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Landlord Blues: Renting out the house from hell

I am using this blog to publish extracts from my third book on the subject of dealing with tenants from hell. The aim of the book and blog is to give people an insight into what the life of a landlord can be like and to provide tips for making landlords’ lives easier. This is done by describing real experiences of our worst-case scenarios. This should help you avoid getting into the same fixes.

Concluding my Landlord Blog.
01 June 2014

For the last year, three Nigerians and a white English man have lived at Hill View, and so far so good. They're quiet, they're tidy and they pay the rent. We'll enjoy the peace while it lasts. I'll also enjoy not writing about this life as a landlord and shall try to switch off more from the dreadful way some people behave. It can be a lucrative profession, but it can also leave a sour taste in the mouth.
As more and more people think about buy-to-let as an alternative to a pension or alternative to working for someone else, they would do well to read a few accounts such as these, so that they can be aware that it is not always an easy living.
Over the course of my three books on our lives as landlords, I have tried to not only give a description of the potential difficulties, but also in doing so, revealed some of our worst mistakes. I hope others will learn from these.
I serialised two of these books on the Eye on Spain site over the last year and a half, thereby reliving the hassles and sometimes outrageous behaviour of some of our worst tenants over the years. In the course of this I was sometimes on the receiving end of abuse from readers. I shall be including some of these comments in the appendix to this book. 
One thing the whole experience has taught me is to sympathise with others in this world when they get tricked, cheated or treated badly by others and not to hit a person when they're down. Some people seem unable to sympathise with others unless they have experienced the exact same problem themselves. What a shame.
Finally, the exercise of writing has been very therapeutic. After baring these experiences for all to see, and after having analysed what was being done to us as landlords, I have now come out into the light. I can honestly say I will never again be so affected by what bad people do to me. I can see that although we have dealt with some immoral people, there are a lot worse things that happen. This is the power of writing. (If any of you out there feel overwhelmed by problems in your life whether these are related to work, home, family, friends, you could do worse than writing about it. It really helps.)
Finally, thanks to all those who have read and made positive and/or constructive comments over the last 18 months. Wait and see - your name and comment will be in print!

 

 



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'I can't pay the rent because I've been donating a lot of money to good causes.'
31 May 2014

To cut a long story short, because even I'm even sick of talking about it now, I'll sum up the last stage of our association with Okie.
Around this time, he stopped paying the rent entirely. 
Adrian: 'What's going on? Why aren't you paying?'
Okie: 'I've been making a lot of donations to charity with the Church. And it's left me with a cash-flow problem.'
('I don't believe that for a minute,' Adrian says to me. 'He's a selfish liar.')
Adrian: 'I suggest before you make donations to good causes, you pay the rent.'
A week later, Adrian texts:
'Where's the rent?'
The answer: 'Cash-flow problems.'
At the same time, Alan our painter is decorating at the house and reports back:
'He's not working. He's not leaving the house.'
So Adrian confronts him, saying he knows he isn't working.
'No, I am working, just doing different shifts,' he claims.
'I don't believe you,' Adrian insists. 'You've got a problem. Tell me what's happening.'
'They've done an audit in work of the personnel files and found out my visa has expired so they've dismissed me.'
'You have to leave then,' Adrian says. 'Release the bond to cover the unpaid rent and make sure you're gone by the end of the month. Where can you go?
'I've got a cousin in London where I was planning to go anyway.'
Adrian then went around before he was due to leave and found that he had made no effort to tidy the room or sort out the kitchen, which he had promised to do. As he told me later:
'His room and the kitchen were filthy stinking.'
'It's a disgrace,' he says to Okie, adding, 'You've let me down again.'
Finally he left, with the house in a state and him owing £80. 
It wasn't the last we heard of him, though, as a few weeks later he 'phoned Adrian and told him some story about a letting agents in London needing a reference from us.
'You won't get it until you've paid us that £80,' Adrian said. 
'Adrian, I promise I will send you the money, only I need the reference straight away.'
'And you won't get it,' Adrian replied.
At the time, Adrian was in Andalucia, sorting out our holiday home rental and every five minutes Okie was ringing back trying to insist Adrian 'phone some woman and give her the verbal reference. In the end, he said: 'Stop ringing! I'm busy.'
'I've transferred £40,' he then said to me a few hours later, as Adrian asked me to field the calls.
'Transfer the other £40 and you can have the reference,' I said (in fact it was to do with his visa application - the Christian was lying again). 
Finally he paid (only because he needed something off us!).
We had got rid of the last of our tenants from hell from our house from hell. A new chapter could now begin.

 

 



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Being good by association?
29 May 2014

Me (11th March):
I don’t like chasing the rent money every month and won’t tolerate late payments. Please pay today and set up a standing order for the 7th of every month.
Okie (08.29, 12th March):
I was not able to reply Rebecca yesterday. My phone has problems. 
Apologies again for the late payment this month. I wanted to discuss this with you when you came on Sunday. I’m actually just depending on my monthly salary for the next couple of months due to a humanitarian investment I was involved with. I would be grateful if you can bear with me for this month and possibly the next 2-3 months as I pay you on 21st, which is my pay day. Apologies as this case is exceptional – I’ve always met the usual date, but this new event kind of tied my hands. Thank you. Okie.
Okie (10.51, 12th March):
Waiting for a reply. Thanks.
 Adrian (10.56, 12th March):
Okie. As u work in a bank u know u should not take on additional financial obligations or take trips away without knowing u can meet your current ones. We have bills to pay on the house and need tenants to pay on time. U seem to be in a pattern of late payments. Please try your best to pay on time.
Okie (10.58, 12th March):
I know  Adrian. It’s not my usual pattern, became a pattern this year only. It’ll stop. My apologies again. Thanks for being understanding. 
How he thought we got on was beyond me. 
'He's got a very different idea of what constitutes a good relationship to what I have,' I commented. 'Considering I've got pester and threaten him every bloody month to pay the rent.'
We would have described him at this point as the least desirable tenant in the house. 
'And he thinks he has power over we choose to live in the house,' Adrian added. 'Trying to get us to refuse someone because he's a fellow Nigerian!'
This was after months of trouble, rent arrears, thousands lost in decoration, with him leaving the heating and lighting on and, as he indicated above, using extra heating again in his room and damaging yet another new vacuum cleaner, and after he didn’t even pay his rent on time.
What I did find fascinating though was Okie's idea that we had a good relationship. He seemed to base this partly on the longevity of our acquaintance (about two years). In fact, we had always been good to him and he had often been dreadful to us. So he thought that the fact that we were good to him and (had to) speak to him politely, made him good.  He became good by association. 
Also, his identity as a ‘Christian’ compounded this self-delusion; maybe he associated with other good people in the Church. As a tenant and as a person, I found him rude (making demands and accusing of us doing things wrong), unreliable (with the rent), dirty (especially in the kitchen and bathroom) and selfish (wasting loads of electricity because he wasn't paying). Had a woman ever moved in, as he would have liked (instead of another big, male Nigerian. Ha!), we would have discovered his other qualities, I’m sure – lecherousness or worse.

 

 



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Okie's a racist.
28 May 2014

On the 1st of March, two new tenants moved in: Claude (a French-speaking Asian) and Abu (another Nigerian). I said to  Adrian that I had a feeling Okie wouldn't be happy with the Nigerian. He would have preferred a young, attractive woman to move in whom he could ogle and harass (as if any member of the female species would move in with him). 
 Adrian (15.41, 1st March):
Hi Okie. I hope u get on well with Abu and Claude. Can u clean bath please. Two weeks ago I saw the pipe on the vacuum cleaner was crushed so I brought another one to use for the moment. What happened to it?  Adrian.
Okie (15.48, 1st March):
I cleaned the bathe last night. Someone used it this morning and it had lots of hairs in it – it’s been full with lots of long hairs in it for some days now. So it would need daily cleaning.
I have not really seen the new mates to be honest. It appears they leave in the morning and come late at night, not seen them.
As for the vacuum cleaner the pipe had been like that for a while. When the vacuum cleaner was dropped in my room part of the pipe was in front of my small portable heater. And as the heater was still hot (as I had just left the house) it appeared to heat the pipe while it was cooling down. So that part of the pipe looks burnt.
Okie (4th March, 19.07):
I just came back after some days out of the UK. I met Claude and the other guy Abu.
Claude seems a nice guy, but to be fair, I was not happy that you did not show me the other guy, Abu before letting him in. He is a Nigerian and Nigerians do not pretty much like staying in the same house with themselves, unless they are friends, as it causes tension each time that happens.
I thought as we have built a long standing relationship, through good times and trying times, you would have told me. That’s the least you could have done Sir. As he signed any document with you? I sincerely wish he wasn’t here.
 Adrian (4th March, 20.03):
Okie. I am shocked by your text as I had no idea Nigerian people did not get on well. I told him there was a Nigerian already living there and he said nothing. Please do not blame me for your cultural issues as that is not fair. Do not judge him on his nationality but on how he is, as I do with people. I am sure everything will be fine.
Okie (4th March, 20.08):
I do not blame you for any cultural issue – it isn’t a cultural issue to be fair, unfortunately I can not be as descriptive on this.
Ultimately you are running a business and that is to yield profit, so I completely understand. I just felt that, as you showed me Claude before bringing him, you told me about Claude before he even came for viewing, I felt you would have told me of the next person – it’s just what comes about after you’ve had a long and good relationship with another person.
Okie (4th March, 20.11):
Nigerians get on well in few cases, but in most cases they don’t, especially as many have divergent views on what is morally acceptable and what isn’t, which manifests whenever we reside in another country. 
That’s just the case sir, it’s something that’s been talked about and written widely. 
Also we would be needing another Fridge as the new housemates cook and put the fridge on high temperature (level 2). My food usually lasts on very cold temperature so it got spoilt when I came back and had to be thrown away.
If we can get another fridge, that would be helpful.
Thank you.
Adrian didn’t answer that one. Three adults were now living there and he wanted two fridges. 

 

 



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Environmental Health on our case.
27 May 2014

Then, on the 19th of February,  Adrian had the pleasure of meeting an Environmental Health Officer at the house, for an inspection. The following letter resulted from the inspection:
Dear Sir
RE. The Housing Act 2004 – Licensing of HMOs
   Additional Licensing Scheme
   The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006
   HMO Address: Hill View.

I refer to my recent inspection of the above property on 19th February. During my visit I noted numerous items that require your attention in order to comply with the conditions under the above licensing scheme:
 The ground floor bedroom was fitted with a mortise lock. The mortise lock must be replaced with a Yale type lock or thumb turn lock or alternatively the lock blanked off from the inside of the room. [this was annoying because  Jason broke the door and the lock and we had just paid to replace them both, so both the door and lock were brand new, yet not good enough for the council’s exacting standards]
The following fire doors within the property require suitably adjusting so as to ensure they close automatically and securely into the door frames.
Kitchen fire door,
Ground floor rear bedroom,
First floor rear bedroom, and
Fire door to the basement.
[since we had made no changes to the doors when they passed the inspection two years earlier, this meant that the tenants had caused this problem and we had to pay to fix it. Of course, any normal person props up these stupid self-closing doors as they are extremely annoying to have banging constantly around the house] 
The overhead door closer to the first floor right hand bedroom (as viewed from the front of the property) was missing. The closer must be replaced and the fire door suitably adjusted so as to ensure the door closes automatically and securely into the door frame.

At the time of inspection the fire alarm panel was damaged and there was no smoke detector installed within the ground floor hallway. A smoke detector must be installed within the ground floor hallway. A certificate confirming the type of detectors installed within each room of the property, along with confirmation that the system is in good working order must be forwarded to this department. [both the panel and the smoke detector were vandalised by  Jason]

There is no means of ventilation to the basement WC. A suitable mechanical ventilation system must be installed within the WC capable of providing three air changes per hour when in use. It should operate for not less than fifteen minutes after the facility has been used. [the most likely scenario now was that we would pay to have this fitted, the light in the loo would get left on, while we paid the increased electricity bill to cover the vent too, and then the misuse of it would lead to it burning out and breaking and we would then be told to fit a new one when they next inspected]

The paintwork was flaking on the brick surrounding the front door. All loose and flaking paint must be suitably rubbed down and the brickwork repainted. [Adrian would do this, but again I found these demands extremely petty; like they were looking for any tiny thing so that they could say they’d done their job, that they’d raised the standing on housing in the area. Uh, they hadn’t; we had]

The fire alarm system should be tested on a regular basis and records kept in a logbook. The testing and maintenance recommended practice is as follows:

Test the alarm system by operating all alarm sounders in the dwelling at least every month.
Annually test each smoke detector for response to smoke.
Clean smoke detectors periodically in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
Keep a written record of testing and maintenance in the form of a logbook.
[more bloody work to do – traipsing up every month. Why every month?]
As specified within your licence conditions you must display in a prominent position in the house the following information:
A copy of the licence currently in force in respect of the property.
The name, address and contact number of the licence holder and manager if different, and nominated agent if applicable.
Details of contact arrangements in case of an emergency in respect of the property. [the tenants had all of this already, but we had to print it out now and pin it on a wall somewhere]
A copy of a valid test certificate for the fire detection, warning and emergency lighting system. [more money to be paid to the electrician]
A copy of a valid test certificate for all gas appliances etc. (if any)


As discussed at the time of inspection consideration should be given in the near future to repainting the bathroom ceiling and cleaning out the grouting joints to the wall tiles within the basement bathroom. [Why can’t they ask the tenants to do this? Why can’t they ask the tenants to do anything?]
A revisit will be carried out in 28 days time to check compliance with the above requirements. If in the mean time you have any queries regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me on the above telephone number.
Yours sincerely
Mrs Suzanne Williams
Environmental Health Officer
Public Health and Protection 

Adrian said the woman was actually fine in the flesh and he told her all about recent events particularly with  Jason and Peter and the damage they constantly did to the house. I couldn’t help but be annoyed by the council’s interference though. We are expected to adhere to such a high standard, constantly clearing up the mess and damage made by tenants and there is the implicit blame attached to us as though we are not complying. In fact, we were, but most of the issues were the direct result of tenants’ behaviour, for which we never got recompense.  Adrian got stuck in straight away though, instructing our electrician to do most of the work specified in the letter. Thank God we didn’t have many HMOs; the council could have bankrupted us with all their demands.
(Years ago I wrote a stroppy letter back when we were given all these kinds of ‘improvements’ to do. We were told that there were insufficient electrical sockets in the living room and that they were inconveniently located. I wrote, ‘Yes, that’s the case in our house too, but it’s not a case of "money’s no object" and such works are not essential.’ The woman had also asked that we enlarge the loft hatch door; I said that there was no need as no-one ever went up into it. We had a few run-ins over the years.)

 



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Okie: the caring Christian.
23 May 2014

Okie (1st January, 11.16):
May your new year be blissfull, blessed, beautiful and benevolent.A prosperous new year to you and yours by the grace and mercies of God. Happy new year. 
I presume that was a general one sent out to all his pals. Not sure about the ‘benevolent’ bit; was he trying to get us to let him off his rent? I said to  Adrian: 
'Bugger the texts wishing our new year be blissful, blessed, beautiful and benevolent [got to like the alliteration]; just pay the rent on time.' 
‘Yes,’  Adrian said, ‘to me that is blissful.’ 
He then paid late in January, so I had to remind him. He seemed to think each time this happened that it was the first time. 
We were refurbishing the house, for the umpteenth time, and in the process put in new carpets in Jason and Peter’s old bedrooms and the passage and stairs. We then received the following:
Okie (25th January, 12.41):
Good morning  Adrian. Thanks I can see carpets are being fitted as promised. I think my room deserves a new carpet too. I am happy to move everything out and have them fit a new carpet.
 Adrian:(25th January, 13.23):
We can do a deal. U clean and tidy the kitchen before Sunday and make sure it is clean for the viewings and I will sort it.
Okie (25th January, 13.24):
Hahaha! Deal.
Okie (27th January, 7.38):
Cleaned the kitchen last night.
 Adrian (27th January, 9.42):
Great. Have u bagged up everything that isn’t yours, cleaned the cupboards and doors, cooking rings and floor?
Okie (27th January, 9.44):
Yup, done. I’ll be back from church by 3pm.  But you can take a quick look around cleaned d floors last nyt. 
Okie (30th January, 17.37):
Good evening  Adrian. As discussed when will you send the men to fix the carpet in my room? I’m going to be free and available this weekend.
We were keen to let the two rooms as quickly as possible, whilst also being very careful this time - for a long time, we'd been missing half the rent we should have been getting for the house.
'I could do without Okie pestering about a new bloody carpet,' Adrian said. 
Each time before a viewing,  Adrian had to text Okie to tell him to clean up. As he was the only person living there, any mess was his, so he wasn’t asking him to clean up after anybody else.
Okie (15.56, 15th February 2013):
I got a text from Rebecca asking that I pay in the rent – the reason why there is a delay is due to the fact that I’m a bit down financially, due to some things I had to sort out in Africa, hence I will send the rent when my office pay day reaches and that’s 21st. So that’s why. I apologise for this inconvenience.
'The cheek of living there,' I was now cursing him on a daily basis. 'He thinks he can use all the electricity etc., demand a new carpet and then not even pay the flipping rent.'
 Adrian (15.59, 15th February):
Thanks for update. If u need to pay late u should inform us rather than us chase u. Please pay on time next month. Thanks.
Okie (16.02, 15th February):
Sorry  Adrian, didn’t inform you as I believed I would source funds elsewhere. I should have told u on those occasions we saw at home. A million Thanks for understanding. Best regards.
 Adrian (15th February, 16.43):        
That’s fine. Take care.    

 

 



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They tried to make him go to rehab, but Jason says 'no, no, no.'
20 May 2014

The mood was building up prior to the eviction. I’d decided not to go because I had family issues to deal with, and my children come first. I was taking my son out of school for lunch on the day when the eviction was taking place. But  Adrian had Nigel, our handyman working with him that day, ready to change locks and even doors as soon as Jason was ejected. 
I also took a call that morning which didn’t exactly delight  Adrian. It was from Environmental Health Services saying that they wanted to do an inspection of the house. These visits always resulted in loads of work they expected us to do, money no object (because they weren't paying). The woman said they’d need the gas safety and electricity certificates which was no problem, because we always had them up-to-date, but she mentioned the fire alarm and whether it had been altered at all. 
‘Well, a tenant we’re evicting tomorrow has smashed the panel in,’ I said helpfully. I didn’t mention that he had also had his friends around and either he or they had broken the fire extinguishers and set them off all over the house before dumping one in the garden and one in the street. If they had their way we’d replace them the following day, so that  Jason could do it again, and then the following day so he could do it again and so on, every day for the five months it took to evict him. 
I said to Adrian, 'I don’t know what planet they’re on. If it were their money they’d see it very differently.' 
Adrian was quite demoralised that  Jason should still be there at this late stage. Usually they would have gone by this point, although Fat Girl (whom I wrote about in my first Tenants from Hell book) had also taken it to the last day. We also had more voids than we’d had for a long time and what with our family problems at the time, it was just one more thing to worry about. 
On the 15th of January, Adrian arrived at Hill View at 11.30am. Nigel was already there.  Jason had been taking stuff out and Peter was helping him, maybe storing some of his stuff for him. He had said he would be gone by 7pm the night before. Nigel said that  Jason was on his way back to take more stuff out of the house and  Adrian said: 
‘I don’t want to see him and I don’t want to speak to him. I need to move on.’ 
Nigel said, ‘Why don’t you leave then?’ 
‘No. I have to wait and see the bailiff and make sure things happen properly.’ 
Peter and  Jason then turned up.  Adrian said to Peter: 
‘Tell  Jason that I don’t want to speak to him. I’ve said everything I want to.’ 
Peter shouted out to  Jason: ‘Adrian doesn’t want to speak to you because he thinks you’re a fucking wanker.’  
Adrian laughed, ‘I didn’t say that, but I do think it.’ 
Peter said: ‘The best thing he can do is go into rehab,’ so  Adrian started singing loudly: 
‘They tried to make him go to rehab, but Jason says no, no, no.’ 
Then  Adrian said, ‘Are you putting him up?’ 
‘Fuck off,’ Peter answered. So  Adrian said: 
‘I’ve put him up long enough; it’s someone else’s turn now.’ 
Finally, when  Jason had finished he said, ‘Here’s my key.’  
Adrian: ‘Right.'
Jason: 'I’m going now.’ 
‘Right.’ 
The night before,  Adrian had lectured him: 
‘You’re a useless waste of space. The cider will kill you. Why should I spend my money on you when you’re nothing to me? You’ll end up on the street. People without an address don’t get benefits. You might end up dying on the street. It will be all your fault.’ 
‘I’ve been off the drink five days.’ 
‘You owe me money and I want it, but knowing you, you won’t pay me a penny.’ 
I had to push a bit hard to get  Adrian to tell me about these latest interactions with  Jason. It was depressing to focus on it again. This is maybe why so few accounts of landlord’s lives are recorded. 
Jason then proceeded to call several times at the house over the next few days and  Adrian refused him entry and instructed the others not to let him in under any circumstances. He always presented a façade as a nice, friendly, gentle type. In reality he was very different; supremely selfish and very thick-skinned. But he was gone.  
From now on we were not going to allow anyone claiming DSS to live there. We’d realised that with claimants our bills were higher, if they left everything on all day (although some workers also did this, knowing they weren't paying for the waste of the earth's resources). We also hoped the house might stay tidier and not get constantly damaged with only working people there (although Okie was working and he had filthy habits).

 

 



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'You've shat on your own doorstep.'
19 May 2014

On the 9th of January, while Adrian was at the house he had a ‘conversation’ with  Jason. He said: 
‘You’ve shat on your own doorstep.’  
Jason replied, ‘I’m not sure if that’s the right expression.’ 
‘Yes it is. And now you’ll be off into the big, bad, scary world. And further down the line, the council will throw you out and you’ll end up on the street and that’s where you’ll die.’ 
‘It wasn’t an unpleasant conversation,’ Adrian said to me afterwards and I laughed. 
‘I’ll get you your money,’ Jason said.  Adrian didn’t deign to reply.  Jason seemed blissfully unaware that the bailiff was coming on the 15th to throw him out. 
‘No point pleading ignorance,' Adrian said to him, 'I know you got the letter, because I was here when the bailiff pushed it under your bedroom door.’ 
The charming and helpful bailiff (who let us jump the queue) insisted on hand-delivering it to his bedroom so that he couldn’t deny receiving it, by making out another occupant of the HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) had taken it. Apparently, some tenants delayed their removal with this tactic.
Then, on the 14th of January, the day before the eviction, Adrian started to get stressed. 
‘What if it somehow goes wrong tomorrow? What if somehow he doesn’t go?’ 
‘Surely he'll be made to?’ I replied. ‘The bailiff is entitled to use reasonable force.’  
‘Yes, and if  Jason then tries to push in the front door or something and gets back in, he can be got for breaking and entering.’ 
I suggested that  Adrian mention this to Jason if he was thrown out and was then sitting in the street with nowhere to go and was tempted to try and get back in. We were both surprised that he didn't have the council running around to sort him out by this point. He’d been down to the offices often enough.
I also had another spat via mobile with Okie the same morning. It went like this:
Me (10.16, 14th Jan):
Hi Okie. Can you pay the rent please that was due on the 7th? Thanks. 
Okie (10.17):
Sorry for the delay. Sent you a text to say there would be a delay – would send it on 18/01/2013. Thanks 
Me (10.27):
Neither I nor  Adrian received a text.  Adrian said you are still leaving all the lights on and they stay on all day. This is costing us a fortune and is unacceptable behaviour.  You wouldn’t do it if you were paying the bills, so don’t do it when we are. We’ve had enough trouble with  Jason; we don’t want any more. We will accept the late payment this month but want it on time next month.  Jason is being thrown out tomorrow and from then on we will have zero tolerance.
Okie (10.29):
I understand. Well, I just checked and saw that it was undelivered a few of my messages were undelivered. If you want to ‘throw me out’ based on late payment, for a single month, while for the past one year or so I have been consistent with my payments and everything that has to do with the house, well feel free.
Okie (10.31):
And to compare me with  Jason is also very shocking and unfortunate. Thanks.
Me (10.35):
I haven’t said we’re throwing you out. I said we want the rent on time and for you to stop leaving all the electricity on. Are you going to start switching it off when it’s not needed? No-one was in last week and  Adrian came twice and every single light was on in the daytime.
Okie (10.38):
I switched off the electricity last night before sleeping. When I come back from work, I hardly go downstairs so don’t check if  Jason had left it on. This morning he’s been playing music and smoking downstairs. Once  Jason leaves, you will notice a marked improvement.
Adrian said I shouldn't text him anymore, before it got into a tit-for-tat. Bully for him that he switched the lights off once. 
Adrian was determined to turn the house around: 
'I'm going to clean the kitchen once  Jason has gone this week and then say to Okie, "I’m handing over this clean kitchen to you. Now, you keep it clean, since Adam [another tenant who also rented a room at the house but spent most of the time with his wife] isn’t actually living at the house".’  
Okie would be the only one there then until we filled the two empty rooms, so he couldn’t try and blame the filth he created on someone else. 

 

 



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Running the hot water tap to warm yourself up?
12 May 2014

We then received the following from Okie :
Okie (9.09am, 11th December):
Good morning  Adrian. How are you? The last time we spoke you said  Jason was leaving end of October. You later told me that he was leaving in November. We are approaching middle of December and he is still around. Last night was horrible, as I couldn’t sleep due to the horrible noises he was making, some construction kind of noise, he and his friends.
I need a honest date when he is leaving, please. If at all he is leaving, if he is not please tell me. Thank you.
Me to Jason (13.17, 11th December):
What date next week are you leaving? I am instructing bailiffs tomorrow because you are disobeying the judge’s order and not leaving today. This is costing us a further 110 pounds, which will be added to your debt to us. The bailiffs will fit us in quickly as they feel sorry for us decent landlords having tenants from hell. I know you were making a racket again last night as I received a complaint from someone in the street. You should leave of your own accord as soon as possible unless you want to be physically ejected from our house. I repeat: what date are you going?
I also replied to Okie:
Me (9.48, 11th December):
We’ve followed all the legal procedures and the judge has ordered him to leave by today. He says he is going to leave next week but we are instructing bailiffs to throw him out. We can’t make the process go any more quickly; we can only follow the lengthy court process. 
I was clarifying that we are not ‘liars’ as he was implying. He was no bloody angel anyway. 
Okie (10.16am, 18th December):
That’s fine. I had made enquiries at the council office and they timeframe they’ve told me such process goes through isn’t as lengthy as this one. And that’s very surprising coming from council officials. They did say the almost two months process this one is taking is not possible.
Me (11.22, 18th December):
What are you saying then? Council officials are not landlords and they are not lawyers. What a strange message to send us. Do you think we want  Jason to stay at our house? We have been in this business for a long time and have a vast amount of expertise. I have even written books on it and have a doctorate in criminal justice. I don’t appreciate having you cast aspersions on my honesty. Don’t send me any more texts like this. I find them annoying.
Okie (11.31am, 18th December):
Just offering a suggestion. I did ask the question to them when they came to office, even before I initially asked you.
Okie (11.34am, 18th December):
So it’s clearly not an aspersion on your honesty. I don’t doubt that at all. Just a suggestion to help on an issue that is pending, that’s all.
Me (11.39am, 18th December):
What is the specific suggestion that will help? There was no suggestion, apart from you thinking ‘council officials’ know more than us. In fact they are advising him to stay until he is physically thrown out. The council works for the bad tenant against decent landlords.
Okie (11.41am, 18th December):
Ok I see. Just felt that they could do things faster, that’s all. No worries.
Okie (12.15am, 18th December):
I apologise if you felt wrongly about the message. Certainly it had no ill intent.
He was definitely next in the firing line. Alan the painter said that not only did he put all the rings on the cooker on to ‘warm’ himself up, but he actually ran the hot water tap into the sink for the same reason and that all of the lights in the house were left on at all times. It was like they were in a competition to work out who could use the most electricity. Okie also then texted to say his rent would be late (after we'd asked, as we had to ask every month, where it was).
Adrian to Okie (11.20am, 19th December):
Thanks for update. If u need to pay late u should inform us rather than us chase u. Please pay on time next month. Thanks.
Okie (11.30am, 19th December):
Sorry  Adrian, didn’t inform you as I believed I would source funds elsewhere. I should have told u on those occasions we saw at home. A million Thanks for understanding. Best regards.

 

 



Like 1        Published at 14:10   Comments (0)


Getting in the bailiffs
11 May 2014

At 10am on 10th December, I received a call on the mobile. It was from a  ‘private number.’ 
‘Hello, I’m ‘phoning from the council. I’d like to speak to Mr Lynch.’ 
I knew it would be about  Jason, and replied, ‘I’m Doctor Rebecca Lynch. You can speak to me instead as he isn’t here. I presume it’s about Hill View.’ 
‘The usual caseworker isn’t in today, so I would like to discuss it.’ 
The usual gobbley-dook ensued, with her keeping a calm voice and insisting on calling me ‘Rebecca,’ which frankly is rude in this context, and I got more and more angry. 
‘We’re just chasing up the paperwork,’ she kept saying. 
‘What on earth does that mean? We gave him his notice three or four months ago and you’re chasing up paperwork.’ 
‘Well, did you tell him that he has to get out by tomorrow?’ 
‘Too right I did,’ and I went through the fire extinguishers, the smashed-in fire alarm panel, broken doors, not being able to fill the other vacant room. 
‘Don’t be taken in by him,’ I said, ‘he can play the part alright, come along all soft, but he’s a flipping nightmare. A drunkard and a druggy and I know what you’re doing at the council; constantly telling him to hang on as long as he can. And in the meantime he stays at our house, costs us thousands and has time to do even more damage.’ 
In other words, ‘I know your game, Missy. So don’t come the friendly, helpful council official with me, because, to me, you are the enemy. You’re on the side of these useless, drunken wasters.’ 
I got her off the 'phone as quickly as I could, having gone back to bed after a late night and an early start with the kids. It was a bloody annoying way to come around.
That day I planned to double-check the procedures for instructing bailiffs in that area as they might differ to the policies we were used to in Cardiff. And on the Wednesday morning I had to traipse up to the house, when I could be doing something else and see if the waster was still there, which of course he would be. I then had to pay the £110 bailiff's fee. It was frustrating that we weren’t allowed to make the appointment five or six weeks earlier, as we'd known then that he wouldn’t get out. 
Instead, we had to wait until the court notice date had passed. It was like someone had sat down and worked out a system whereby the tenant could have five or six months in your house, despite the official legal notice being for two months. Anyone not in the know, who read up on it before becoming a landlord would think it only took two months. 
In the meantime, Adrian was away working on our Spanish building project so I was hoping he wouldn't get too much hassle over there and would get a bit of a break, after having to face going up cleaning up after these filthy men constantly. It was demoralising. I got all worked-up just having to take control of a small part of the process while he was away. 
Of course,  Adrian also had to be careful about what work he did while  Jason was still there. He got Peter’s room redecorated and re-carpeted and locked it and then got the landing and hall painted. If  Jason got them a bit dirty while he was still there, they could be touched up fairly quickly. He didn't get the hall and stairs re-carpeted, for obvious reasons (after Peter bled all over them, the fire extinguishers were let off on them and they were covered in all kinds of irremovable stains). I texted Jason:
Me (12.30, 10th December):
So are you getting out tomorrow or what?
This would probably lead to a bombardment of texts about his problems and having nowhere to go etc., despite having had months to sort it out. He was a poor little victim. It wasn't his fault he spent 17 thousand pounds in two years (his inheritance) on drink and drugs. This was something that happened to him (when they talk about alcoholism and drug addiction being an ‘illness’ they play right into the hands of these ‘victims'). 
And here came the answer:
Jason (12.34, 10th December):
No I have no where to go till next week sorry.
Me (12.36, 10th December):
Where are you going next week then and what date are you going?’
I was also about to ask when he was going to pay the money he owed us, but decided against. The first thing was to get him out. The problem when they say things like ‘I’m going next week,’ is that you don’t know whether to hold off paying for the bailiff or not. We’d been fobbed off so many times like this with the tenant always playing for time. Sometimes we believed them and saved ourselves the fee; other times we paid for the bailiff who then didn’t have to actually come, so it seemed like a waste of money. Sometimes though it was the letter from the bailiff which stirred them into action. They don’t want some big, burly bloke coming to chuck them out physically and they magically find somewhere to go the day before. 
I tried to keep the pressure up, texting again after the ‘phone call from the council (he was presumably sitting next to the woman as she fed me the usual empty nonsense). I told  Adrian about the conversation with the woman and he said, ‘Was she saying things that didn’t make any sense and didn’t mean anything?’ 
'Uh, yes.
'Oh, I know that one,' he said.
Jason then texted that he thought he was going to ‘Maerdy,’ but wasn’t sure and would be ‘told’ the next day. He was a baby, sitting passively until others sorted things out for him. 
On the 11th of December: I ‘phoned the court, first speaking to the bailiffs, who said I needed to speak to ‘enforcement,' who would then pass the case to the bailiffs. The woman in enforcement said it wouldn’t really make any difference to the dates if we waited another week to see if he left, thus saving us the bother of making the application and more importantly the £110, that we would of course never get back from  Jason.  She said the bailiffs were nice and would prioritise individuals over mortgage companies and try and squeeze us in as soon as possible, but it would be the second week of January at least before an appointment, so another month. I had to not let  Jason or the council know this or they would tell him to sit tight until then.

 

 



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