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Rental Horror Stories: Drugs and Damage on Ocean Drive

Welcome to Renters Week Horror Stories, a weeklong contest where we ask you dear readers to submit your most horrible stories renting in Miami or South Florida and we feature the best of the worst. Have to deal with a tyrannical landlord, or perhaps have a tenant who treated your property a little too much like home? You could win a staycation at a posh boutique hotel! Check out the official contest rules here, and let us in on your worst rental secrets. Anonymity guaranteed!

I am the condo board president of a small 1937 Art Deco building – formerly a hotel -- in South Beach. Only 31 units, but as 2 are combined, really only 29 owners. Units range from 1 bedrooms to 3 bedrooms, from under 600 square feet to over 1,400 square feet.

Everyone pretty much knows everyone else, from other owners to the tenants of owners who rent out their apartments. A few years ago, one of the original owners (the building was converted to condominium units in 1993), a realtor who is very fussy about his rentals and who prefers long-term leases, rented to a couple of young Frenchmen who worked for one of his business associates.

He was concerned because he'd not had good experiences renting to young men in South Beach, but he took the chance, and, for the first few months, all seemed well.
The owner would come in from time to time to check them out, and all continued to seem well.

Then residents in the building began to notice that bikes were left haphazardly in the lobby and there seemed to be a lot of people coming and going to this apartment. When anyone saw either of the young men they seemed to be somewhat disoriented, possibly under the influence of liquor or drugs.

I telephoned the owner and relayed my concerns, suggesting that he perhaps pay another one of his visits to his unit. (He had stopped doing so, assuming all was well.) He agreed and paid an unannounced visit one evening. The next day, the two young men were out of the apartment.

You see, upon entering that unit, the owner found several young people who appeared stoned…but there was also major damage to the premises.

Every single one of the legs of tables and chairs had been sawn off. Every leg…on every table and chair.

The owner was thoroughly freaked out. Had it been some sort of ritual, some arcane religious rite? Or, simply the result of too many evenings of imbibing liquor and drugs and lord knew what else? We never found out, but it makes for interesting speculation! And, no, he never again rented to young men. Nor did he supply these two with a reference.

· Renters Week 2015 [Curbed Miami]