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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.

Okie's a filthy pig
04 May 2014 @ 22:44

I was fed up on  Adrian’s behalf now. He had been up Hill View all week cleaning up after  Jason and Okie. Okie was regularly making the kitchen filthy. Alan the painter observed him doing a load of greasy cooking (the pipes then get blocked up) and leaving all his mess.  Jason didn’t really eat as he was too busy taking drugs and drinking. So,  Adrian tackled Okie about leaving his filthy mess everywhere. 
'Well, that’s because I got fed up of cleaning up after  Jason,’ Okie replied.  
'That man is next on my list,' Adrian said after hearing this defence.
Over the previous weeks in addition to regularly corresponding with Jason, there had been some regular text chat between ourselves and Okie:
Adrian (09.26, 13th November):
Okie. Despite two polite requests I had to clean the fridge yesterday. 
Adrian (13.26, 21st November):
Hi Okie. As you know I want to improve the condition of the house. Please wash up your dishes after cooking and eating and clean the sink, so it is acceptable for others. Also, we have asked you to turn off the lights and this isn’t happening. Electricity bills are high. Please co-operate in reducing them. I do not wish to appear too curious but are you still in employment? You seem home a lot and I am concerned about future rent payments, as I am spending a lot on the house at the moment. Thanks in advance.  Adrian.
Okie (13.29, 21st November):
Yup, I am still in employment, been off for some days now. No problems with the kitchen, it just annoys me when  Jason leaves it unwashed and I get to do his washing for him.
Adrian (13.40, 22nd November):
Am glad you have a job as it is not easy at the moment to get another.  Jason should be gone soon.
Okie (13.42, 22nd November):
Yeah, that’s true. God is helping me! Thanks for your concern, I have a job! Any ‘off’ period is approved by my employer. Resuming Monday.
Three days after these texts, Jason sent a text saying he had got rid of some of his rubbish from the attic. Big deal.  Adrian filled in yet another court form as part of the procedure to get rid of him and we sent it to the court with proof of postage. 
Adrian was at the end of his tether and once more was saying, 'I want to sell up! I can't keep having to deal with these people.'
He was also snappy with me and the kids. 
It was now December and there was still no change at the house. While I was thinking about my long 'to do' list one Sunday morning Jason popped into my head. As  Adrian was away it was to be my job to sort out bailiffs. Since I was thinking of the scumbag I thought I may as well text him. It didn’t matter if it was a Sunday, if it was day or night. If I was thinking about a tenant and it was winding me up, I may as well do something about it.  A friend once queried us answering and making work calls on a Sunday. He was someone who was ‘playing’ at being a business person. 
My response was: ‘If it’s going to cost us money not to answer or make the calls, then of course we’ll deal with them on a Sunday.’ 
I politely enquired whether he had yet vacated our house. Receiving no answer,  I tried again in the afternoon.
Me (14.35, Sunday 9th December):
What’s happening? I need to know if I have to pay for the bailiffs to throw you out this week or whether you’re leaving of your own accord on Tuesday.
In fact I knew I couldn't get a bailiff’s appointment for that same week. It was another way in which the court processes play right into their hands. We are not allowed to get a private bailiff’s appointment, but have to use the court one and the court one is never available for at least four weeks or even more. I even double-checked the fact with Adrian at the Guild of Residential Landlords:
Hi Adrian
We have a tenant who has been ordered to vacate next Tuesday and are wondering if we have to use court bailiffs (as he is showing no sign of going willingly), or if we can use a private bailiff, in the hope that the latter can fit us in earlier. Usually we have to wait over a month for an appointment from a court bailiff. Is it possible to use a private one?
Rebecca Lynch

His answer:
This is something we've been lobbying for for several years now but no joy to date. The court bailiff is the only option. It is in theory possible to seek the High Court bailiff which we are investigating. However, our initial enquiries indicate this is not worth the hassle because (a) you need have the court order amended (which involves a lot of time) and (b) the costs work out that you might as well leave the tenant in the property rent free for a month or two and still be better off.
Therefore, I'm afraid what you already do seems to be the best and only realistic option.
Many thanks 

I liked the way he always thanks us when he’s helped us.


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