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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.

Jason's the victim
24 March 2014 @ 20:04

In the meantime, I was undertaking a text correspondence with Okie. He had been moaning about various things - for example, implying we were incompetent in not having managed to evict Jason and asking us to pay him for food that had gone missing in the house - and I was starting to lose my temper:
Me to Okie (10.43am, 10th September):
We are dealing with  Jason’s eviction and will do everything we legally can to speed this up. In the meantime you must pay your rent, which is three days late. If you refuse to do so, you will receive your notice. Given your unhappiness with the house we are also willing to release you immediately from your contract. We will not be paying ‘compensation’ for things another tenant does to you. You must take that up either with him or with the police. As it is we are going to be left footing the bill for damage to our house for which we are not to blame. Rebecca and  Adrian. 
Okie (10.47am):
Paying my rent hasn’t been a problem to me. When I moved in, Rebecca didn’t tell me I had a psychopath as a flatmate. If I call the police, I would live in fear as he can easily prop up and stab me, knowing I reported him to the police. The only person that can do that is you, as you don’t live here. I’ve complained about  Jason for a year – it is on record in my messages to you, if you had evicted him by that time, he wouldn’t be here.
Okie (11am):
Releasing me from my contract does not make immediate sense, as I am not at fault in any case with someone who could stab me or burgle my room at any time. If you would have done the same check you did on me, done the same check on him, I don’t think we would have the situation we are having now. It is unfair really. When is he supposed to be officially leaving?
By now,  Adrian was ranting in the kitchen, shouting towards me: ‘He can get out now!’ and Ruby, our poor black Labrador, jumped out of her basket to leave the kitchen. ‘No, Ruby, not you,’  Adrian said.
Me (11.04am):
Okie. We have no information on  Jason’s past but understand you are afraid of him. Criminal checks are not part of the vetting procedure on tenants and we made no such checks on you either. We are going to try and get him to leave by 4.30, but we have to act within the law.  Adrian has told him that if he does not leave today we will call the police. We are going to the house this morning and will return later to see if he has gone.
Okie (11.16): I wish he can leave and hope he does. If we had acted since I reported him to you last year, we would not have been having this. He keeps the kitchen knife in his room and today I found it in the toilet. I am scared to go home as I am an easy target when he is drunk.
Okie (11.17): If you come to the house you will be shocked at the state of it. I left it exactly as I saw it.
So, off we went to the house and  Jason wasn't there. We also couldn’t get into his room as he'd changed the lock (breaching the tenancy agreement and possibly the law). As we walked through the front door we saw what looked like snow everywhere. This was the powder which he or his friends had discharged from the fire extinguishers. We were probably now in contravention of fire regulations and if there was a fire we would probably be sued (or the insurance could be invalid). 
Downstairs there was just a twelve by four inch piece of wood left dangling from a doorway, where once the door had been. There was rotting meat in the bathroom bin and a stinking, rancid kitchen. Okie ’s food was dolloped on the floor like a cow had been sick there. I got on the rubber gloves, unblocked the sink with Harpic and cleaned the pink plastic drainer, which was too foul to put clean dishes on. I then cleaned the dirty plates, cutlery and pots that were lying around and placed them on the now-clean drainer. Then, I scrubbed all the work-surfaces.  
Adrian emptied bins and mopped the kitchen and the wooden staircase. We only spent half an hour there, but it made a difference. Later, we would take photos of the powdery carpets before bringing up a vacuum cleaner and vacuuming it all. While we were cleaning  Adrian was uttering a continual stream of expletives; he apologised to me but, as I said, swearwords don’t bother me, not even the ‘c’ word, unless they’re directed at me.
Later, back at our house,  Adrian only wanted a banana and a yogurt for lunch, having lost his appetite. A Housing Advice Officer rang  Adrian then, saying she had  Jason in her office and pointing out to us that we had no right to insist that he ‘leave today.’ ‘That’s right,’  Adrian replied, ‘but if he doesn’t, we will be calling the police to report him for criminal damage.’  
Jason then came on the ‘phone, talking in a quiet, victim-like voice in an attempt to placate  Adrian. 
‘I am furious with you,’  Adrian started, ‘you have used up every bit of goodwill I had towards you. I was already fed up, but this is the limit now. I want you out. You’re wrecking my house and we couldn’t even clean up after you because you’ve also broken our vacuum cleaner. That cost me £110!’ 
‘But I’ve got nowhere to go,’  Jason whined. 
‘And that’s your problem,’  Adrian said. ‘You had £17,000 when your father died and you’ve spent the whole lot on drink and drugs.’ 
‘That’s a fair point,’  Jason replied. 
‘Well, I’ve had enough now. If you’re not gone by tonight I’m getting the police.’ And he hung up. 
It was then my job to ring the police and go through the whole story with them. It wasn’t going to be easy to get a case against him. 



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