Scary Rental Stories

Strange smells, creaking stairs, calls in the middle of the night — every landlord has a horror story to tell. From the holes that mysteriously appear in the walls to the tenant screening mistakes that come back to haunt you, we’ve heard some truly terrifying experiences. Gather ’round as we tell three tales that will send a shiver down your spine.

The Vanishing Tenant

This tale of woe comes from one of the landlords that use our software. She manages a couple of rental units and one of them was in rural town in the South.

Her last tenant was late on his rent payment, so she tried to tried to get in contact with him. After repeated attempts to get in touch with him, she decided it was time to stop by the unit and have a chat.

As soon as she pulled up to the house, she could tell something was amiss. The front door was wide open, and the property was deserted.

Upon entering the house, she could tell that her tenants hadn’t been around for awhile. In addition to leaving the front door open, there were bags of garbage everywhere. It looked as though the tenant had been piling refuse inside the home for months. The trash had attracted bugs, and a professional cleaning crew had to be called in to make the place livable again.

And the tenant was never heard from again.

cans on the floor in an empty house

The Worms Crawl In…

This story was shared by a landlord over at BiggerPockets.

One spring day, a landlord gets a call from one of their tenants. The tenant is frantic and begs the landlord to come over and take care of something that is falling from the sky.

The landlord rushes over to the property and the tenant eagerly shows them the source of her anxiety. They watch with disbelief as white, squirming creatures fall onto the back porch. A small shower of maggots continues to fall from above.

As it turns out, there is an occupied upstairs unit. During the winter, the neighbor had left their bags of garbage on the back porch. With the change in seasons, the warmer weather had encouraged the growth of fly larva, which soon rolled off of the garbage to the unsuspecting downstairs neighbors.

The Stranger

After weeks of posting rental ads and taking rental applications, a landlord has found the perfect tenant. Mary Smith is quiet and insists that she likes to keep things very clean. The move in went smoothly and the first month’s rent and security deposit cleared. The second month rolls around and things are mysteriously quiet. There’s no word from Mary and the rent hasn’t been paid. The landlord tries to contact the renter, and even sends a letter informing them of the missing rent. Still no answer.

The landlord decides to check up on the property and the renter in person, so he drives across town and parks in front of the apartment. He notices that there’s a car in the driveway, and it looks as though someone is home.  He makes his way up the walkway and knocks on the door. No answer. He rings the doorbell. There’s a rustle in the curtains at the window next to the door, then the door slowly opens.

“Can I help you with something?” The person asks. The landlord has never seen this person before.

“Can I speak to Mary?” The landlord asks.

“Sorry, no one by that name lives here,” says the stranger as he starts to close the door.

“Wait,” says the landlord, starting to feel as though he’s in a bad dream “This is my property.”

“No, I don’t think so,” said the stranger, shutting the door. “I already met the landlord.”

After doing a little digging, the landlord finds out that Mary Smith had sublet the property. She collected rent and a security deposit from the new renter, then disappeared. Neither the new renter or the landlord got their money back.

This story may sound like a rental urban legend, but it’s actually a rental scam that all landlords should watch out for. Find out more about rental scams in this article.

The scariest part of these rental stories is that they’re all true.

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