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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.

How to work without paying tax.
03 January 2014 @ 15:32

Adrian also surmised that Gerald was now doing badly on his stall, but that he couldn’t pack it in and sign on, because of his being out of the system. Maybe it would then all blow up in his face. I once met a landlady who said she rented out 13 houses and dealt only in cash. She couldn’t go on holiday, as she would have liked to have done, because a big part of her time was spent calling around the houses collecting the cash. From this I deduced she wasn’t paying tax. This meant she was open to being blackmailed by any one of those tenants, who could threaten to report her to the Inland Revenue; or the tax authorities might stumble on her anyway as a person whose name came up 13 times on the Land Registry. I also wondered where she kept all the cash. It wouldn’t be hard to work out she was letting the houses out and she could easily be sent to prison. Some might think they’re smart not paying tax, but it’s a worrying way to live.
And it wasn’t our fault if Gerald also chose to live his whole adult life not paying taxes, even when times had been good. He'd told Adrian there had been times in the past when he'd taken over a thousand pounds a day. 
So, he was committing a criminal offence and if he chose to stay at our house, not paying us anything, we would be justified in using any means of redress we had, including contacting the Inland Revenue if he didn’t pay what he owed us. We didn’t in the end; sometimes we felt life was just too short to get all worked up and try and prise money out of people. It felt like we were belittling ourselves.
As usual when people are in the wrong, Gerald was now becoming increasingly stroppy. The first time I’d met him was at the market stall; because I hadn’t been to the house since he’d moved in, Adrian introduced me and he said, in a really sarcastic way: 
‘Oh, yes, I know who she is.’  
I’d only ever spoken to him on the ‘phone and had always been polite, so I was caught off-guard. Mind, he didn’t have much going for him, as a scruffy, 50-something, grubby-looking bloke with a beer gut and rotten teeth. Maybe that was enough to turn a person sour. 
Quite often, the main problem when we were trying to get someone out, was that they had nowhere to go. It could be because they didn’t have the deposit, or because other places were more expensive than ours. It looked like he had nowhere to go and the fact that he knew he was on his way out meant, predictably, that he stopped paying altogether, whilst also refusing to get out. 
On the 23rd of March, Gerald actually answered some of Adrian’s texts, in his usual sour tone, after Adrian asked him to get the deposit, which was lodged with the DPS, released to us:
Gerald (9.26am, 23rd March):
Gonna do it 2day nd ill sort tha owt told u tha nd I will

He wrote like an illiterate northerner. 

Adrian (9.41am, 24 March):
Gerald. How did u get on getting the repayment code off dps?

Gerald (9.44am):
Send me details again and i’ll try and get through today, if home in time. Paper work every where and i want you to sign that house left in good order from my part.

Adrian (9.46am):
And I want u to write your offer to clear arrears by end Friday.

Adrian once more gave him the details of the DPS telephone number and the deposit ID, even though he’d had this several times already from the DPS and from us. He owed us over £500, showed no inclination to pay any of it, wouldn’t even sort out the £180 refund of the deposit, which cost him nothing to do, apart from one ‘phone call and which would reduce his debt, and he thought he could make demands on us.
Adrian (19.33, 27 March):
Gerald. As u haven’t taken away yr items and given me the keys u r liable to double rent from tomorrow. I will write to u at Hill View to confirm yr tenancy will continue until keys returned. 

Gerald (19.37):
Don’t try and be funny you told me i had till monday morning to sort and Monday morn it will be sort.

We didn’t get this text until the next morning as we’d switched our ‘phones off to get a bit of a break.
Gerald (8.06, 28 March):
My items have been removed your keys on computer table in bedroom. All i can say is ‘bon voyage’.

Adrian (8.09, 28 March):
OK. Where shall I send the court papers? Unless I hear otherwise I will use your work address.

Gerald (8.22, 28 March):
Work address be fine if you wanna go that route, but don’t forget i haven’t refused to pay therefore you wasting court time.

He believed that because he’d never ‘refused’ to pay, we couldn’t take him to court or if we did, we'd get nowhere; according to this, if he kept promising to pay ‘at some stage’ ad infinitum that would be sufficient to avoid a legal judgement against him. If only it were that easy. 


Like 0


eggcup said:
04 January 2014 @ 10:45

I have deleted the comment by 'Kenneth' for being a personal and offensive attack on me. I wonder why these trolls can't resist that urge to be nasty.

fazeress said:
04 January 2014 @ 13:47

I was eating while reading your description of Gerald! Nearly put me off my lunch! Ewwww!! :)

eggcup said:
06 January 2014 @ 15:42

Yes, fazeress. Some people are ugly inside and out.

eggcup said:
07 January 2014 @ 17:26

I have deleted another offensive and personal comment - this time by a troll called Sandy Cormack. Rather than criticise what other people post on here for free, I suggest she try and see if she can come up with something better. That would be the correct approach.

fazeress said:
07 January 2014 @ 17:34

Yes I had that come through on my email! What a bloody cheek she had! I personally don't comment as much as I am presently pretty busy but I still enjoy reading every blog you write! I was amazed by what she wrote! I know you'll still carry on and those of us that enjoy reading will continue to do so. She obviously has nothing better to do in her life! :)

eggcup said:
14 January 2014 @ 16:17

Thanks Fazeress. I've been too busy lately to do much, but hopefully will be able to start again soon.
In terms of the number of comments indicating reader-approval, that's a pile of rubbish. My most commented-upon posts have often been my most controversial ones and provoked negative as well as positive reaction. And I read some other blogs and only comment if I have something to say about the content, making sure I am civil. So, I often don't comment even if I like the post.

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