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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.

The police are useless.
13 April 2014 @ 20:22

At 8.40 on 12 September, I receive a call from a police officer: 
‘I went to see  Jason Thomas yesterday at the house in Hill View and we’ve had a chat but I can’t see how we can press any charges. I’ve had a word with my sergeant and he says if you’ve got a bond, that’s what’s the bond’s for.’ 
‘The bond won’t even begin to cover all the bills he’s run up and won’t come near to covering the damage as he’s damaged all sorts in the house over the last two years,’ I replied. 
‘Yes, but you have to expect this kind of behaviour if you let houses to people on the DSS. And when he’s got a tenancy agreement it’s like it’s his house really. It’s a civil and not criminal matter.’
‘Yes, don’t worry,’ I reassured him, ‘I’m used to no-one helping us as landlords, and used to the unfair distinction between what constitutes civil and criminal justice. If someone stole money or damaged my things in the street, that would be different, wouldn’t it? But if they do it in my house, you won’t get involved. Can I just ask you one favour though?’ 
‘Yes, of course.’ 
‘Can you not tell  Jason? If you ‘phone and say you’re not going to press charges, he’ll never get out.’ 
‘Yes, I don’t have to tell him anything. You’re the one who rang with the complaint.’ 
‘Great. Thanks for that,’ and I hung up.  I didn’t bear him a grudge;  I was pretty resigned to it by now. It turned out that Okie told the officer he hadn’t been threatened by  Jason. He just felt threatened, I suppose, especially when he had drunk and had his drugged-up mates around, smashing up our house. I wouldn’t like it and would barricade myself in my room. But if the police wouldn’t help by charging  Jason with criminal damage and the legal system made it impossible for us to get him out quickly, what else could we do? I texted Okie, who seemed to think he might be able to now get away without paying the rent.
Me (8.59, 14 September):
Okie. Could you please pay the rent for this month. Thanks.
Okie (20.26):
I also texted Jason:
Me (15.03, 16 September):
When are you moving out? We can’t sort out all the mess in the house, redecorate etc. and re-let Peter’s room while you are still there as you could ruin our work if you are still there. Because of you not moving out we are losing money every day by not being able to get a new tenant for Peter’s room. Also, we want you to pay us what you owe us. You send long texts indicating you’re sorry, but we’re only interested in actions, not words; specifically, we want you to leave and pay up.
The idea that saying 'sorry' somehow constitutes an action in itself wasn't new to me. Some people think that the word ‘sorry’ makes everything okay. 
Around this time, Alan, our painter said: ‘Has he gone yet? That Jason guy?'
Alan found all the goings-on incredible as he'd never seen people living like this before, with their chaotic and selfish ways. 
When I wasn't just plain angry, I also found it interesting observing people like that at close quarters. You see these people walking down the street with their flagons of cider in their bags. But you don’t really see how they live; looking like death warmed up in the morning, never eating, peeing in bottles and throwing the bottles out of the window.  



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