Landlord horror stories


Erik Uebelacker

The interior damage from Ben K.’s apartment lobby was caused by a burst pipe.

Students have faced some questionable decisions made by their landlords that can lead to some embarrassing, dangerous and uncomfortable situations.

Many DePaul students are moving away from home and experiencing living alone for the first time. This experience can be frightening enough for young adults without their landlords making it harder on their tenants.

As apartment hunting season begins, many students are moving out of their current housing for one reason or another. Some are leaving because of their horrible landlords. Here are some DePaul students sharing their questionable landlord stories, so you know what not to look for when looking for a new place to call home.

Savannah J. (Lincoln Park)

“In 2021 I moved into an apartment on Lincoln and Diversey, and instead of starting new leases, friends were just passing the leases off to each other. The first time it got rented was in 2015 and they just started swapping out roommates. That means they hadn’t inspected the apartment since 2014, which you are, apparently, not supposed to do. So, there were a ton of issues in that apartment and one of the minor ones was that our water heater was directly in front of the electrical panel. You couldn’t reach it and you had to call the landlord and get maintenance to come out because they had to push aside so much stuff that we couldn’t touch just to turn the power back on. We also had a banister that was tilted so far over that you couldn’t use it to get up the stairs.”

Savannah J. (continued)

“The worst thing that happened while I was living there was in February of 2021 when we had a big snowstorm. There were skylights in our apartment and the snow was piling up on them and one of them cracked and started leaking water into one of my roommates’ bedrooms, our living room and our kitchen. During that same storm, my bedroom wall shared a wall with the bathroom and the pipes in the bathroom froze and they started squeaking when we would try to turn the faucet on.

Thankfully, they came out 12 hours after my roommate called maintenance, but they couldn’t get to the pipes in the bathroom, [so] they had to go through the wall in my room. They cut a hole in the wall that was about three feet by three feet right next to my bed. They fixed the pipes, but the maintenance guy left and said he would come back to patch the hole in about an hour. I could see the pipes from the bathroom, and you could hear the wind coming in from outside of the apartment. It was like 12 degrees outside, and my room dropped to like 47 degrees. The maintenance guy didn’t come back. I had to stay at a friend’s house. By the time I moved out August 1 of 2021, they still had not patched the wall.”

Ben K. (Wrigleyville)

“Last week, we had a severe sewage backup in our unit. The maintenance person from our management company came out and while he was trying to fix the clog in our pipes, he ended up bursting a pipe. That then caused water to start flooding into the lobby of our building. He went down to check it out and ended up getting fumes and chemicals in his eyes from going into the ceiling. He left with water still leaking from the ceiling into one of the light fixtures, which had an active electrical current running through it. Around 11:30 that night, my roommate got back to the building, and he mentioned that he smelled smoke. So, we went to the lobby and checked it out and the light fixture was smoking.

We called the fire department immediately, they showed up within 10 minutes and told us that they could tell the maintenance work on the building was done poorly. It wasn’t done up to code or done correctly. We got lucky that our roommate came back and noticed, because if he hadn’t come back at that time there was a strong possibility that the light fixture could have caught on fire. Here we are, more than a week later, and there’s still a hole in our ceiling in the lobby. One side of the building’s plumbing still isn’t working.”

Kaitlyn P. (Lincoln Park)

“I was sitting in the bath in my apartment, and, in the past, I had a roommate who would take baths almost every day and we never had an issue with it, at least that I knew of. Then, all the sudden, I hear banging on the downstairs door and the buzzer starts going off. I was in the bath so I couldn’t answer, but someone else did and I heard shouting downstairs. I have no idea what they’re saying, but about 20 minutes later, I start hearing the buzzer again and I hear a knock at my door. I keep hearing knocking and I realize this is our landlord and maintenance guy. If he doesn’t hear me answer he will come in. I hop up and run into my room to get a robe and I run to the door as he is opening it. He said there was a leak downstairs, and it turns out the drain at the front of the tub is not working properly, so it was just draining into the apartment below us.”