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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.

'You've shat on your own doorstep.'
19 May 2014 @ 14:42

On the 9th of January, while Adrian was at the house he had a ‘conversation’ with  Jason. He said: 
‘You’ve shat on your own doorstep.’  
Jason replied, ‘I’m not sure if that’s the right expression.’ 
‘Yes it is. And now you’ll be off into the big, bad, scary world. And further down the line, the council will throw you out and you’ll end up on the street and that’s where you’ll die.’ 
‘It wasn’t an unpleasant conversation,’ Adrian said to me afterwards and I laughed. 
‘I’ll get you your money,’ Jason said.  Adrian didn’t deign to reply.  Jason seemed blissfully unaware that the bailiff was coming on the 15th to throw him out. 
‘No point pleading ignorance,' Adrian said to him, 'I know you got the letter, because I was here when the bailiff pushed it under your bedroom door.’ 
The charming and helpful bailiff (who let us jump the queue) insisted on hand-delivering it to his bedroom so that he couldn’t deny receiving it, by making out another occupant of the HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) had taken it. Apparently, some tenants delayed their removal with this tactic.
Then, on the 14th of January, the day before the eviction, Adrian started to get stressed. 
‘What if it somehow goes wrong tomorrow? What if somehow he doesn’t go?’ 
‘Surely he'll be made to?’ I replied. ‘The bailiff is entitled to use reasonable force.’  
‘Yes, and if  Jason then tries to push in the front door or something and gets back in, he can be got for breaking and entering.’ 
I suggested that  Adrian mention this to Jason if he was thrown out and was then sitting in the street with nowhere to go and was tempted to try and get back in. We were both surprised that he didn't have the council running around to sort him out by this point. He’d been down to the offices often enough.
I also had another spat via mobile with Okie the same morning. It went like this:
Me (10.16, 14th Jan):
Hi Okie. Can you pay the rent please that was due on the 7th? Thanks. 
Okie (10.17):
Sorry for the delay. Sent you a text to say there would be a delay – would send it on 18/01/2013. Thanks 
Me (10.27):
Neither I nor  Adrian received a text.  Adrian said you are still leaving all the lights on and they stay on all day. This is costing us a fortune and is unacceptable behaviour.  You wouldn’t do it if you were paying the bills, so don’t do it when we are. We’ve had enough trouble with  Jason; we don’t want any more. We will accept the late payment this month but want it on time next month.  Jason is being thrown out tomorrow and from then on we will have zero tolerance.
Okie (10.29):
I understand. Well, I just checked and saw that it was undelivered a few of my messages were undelivered. If you want to ‘throw me out’ based on late payment, for a single month, while for the past one year or so I have been consistent with my payments and everything that has to do with the house, well feel free.
Okie (10.31):
And to compare me with  Jason is also very shocking and unfortunate. Thanks.
Me (10.35):
I haven’t said we’re throwing you out. I said we want the rent on time and for you to stop leaving all the electricity on. Are you going to start switching it off when it’s not needed? No-one was in last week and  Adrian came twice and every single light was on in the daytime.
Okie (10.38):
I switched off the electricity last night before sleeping. When I come back from work, I hardly go downstairs so don’t check if  Jason had left it on. This morning he’s been playing music and smoking downstairs. Once  Jason leaves, you will notice a marked improvement.
Adrian said I shouldn't text him anymore, before it got into a tit-for-tat. Bully for him that he switched the lights off once. 
Adrian was determined to turn the house around: 
'I'm going to clean the kitchen once  Jason has gone this week and then say to Okie, "I’m handing over this clean kitchen to you. Now, you keep it clean, since Adam [another tenant who also rented a room at the house but spent most of the time with his wife] isn’t actually living at the house".’  
Okie would be the only one there then until we filled the two empty rooms, so he couldn’t try and blame the filth he created on someone else. 

 

 



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