Home-icide Part II: Revenge of the Former Tenants

Okay, I’m going to be honest. My last post about my house was rather tongue in cheek. But now shit is getting serious.

(Oh, and howdy! My apologies for the almost-two-week absence. I’ll have another post with details on that later.)

To set this up, let me go into a wee bit of back story: We had a bit of an alarming incident back in August when, in preparation for my best friend’s arrival, we were doing a deep clean of the house. Kevin even cleaned the oven and when the kitchen was just about finished, he turned it to Self Clean. Self Cleaning, for those of you not in the know, is when the oven jacks itself up to at least 500 degrees or more in order to incinerate any burnt-on debris that might be lingering anywhere on its innards.

Within twenty minutes, however, our entire house was filled with billowing smoke from the oven. The smoke alarm was going off, the dog was scared, and we couldn’t breathe. Kevin opened the oven to try to air it out but that made things much worse. We opened the front and back doors and as many windows as we could. We then took ourselves and the dog out to the backyard and sat on the back deck while the house attempted to air out. It was one of the worst smells ever – a horrid acrid, burning char smell and it made my eyes water and stung my nostrils.

I was a bit shaken but also rather pissed off, because the source of what was burning in the oven was still unknown. We assumed we were at fault (could burnt cheese cause something like this to happen?). We were pressed for time and still hadn’t showered and done final touches to the house in preparation for guests and now we had a house full of smoke and ass-like smell.

An hour or two later, the house was airing out, scented candles and Febreze came to the rescue, and normalcy resumed.

Fast forward to November 7. Time: 7:00am.

Kevin awoke and lovingly began making biscuits for breakfast. Biscuits are baked at a higher temperature, around 450°F, albeit for a shorter amount of time.

Being the bloodhound-nosed woman that I am, I immediately sensed that something was beginning to turn smokey and had a familiar awful burning smell. I warned him that this was smelling all too familiar, but Kevin plowed on, thinking that it would be okay since he was baking something for less time.


The smoke alarm began screaming, the house began filling up with a worse char stench than three months prior, and the dog didn’t want to go through the kitchen to go outside because of course he’s thinking, “Helloooo that’s where the smoke is, dummies!” We got him outside, threw open all the doors and windows, and I began ranting about our effing oven and how all of our belongings were going to have smoke damage, rendering them useless. I was still in the midst of getting ready for work, as well.

We pulled up dining room chairs out on the front porch and while the house attempted to air itself out–AGAIN–we had coffee and a biscuit or two, though my appetite was scant.

Kevin vowed to tear apart the oven when we were home from school and work. While the house smelled about 90% better after spending an entire day being aired out, a faint acrid smell still lingered in the air.

Keeping his promise, Kevin began taking everything out of the oven so he could see what was underneath the bottom metal layers. Our oven and stove are gas so there was no central heating element like in a toaster oven.

About twenty minutes in and forty oven parts laying on the kitchen floor later, Kevin yelled out, “Umm…I figured out the cause of the problem!” I ran in to the kitchen but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.

Wondering what the hell that is? Yeah. We were, too. Here’s a closer look:

We know for a fact that it’s a mix of charred and not charred dog food – about a pound or two of it, laying UNDERNEATH the heating elements and in an area where, if someone purposely put it there, they’d be giant dicks. Slightly recovering from shock, I went and grabbed my camera to take these beauties.

The other stuff  in there, the hair, is either dog hair (we know the former tenants had two big dogs) or perhaps it’s a mouse nest? Other people asked if the tenants put a dog IN the oven. (I can’t even go there.) There are different theories running rampant on Facebook at the moment.

Either way, it’s REVOLTING. We didn’t have much of an appetite for dinner (certainly not making it at home) after Kevin painstakingly cleaned all of this out and removed the broiler drawer and cleaned everything out from under there, as well. (Found more dog treats. Was someone drunk? Is this a practical joke? HOW did that stuff get there? Why? Baffling.)

The serious side to all of this is, the house could have easily burned down and/or the smoke could have been much worse and damaged the home more than it already has. We put in a call to the landlord this morning but it remains to be seen what their stance will be. If history rings true, they really won’t care all that much. They know how awful the last tenants were. Personally, I’d like a new oven, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards.

But back to the former tenants. These two guys (and a girl, based on the mail we continued receiving) left the house completely trashed and they snuck (I say snuck, not sneaked) out early to try to avoid having to deal with the cleaning of the house and other leftover bills. Our elderly couple of a landlord were scouring the place and we couldn’t even move in until a week after the first of the month of our lease. It was atrocious. The former tenants were absolute, complete slobs. And this incident obviously proves it.

The downside is, the house still smells really bad in the kitchen. The smell just will not go away and I am afraid it’s permanently etched into the mini-blinds, curtains, and possibly the paint on the walls. I’m hoping that more airing out and Febrezing will help.

Last night, scented candles from Bath & Body Works were our saving grace because it helped to mask the smell and make me forget temporarily about the nastiness that resided in my oven for over a year. I mean, we regularly use our oven. A lot. Kevin makes homemade bread and biscuits, I bake once a quarter, we make frozen pizzas, etc. I’m giving myself the willies just typing this out.

Another upshot is that of course this makes me want to flee this house. Our lease is up next July and Kevin is kicking and screaming at the idea of moving, one of the most loathed things in life, according to him. But I think I’m going to be forced to check out our options (if we have any) because it’s so difficult for me to imagine staying in this place 2/3 of the way in to 2013. For me, moving > living there for more than eighteen more months.

I’m NOT asking the question, “What else can go wrong?” because I really don’t want to tempt things. Our house is clearly at a peak point of needing maintenance–okay and also the appliances. We already received a new fridge and a new dryer. We simply can’t afford to not be able to use our oven, however.

So….. Kevin and Zoe: 2 | House 0

We remain standing.

Until next time, House.

Edit: The conclusion is that after we heard back from the landlady, who was PISSED by the way, she told us that she knows the tenants did this on purpose because they had to force them to clean the kitchen. I’m assuming one of them had walked through the house to do some kind of repair and noticed it being in a revolting state.

She said she has no doubt that they did it out of spite and was furious. While we’re not getting a new oven (apparently we don’t need one, according to Kevin), it’s going to take some time for us to get the ass stench out.


  1. Whaaaaat? Who does that? Glad you guys found the source and everyone’s ok!

    • Thanks, Tori! Apparently giant d-bags do something like this. Living in this house has been interesting, to say the least. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  2. This is where I had the kind of lab powers that one has on CSI/Law and Order (no make that Law and Order for sure because I want the ching-ching sound of judgment to go with it), wherein I could have the hair DNA tested and prove it belonged to their dog and then sue the crap out of them for mental anguish, a new oven, etc. As I have said before and will likely say again, who does this kind of thing? WHO?

  3. Holy hell! What a bunch of jerks!
    When we bought our house, the previous owners were pissed that we were able to negotiate around ten thousand dollars off the price. So they cleaned nothing, pulled shelves off of the bedroom walls – leaving huge holes in the plaster – and dumped a full bag of dog food INSIDE the wall behind our dining area. If they had done that in the summer, the house would have been overrun with mice and god-knows-what-else. Assholes.

    • Oh my GOD. How is it YOUR fault that you were able to negotiate $10k off the price? Isn’t that how things go in home ownership dealings? What is it with people and dog food? Sorry you had to deal with that.

      We had to use our vacuum hose to actually get into the oven and remove some of the harder-to-reach chunks. People can really suck.

  4. Wow! I am in shock of these things that are happening in your house! As a renter myself I have had to clean up past tenants ickiness…I feel your pain.

    I wish I knew some magical thing that could get the smell out faster. I would say moth balls, but then you would have old lady smell. Try strategic placement of dryer sheets. My grandmother swears by them.

    • That’s a great idea, Megan! The smell is slo-o-o-o-o-wly fading but it’s still lingering and it’s quite annoying.

      I’m just hoping we can go for a while without incident at this place, knock on wood.

  5. What asses! That is horrible and while reading your post I could almost smell the stench from your description. Wow! Hope you don’t find any other surprises.

    • THANK you! I have been praying this is the last of things, at least for 2011. (Although our washer stopped working two days later and we’re waiting for it to be serviced.) I’m happy to report that we used the oven last night to bake up some frozen chicken finger thingies and the house only smelt like gas oven, which was a DELIGHT.

  6. Wow…I´m just rereading this and I am still in shock!! So sorry that you guys have to deal with this! How is the smell? Is it going away at all?

    • It’s going away, yes, thank God. I don’t walk in the house and wrinkle my nose anymore (unless it’s for something different). Hoping that’s it for the oven issues!

  7. One word: Karma.


  1. […] last time I wrote on the subject of the home I’m living in, we had just discovered something bizarre (and gross) in the […]

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