What’s Your Biggest Rental Nightmare?

What’s Your Biggest Rental Nightmare?

The Labo house of Nintendo.

So I’ve had the misery of working from home today – not because working from home blows, but because we had another of those dreaded rituals: house inspections.

At best, house inspections are painless. Most of the time, they’re pretty awful. So for this week’s Off Topic, let’s talk about the nightmares of renting.

I’m fortunate in that I haven’t had too many nightmare housemates or houses to live in, although there was one situation where I lived with a bloke who kept turning the modem off “because he wanted to save power”. The same champ then tried to up my rent by $50 a week after I asked if I could have a copy of the quarterly internet and power bills, which he refused to supply and threatened to kick me out. Fun times.

Upon trying to leave that house, I remember going to another house inspection. Two bedroom apartment, about $400 a week – not bad for Sydney a few years ago.

Bunch of people line up to look at the house. Door opens – there’s a chunk missing from the door frame. And then we go in: there’s stains. Everywhere. Carpet. Walls. Windows. THE CEILING.

How do you splatter food – massive chunks, not like little bits – onto the ceiling? The agent was apoplectic that day; it must have been close to one of the worst properties she’d seen.

In any case, plenty of you have been through the rental ordeal of your own (either as a renter, or an owner). So tell us: what are some of the nightmares you’ve witnessed?


  • How do you splatter food – massive chunks, not like little bits – onto the ceiling?

    Have you ever seen The Exorcist?

  • No me, although i rent… i had a mate who was threatened with eviction because the fridge had fingerprints and the inside of the microwave was dirty even though they were his and didn’t come with the house and then got debt collectors around because of a later water bill that had been sitting on the property managers desk which she failed to scan and send on.

    Inspections are the worst though, mentally draining… worrying about what seemingly innocuous thing the property manager will complain about.

  • I’m normally a pretty clean person, but inspections get me very anxious. I worry about the slightest little thing. Though in the end it’s an excuse for a real deep clean.

    • But the one thing you miss is the one thing inspectors will find, my last inspection the property manager picked on the front door which we very rarely (if ever) use. Because we have a sliding door that leads to the carport we use that as our front door.

      • I dont mind the inspectors from the agency so much, they’re usually quite complimentary and I’m told I score excellent across the board, but where I am now the owner comes as well and yeah he’s a bit like yours.

        Plus the owner turns out lives very close by.

  • Try having a landlord that would complain – every time – about fingerprints on the fridge. It’s my damn fridge! Not to mention finding a speck of dust and commenting about your ‘disgusting living standards’. So glad I was able to buy a house.

  • I have the opposite experience. Been renting the same place for almost 10 years and the property managers come about once every year and give it a quick once-over before leaving. The only comment we’ve had in 10 years was to clean range-hood filter once… lol. There were a lot of other possible infractions they COULD have picked up, trust me!

  • The first apartment I rented was sold to a new owner (well, the property) and they decided to make permanent units out of them so they asked everyone to leave if they could. I was allowed to see my lease out but I got a lot of pressure to leave early so I ended up moving out. Overall the new owner was pretty good about it all but it’s got me paranoid about having to move again because the property gets sold.

    Funnily enough, my property was sold in December last year so I had a tense few weeks but I got to stay on so I’m happy.

  • Had a guy in our rental unit who kept asking for things continuously. Security screen doors, change the gate on the back to one with a security lock, high power shower head because it felt too weak, new taps for the washing machine because “it was breaking his washing machine”. We were new at the renting out game and were trying to be good tenants so were getting quotes and trying to fix problems. 4 months into the contract he breaks lease. Broke a few things inside too and tried to his full bond back. Fun times. Made us consider selling the unit as we didn’t want the hassle. New tenant we haven’t heard boo from.

  • We moved in to a nice place in 2016 and specifically asked if it was long term because that’s what we wanted. We were told it was, but then we got a letter 11 months later saying the owner wanted to move in. Was super stressful.

    Other than that, it’s been pretty easy. Our agent in our new place is pretty chill so our inspections are generally painless.

  • Every six months to the day I am forced to listen politely while a 21 year old high school dropout who still lives with her parents takes dozens of photographs of my valuables and wardrobes while making patronising comments about invisible dust spots and fingerprints.

    • If they are built-ins im fairly sure by law they cannot fully open them, they are allowed to open it enough to feel if the wall is moist (people grow hydro in built-ins)

      Young hotshit property managers are the worst, young and given a platform of power and they tend to abuse it.

      • Of course, in reality, they can terminate your lease without cause at the end of your contract period, can say rude things about you either in the tenant database blacklist or verbally during the reference check if you try to move, can increase your rent for the next 12 month contract as high as they can reasonably get away with if not higher, have a choice about whether to complain that the grass has grown half an inch too long or to let that slide, etc.

        Regardless of what the law says to the contrary, unless you are willing to risk having to move back in with your parents for the next decade, the only right tenants actually have is the right to bend over and say please sir can I have another as often and as loudly as the landlord requires.

  • Had an inspection 9 months ago and the property manager promptly asked for a scotch when she walked in. Great way to start. Told her I didn’t drink. She was however very impressed that I kept the place in good condition, and well she hasn’t scheduled the following one that was supposed to happen 3 months ago.

    In the last place I rented with friends, we had our property manager arrive for an inspection without notifying us. My housemate answered the door in a half sleep state, and our place wasn’t tidy at all. We had a day to clean up

    • I don’t think they’re allowed to do that. I’m fairly sure they have to make an appointment, can’t show up unannounced and you have permission to not let them in

  • Well I feel pretty good about my situation then! We signed a 6 month lease 5 years ago, and never had another one… they also have never put our rent up in all that time, and we have had exactly two inspections. The lovely lady who came round said our place was immaculate and she “doesn’t know why she even bothers doing inspections at our house”

  • The owner died and his ungrateful grandkids started stalking around our property of 8 units before his estate was settled harrasing people and entering peoples homes with their own keys.

    The grandson walked in on a female tenants and started making outrageous claims and be threatening, I had the police come, they arrested him for trespass. The estate agent had over 20 properties for the old man and had complaints from all of them and asked the judge put a restraining order on them.

    The grandson and his wife especially targetted me cause I called the police and recorded his outburst… so I found my place broken into twice after that and a very dangerous act of intimidation that resulted in me knocking him out and leaving him bleeding in our driveway while I waited for the police.

    Grandkids got $0 and the grandson got 24 months jail. Judge awarded compensation to all tenants from the estate for damages and stress.

  • Living in unit complex and one of the other tenants constantly had his music on so loud even other properties were calling the police. One day the police arrived to talk to him and when he left he blamed my partner and I and kicked in our door and tried to assault us. Luckily his ex was around and pulled him off me. He had already been told many time to leave his unit and that finally got him to leave(Because of the law, obviously). So I have lived through a literal nightmare

  • I’ve got a good one. We were living in apartment in a small complex in Newcastle, and all the other tenants were young first-time renters. They were messy as hell, kept having parties, and filled their carport with garbage. I think they were acquaintances of the property manager. Naturally, they all eventually got evicted.
    When the real estate sent round removalists to throw away all the garbage these kids had left in their carport, they proceeded to throw away all the stuff we had left in our carport (some outdoor furniture which we had asked the landlady for permission to place there), as well as throwing away a load of our washing that was IN THE SHARED WASHING MACHINE.
    We never saw reimbursement, and never moved into another property with that estate agent.

  • Once upon a time when I was young and naive, I shared a unit with someone and would give them my share of the rent to pay when they went in to do it (this was before online payments existed). Yeah. Turns out he wasn’t paying it. Lesson learned. Never do that!

    • Same happened to me, owner came around going WTF where is the rent. I just looked at my roommate and said this guy has it and went to work.

  • Atleast you have a whole house, we rent a room in a share house, in which the landlord lives part-time. Better believe we’re skipping the middle ground and going straight to buying! Although it has to be said that as a result the other tenants are all quite good and it’s a quiet place to live.

  • Got rid of them all now, but have been a landlord. I always told my tenants “I just look after the building, its your home. If anything starts getting a bitmdodgy let me know so I can fix it before it breaks.” A bit of respect goes a long way. Agents on the other hand are all fuckwits, I have had them falsify documents and all sorts. I recognised one screaming at a reporter on ACA on the telly once.

  • Lived in a studio apartment once no phone line when I moved in, so I requested one as well as my rent receipts got nothing for three months.

    It was a six month lease when I went to resign for another year they said that the rent would go up.
    There was no way in hell I was going to pay more for a crappy studio, told them I would leave and they backed down said that they would have to up the rent at some point but never did.

  • Most of my experiences have been with tightarse landlords.

    One wasted $400 getting his $200 oven fixed multiple times. Sparky told me he was moronic to keep trying to fix it. When it was replaced he put another cheap no name brand in. That broke about 14 months later.

    Another landlord, we asked for a green bin as the property had lots of lawn. I always kept the lawns immaculate, but had nowhere to dispose of the grass. Landlord didn’t want to provide the bin (about $150 year, tax deductible), so I continued to mow without a catcher. Few months of dead grass piling up and the lawns died. Green bin showed up with no notice one day. Thanks.

    Same landlord was always super pedantic about the smallest details. Didn’t care that I kept the house spotloss including yearly rental cleans with receipts. The people who took over the house after me lasted 6 months before bailing. I hope the current tenants s**t on the carpet, then he might treat his good tenants with respect.

  • I rented out a house to a Korean family of four from Sydney. They had good references, everything looked good.

    They in turn sublet it to 20 overseas students. The house only had 4 bedrooms. When the property manager came for inspection, we were shocked to find students sleeping in the living room in tiny bunks.

    We evicted them through the tribunal, who only notified the original person on the lease. The a**hole didn’t bother telling any of the students 🙁 It was a day for us and them.

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