.
That's when the landlord discovered that the tenants had installed a swimming pool in the living room. This wasn't a small swimming pool for little kids to sit in. It stood nearly two feet deep.
While that answered the question of how the second floor had flooded, the landlord discovered another strange thing in the kitchen. The tenants had removed all of the cabinet doors, and in their place, they had installed chicken wire. Instead of dishes and cups, the kitchen cabinets were storing a dozen chickens.
The tenants had basically built their own indoor barnyard. There's no telling how much the owner spent repairing the damage.
Landlord Blocked by Tenants
One landlord in Vermont says that tenants receive too many protections from the state government while landlords don't get nearly enough support. If you have ever had a troublesome tenant, then you are probably sympathetic to this view. Hopefully, though, you have never had an experience like hers.
The problems started almost immediately after the 75-year-old woman moved out of state and started renting her house to a couple. When she sent a property manager to inspect the home, the couple would not let him inside. They were there, but they would not answer the door. That may have seemed odd, but things were about to get a lot worse.
It didn't take long before the tenants stopped paying rent. Over the next year, they accumulated $5,700 in back rent. They also violated the rental agreement by not taking care of the property. They didn't even throw out the trash.
What makes this case even stranger is that the tenants were not living in the home full-time. With few options left, the owner moved back into the house; it was all she could afford to do. While she was there, the couple's teenage son tried to break into the house and harassed the elderly woman. She later discovered that the tenants had caused similar problems for other landlords in the area.
Eventually, the court ruled in the landlord's favor after the tenants failed to show up at a hearing. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that she will ever recoup her losses.
Unlike many nightmare stories, this one has been corroborated by witnesses and the media. If the owner ever decides to rent her property again, hopefully she will perform a detailed background check and look for warning signs that a potential client is bad news.
Meth Labs Are the Worst
Methamphetamine has become a serious problem that affects over 24.7 million users around the world. Obviously, drug addiction poses terrible physical and mental health risks. What isn't obvious to most people, though, is that meth also has negative effects for landlords.
This story has become so common that you don't even need to know about a specific instance. Just follow the news and you will hear about a house in your city that has been used to manufacture methamphetamine.
As a landlord, your biggest concern is how this problem affects your property. The chemicals used to make meth are extremely toxic. They're so dangerous that you cannot rent a property that has been used to manufacture the drug until after you have it thoroughly cleaned by professionals. This isn't a simply cleaning job, either. At the very least, you can expect to spend about $3,000. A heavily contaminated house could cost $25,000 or more to clean.
The really bad news is that you're lucky if you only have to pay someone to clean the property. Particularly negligent meth cooks can make mistakes that cause explosions. In some cases, the explosions cause fires. The worst-case scenario is that it literally blows the walls off your property.
This growing problem makes it crucial for landlords to visit their properties regularly. The smell of cat urine is the most common sign that someone is making meth. If something does not smell right, then you need to take action to protect yourself, your property and your community. Nothing compares to the nightmare of meth.
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