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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.

Being good by association?
29 May 2014 @ 18:04

Me (11th March):
I don’t like chasing the rent money every month and won’t tolerate late payments. Please pay today and set up a standing order for the 7th of every month.
Okie (08.29, 12th March):
I was not able to reply Rebecca yesterday. My phone has problems. 
Apologies again for the late payment this month. I wanted to discuss this with you when you came on Sunday. I’m actually just depending on my monthly salary for the next couple of months due to a humanitarian investment I was involved with. I would be grateful if you can bear with me for this month and possibly the next 2-3 months as I pay you on 21st, which is my pay day. Apologies as this case is exceptional – I’ve always met the usual date, but this new event kind of tied my hands. Thank you. Okie.
Okie (10.51, 12th March):
Waiting for a reply. Thanks.
 Adrian (10.56, 12th March):
Okie. As u work in a bank u know u should not take on additional financial obligations or take trips away without knowing u can meet your current ones. We have bills to pay on the house and need tenants to pay on time. U seem to be in a pattern of late payments. Please try your best to pay on time.
Okie (10.58, 12th March):
I know  Adrian. It’s not my usual pattern, became a pattern this year only. It’ll stop. My apologies again. Thanks for being understanding. 
How he thought we got on was beyond me. 
'He's got a very different idea of what constitutes a good relationship to what I have,' I commented. 'Considering I've got pester and threaten him every bloody month to pay the rent.'
We would have described him at this point as the least desirable tenant in the house. 
'And he thinks he has power over we choose to live in the house,' Adrian added. 'Trying to get us to refuse someone because he's a fellow Nigerian!'
This was after months of trouble, rent arrears, thousands lost in decoration, with him leaving the heating and lighting on and, as he indicated above, using extra heating again in his room and damaging yet another new vacuum cleaner, and after he didn’t even pay his rent on time.
What I did find fascinating though was Okie's idea that we had a good relationship. He seemed to base this partly on the longevity of our acquaintance (about two years). In fact, we had always been good to him and he had often been dreadful to us. So he thought that the fact that we were good to him and (had to) speak to him politely, made him good.  He became good by association. 
Also, his identity as a ‘Christian’ compounded this self-delusion; maybe he associated with other good people in the Church. As a tenant and as a person, I found him rude (making demands and accusing of us doing things wrong), unreliable (with the rent), dirty (especially in the kitchen and bathroom) and selfish (wasting loads of electricity because he wasn't paying). Had a woman ever moved in, as he would have liked (instead of another big, male Nigerian. Ha!), we would have discovered his other qualities, I’m sure – lecherousness or worse.

 

 



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