Landlords. whatare the odd things/conditions you've found in apts

nctrnlAugust 15, 2006

To clarify.... what are some of the odd things you have found in your tenant's apartments. Things you disapprove of. Or even the odd/bizzare conditions you have found your tenants living in?

I ask this because since I have moved in to my save money I never had the water turned on. The heat & electricity yes... but not the water. I can only assume the horrid things people reading this are imagining. "Does he bathe?? How does He clean the various parts of the apartment without water??? How does he FLUSH THE TOILET!!!!???? OMG!!!!!" ... etc. etc.

I cart my own water in. More than enough to fill the toilet tank, mop the floors, clean the fixtures & shower on the weekends (I shower TWICE a day at work on the weekdays). I also do my laundry at work.

I also accumulate aluminum cans.... let me explain.......where I work they have big outdoor & indoor functions where twice a month or so I can take home anywhere from 50-500 aluminum cans & misc. foodservice foil (aluminum foil trays/platters etc. etc.). Otherwise they would all go in the garbage. I wash, clean & dry them all so there is NO food or liquids rotting on/in the cans/platters. They are all found on tables or in the kitchen.... it is not like I am digging thru the dumpsters for them. So they dont stink or attract vermin. I have been VERY vigilant about that.

I need to save up 200lbs of aluminum scrap to get a decent price for them at the recycler's.

I have 3 BIG black garbage bags full of the cans & foodservice foil sitting in a closet.

I wonder what my landlord would think if he knew I had them in my apartment.

Oh I forgot .... I also have 7 marijuana plants & a mini meth lab on the back room too. (JUST KIDDING!!! LOL!).

Other than the above I have been a fantastic tenant.... I pay my rent early (sometimes a month in advance), never complain, do everything I can to NOT annoy/disturb the other 2 tenants (3 apartments in a converted house).... I have even asked my landlord on several occasions "how am I doing as a tenant" & always get a great response.

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do you get charged separately for water? Every apartment that I've lived in, the water is included in my rent. Does your landlord have a separate water meter for your apartment?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 2:41PM
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The water thing may be a problem. If your landlord has a mortgage and they would find out there is no water the apartment is deemed condemend and can instantly call his mortgage. Water is cheap. Your monthly bill would only be a few dollars since you hardly use it. Turn it on.... how are you ever going to bring a date home or any company?

I've had tenants with over 1000 lb of aluminum in garages, a 7' pot plant, but most just don't know how to clean or even own a vacume.

Some bad things found in apartments, a garden! The tenants brought in black dirt and layed 6+ inces on the floor. They had beens and corn growing. Tenant below called about a water leak. Another upset tenant left and dumped cement down every drain! Very expensive!

Lots of porn and sexual items. Items such as swings etc.

A alien temple with jars of urine in and around. Pretty creapy when I knocked he said come in and was hiding out in this contraption naked. I've found meth labs, crack houses, but mostly pot for drugs.

Scariest was a three plex I sold. The basement apartment was like a dungen. The tenant slept on a couch in the living room. The bedroom had a 13 inch tv and a chair placed about 3 ft away. He had vcr tapes of porn stacked from the floor to ceiling all around the walls covering up the window and everything but the door. Only items beside TV and chair was an end table that had lotion and tissue.

I was creaped out and refused to show anyone else that unit!

Worst unit was the "cat lady" She was the dirtiest wowan alive! Never ever cleaned in 30+ years. Also never threw anything away. It was so bad the city had to get involved. The cat smell was so bad the entier building was overwhelmed and neighbors were complaining. It had hot water heat and the cats peeded on the copper. The urine was so acidic that it made holes in the copper. The smell, sight and apartment cant be described. I'm guessing I have been in around 1500 fastly different apartments and this was by far the worst.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:16PM
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I get charged for every utility (it isnt included with the rent)... each apartment has its own meter for every utility. The only thing the landlord pays for is curbside trash pickup.

I'm tired of paying fees just for being a utility company's customer. For nat. gas I pay upwards of $20 for not using ANY gas.... but just for being a customer. That is BS when I dont use ANY nat. gas during the summer!

I have to save somewhere. And since I NEED electricity yearround & heating (during the winter).... something's got to give. I am just a bit worried that I could be causing some damage to the pipes/water heater if they arent constantly filled with water. At work they turned off the water & the boiler went dry & when they turned the water back on it was all brown (rust had formed in the boiler). At any rate... I am willing to pay for any damages that may occur.

I dont have people over.

Note: I transferred my cans from the big trashbags to big cardboard boxes & keep them in the "moving boxes" nook (I have way too much room in my studio apartment). I figure they wouldnt look like I was hoarding bags of garbage if the cans were in the boxes.

I kinda live like a broke college student (by choice)... have VERY minimal furniture & dont decorate. I am a slave to my life's savings account... that is all that's important to me in life at the moment.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 4:17AM
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You said you are willing to pay for any damage that may occur due to your not running water through the pipes...

Well consider it this way-- have you truly sat down and considered just how much it could cost to have the water system in your apartment replaced? It's not just the cost of a couple of pipes... a plumber can get upwards of $60 or more per hour for labor. And what about GETTING to the pipes? Most of them are probably located behind walls or under floors, which could also mean quite a demo job just getting to them, then re-drywalling, painting, etc., to fix it back up again.

You're saving a couple bucks a month, while risking a repair job which could potentially cost thousands. Sorry, but that doesn't make much sense to me... I doubt it would to your landlord, either, who (since the problem wouldn't be discovered until after you move out) would probably be the one actually getting stuck with the bill.

Sorry, but I think you need to suck it up and pay for water to your apartment.

As for collecting aluminum, as long as it's not attracting critters, to each their own... you could probably pay for a water bill just in aluminum!! :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Methinks nctrl is putting us on...seriously.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 7:06PM
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I think nctrnl is bored and decided to see how many legs can be pulled.

nctrnl, tomorrow is your one year anniversary of being a member. Happy Anniversary!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 7:26PM
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Nctrnl---you probably are up late at nite like some of us are, but I have never seen an apartment separately metered for water. If its a house, most landlords pay for the water because then the grass will get watered. So this is most likely a hoax--

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 6:16AM
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I live in an apartment seperately metered for water. The apartment complex pays the water company, but I get a postcard bill from the complex every month for $15-20 that must be added to my rent for water. They do this because the apartments have washer/dryer hookups, and I guess they thought it was more fair than just adding a flat fee to a tenants rent if they have a washer. Plus some units have dishwashers while others dont, so every units water usage could be vastly different from the unit next to them.

This was the first time I had ever seen this too, but this management company is a nationwide company, and most of their complexes are set up the same as the one I live in. So it's entirely possible that Nctrnl lives in an apartment where he has to pay his own water bill. I do.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 7:20AM
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We had our own water bill at our last apartment. And it was definitely OUR OWN, because we had an undiscovered leak for a period of time, and MAN the the water bill jump that month...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 10:41PM
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Yanking our collective chains or not, I'm going to respond ;) Partly because there's so much landlord bashing here sometimes, it's a good opportunity to show what it's like to be on the other side of the situation.

I don't scrutinize people's lifestyles or habits when I inspect or am doing a repair. As long as they're not breaking the law or damaging the property, or living in a manner to draw vermin and varments, etc., I give them the same respect and privacy as in my own home.

"I am just a bit worried that I could be causing some damage to the pipes/water heater if they arent constantly filled with water." You should be. I had elderly tenants on the frugal side with water. (I think they sponge bathed mostly.) She calls me after several months of living there complaining of sewer gas odor. Puzzling, as all basement pipes had just been routed (tree roots), town had blasted out their lines, and we keep a close eye on things. Turns out pipes were too dry. Per instructions of town engineer, I had to go over there, fill the tub and all sinks with hot water and liquid Lysol, flush it through the overflow on each basin and tub, then flush it down the pipes and refill and rinse. Town engineer said if pipes are not 'flushed' regularly with water, gases can accumulate, especially in the p-trap which needs to be kept moist. And those gases can be hazardous above a certain level. It would be to your benefit to keep the plumbing flushed and p-traps moist.

Oddest things/conditions I've found among several properties over the years:

The father of 3 little ones who found a leak in bath sink, didn't tell me, simply yanked sink, pipes and all from the wall. Failed to put a rag in open pipe in floor. Next time I'm there, the house smells awful - sewer gas. I ask why he did not mention the leak to me, I would have repaired it right away. Now there's more to repair (which he'll pay for). His response: "Aw, no big deal. The kids just brush their teeth in the kitchen instead." (And when they moved out, we found several toddler toothbrushes laying on the floor in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, undoubtedly ripe with bacteria.)

Same dad. Without my knowledge or consent he decides his two youngest kids (one in diapers) are going to sleep on mattress in basement. (Not legal for sleeping quarters- there is no proper escape from fire, but he neglected to consider that.) To keep them comfortable, he completely detached one of the main furnace ducts so the air would blow into the basement for them (thereby eliminating heated air upstairs). While I'm down there, I see Mrs. Tenant's ivy she planted outside next to the foundation is growing inside and dangling down the basement wall through a window they left cracked open. She also calls me in a panic one day, kids birthday party is in two hours and toilet won't flush. I hustle to get hold of a plumber and charge for an emergency Saturday call is almost double. He pulls two rags out of the main line to the street. Her response: "Oh, you know how it is when you're dumping your dirty cleaning water down the toilet, you don't pay attention to what's in the bucket." (No, I don't know how that is. I use my laundry sink with the strainer, just like the one they have. So they get the bill for that one.)

For the sake of the kids, I give them 4 months notice I'm not renewing. They decide to buy a house anyway, so wouldn't have renewed. I was never so relieved to see someone go.

Different house, a single guy living there. Furnace goes kaput, needs replaced. What HVAC installer found inside old furnace when he removed it: a strong aroma that lead to one long dead black bird; one decomposing clump of gnarled up fibers/hair that after much study he and I concluded was one very old halloween wig; too many beer bottle tops to count; too many cigarette butts to count; a tool or two; several of those firecracker doodads that you throw on the ground and they pop (must have made a cool sound reverberating off the ducts) and some unmentionables. I left it all in a pile on the driveway for tenant and made it clear if anything like that surfaces again during the term of his lease, he'll pay the HVAC repair bills and be looking for a new place. (If he had to plunk down $1800 for a new furnace, no doubt he and old-enough-to-know-better buddies would not stuff whatever they felt like into the registers.)

Same guy, different time. We had removed some drywall to wire a fixture. I stop by rental after a long weekend to drop off new fixture for DH who will stop there on his way home from work. I see the exposed 2x4's are blackened and scorched. Alarmed that the wiring must have caught fire and I wasn't told, I ask what in the heck happened. "Oh, we had a party, and one of my buddies had a little too much to drink and was playing with a propane torch he found." I took photos, banned the buddy from the premises on the spot and the final warning was issued. (This guy was no teenager loose on his own for the first time. He was past 30 with a master's degree.)

He bailed on his lease and saved me the grief of booting him out.

So it isn't always a slice of heaven for landlords, either. For every gem of a tenant (and thank heavens I have all gems now), there is a bad apple out there willing to make everyone's life miserable, including their own.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 1:05PM
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If nctrnl is actually telling the truth, then he is stealing water, is he not? He doesn't pay for it in his own place and he brings it from somewhere else and does not mention paying for it. Sounds like theft to me.

Odd things that have happened to me when I was a landlord - had a tennant move out in the middle of the night - only took his clothes and left everything else. Never did hear what happened to him. I held onto his stuff for 60 days and then pitched what I couldn't use.

Best tennant I ever had - didn't live there. Only used it as a mailing address. No wear, no tear, and the rent was always on time. The tennant only stopped by every few days to pick up the mail.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 12:28PM
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My mother used to manage some rentals and had my dad do work on them. They had a tenant leave and my dad had to clean it out. They had a hole in the wall and had been putting used tied condoms into the hole.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 7:16PM
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Oh Please - this must be a joke -

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 7:58PM
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I had to share this. Forclosed house I entered today. It smelt terrible on the outside and you could see lots and lots of flies in all the windows. Opened up rear sliding door. (which was unlocked) and it was a black fog racing out! Flies are covering almost every surface in the house! I would have no guess to how many big black flies are there! There are so many that when you knock on an outside window you can hear the buzzing noise by the street! I went in with a mask to make sure nothing was dead and left! I took a shower and will not be back untill its cleaned up!

Top 5 for sure in my worst places seen!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 5:40PM
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    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 3:16PM
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Assuming this isn't a joke, it also seems like false economy to haul/buy water to drink, flush down the toilet and things at night and on weekends. How much does that cost in extra trips, picking up water, filling up jugs, etc? Or even pouring water in the toilet before flushing and other things. Seems unlikely it would be worth your time to do this unless you're really tight on money.

For sure some roommates or tenants can be horrible. One of my friends pointed me to a roommate horror story on the web (linked to from this post), this would also be the tenant horror story, but I really wouldn't read it unless you have a strong stomach since it's pretty horrifying and disturbing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ultimate Roommate/Tenant Horror Story (Don't read unless you have a strong stomach and tolerance for grossness)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 9:04PM
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Nflifer, obviously you don't seem to care who lives in your properties. It all boils down to money, doesn't it? How sad for you and how sad that people have to rent from you to find a place to live. I say "have" because not everyone possesses a Machiavellian sensibility which lends itself well to several forms of business enterprises, including buying and selling properties. In this country, of course, your attitude is considered worthy of emulation.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Educator: perhaps you should actually read what I write.

My tenants have been great! As a property manager I have taken over some really bad tenants/ buildings and cleaned them out.

The above fly house is a forclosed property. I'm the realtor the bank hired to clean/ sell the house.

My prior post in this thread: Garden apt, managed by a different property manager in a different city. Called for my help and I had to see for myself.

Porn/sexual items. Mostly in rentals for sale, however I have seen some of these items from my tenants.

Alien temple was a building I sold and managed for a few months before the sale.

Drug houses/ apartments were all rentals where the LL was over their head and hired me to clean it out.

Cat lady was a rental I sold to a friend. She was there when it was bought, I managed it untill she left forcing her to clean up while living there.

In reality yes owning/ managing boils down to money. What you fail to grasp is if I stick anyone in the money goes away. All of my tenants go through a strick back ground check. Many potential tenants wont even apply after I tell them how the check is done.

ps. nice use of large words! :)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 5:09PM
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I do read what you write, and unlike someone of your overliteral sensiblity, I can figure out the underlying assumptions and implications behind your posts (that comes from making the sacrifice to become educated). You might read some other posts that agree with my take. Wake up and take the hint about how you are perceived and the truthfulness of those perceptions.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 2:24PM
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Still doubt you actually have read many of my posts. If you had you would see my tenants actually recomend me to potential tenants. When I show vacant apartments I give out applications and references from other tenants. Every year tenants fill out surveys anonymously. I have also posted about my wedding and having many past and current tenants attend. We even took a few group pictures of past neighbors.

I know I come of as insensitive to many posters. I actually agree with many of the posts but like to show other points of view to get people thinking. I have been a member of multiple boards, (buisness, non profit, and government) I would many times argue for the other side and still vote the majority, just wanting people to understand the entire issue.

To many times everything is blammed on the landlord. People need to see things from the LL point of view. What are they going to do if they move out to a house? Someone vandalizes their car, breaks into their house, peoples pets use their yard, loud neighbors next door, etc. On their own they won't be able to call the LL!

I rarely have many of the problems posted here because I let my tenants know up front I am a very strict landlord. That is obviously what many tenants want. Someone that will crack down on bad neighbors, and keep the building quiet.

Besides how much fun with this forum be if everyone just patted each others back and agreed?

Also no one HAS to do anything including renting from me. I learned a long time ago their are no needs only wants. This includes living.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:42PM
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I still doubt you will ever see anything beyond the literal. The specific situation which showed your extreme insensitivity or any depth of understanding could have been alleviated by more closer attention by the landlord. And if you were a really strict landlord, why did are you so congnizant about noise complaints? If you were that strict, you would not have had to deal with them. If you were really that strict, you would have soundproofed all your properties so people would not have even had to put up with supposed normal living noises, whatever those may have been. And one needs to live. It's not a question of wanting. And one needs to live in peace, both physical and mental. Look up the difference between the words. I am shocked you have been on boards, but it's probably because you know how to grease palms and talk the talk.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 6:28PM
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Your the educator "why did are you so"
Like I said I rarely get complaints on noise or ANYTHING in my buildings. Last noise complaint I recieved was in 2002. It was from a neighboring building.

Normal apartment living noises are your neighbors normal living noises. Anyone who has lived in a 2 story house knows you can hear the upstairs shower/ toliet runing. You can hear movements from above also. A lot of dealing with tenants is educating them. They know what is expected as far as rent due on the first, take care of not only the apartment but building, and respect others. They also are educated on apartment living noises. Anyone on a lower level is told to expect to hear footsteps, vacumes, etc. Upstairs people are told their normal living noises will travel downstairs. My lease also has rules about car exhaust and loud motorcycles. One particular property has a bus that stops right in front of it every 15 minutes in the morning. This is explained when they view the apartment and I don't think its a coincidence everyone that has lived there is an early bird.

PS why would anyone grease palms of organizations, or public, when the position one gains pays little or nothing, takes a lot of time, and is a headache most times? Its not like I have been a Senator, or State Rep.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 2:17AM
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Wake up and take the hint about how you are perceived

perceived by whom?

My perception of nfllifer is that of a landlord who is mostly sensible, tries to be accommodating and straight-shooting (comments about returning tenants' deposits), cognizant of the responsibilities of a landlord adn the rights of a tenant (advice given in the past to posters here who were frustrated w/their landlords).

If I were a renter, I'd want to rent in one of nfllifer's buildings--I'd feel that I had a sensible & reasonable person for a landlord.

I've appreciated nfllifer's posts for many years--I like that the landlord's point of view is represented here, and in what I feel is a reasoned, clear, logical way. I've seen a lot of sympathy for tenants in those posts, as well as for landlords.

Owning real estate for profit reasons doesn't automatically make someone scum, and having an education doesn't make someone sensible, reasonable, or polite. On the boards especially, I judge people by how they act. And forum posters who directly attack someone (even if their target is someone who is him/herself directly attacking someone, which nfllifer is not) and disparage them personally, I *perceive* as being "insensitive."

This is America--having a degree isn't supposed to make someone better (and how do you know whether nfllilfer has or has not been to college? and why should it matter?)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 11:34AM
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