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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.

'I can't pay the rent because I've been donating a lot of money to good causes.'
31 May 2014 @ 15:40

To cut a long story short, because even I'm even sick of talking about it now, I'll sum up the last stage of our association with Okie.
Around this time, he stopped paying the rent entirely. 
Adrian: 'What's going on? Why aren't you paying?'
Okie: 'I've been making a lot of donations to charity with the Church. And it's left me with a cash-flow problem.'
('I don't believe that for a minute,' Adrian says to me. 'He's a selfish liar.')
Adrian: 'I suggest before you make donations to good causes, you pay the rent.'
A week later, Adrian texts:
'Where's the rent?'
The answer: 'Cash-flow problems.'
At the same time, Alan our painter is decorating at the house and reports back:
'He's not working. He's not leaving the house.'
So Adrian confronts him, saying he knows he isn't working.
'No, I am working, just doing different shifts,' he claims.
'I don't believe you,' Adrian insists. 'You've got a problem. Tell me what's happening.'
'They've done an audit in work of the personnel files and found out my visa has expired so they've dismissed me.'
'You have to leave then,' Adrian says. 'Release the bond to cover the unpaid rent and make sure you're gone by the end of the month. Where can you go?
'I've got a cousin in London where I was planning to go anyway.'
Adrian then went around before he was due to leave and found that he had made no effort to tidy the room or sort out the kitchen, which he had promised to do. As he told me later:
'His room and the kitchen were filthy stinking.'
'It's a disgrace,' he says to Okie, adding, 'You've let me down again.'
Finally he left, with the house in a state and him owing £80. 
It wasn't the last we heard of him, though, as a few weeks later he 'phoned Adrian and told him some story about a letting agents in London needing a reference from us.
'You won't get it until you've paid us that £80,' Adrian said. 
'Adrian, I promise I will send you the money, only I need the reference straight away.'
'And you won't get it,' Adrian replied.
At the time, Adrian was in Andalucia, sorting out our holiday home rental and every five minutes Okie was ringing back trying to insist Adrian 'phone some woman and give her the verbal reference. In the end, he said: 'Stop ringing! I'm busy.'
'I've transferred £40,' he then said to me a few hours later, as Adrian asked me to field the calls.
'Transfer the other £40 and you can have the reference,' I said (in fact it was to do with his visa application - the Christian was lying again). 
Finally he paid (only because he needed something off us!).
We had got rid of the last of our tenants from hell from our house from hell. A new chapter could now begin.



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robertt8696 said:
01 June 2014 @ 12:39

i think reading these posts where you have gone wrong with each tenant is you have been too charitable with each one. As soon as someone starts to play up, i personally would tell them they have a short period to rectify what they have done (say a fortnight) and then to start eviction proceedings. I would make this clear to anyone at the point of commencing a tenancy and point out that it is written into the tenancy terms. If anyone started to do something that was undesirable i would warn them, then start eviction proceedings, without feeling sorry for anyone involved, so if it got to a point that you wanted rid of them you would already have proceedings in motion. bearing in mind the time it takes to legally remove someone from your premises, i dont think this would be unreasonable, and if their ways improved, you can always retract the eviction notice.

eggcup said:
01 June 2014 @ 14:15

Yes, that's good advice. We have been too soft, often and some people take advantage of that. I think we always hope they'll turn themselves around and some people do - but, as you say, the eviction process takes ages - around five months usually - you give them two months notice (unless they're 8 weeks in arrears, in which case it's 14 days' notice), then they don't get out; then you issue your Section 21 and wait for a court date, which in our area could be a wait of maybe 6 weeks; then the judge gives them another month to get out (unless you can persuade him [it's always a him] to make it 14 days instead; then they don't get out and you appoint a bailiff and then that takes maybe another month or more. Anyone not in the know and reading the law about Section 21 notices would think it took maybe two months to get them out, but that's not the real world. As you say, if you start the process earlier, as soon as you suspect they might play up, you get a bit ahead of the game. Thanks for the comment.

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