Sabotage list

I would like to start a thread here for inspectors to LIST what items of sabotage that they may have come across or heard of in their travels. I wanted to start this for a while. Then after I heard about an inspector coming across “bullets in the garbage disposal” , I’m thinking, !! maybe I shouldn’t wait any longer.

PLEASE keep extraneous opinions about why people do this, or anything about banks, or forclosures and so on out. My idea is to have an easily readable list of crap to look out for. In the interest of the client’s and the public’s and our own saftey. If you want a disscusion, please start a new post.
Thank you,

Tar paper under roof tiles that are 20 years old. Particularly in hot dry climates. We always write these up as they are likely to fail soon.

Also any water heater that us 10 years old or more we recommend replacement.

How about a seller telling you the Attic pull down steps are very sturdy, in fact he was just up there.

Now you get almost to the top and one side pulls out and you can see it was 1 stinking drywall screw and it now sheered off…arggg


Large holes in linoleum underneath a dog kennel.
Furniture moved in front of damaged baseboards.
Paint stains on brand new counter tops hidden by a towel.
Burnt attics, mouldy attics (if they are sealed, write a disclaimer).
New baseboards hiding water stains or sunken garage pads.

Large painting on walls that are just a little out of place, or off centered.

Every time I find a massive turd left in the toilet I ask the agent “Divorce sale?”…“Yup”…

Bagged ice in ice makers

Mortar put in a spa drain lol

Clumping kitty litter flushed down all the toilets…turns into concrete down in the drain.

Appliance cords pulled out of disposals, etc.

bearing grease smeared on walls, doors , etc.

Fireplace flue pipes removed inside the attic.

Large objects places in odd places to hide defects; once had a speed boat pushed up against the wall and into the corner of garage. Found water leaks inside the walls from upstairs HVAC unit. There was no insulation on the suction line so it sweat like a whore in church and ran down inside the walls (mold, stains, wet drywall.

My all time favorite one was a vacant house with a single bed pushed up against a wall under a window in one bedroom. It happened to be pouring down rain in a major Tropical storm passing thru. I moved the bed and water was leaking down from the overhead suspended ceiling and running down on the inside of the window. Popped a ceiling panel and found a wad of roofing tar the size of cat had been poured (and had fallen out due to the shear weight of it) into a rotted out section of the roof directly above the outside wall. The real kicker was when I opened the house up there was a paper sign taped to a kitchen cabinet that had a handwritten message on it…“The roof does NOT leak”. Nothing like telegraphing that there was a problem.

If it looks out of place or suspect…go the extra mile and double check it. It most likely is. Freshly painted wood always got my attention especially soffits.

A former grow house had knives, buried blade up, in the driveway…

Air fresheners throughout building.
Recent paint, masonry sealed on foundation walls. New carpet on foundation floor.

Attended a training class and the instructors best story/find was a butane lighter inside the microwave taped to the top. Yep forclosure

22cal bullet placed in the track of a sliding frame window. Nail driven into frame with the head clipped off. Same house had several bullets in the oven.

notice foaming racoon in crawl space after crawling to other end of crawl space (which you are now 20 feet from entrance)!!!

Really? That’s keeping things in good perspective.:shock:

Thanks to all so far. The dangerous and destructive things are what I’m looking for in this list. The stuff seen usually after a foreclosure or divorce or the like where someone has deliberately sabotaged the home. Pouring concrete down drains and like Kennith’s post about the butane lighter taped up inside the microwave (I never would have thought to look for that). I’d like this to be a list we can all reference so that when we inspect a house that had a foreclosure, or has had vandalism or the like done to it, we can be aware to look for lighters in microwaves, shine that flashlight in the disposal before starting it (good idea anyway) and look for tricks and traps that hurt us or the client or destroy something and past all that perhaps give the inspector some serious liability issues for missing it. People can be VERY devious when they want to and we can’t think of all the stuff they might do. That is the reason I wanted this list and you have all been real helpful so far - So KEEP IT COMING IN please.

I forgot to add my own here.
The house next door was a foreclosure, after a couple of years it was finally sold and on the day of closing the buyer asked that the water be turned on for a final walk through. HOWEVER: The previous owners had loosened every supply line in the house. The neighbor across the street soon noticed a flood of water pouring out of the front door. The house was ruined, hardwood floors, base molding, drywall, which later developed mold of course and the sale was canceled on closing day.
So when asking the buyer or real estate agent or whoever if the utilities are on, especially on a foreclosure, you might suggest that someone be in the house at the time. I thing it might also be a good idea to have someone by the breaker panel when the electric is turned on in case of electrical panel or outlet or wire sabotage.

I am starting a SABOTAGE LIST DISCUSSION POST so anyone can discuss this stuff there and keep the list clean for easy reading. We can discuss topics like what our liability’s are with regard o this stuff, when should we call the cops. If I find bullets or something rigged up dangerously I know I will, and get the hell out of there.

What is InterNACHI’s take or SOP on this?

I have had a gas line cut at a foreclosure. I also have a suspicion that some investors will unhook HVAC systems and water heaters so they are not functional and the banks will list them at a lot lower price.

Open garage door can hide stains. Be sure to close garage doors and check the ceiling above.

About 6 years ago, at the height of the foreclosure debacle, I was inspecting a foreclosed house and had completed the exterior and roof and had moved into the kitchen. I ran water in the sink and turned on the garbage disposal and it made a tremendous racket. I immediately turned it back off and pulled the strainer to look into the disposal. I ended up pulling six live 357 magnum shells out of the disposal. Needless to say I tend to look into the disposals now before I turn them on.