‘Our Toilet Fell Through the Floor’: We Asked People About Their Horrible Rental Experiences

Notable mentions: carpeted toilet that doesn't have a door.
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As we move from teenagehood to adulthood – finally free from the clutches of high school and overbearing parents – the first mistake one often makes is hauling a few boxes of life possessions into an undeniably shit sharehouse. 

Attracted by the low rent, the freedom, and turning a blind eye to that one sagging part of the roof, we – somewhat naively – believe that this’ll be our paradise: a place to stay up as late as we want, wake up as late as we want, eat whatever, and do whatever.


But after a few months, the cracks appear.

Maybe it’s in the form of leaking taps and flooded carpet, or uninvited landlords looking through windows. Maybe it’s strange smells, or toilets and pipes in interesting places. 

Plenty of young people in the renting market are paying exorbitant prices to live among the big city lights – attracted by busy social lives and a willingness to compromise on living standards. Landlords know this and landlords take advantage of this. They even have pages on Facebook dedicated to swindling money from their tenants. 

And so, to really get to the dark side of the rental market, we asked others about their strange, funny and sometimes downright insane experiences from those first few shit sharehouses.


JOSS, 23-years-old: Quote my landlord, "You have the worst house on the best street". Notable mentions: carpeted toilet that doesn't have a door.

Mateus, 26-years-old: We discovered that the exhaust hood over the stove didn't go anywhere and just piped it all directly into the cupboard above.


Josh, 25-years-old: In 2017, we rented out a house which had a clause on the lease that we were not allowed to use the shed on the property, which seemed to be permanently closed and padlocked. Fast forward a few months and we started noticing weird sounds from the shed late at night, but figured it was the water heating system or something similar. We also had five people living at the house and we constantly had guests over, so people would be making noise doing things at all hours. 


One night I noticed someone coming through the side entrance of the house but I didn't think anything of it. The next morning we discovered that the shed had been left open and that it was being used by the landlord’s brother as a mancave to smoke bongs, watch TV and surf dating websites. He’d write out details of women's profiles by hand with comments and a grading system that quantified their positive and negative traits and compatibility.

We swiftly told the property manager about it, got the padlocks removed and disposed of the personal effects in the shed. Upon moving out the landlord tried to withhold our entire bond from us for normal wear-and-tear damages and costs for fixing things that were fucked that we weren't responsible for, such as the roof falling in and leaking for months on end. I threatened to take them to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) regarding the trespassing and drug use of the landlord's brother and they immediately returned all the money without a single further message.

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Leaking taps (photo supplied)

Georgia, 23-years-old: In my early twenties, I moved into a converted warehouse above a tattoo parlor and cabaret club. Rent was cheap as chips and the house was a dream. Our landlord ran the cabaret club downstairs and lived there, sleeping on a fold out couch. Reviews for the club would often mention the fact that it was very obviously lived in, the shower behind the red velvet curtains being a dead giveaway. 


Anyway, our landlord would demand no noise between 4-7pm most nights of the week, the sound of the kettle or washing machine running would send him into fury. We’d mostly oblige but definitely weren’t the best tenants ever! Our landlord would text us whenever we had a party to ‘keep it down’ and it wasn’t uncommon for him to march upstairs and bang on our door. I now look back at that period fondly, but living there was not it.

Marli, 27-years-old: I was living in Brisbane and we found a house that was an amazing deal in South Bank. Me and the future roommates go to check out the house and we realize it’s a private rental situation. The guy who owns the house is extremely awkward and we get weird vibes, but it's too good of a deal to pass up as it’s just this incredible Queenslander house. 

We get downstairs and we realize that there is a flat down there. One of my housemates asks if he was planning to stay there whilst we are in the house. He promises that he has “a very successful girlfriend” living in the city and only uses it once a month for work and says that’s why the rent is cheap. We were like, “cool, once a month is fine”.

We move in and it’s great…for the first month. We start seeing him more than once a month downstairs. Then two months in he lets us know he’s broken up with his girlfriend and is staying downstairs and at a friend's house “so he doesn’t disturb us.” Which is a complete lie, as he moves in 24/7.


 One day he thinks everyone is out. I’m still there, and he starts going through our bins. He then writes a note saying that we can’t drink this much in the house. 

One time again I’m home alone, I’m having a shower and then I get out, in only towel and who is standing in the hallway looking into our bedrooms but the landlord. I scream at him and he scampers out. The next day we get an email from him stating that he is “keeping his fingers on the pulse of real estate” and has to raise the rent up by $300.

Isabella, 27-years-old: Our landlord used to text us at 9pm and ask if he could come over to inspect things and when we'd say, "No, we're not home.” He'd say, "it sounds like people are home." 

My current landlord came around when we moved in and found the exhaust fan in the kitchen wasn't working. His response was to tell us it had never worked and said "Well, is it that important? How often do you cook?"


Steph, 27-years-old: Our toilet fell through the floor and the landlord wouldn’t fix it for a month.

Chris, 30-years-old: We asked our real estate agent to send someone around to fix our blocked shower head. So they sent some old guy who unscrewed the head and sucked out the blockage like it was a tube of yoghurt. He spat the blockage into the toilet, like an ol' timey cowboy sucking out snake venom.


They also sent the same guy around to repair a busted light fixture. He proceeded to cut his hand open with a screwdriver and then got super mad at me when I offered first aid. 

Alex, 23-years-old: We had the sharehouse from hell in Northcote. Hadn't been renovated since the ‘70s, was made of asbestos –which was exposed in places– bathroom ceilings were sagging and on the verge of collapse, black mold everywhere. There was too much lead in the garden beds to grow veggies. We had toilet AND shower mushrooms and to top it all off, we discovered the roof was leaking because several tiles were missing and someone had just put a rain jacket over it instead. 

Meanwhile, the landlord lived next door in his fancy, freshly renovated house with a pool. I do not miss that godforsaken house.


Mushrooms in walls (photo supplied)

Matt, 33-years-old: Me and my best mate moved into our first sharehouse when we were 22. It was an absolute dump of an apartment in Beverly Hills in Sydney, which was the only place we could get after months of applying for places closer to where we grew up (Menai).

The place was very basic and quite old, but we didn't care, we were just keen to get out of home more than anything. For most of our lease, everything was fine in that we didn't have any issues. The real estate / owner did no routine inspections at all. Not a single one. We thought this was great, but soon realized it would become an issue the minute we did actually have a problem.


One morning we woke up and the place was completely flooded. Like, I stepped out of bed directly into a puddle that covered the entire floor. 

This is a third-story apartment, so the water came from inside. It turned out that the hot water unit was completely buckled and just continued to piss water into the kitchen, which slowly covered the carpeted areas as well.

We immediately grabbed everything that could be salvaged and put it in the garage. Once things were stable, we called the real estate. I specifically used the words "our whole unit is flooded" and was not at all taken seriously. They were like, “oh ok, we'll get someone to come out and have a look”. I tried to explain that this is beyond a plumber's job.

They sent out a real estate agent who walked in, looked around for 10 seconds and called the office. "Hey, yeah it's worse than we thought," he says into the phone.

What part of "our whole unit is flooded" didn't fucking make sense?

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