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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.

Landlords are responsible for neighbour nuisance.
13 May 2013 @ 20:33

 Adrian and I were enjoying our morning coffee in Costa, when he screwed up his face. 'Look at this,' he said, 'another person going on about landlords and this time blaming us for neighbour nuisance!'  He handed me the newspaper, and I read the following, which was the star letter (the writer was going to get a free Parker pen):

Make landlords responsible for the anti-social partying that makes life hell!

Here we go, a slight change in the temperature and the parties start: broken sleep, idiots screaming and using foul language, music banging; who is there to protect decent residents?

Dial 101 you might say; well as long as it’s Wednesday to Sunday at specific hours you may just have a chance of a night’s sleep. But if it’s Monday to Wednesday or after midnight on Sunday you are on your own. Go it alone and you take your life in your hands - you will more often than not end up facing a barrage of expletives.

There have been many cases when decent people are pushed over the edge and react, especially when there is no form of authority to come and deal with it, and who ends up in court for threatening behaviour against a group of drunken louts who will not listen to reason? You guessed it: the hard-working man who is trying to protect his family. I know violence is not the answer but if you have not endured this form of torture that puts your nerves on edge you will not understand, so just consider yourself lucky.

I spoke to a local councillor about it, not just complaining but providing a solution which she thought was excellent. But nothing has yet been done. It is very simple, not rocket science. I would like landlords to provide a contact number to give the ordinary person a means to communicate with the source to stop these matters escalating.

I’m certain  if their peace was disturbed on Nob Hill they'd be more responsible for their properties instead of turning up once a year to clean up the mess ready for the next lot of idiots who need educating. If this is encroaching on their peace then maybe every time a complaint is recorded with 101 they should inform the landlord and make it law that after three strikes the landlord gets a fine. Make them pay, they are getting off scot-free. They escape the expense of paying rates and we are left with whatever mess year after year.

Mrs D Perkins

'What a cheek,' I said to Adrian, 'You should write in.' 'I'm not writing. I'm too busy,' he said. 'You're the writer.' Mmm. I walked up through town, the peace of my Saturday now disturbed. There was nothing for it; I'd have to do something. So I sat down and wrote for half an hour before clicking 'Send.' I doubted they'd print my answer – sometimes I feel that landlords are viewed like Jewish people in an anti-Semitic society (although thank God, we have democracy and the uncivilised elements aren't allowed to take their hatred any further). Given that there are apparently 1.5 million people renting out at least one house in the UK, it’s surprising that the landlord’s voice is so rarely heard. Anyway, surprise, surprise, two days later, my letter was there in black and white, also as we sat down in Costa. I felt a bit excited, to tell the truth:

It’s not so easy being a landlord, especially when the tenants turn bad

The letter from Mrs D Perkins suggested that when tenants are a nuisance and landlords don’t manage to stop them, that landlords should be fined. How we, as landlords, have a magic wand and can stop our tenants behaving as they do, is beyond me. How I wish we could – then we wouldn’t be faced every year with damaged houses, thousands owed to us in arrears, court cases and so on.

She knows that the council is the only body which has any power to enforce action against neighbour nuisance, but she suggests that if the council fails, landlords should be punished. As landlords we are, of course, used to being blamed and vilified, but it’s still not nice.

She thinks landlords all live on ‘Nob Hill’ and are somehow protected from having nuisance neighbours. This is nonsense; we also lived near druggies who played loud music all times of the day and night and received no help from the council. As it was an owner-occupied house, should we have suggested that if the mortgage company didn’t sort it out after it had been mentioned to them three times, that they should be fined, as Mrs Perkins suggests should be the penalty inflicted on landlords?

Bizarrely, she suggests landlords get off ‘scot-free.’ In fact, we pay heavy financial costs when our tenants turn bad. We have had druggies, alcoholics, paedophiles, suicide attempts, ex-partners smashing our doors down... all sorts. If Mrs Perkins thinks we get off lightly and should therefore be fined for other people’s behaviour, over which we have no control, then she is very wrong. She has no idea what life is like for a landlord. She obviously thinks we just pick up the rent and sun ourselves on the Italian Riviera, instead of often spending weeks cleaning up other people’s filth after having paid to keep a roof over their heads.

I believe it’s time landlords’ voices were heard for a change, instead of people seeing us as an easy target. But I suspect many people would prefer to just carry on attacking us and blaming us for all society’s ills.

Rebecca Lynch

Good. I felt better after getting all that out. Sometimes it’s relentless, having to defend landlords against illogical attacks.  It wasn’t the end of it though, as a whole stack of letters appeared on the letters page over the following weeks with repeated blaming of landlords, for stopping young people from being able to buy their own homes etc. I wrote in again and someone answered that; the majority of the letters chosen were anti-landlord, of course, but I felt pleased that the general public would also be reading the landlords' side for a change. Who knows? Maybe the tide will turn one day and we’ll just be seen as normal people trying to run a business.

For anyone interested in this subject, my ebook is available, free to download for the last time on Saturday 18th of May from amazon, onto kindle, an IPAD or a PC (I can't give it free after these dates, because of amazon's rules). The link is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BJO2TU0

And for those who have already read it, can I ask that you please post a review on amazon (thanks to Tamara for kindly reviewing it).

My latest adventure with a truly awful tenant is also now available – you won’t believe our bad luck with this one and all because of one stupid mistake… The link is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/house-Evicting-tenant-Landlord-ebook/dp/B00C3LSVZK 

And it will be available at the reduced price of £1.99 this Saturday only.

 

 



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11 Comments


p said:
18 May 2013 @ 08:42

I'm with Mrs Perkins. From our own bitter experience many landlords allow any old dross to move in, so long as they show intent to pay. In our case the landlord told me as much, "I couldn't care less if they are making your life hell so long as I get my money." as I purchased my property I don't have the luxury of walking away, but said landlord lives 10 km away, so the noise doesn't bother him. I am sure he will show more diligence if the dross stop paying; which would only be his just desert.
Just to keep the record straight, I am also a landlord, vet my tenants with great care, and evict any who prove to be antisocial ; good payers or not.


Annie said:
18 May 2013 @ 08:50

No mention here of the holidaymakers, most of whom don't come here to relax and enjoy the tranquility. Our life has been blighted ever since our neighbours moved out and handed over their villa to a rental company. In such cases, it seems perfectly reasonable to me that the rental company, earning a small fortune, should be held responsible for the behaviour of their tenants and be the first point of contact for disturbances.

Long term rentals is trickier but I'd like to see the police take more notice and, if the disturbance is continous, an order made for the landlord to evict the tenant.


Tamara said:
18 May 2013 @ 08:59

Just a comment to "p" - aren't you slightly contradicting yourself? You start by saying your experience is that many landlords allow any old dross to move in, and you imply that they don't care if the tenants cause problems. Then you say you are an excellent landlord and vet and manage your tenants carefully. So basically you have two experiences, one bad, one good. Yet you choose to lump all landlords apart from yourself, into the "bad landlord" category who should be fined and blamed for other people's transgressions. This is surely illogical? What if we were to assume that the vast majority of landlords, like you, like me, like Eggcup, are good and caring landlords, providing a good service and managing our properties well. As with anyone, in any job, things can occasionally go wrong. Do we fine the postman if a birthday card arrives late? Do we fine the teacher when a pupil fails an exam? Do we fine a pilot when a plane is diverted? No. We have more sense than that. We live in a less than ideal world. Sometimes things go wrong. There is not always someone to blame. People are not always ideal neighbours or ideal tenants. Some people display anti-social behaviour. Many of those own their own homes anyway so there's nobody "else" to blame! If you don't want neighbours, go and live on an isolated moor. If we live in communities, as most of us prefer, we take the risk of having to rub along with people not always of our choice. That's life. Don't look for someone else to blame.


Foxilady said:
18 May 2013 @ 11:00

I have been fortunate in the UK with my properties, never having had tenant issues. But my standard leases contain a clause re noise and if a tenant breached their lease then they would be evicted, plain and simple. Can you not do the same in Spain?


Bengt said:
18 May 2013 @ 11:57

Being Swedish I am forced to buy Kindle material from the www.amazon.com. Your book is not available for me :(



p said:
18 May 2013 @ 13:02

No Tamara, I am not contradicting myself at all.... I am saying that a good landlord takes responsibility and deals with a bad tenant, as Spanish law actually expects, if only it was enforced. You seem to suggest that the rest of us should bear the burden whilst they gain from our misery.
Oh, and yes, we do expect redress over postmen who put you mail in the dustbin, teachers who fail or abuse our children, pilots who fail to carry out their job correctly or safely.
You claim that it the rest of us should not blame the owner, but it makes no difference whether it is he or his tenant causing a problem, with ownership comes responsibility, so I find myself somewhat confused that you claim to be a good landlord and yet appear to be vociferous in defending bad ones!


John Martin said:
18 May 2013 @ 13:39

When I lived in Spain I was elected El Presidente of our urbanisation and my first request at the AGM was to get a set of social rules drawn up. One of the rules was for no loud music after midnight. If this rule was broken then the owner would be fined.


eggcup said:
18 May 2013 @ 21:02

Thanks Tamara for an excellent contribution. As you say, there is an absence of logic operating - whereby if home-owners play up, it's their responsibility, but if tenants play up it's the landlords'. It's just the usual landlord-bashing. And it's in fact prejudice and scapegoating.


Clive said:
19 May 2013 @ 16:06

What absolute rubbish to say the landlord is responsible for any noise perpetrated by the tenants. Get your brains in gear...!! The tenants are the ones solely responsible for their own actions, and should expect to have the full weight of the law thrown at them.


p said:
19 May 2013 @ 18:30

Cop out by the "all the gain but none of the pain" brigade......
bye bye


Tamara said:
24 May 2013 @ 11:06

And the NEXT post in this blog clearly demonstrates how landlords' hands are tied with regard to any sanctions on tenants who are noisy! Mso instead of blaming a landlord, blame the person who is actually BEING a nuisance!!!


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