I Rented My Apartment to a Sweet Old Couple – When They Moved Out, I Was Shocked by What I Found Inside

Hans and Greta seemed like the perfect tenants — kind, responsible, and full of fascinating stories from their life in the Netherlands. But when they suddenly left, their hasty departure and strange behavior left me wondering what they were hiding in the apartment.

I met Hans and Greta on a rainy Tuesday. The apartment I was trying to let was in a sorry state thanks to a water leak. With my approval, the previous tenant had ripped out the flooring to prevent mold, leaving nothing but bare concrete. Then he had given up decided rather to move out than finish the project.

Not exactly a great first impression then for my new prospective tenants.

Hans and Greta didn’t seem fazed. Hans chuckled, his silver mustache twitching. “Looks like a blank canvas, doesn’t it, Greta?”
She smiled warmly. “Yes, quite an opportunity.”

I was taken aback. Most people would’ve turned and run. “I know it’s rough,” I began, “but I’m planning to install new flooring soon. Wood-look laminate strips.”

Hans held up a hand. “No need, sir. We can handle it ourselves. We’ll install new flooring.”

I blinked. “Are you sure? That’s a lot of work.”

Greta nodded. “We insist!”

I shrugged. “If you’re sure. I’ll cover the cost of materials, of course. And I’ll give you a reduction in the advertised rental.”

Hans smiled, his eyes twinkling with an almost childlike excitement. “That’s very generous of you.”

I nodded, already mentally calculating the costs. “I’ll get in touch with some contractors I know and handle the job. I’ll pay for it directly — you don’t need to worry about any of the costs.”

Greta patted my arm. “You’re too kind, Mike. We’re truly grateful.”

I smiled, feeling a warmth in their gratitude. “It’s the least I can do. I’ll make some calls today and get things moving.”

I made a few phone calls to contractors I trusted, arranging for the flooring to be delivered and installed. The process went smoothly, and Hans and Greta were as involved as they promised.

They were there every step of the way, offering tea to the workers and chatting with them like old friends. The transformation was remarkable — from bare concrete to a cozy, inviting space.

“Looks fantastic,” I said, admiring the finished job.

Hans nodded, a satisfied grin on his face. “It does, doesn’t it? Thank you again, Mike. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Greta added, “Yes, we truly appreciate your help.”

“Happy to do it,” I replied, feeling genuinely pleased with how everything turned out.

Over the next year, Hans and Greta proved to be the best tenants I could have asked for. Rent always on time, the apartment kept spotless. They even invited me for tea frequently.

We’d sit in their cozy living room, and they’d regale me with stories of their life in the Netherlands, their children and grandchildren, their adventures.

One evening, I mentioned them to Sam, another landlord friend of mine. “I’ve never had tenants like Hans and Greta,” I said. “They’re like the ideal tenants. They even moved in when the place had no flooring!”

Sam laughed. “Sounds like you hit the jackpot. But, be careful. People that perfect… sometimes there’s more to the story.”

I dismissed his caution. Hans and Greta were just kind, responsible people, as far as I could tell.

As the year drew to a close, I noticed a change. Hans and Greta started acting strange. They didn’t invite me in anymore when I was in the building checking on my other apartments. Once when I walked by, the front door was open, and I could see they were packing boxes with an anxious urgency.

I asked if everything was alright. Greta smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Just getting ready for a trip,” she said.

Hans nodded vigorously. “Yes, a trip. We’ll be back soon.”

But something was off. They were too hurried, too on edge. I decided to let it be, trusting their word.

Then, one day, they arrived at my office and handed me the keys. “We’re leaving,” Hans said, his handshake firmer than ever. “Thank you for everything, Mike.”

I was stunned. “But… why so suddenly?”

Greta looked at me, eyes filled with something I couldn’t quite place. “We’re sorry, Mike. We have to go.”

And with that, they left. I stood there, keys in hand, bewildered. What had happened? Why the sudden change?

I called Sam that night. “They just up and left today,” I said, pacing my living room.

“See if they left anything behind,” Sam suggested. “People in a rush often leave things behind. Or take things away that don’t belong to them.”

The next morning, I walked into the apartment to take a closer look. My heart dropped when I saw it — the laminate flooring was gone, stripped out completely, leaving only the bare concrete once again.

I couldn’t believe it. Shocked and confused, I wondered if they were hiding something or enacting some strange revenge.

I snapped a photo of the floor and texted Hans: “Hey Hans, what happened to the flooring? Did something go wrong?” I attached the photo and hit send, my mind racing with questions. Were they hiding something? Was this some kind of twisted revenge?

A reply came from Hans:

Oh dear, we are so sorry for the confusion! In the Netherlands, it is customary to take the floor with you when you move out. We assumed it was the same there, and that was why there was no floor when we moved in. We hired a professional moving team to carefully remove the flooring and cart it away, ensuring there was no damage or huge noise.

The reason for our rush to leave was because our granddaughter had just given birth, and she needed our help with the baby. It was an emergency birth, with some complications and we were beside ourselves with worry. We even nearly missed our flight, we were in such a panic!

We are sorry about the misunderstanding concerning the floor. I’m sorry we didn’t have time to explain everything in detail before leaving. We hope this hasn’t caused too much trouble. Please let us make it up to you. Come visit us in the Netherlands, and we will show you our beautiful country. With love, Hans and Greta.

I stared at my phone, incredulous. Dutch custom? I’d never heard of such a thing. I didn’t know whether to laugh or be angry. But as I thought about it, I started to understand. Hans and Greta had always been a bit quirky, always full of surprises.

I sat down, trying to process everything. I remembered their stories, their kindness, their meticulous care for the apartment. They weren’t malicious, just… different. Cultural differences, I guessed. It made me feel amused but also relieved.

I replied: “No hard feelings, Hans. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I’ll get the flooring replaced. Take care.” I hit send, feeling a weight lift off my shoulders. It was an odd situation, but not one worth holding a grudge over.

Over the next few weeks, I got the flooring replaced, again opting for wood-look laminate. As the workers finished up, I reflected on my time with Hans and Greta. They’d been good tenants, and their departure, though sudden and strange, wasn’t something to sour my memories of them.

One day, a letter arrived. It was from Hans and Greta. Inside was a heartfelt message. They thanked me for my understanding and hospitality, and they extended an invitation to visit them in the Netherlands. They wrote about their beautiful country, hoping I’d come see it for myself and reconnect.

I smiled as I read the letter. The idea of visiting the Netherlands, seeing where Hans and Greta came from, sounded appealing. Despite the odd end to their tenancy, I felt a deep sense of connection to them. Their quirks and traditions made them unique, and I appreciated that.

Life went on, but I often thought of Hans and Greta fondly. I’d catch myself smiling at their memory, their warm hospitality, and their fascinating stories. The initial surprise and confusion had faded, replaced by a sense of gratitude for having known them.

Eventually, I started planning a trip to the Netherlands. The thought of reconnecting with Hans and Greta, seeing their country through their eyes, filled me with excitement. Their invitation had sparked a curiosity in me, a desire to understand their culture better.

The story of Hans and Greta, from the surprise of their offer to install flooring to the shock of finding it gone, had become a cherished memory. It reminded me of the richness of human experience, the beauty of cultural differences, and the unexpected bonds we form.

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