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This Revenge Tale About a Greedy Landlord Is Every Tenant’s Fantasy

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Landlords can sure make your life miserable. From ridiculous rules to yearly rent increases to bogus security deposit cleaning fees, it seems like landlords always find a way to screw over their tenants.

Well, we’re here to share a pretty awesome story of how one tenant got sweet revenge on his nightmare landlord. After the landlord raised his rent by $500 a month, this man held out for years until he could exact his revenge — to the tune of $20,000.

You can read the full posting from Reddit below:

This one is a long one… but it’s worth it…

Part One

Landlord is jealous of my income, raises my rent $500. I screw him years later for $20k.

In the late ‘90s wife and I were just married, just getting started, and we decided to DINK (“double income, no kids”) it for a few years to save up for a down payment on a house.

The dotcom bubble was still rising and I was a newly minted software developer. I had an entry-level job for a while and then got recruited to a new city and a new job that paid 3x what I was making before. It was an offer too good to pass up. I ran the numbers and it was a no-brainer: by living frugally and saving my entire salary, living off just her income, we would easily have enough in a year to put 20% down payment on a new house.

We rented an apartment in the new city that was listed for $950/mo. The landlord was a real estate agent who owned a two-bedroom condo as an investment property. Let’s call him “Hank Wazowski”. Hank was a thin, gray, no-nonsense guy. He was pleasant enough, but perfunctory, dry, and had no sense of humor. He made a point of explaining that under no circumstances was he responsible for maintaining the garbage disposal and that it was NOT included in the rental agreement and he would not be responsible for fixing it were it to break. Um, ok.

He seemed slightly amused by us, a clueless, young, newlywed couple, but I could tell he wanted to rent to us because we were very obviously a safe choice as renters.

We filled out the rental agreement and the credit check, and this is where my troubles began. Hank looked hard at the credit application where I listed my job title, “Software Developer”, and my income, $75k. For a 23-year-old in his second year out of college, in the late 1990’s, this is a small fortune. Throw in my wife’s salary and we were over six figures in income, renting an apartment far beneath our means. Like I said, DINK is the way to go when starting out.

“I can’t believe how much money you make.” Hank must have said half a dozen times, muttering under his breath.

I explained we were saving to buy a house and that we were only going to stay in the apartment a year. “We might stay a few months after the term is over, would month-to-month be ok after a year?”

Hank assured us that would be fine.

Part Two

We saw Hank only once during the year and he again mentioned my salary and how he couldn’t believe that’s what software developers were making. It was awkward and I gave a vague reply.

Anyway, a year later we had found a house to buy, signed all the papers, and were making plans to move. The new house wasn’t going to be ready until two months after our rental lease was up, so I called Hank to ask if we could, as discussed, simply extend the lease by two months before moving out. Hank assured me on the phone it would be no problem and he would send over an extension for us to sign. The extension arrived in the mail and it included a month-to-month clause and a $500 increase in the rent. I flipped out and called him.

“Hank, why are you increasing the rent over 50%? That’s too much! That’s more than my new mortgage is going to be!”

He was super condescending to me, “RockyMoose, it’s what the apartment goes for now. I would be losing money by renting it for less.” I tried to reason with him but it was very clear he knew we could afford the $500, had no choice in the matter, and he was going to screw us over as best he could. He got angry with me for arguing my point, and I’ll never forget his parting words:

“You don’t have to like it, RockyMoose, you just have to pay it.”

Part Three

My wife and I tried to figure out a way to move out early by putting our furniture in storage for a couple months and crashing with friends, but it just wasn’t going to work out.

I swallowed my pride and wrote out the check for $1450 for the extra month. A month later I wrote a similar check, and then we moved out. I made sure the apartment was spotless before moving, but still Hank withheld $300 from our security deposit for bullshit things that were just a way for him to squeeze a few more dollars from the kids who made too much money. $100 for cleaning, sure? But $300 was obscene. In my mind, he had screwed me over for $1200 and there was nothing I could do about it.

What made is even more infuriating is that I saw the ad Hank put in the paper after we moved out and he listed the apartment for rent at only $150 more than we had been paying originally, not the grossly-inflated $500 increase. And it didn’t rent. A month later I saw the same ad and he had lowered the price to $75 more than we had been paying, and I assume it got rented since the ads stopped appearing.

Part Four

Fast-forward about five years. Life is good, the house is good, we have a baby, and even though the dotcom bubble has burst, I’m still employed. One day, out of the blue, I overhear one of my co-workers, Phil, a senior developer, talking to the guy working the reception desk:

“Hey, Mike, I’m expecting someone to drop off some paperwork for me. If a Hank Wazowski asks for me, tell him I’ll be right out.” I freeze and get a taste of bile in my mouth remembering how I had to write out that name on those checks all those years ago. There’s no way it’s the same guy, right? I walk over to Phil who is still by the reception desk.

“Phil,” I say, “How do you know that name, Hank Wazowski?”

Phil explains that Hank is his real estate agent. “I bought my condo through him several years ago. I’m selling my condo now so I can buy a house. So I’m going to ask him to be my agent again. Do you know him?”

I tell Phil that I used to rent an apartment from Hank and described what he looks like. Phil confirms the description: it’s the same guy, wow small world, right? And on cue, right then the front door to the office opens and in walks Hank Wazowski. I stare in disbelief. He’s carrying a folder of papers and doesn’t recognize me.

Phil and Hank shake hands and they talk for a few moments. I stand there silently, wondering what to do. Phil finally says, “Hank, this is my friend RockyMoose, I think you may have already met?”

“Yes, hello Hank. Good to see you again. My wife and I were your tenants a few years ago on —- Street. Remember, the software developer who rented for a year saving to buy a house? Well, this is where I work. Here. With Phil.”

Hanks eyes indicate he now remembers me, and he’s starting to put it all together. We shake hands and he says yes, of course he remembers and asks how we are doing.

“Oh we’re just fine, thanks for asking. Phil says that you’re his real estate agent. Small world, isn’t it?”

Hanks nods pleasantly. He still doesn’t remember the details of our last conversation.

Part Five

I do some quick math in my head. This is the early/mid 2000’s, the real estate market is very strong and easy money for any agent. The crash of 2008 is still a few years in the future. I start to think out loud.

“Selling the condo for around $150 to 200 thousand, and you’re looking at houses in the $500 thousand range, so that’s $650 to 700 thousand in total transactions. An agent getting 3% on the sale AND the purchase is getting around $20k for his trouble. That’s a good commission for the agent, isn’t it?

Hanks eyes flash and I can tell he remembers everything about me now. Phil is surprised at my passive-aggressive tone. I am enjoying the uncomfortable silence.

Hank deflects my question, saying it’s complicated, and tells Phil to send back the papers as soon as possible. He shakes hands with Phil, looks at me, nods, and goes to leave. “It was really good to see you again, Hank.” I call behind him.

He exits the building. As the door is still shutting, I say a bit too loudly, so that Hank can hear, “Phil, don’t sign anything just yet, I have a story to tell you.”

Part Six

Phil looks at me and says, “Rocky, what the hell was that all about?!” He looks pissed and confused at my behavior.

I tell Phil the whole story, the rent, the $500 increase, the security deposit, “you don’t have to like it, you just have to pay it,” everything. “Phil, you can’t use this guy to sell your condo and buy a house. I hate him. He’s evil. I’ll help you find another real estate agent, just use ANYONE BUT HANK!”

So the great thing about Phil is that, well, he’s a great guy. He says he’s a little surprised at my story and has always known Hank as a straightforward guy. “But I totally see him doing that to you,” he admits. “There’s no way I could use him now. What a dick!”

Finale

Then Phil’s eyes lit up a bit, “What do you want me to say when I fire him?” (I have special feelings for Phil now.)

We came up with a plan and I made sure there were some key phrases in Phil’s repertoire. We planned it all out together in advance. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Hank’s reaction in person a day later when Phil made the following phone call while I stood behind him listening:

“Hi, Hank? It’s Phil calling. Yeah, about that. I’ve decided to get some other quotes from other agents. I’m not going to sign up with you …

[pause]

“No no, you shouldn’t give a discount. You’d be losing money if you did that . . .

[pause]

“No, this is just a decision I’ve made . . . no, it has nothing to do with RockyMoose . . .

[pause]

“Well, you don’t have to like it, Hank. You just have to accept it. Good bye.”

CLICK

And it was the greatest revenge I could have ever imagined: through a chance meeting years later, Hank got screwed out of twenty thousand dollars in easy commissions. And the best part is Hank absolutely KNEW it had EVERYTHING to do with RockyMoose!

Boy, would I like to have been a fly on the wall when Hank got this bad news after so many years. But surprisingly, this ProRevenge story was actually pretty divisive on Reddit.

Some users thought the poster was being unusually harsh on his old landlord; others were excited to hear about his triumph over his evil over(land)lord.

And nearly everyone agreed that some landlords are just, well, shitty.

Photo Credit: Reddit

Others were impressed with his quick scheming and his ability to keep it together after the fact.

Photo Credit: Reddit

A few landlords chimed in too. One shared that he hardly raises the rent if a tenant goes month-to-month:

Photo Credit: Reddit

And another chimed in that he’s happy to see a crummy landlord put in his place:

Photo Credit: Reddit

And one fellow landlord explained that yes, some people really do let all that power go to their heads:

Photo Credit: Reddit

Someone even created a fake account to tell the story from the landlord’s perspective, which is pretty funny:

Photo Credit: RedditLots of Redditors took issue with this revenge, saying that a steep rent increase is just par for the course when you go month-to-month:

Photo Credit: Reddit

But other Redditors quickly came to the original poster’s rescue, pointing out that a $500 per month increase is just plain ridiculous:

Photo Credit: Reddit

No matter whose side you take in this story — the landlord or the tenant — I think we can all agree his revenge tactic was pretty clever.

What’s your best landlord horror story? Or, if you’re a landlord, share your worst tenant stories!

We’d love to hear from you!

Let us know in the comments!