Six bad cases of tenant damage: Which one is the worst?

Tenant damage is not a new phenomenon, and it strikes fear into the hearts of many investors. We've compiled a list of some of the more terrible cases of tenant damage we've read about across the globe.

Vote on yours at the bottom in our poll of the day, and send in your own examples.

1) $13,000 worth of damage - and all on video

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This video shows $9,000 worth of tenant damage from a Section 8 Housing Tenant in the United States. It shows significant carpet damage, and the tenants' own paint job, among dirt, broken doors and more.

Across their multiple condos, there was a total of $13,000 damage.

2) Peanut butter on the walls

This 2012 story has to be seen to be believed, as we were wide-mouthed reading it. The Toronto Star reports that landlord 'Steven' evicted his tenant with the Sheriff, to find the apartment destroyed.

Broken sinks, toilets, doors, windows and light switches were just the start of his worries... there was ketchup and peanut butter on the walls as well! The tenant also seemed to act particularly maliciously in pouring dried rice down the toilet to clog it.

3) Damp, dog excrement and damage

UK's The Northern Echo discusses landlords who rented out their three-bedroom former home.

Coming home to find it riddled with damp, dog excrement, an overgrown garden, ripped wallpaper, a smashed bath screen and cupboard doors hanging off... it's not a pretty picture.

4) Rotting rubbish in every room

The Queensland Times earlier this year pointed to this rental house of horrors, with piles of garbage left rotting and reeking throughout the house (including food waste), punched in walls, uprooted trees and plants, and all sorts of mess.

This was in Wallbank, and the landlord didn't take a bond from the tenant. He noted he now had to sell the property due to the financial hardship caused.

Read this article from Leah Calnan as to why taking a bond is always crucial (if you're still not convinced).

5) £20,000 worth of destruction

UK-based landlord, Glenn Schofield, rented his four-bedroom property to an 18 year old in 2011. The teen's girlfriend moved in, and problems started to occur with complaints from the neighbours. Suddenly, the rent stopped, reported the Daily Mail.

After finally getting the tenants to leave in August, he spent £2,000 cleaning and had a quoted £18,500 bill to fix everything left - from broke appliances to a blocked and overflowing toilet.

Broken windows, mess and, the worst part of all, no compensation ensued.

6) The tenant kept a pig or a goat in here

This month, NT News reported about a landlord left with a $14,000 repair and rental arrears bill to cover that may have actually been the result of a literal pigsty.

"I heard from other residents the tenant had a live pig or goat in there," the landlord told the local paper. Damaged furniture, walls, lights, and even ceiling fans are on the list making up the repair bill in the Stuart Park home.

Have you ever had a nightmare tenant? Or, have you been on the receiving end of a nightmare landlord?

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Ask Margaret: If I buy a property to rent out, what insurances do I need to cover me for the tenants etc?
This guide: How to keep good tenants

Click over page for some tips on avoiding this type of damage from your tenants, and what to do when things go wrong.



Tips for avoiding tenant dramas with Carolyn Majda

Think about the type of tenant you want to attract
- Consider this before purchasing the property
- Think about the demographic of the area
- Look for a large pool of prospective tenants

Keep up appearances
- Poorly presented properties may deter good tenants from applying
- Lower maintenance properties are easier to care for by everyone involved
- Minimise the effort required by the tenant to keep the property in good order

Generate interest
- Place good advertising
- Ensure the photos present the property well
- Provide lease deadlines
- Have open inspections at times when the tenants you want to attract are available (e.g. after work hours for young professionals)
- Talk to as many potential tenants as possible so you can put faces to the names

Screen tenants
- Contact their employers to confirm details
- Contact previous landlord to discuss any issues
- Contact any personal referees listed
- Consider speaking to responsible adults if it is their first lease
- Access tenant databases

Attend to maintenance issues promptly
- Do not let your tenant question your commitment to the property
- Have a tailored insurance policy that covers malicious and accidental damage

More available here.


Ask Margaret: If I buy a property to rent out, what insurances do I need to cover me for the tenants etc?
This guide: How to keep good tenants


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