Good tenants are like gold and bad tenants, sadly, are a fact of life. In either case when someone moves into your managed property, they usually like to make the place more comfortable and sometimes it involves more than just a picture hook!

Each time I interview a PM I always ask, “Do you have an amusing or funny story?” And most of you do: It’s the nature of property management, dealing with the public, in their homes – anything can happen.

So this month, I give you a lighthearted look at tenant renos gone too far – as told to me by property managers both here and overseas. Suffice to say, I hope none of these ever happen to you!

(PS the images are for your enjoyment and not actual images. We’re here to protect the innocent, and the guilty!)

1. We only eat free range

One property manager noticed a strange odour coming from an apartment she was about to inspect. “When I went into the kitchen, I found the tenant had removed the cupboard doors and placed wire mesh in front of each cupboard space. Behind the wire was straw, and neatly perched in each cupboard was a chicken!” #petswithbenefits

2. The indoor barbecue

“The tenants had constructed a brick built-in barbecue – only problem was it was built in the middle of a lounge room with carpets!”

Perhaps they thinking it would also double as a fireplace centrepiece, who knows…

3. The two bedroom unit that became a three bedder

“We had a tenant who built an extra bedroom with one of those permanent partition walls… so I came back in to do an inspection, and it’s like, wait… wasn’t this a two bedroom apartment?” #addedvalue

4. Practice makes perfect (Part 1)

“One tenant installed a stripper pole in the living room.” #itsaseriousworkout

5. “Seriously, this improves the value of the property, you should be paying me.”

“It was in an old farmhouse. The basement had dirt floors. In the very back of the basement the tenant had made a room with an elaborate koi fish pond with trippy lights and everything. The entire room was done with stone masonry. We thought maybe they had buried a body under there or something, it was such a strange thing….”

6. When you have a fast metabolism, I guess you need one of these

“I had a tenant once that put a toilet in the kitchen. No walls or anything.”


7. Practice makes perfect (Part 2)

“One guy tore out the wall between the kitchen and the living room – and used the space as a jamhall for practicing musicians. There was a restaurant below, so they only used it after it had closed. The landlord didn’t find out for a long time…”

8. “My husband is a painter”

“The outside paintwork of one house was a bit patchy in a couple of places, so the tenant offered to repaint for a small rental discount. Originally, the exterior was just plain white so I assumed that the “refresh” would also be white. But the tenant decided to use some creativity with leftover paint from another job, and so the exterior of the house ended up being candy coloured, blue and purple with yellow trim. That happened years ago, and house is still that colour.”

(Image: Obviously not the actual house but my eyes hurt picturing a similar scenario…)

9. Home is where the horse is


Yes, I think I saved the best till last.

“Around 1992, a rear bedroom had the floorboards and stumps ripped out, window knocked out, and we found …a HORSE, and the tenants had created a stable!

I wasn’t in real estate then, the mortgagee had taken possession of a tenanted property. I initially felt bad for the tenants, as it wasn’t their fault they had to vacate. But the sympathy vanished when we found the makeshift stable.”

(And yes, the tenants did eventually come back to get their horse.)

What is your weirdest/funniest home improvement job from a tenant?


Samantha McLean is the Managing Editor of Elite Property Manager – Australia’s only print magazine just for Property Managers.



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