Once upon a time, I owned a house. Well, it was actually TWO houses: A big one in the front, and a little one in the back. I rented out the back one to help with paying my mortgage. When I bought it, I inherited a tenant family (a mother and her three kids, and sometimes her weirdo boyfriend/husband person) who had been back there for a few years. These were not the smartest people around. Here are some things I got to experience:
I had a new stove put in, since the old one was decrepit and kept breaking. The installer showed them how it worked, and reported to me that all was well. The next morning at 6 AM I got a call: "The new stove is broke!" I went over there. The woman said, "I turn the knob, but nothing happens! The fire doesn't start!" She was turning the knob all the way up. I turned it to the "light" position and heard the telltale click click click whoosh of the automatic ignition. The flame ignited. My tenant was completely baffled. (Please note: This was exactly how the OLD STOVE worked, too.)
In the spring I got an irate phone message about how selfish I was for cutting all the flowers in the yard, how "other people" deserved to enjoy them, how I wasn't the only person living on this property, and how dare I. I looked out the window into the backyard. The tulips and irises *I* had planted in the fall had bloomed, and as most flowers like that do, had faded, the heads withering or falling off. I called her back and explained that while they were MY flowers, I hadn't cut them; they die after a while. Her response? "Oh."
One month, my water bill for both houses was $800. (It was usually about $70-$130.) I freaked out, thinking that there was some crazy leak somewhere; I called the water company, who started checking their equipment for leaks, I called a plumber and made an appointment for him to come inspect both houses for any problems. The next day, I was out in my front yard chatting with a neighbor who lived across the street and mentioned my huge bill. She said, "Oh, that's because [tenant] has been taking in laundry for the whole neighborhood! I see people going in and out of there with huge laundry bags every day while you're at work!" I cancelled the plumber and had a few words with my tenant. The next month the bill was normal.
I got a call at ten o'clock at night once. There was screaming in the background. "Is everything all right? What's going on?!?" There was a roach in the kitchen and my tenant wanted me to come over and kill it.
One night at eleven pm, I got a knock on my door. It was the tenant's teenage daughter. They had tripped the electric breaker, and my tenant wanted me to come over and fix it. I told the daughter that the breaker box was in the tiny basement, right next to the stairs, and that they should flip the switch back, and the lights would come back on. Her response? "My mom wants you to come and do it, cause my dad [the tenant's boyfriend] isn't here and she doesn't like to go in the basement." I handed her a flashlight and said, "good luck!"