Landlord Story for your Amusement

Monday, January 4, 2010 , Posted by Johnny Fuery at 1:38 AM

Originally Published 2008-02-06 17:05:29

(This is a story from long ago... I no longer have a business relationship with this particular fellow. This has been sitting in my cache as a draft for ages.)

So I get a call the other day from a tenant. I'm in Britain on a job, mind you, so his late-afternoon call is actually quite a bit more of an imposition than he realizes. It's after midnight and just got used to the dang time zone. But, hey, it's only four bucks a minute... still cheaper than the two grand a month I'd have to pay a property manager, right?

Tenant: Hey, uh, I have a problem here with the apartment. The electricity in the family room is out.

Tired Landlord: Have you checked the circuit breakers?
No. Where are they? I turned the whole place off and then back on.

Realllly. Is anything else out, or is it just the one room?
It's just the one room. Actually, it's only half the room.

Half the room? What do you mean? Are the lights out?

Then how do you know the power is out? One of the outlets isn't working?
Yeah. The TV won't turn on.

Ok. Have you tried plugging anything else into that outlet? Something that you know is working properly?
Oh, like the lamp?

(After long pause) No, the lamp doesn't work in that outlet either.

Ok. Can we check the other outlets in the room? If the lights are working, then maybe it's just the one outlet that's broken, in which case we can get you by on an extension cord for today. Ok?

(Another long pause.)
Well, the other outlet on the same wall doesn't work.

Ok. What about the adjacent wall, by the door?
Oh! That one works!

Weird. Would you just do me a big favor and check the last outlet or two in the room?

(Another $12 or so in roaming fees accrue on my mobile phone bill.)
All the other outlets work. This isn't as bad as I thought.

Agreed. How about this... is there a light switch in the room that you never use? Maybe behind the door or something?

Ok. We probably just have to replace the two receptacles in question. Is there anything weird about those? I've seen one receptacle go bad at a time in the past, but two is really odd. Maybe something indicative of a short, like a little telltale burn right around where the plug is inserted into the outlet on one of them?
Hmm. (Pause) Well, there's a couple of weird buttons on one of them.

Weird buttons? (I pause for a moment in disbelief.) Um. Are they red and black?
Yeah. How'd you know?

(Without missing a beat) Just a lucky guess. Do me a favor and press the black button, ok?

(The Jerry Springer Show is suddenly heard in the backround.)
Hey! My TV just came back on! Awesome!

(Amused grunt) That's great. I think you'll find that the second outlet that wasn't working is now working, also.
Yeah. Thanks, Johnny!

If it's not immediately clear what happened, perhaps this Amazon listing will help:


On 2008-02-07 11:01:36 Orlando Florida Homes For Sale said:
That was funny! I thought it would of been the light switch turned off the outlet I did that call to a landlord once. Told them half the outlets not working.

They had top outlet hooked to switch. To Funny!

On 2008-02-11 03:30:32 AntiVirus said:
lolz, hilarious!

but quite true though, i've met such a scenario @@

On 2008-02-13 05:15:35 theAve said:
The first rule of thumb in trouble-shooting is always start with the obvious. You can usually solve most problems in 10 questions or less.

On 2008-02-13 05:28:46 Dekoracje said:
People can be so ... dumb sometimes :) Kudos to you for patience!

On 2008-02-14 19:49:02 Make Money Online | David Elefant said:
This is just like a person calling supoort for their pc that wont boot. And support realises after a while the pc is not plugged into the electric socket.

Not everyone knows how to make a web page either.

On 2008-02-15 22:07:35 Philippine Web Design said:
Funny.. Hey! My TV just came back on! Awesome!

On 2008-02-19 02:13:34 Love Calculator said:
lol took me sometime to figure this out

good one


On 2008-02-19 10:35:44 Eric C said:
Thanks for post, it's really interesting for me!!!

On 2008-02-22 10:29:13 Julie said:
Great story! Definitely made me smile.

I used to deal with my tenants directly until I was woken up at 3am by a tenant that had just had another tenant pull a knife on them (butter knife mind you but still). It was enough for me to hire a property manager - just too bad we hired a property manager that robbed rent money from us. You can check out our story (not as funny as yours mind you) at:

On 2008-10-27 12:24:23 Rey said:
Lol! I feel kind of silly after reading this since I've done that same thing with one of my outlets in the kitchen.

On 2009-04-29 18:02:12 Jacksonville Realtor - Brad Officer said:
As a landlord myself, I get a lot of these types of calls. Most tenants have little to no handy man skills as they have always been tenants with someone else fixing anything that goes wrong.

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