These Landlords Were So Bad They Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Have Tenants

Shannon Quinn - January 4, 2023

When it comes to renting a home, tenants have certain expectations of their landlords. They expect to be treated fairly, to have their concerns addressed in a timely manner, and to be able to live in a safe and well-maintained property. However, not all landlords live up to these expectations. In fact, some landlords are so bad that they shouldn’t be allowed to have tenants at all. Read on to learn about a few particularly egregious examples of landlords who mistreated their tenants and broke the law.

This landlord wrote a predatory contract on purpose. Credit: Shutterstock

This Landlord Purposely Breached Their Contract So They Could Sue the Tenant

Our first bad landlord story is a cautionary tale. Dirty landlords will try to get you on technicalities; and this renter learned that the hard way. His apartment lease stated that the landlord paid for water and sewer. Three months in, the water was cut off because the landlord did not pay for it. They insisted that it was a mistake to put it on the lease. He ended up having to pay for the water and sewer. But then when he moved out, they billed him $1,500 for breach of contract. The clause in the contract stated, “In the event of a breach of contract the renter will be liable for a $1,500 breach of contract fee.” When he pointed out they were the ones in breach of contract they replied, “The clause has nothing to do with who breached the contract. It only states that you are responsible for the breach of contract fee.” Thankfully, he didn’t pay and there were no serious repercussions.

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His Apartment Office Tried to Withhold His Medication

When a concerned apartment administrator questions a tenant’s medical treatment, tensions rise and privacy is threatened in this story of discrimination and misinformation. The tenant’s medication, delivered in small coolers each month, was self-administered with a spring-loaded needle casing and safe disposal method. Upon requesting his meds at the apartment building’s main office, the administrator asked, “Are these needles?” The tenant replied, “That’s not any of your business. Give me my medication.” Despite the safe and discreet nature of the treatment, the administrator held onto the box and claimed, “Well, some of the neighbors are concerned because needles usually mean drugs…” However, the neighbors had never even seen the needles, which were fully encased. The tenant insisted that it was none of her business and eventually received the box, but not without the administrator giving him the ‘stink eye’ every time he collected his medication.

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Tenant Fixed Up The Entire Apartment, but The Landlord Tried to Steal the Security Deposit

From handyman to legal battles, this tenant’s efforts to spruce up his rental apartment lead to unexpected outcomes and a contentious dispute with his landlord. While the renter was living there, his landlord found out he was a renovation specialist. So she asked if he would do little odds and ends around the place to fix it up. No problem… or so he thought. He refinished the concrete floor in the laundry room, replaced the door knobs, front door, and repainted the whole place. On top of that, he hung new cabinets, installed a new dishwasher, and so much more. When he moved out, the apartment rented out for $300 more a month than he had rented it. And the listing was posted just 4 days after he moved out. A few weeks go by, and he wonders where his security deposit is. He got a letter in the mail saying she was keeping it because of a ridiculous list of stuff. So he took her to court and won. Her argument was that it’s her only income. Judge ruled in his favor.

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Landlady Tried to Charge Tenant For Damage Her Family Did to the Apartment

This guy almost got stuck with the bill thanks to some drunken revelry. His landlady did a walkthrough and agreed in writing that there was no damage to their property when they moved out. He received the news every renter wants to hear: he would be getting his entire security deposit back. Two weeks later he got a letter stating the landlord was keeping all of the security deposit because someone had gotten drunk, destroyed a screen in the window, gouged a hole in the wall, and dented the refrigerator. But here’s the kicker: this occurred two days after he moved out. Turns out, she used the property as a place for her in-laws to stay over during Thanksgiving. She then thought she could trick the previous tenant into pay for their damages because their name was still on the lease. Luckily, they took it to court, and won the case. Because the landlady should have never brought people into their apartment in the first place.

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This Story Has Horrible Property Managers With a Surprisingly Nice Landlord

The original poster deleted his account, but left behind this story that left us sweating. While deployed in the military, his wife remained at home in Texas. The A/C broke in the middle of summer, but the property managers told her that the temperature wasn’t hot enough to constitute a repair. When she showed them pictures of the thermostat reading over 100 degrees, they finally said that they would send a repairman. Later, he had orders to move to a new duty station. He gave them 30 days notice and moved out. They tried to tell him that he couldn’t leave the home with a broken air conditioner and wouldn’t honor his military orders. (Which is very illegal.) He contacted the actual owner of the house. The owner was living in New York and said he’d take care of it. Then he flew all the way to Texas, fired the property managers, and sued them himself.

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This Landlord Forced His Tenant to go Two Weeks Without Electricity

We all know how difficult it is to go without electricity after Mother Nature has her way. But this story has a nasty landlord instead of nasty weather. The renters always paid rent with electricity, gas, and water added on each month. In turn, the landlord would use the packaged rent deal to pay the utilities. One day, their power suddenly goes out. They called the power company, who told him no one had paid the electricity bill in 6 months, even though they were giving the landlord money to cover the electricity. He calls him up and he says he’ll fix it, it must be a mistake. Two weeks later, he was threatening to take the landlord to court, and his power came back on. During these two weeks, he ran an extension cord from his neighbor’s place to power a fridge and a coffee maker. The landlord really strung him along with “just one more day!” type lies and he just kept falling for it because he and his roommates were a bunch of kids.

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The Landlord Lost The House to Foreclosure, But Kept Taking Their Rent Anyway

When you agree to become a landlord, you are agreeing to take on a lot of responsibilities. But this landlord wanted to pretend he didn’t have a legal obligation to keep things running. In this story, the landlord would never fix anything broken on the property. They hired a lawyer and found out that the house they were renting had been foreclosed two months prior and the bank owned it. So they decided to stop paying rent, and got their things in order. Six weeks later, the landlord came by the house furious that they hadn’t paid rent in over a month. The roommate simply said, “We aren’t paying you anymore, get off this property. We know you don’t own this place anymore and we are going to sue you for the money you stole from us.” He left, never to be heard from again. Thankfully, they made a deal with the bank to pay the same rent in order to stay until their lease ended.

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This Landlord Took Bad Advice From Self-Help Books

A shocking discovery leads to a tumultuous living situation in this tale of a questionable landlord and a self-help book-touting physician’s assistant. The story starts off simple enough. Reddit user, Themitchapalooza, rented a single room in a house. But a few months into the lease, he found out the landlord was sporadically paying her mortgage. She had a ton of self help books about real estate, and they all had forwards by Donald Trump. One book was about renting out bedrooms and charging more than market value to keep your house without making all the mortgage payments. It was evident she was taking advice from this book. When it was time for him to move out, the landlord guilt tripped him about how she’s going to foreclose if she doesn’t have that room filled. She was a Physician’s Assistant, but she was only working two days a week at some private practice. The boyfriend didn’t work, so he wasn’t paying rent at all, either. Sounds like they were just looking for the easy way out.

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This Person Found Out They Accidently Paid For An Illegal Basement Apartment

When their landlord’s actions put their living situation in jeopardy, these tenants are forced to confront a series of challenges including unexpected eviction and dirty living conditions. One day, the renters got a knock on the door from the fire department saying they’re living in an illegal apartment, and will be evicted if the landlord doesn’t get the place up to code. So the landlord kicked them out. They asked if they have to move out any furniture, and he says “no, they’ll just work around it.” Two months later, the landlord gave him the green light to move back in. When he got back, the entire place was filthy. There was thick drywall dust everywhere, paint cans, tools, and garbage. The paint splattered on all of his furniture and mattress. His wooden furniture had scratches, and the shoe rack and shower curtain were destroyed. After arguing for days, the landlord gave him $150 for damages, then upped rent by $100/month because the “apartment is so much better now.”

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This Bad Landlord Story At Least Has a Happy Ending

After years of struggling to get their landlord to address the numerous problems with their rental home, this tenant and their fiance ended up making a surprising and advantageous purchase. “I bought my house from my landlord this year after renting it for a few years. It was constantly a struggle to get the landlord to do anything, and there were a lot of problems with the home he refused to fix. They just did not care about this house. When my fiancé and I bought the house, we were trying to find out construction information from my landlord for our mortgage. It turns out he had never been to the house. He lived somewhere else, and didn’t actually know anything about the house. This worked out in our favor, because he didn’t want to deal with a realtor and he didn’t know the value of the neighborhood had gone way up. So he offered us the house at almost $150,000 less than other houses in the neighborhood.”

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Dealing With a Slumlord in the Big City

In a city overrun with students and landlords who don’t prioritize the well-being of their tenants, this couple struggles with a host of pests, a noisy nightclub next door, and a landlord who tries to increase the rent and trap them in a lease. They lived in a city dense with students, so every landlord was a slumlord. The landlords were an Indian family who had a little rental business and some large apartment houses. After they moved into a ground floor studio it became immediately apparent the place was dumpy. It had two species of roaches, house centipedes, mice, spiders, flies, and squirrels. They also lived next to a nightclub that was loud and full of drunks who did coke and shot each other 12 feet from the apartment window. The lease did not specify a required date to provide move-out notice. So, she only gave a 35-day notice after securing another apartment. The landlord said that was too late and they re-signed the lease in her name and bumped the rent up by $150. They threatened to sue, and the landlord immediately backed down.

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The Apartment Was Filled With Thousands of Roaches

The same renter from the last story found herself in another slumlord situation when she was looking for a place for her and her boyfriend. They found a first floor one bedroom. Surprise! They found roaches. They called the landlord about the infestation. “Oh yeah haha, this is a city so there are roaches,” he said cheerfully. She told him off, because this was not a roach or two, but thousands. Everywhere. Six days later, they broke the lease. They did not clean up a single roach after we killed them. Hundreds of roach bodies on the floors. The husband took a look-see, shrugged, and said “It’s not that bad.” In both situations, the landlords had children. She asked both sets of landlords, “how would you feel about your daughter living in these conditions?” to which they could not answer.

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A Nightmare Landlord Turned Off The Hot Water For All of the Apartments

When a clueless landlord starts tinkering with the building’s heating and hot water systems, tenants are left to brave the cold and deal with limited hot water in this frustrating tale of neglect and incompetence. These tenants share their experience: In the middle of winter, their landlord thought it’d be a good idea to start playing with the boiler he knew nothing about, and broke it. They lost heat for three days. Being young and fairly easy going, he put a heating pad on my recliner, covered up with a blanket and that is how he kept warm. About a month after the boiler, the landlord decided that there was too much hot water for the building and turned the hot water heater way down. Literally, about two showers were all you could get out of the hot water tank for the entire apartment building. They called and complained and he kind of blew it off until people started getting really irritated with him. He finally turned it up.

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This Landlord Released Mice Into the Apartment on Purpose

A landlord’s unconventional pest control methods lead to a rodent infestation in the tenant’s living room. Soon, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary landlord-tenant relationship. The renter in this story lived on the first floor of the building while his landlord lived on the second floor. One day, they found small black things that looked like burnt rice through the living room floor. Eventually, he realized that these were rodent droppings. He called the landlord to find an exterminator, and he just told them “I’ll be there in a moment.” About 15 minutes later he arrived with a small carton box full of fruits filled with rat poison to put around the apartment. They looked at him in disbelief as he proceeded to say that his pet snake had died. So he decided to release the rodents he used to feed the snake, as he had no longer a use for them. He was sure they would just go and live in the woods.

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An Entire Family of Squirrels Descended From the Ceiling

From a family of squirrels living in the ceiling to a collapsing roof and a clueless handyman, this tenant’s childhood experiences with a neglectful landlord are nothing short of chaotic. As a child, this tenant’s slumlord refused to address any issues with the rental property, leading to a family of squirrels moving into the space between the ceiling and roof in his bedroom. When the squirrels eventually scratched through the ceiling and left small holes, the tenant and his family were forced to fall asleep to the sound of raindrops hitting buckets as the ceiling leaked. One night, while the tenant was staying with a friend, the entire ceiling collapsed over his bed, releasing the squirrels into the room and drenching the bed in wet sheetrock. It took three days to remove all of the squirrels, and the landlord took a full week before sending in his inexperienced son to fix the damage. Despite the chaos, the tenant persevered through these trying experiences with a negligent landlord.

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This Landlord Tried Breaking Into Their Apartment Multiple Times

Uninvited and unannounced, this tenant’s landlord has a habit of barging into their home, and even trying to break down the door when it’s locked. His parents rented out the upstairs apartment and the landlord lived below them. When they first moved in, they had the habit of leaving the front door unlocked when they were home. He said: “Our landlord would barge in without notice or even ringing the doorbell. We’d be sitting in our living room watching TV. The next thing we knew our landlord was standing there in our living room. We got tired of this REALLY FAST. So we kept our door locked at all times.” The landlord would try to open the door normally. When it didn’t open, he’d then press his body against the door and try to break it down. He’d try this for a minute or two before finally giving in and knocking. Apparently, this went on for years.

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This Landlord Stole Their Mail and Was Spying on Them

Sneaky mail theft and strange behavior: just another day for one unlucky tenant. The mailman would deliver their mail into a lone mailbox outside their front doors. If the landlords got the mail first, they’d grab the whole thing, take it into their apartment and wouldn’t give them their mail until a couple days later. One time, two of his uncles and a cousin came for a visit. According to them, they witnessed the landlord come out of his apartment. He would suspiciously look around, up and down the block. Then tried to peek inside the little window in his front door. The only thing he could have seen was the bottom of their stairs that led up to the apartment. He even placed his ear against the glass window in the door for a minute or two before going back into his apartment.

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The Landlord Wouldn’t Give Them Heat in the Winter

When the temperature drops, most of us crank up the heat and curl up under a warm blanket. But for one unlucky tenant, their landlord made this simple pleasure nearly impossible. This landlord gave them very little or no heat, because he was in control of the thermostat. When he did turn on the heat, it was only 15 minutes before he turned it off again. After he turned it off, it would be a long while before he would turn it on again. It was so freezing in the apartment that he went to bed fully clothed, complete with long johns. But the landlord kept his apartment nice and toasty every day during the winter. Yes, this landlord was breaking the law. OP’s mother reported him to the housing authorities, which resulted in the apartment being warm for one day. After the housing authorities went away, he went back to freezing them. Eventually, they made their escape thanks to an inheritance.

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This Landlord Tried to Sue For Bogus Damages, But They Turned The Tables

When a tenant is hit with a fraudulent lawsuit for over $5,000, these renters fought back and exposed their greedy landlord. They subleased a room from a friend one summer. At the end of the sublease, they cleaned the house, moved their stuff out, and turned in the key. Three months later, they got served with a lawsuit for over $5,000. It alleged excessive damages and cleaning fees. They sent them back a letter demanding an itemized list of all fees they were being sued for. When they got the itemized listing, it was horribly inaccurate. For example, they charged a total of $1,500 to clean, maintain, and then throw away a chandelier. Luckily, the renter worked for the Housing Department of their city. They sent them a response on the office letterhead, refusing to pay for the damages. The suit was dropped and they promptly advised the city to deny them any future city contracts.

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The Landlord Stole Their Dog

Heartbroken and petless: this is the tale of a tenant and their disappearing dog. They spent some time in South America. In this house, stray dogs would often come by. They used to feed them if they looked skinny. However, the landlord didn’t like this. But as there were holes in the fence, they couldn’t stop them from coming into the garden. One dog started coming every day, and stopped leaving. The renter ended up adopting this orphaned pooch. The landlord noticed the pup and started complaining. They told him she never came inside, and wasn’t doing any harm. One night, the landlord’s car pulled up. They assumed he’d knock on the door, but he didn’t. They heard him open the gate, walk around a bit, and then he started his car up again and left. In the morning the dog was gone. They never saw their pup again.

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A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

This renter recalled that the landlord and his wife “seemed like the nicest couple in the world when we first rented the place. They even invited us to dinner and we had a great time. Three months in, his wife stepped on a piece of blue glass that was on our kitchen floor.” Plot twist: they didn’t own any blue glasses. The renter remembered that one dinner, the landlord had blue glasses on the table. So he set up a camera in the living room and caught the landlord in their apartment when they weren’t home. The landlord was going through their dressers and playing with his wife’s underwear. Then he tried playing it off like he smelled smoke and wanted to investigate. So he played back the previous week’s videos of him visiting on three separate occasions. Luckily, the landlord was put behind bars and the renters found a new home.

This tenant decided to turn the stove on when the landlord turned their heat down. Credit: Reddit

The Landlord Turned the Heat Down, But The Joke’s on Them

A Reddit user called JohannReddit posted this photo on Reddit with the following caption: “Landlord decided to turn down the heat today in my MN apartment as it reached -40°. But the idiot must have forgotten he pays my electric and doesn’t realize that I value my comfort over safety or energy conservation.” In the comments, people are suggesting that he should also turn on the oven and open the door to let more heat into the apartment. Hopefully they also plugged in an electric heater, heated blankets, and literally any other form of heat that they could get from electricity.

This landlord thought it was a good idea to put this in the tenant’s living room. Credit: Reddit

This Replacement Heater is Mildly Infuriating

A user called Darbooka posted this on the Mildly Infuriating subReddit. They said, “Told our landlord to replace our gas fireplace because it was leaking CO, and came back to this monstrosity in our living room.” Someone joked in the comments saying, “Ok. Now complain about a leaky faucet and update us with the new town square fountain.” In all seriousness, I’m not sure why this landlord would install something like this, unless it was an old building, and they didn’t have a proper HVAC system. Hopefully they did something to fix this ugly issue before the next tenant moved in.

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This Landlord Refused to Fix a Serious Rodent Problem

One tenant’s rental experience turns into a nightmare due to a mouse infestation, neglect from the landlord, and an unexpected charge for cleanup. This renter moved in and, within a week, a mouse problem got out of hand. Overnight, hundreds of droppings would show up. They informed the landlord about the mice, and he ignored it for four days before ever responding. Eventually, he came by with some traps three days later, making them wait an entire week for help. They moved out a week before the end of the month. The landlord didn’t get to the apartment until the second of the next month. He texted them, saying he’s keeping $200 of the damage deposits because of the mouse droppings cleanup.

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The Landlord Signed the Lease During a Party

When a tenant scheduled a meeting to go over and sign their lease, they didn’t expect to be rushed through the process because their landlord was a party animal… This guy’s landlord told him they could only meet on a certain day to go over and sign the lease. He went over to the landlord’s house as planned. But when they got there, the landlord was hosting a party. The entire time, he complained about how he was missing his party and tried to rush them out. The lease was sketchy. It was full of typos and questionable statements that concerned them. So the renters needed to speak about it before signing anything. Which didn’t make the landlord happy. Yikes! There are red flags all over the place.

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The Landlord Completely Blocked His Car in the Garage and Left on Vacation

A spontaneous landlord and a towed car turn into one tenant’s unexpected parking predicament. He had an off-campus apartment, and the landlord bought a large Winnebago that he and his wife could drive away in for spontaneous vacations. Not realizing that his tenant’s car was parked inside the garage that came with the rent, the landlord parked his regular car in front of the garage bay door and took off, never thinking about his inability to get in or out. The landlord was away for over two weeks and left no contact information – just gone in the Winnebago. He was furious when he got back that they had his car towed to a nearby parking spot during his absence. The landlord said he wouldn’t pay the towing fees for having blocked them in all that time.

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The Landlady Showed Her Gratitude With a Lame Re-Gift

One tenant’s experience of helping their demanding landlady with various tasks is met with little appreciation and a re-gifted bottle of wine. Their landlady lived in the duplex below them, and decided to sell the house. So for three months everyday, she knocked on the renter’s door and asked them to help her. They pulled weeds, cleaned the basement and garage, washed the windows, etc. But she never really acknowledged it with a “thank you”- just asked them to do more. On her last day at the place after it sold, she asked them to help load the moving van. Then, just before she left, she gave them a bottle of wine for all my work. It had a picture of a frog playing a banjo on the label. An hour later the realtor showed up to thank them. He gave them a bottle of wine with a picture of a frog playing a banjo on the label. She re-gifted the wine.

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This Landlord Broke In to Steal Money and Underwear

One tenant’s landlord goes beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior. The next horrifying story came from a Reddit user called sahmeiraa. Her landlord came into the apartment days before she was set to be gone. She had piles of stuff set to go to different places, such as her new place, friends or family, or to donate. But she came in to clean one day. Things were moved, and boxes had been opened. And when she walked into her bedroom, there were a few pairs of her underwear on the floor in the middle of my room, despite the fact that she had already moved her clothing out. A jar of cash from her wedding fund was out in the open. It had been a while since she had counted, so she could not tell if any was taken. The landlord wouldn’t admit that he had done that, but he dropped the issue of the last month’s rent.