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Give an inch and Tenant takes a mile

I told you earlier today about the incident regarding getting access for the heating engineer to carry out the annual gas safety checks. Well, I was just getting over that angst from that phone call, when another one came in.

Me: Good morning, this is “.B..Properties”, how can I help?

Tenant: Hi, is that “T”?

Me: Yes, it is, and who is this calling?

Tenant: Its KR, good morning, how are you?  etc.etc.

Tenant: Thank you for sending me my statement of rental account. I’ve just called the Council, and they’ve told me that they’ve paid you £256 on Friday.

Me: The Council haven’t paid me anything, they’ve obviously paid the money into your Rainbow Account (Credit Union). Its your account, as I keep telling you, not mine, and I have no access to it. Its used only for receiving your housing benefit, and the bank transfers it to me. If it was paid on Friday, then we should get it in our account in the next few days.

Tenant: Oh, OK. Anyway, the council also said the next payment will be on 21June, and two further payments on 5th July and 19th July. That means, by then I would have caught up with my arrears. Therefore, I will not be paying the £100 this month.

Me: Loud Pause … I see, have you caught up with your arrears yet?

Tenant: No

Me: So, you want to go against the agreement we have to help you get back on track, even though you have not yet caught up with the payments due.

Tenant: But why should I pay you the £100 this month, when the Council will be paying you all that money, and it will be more than I owe you.

Me: Are you paid up today or in arrears? What happens if the Council does not pay in July? You know very well if your circumstances change, as has happened before, then the housing benefit will not be paid, and you will fall further back.

Tenant: But its the council that owe you the money not me.

Me: No, I have no agreement with the council. You are renting a house from me, for which you agreed to pay me rent. The agreement is between me and you, and you owe me the rent. The council is giving you some money to help you pay the rent, and that is an agreement between you and them. Nothing to do with me.  And you do realise that you are supposed to pay your rent monthly in advance, don’t you?

Tenant: Silence. But I can’t afford to be in front with my rent.

Me: I will seriously advice you to keep the payment arrangement we have in place, otherwise you open yourself up to the repercussions of breaking it. Pay the agreed amount this month, and I will send you another statement at the end of the month, so you see how much is left. But you must get to the point where you are paying in front, not in arrears.

Tenant: But, the council only pay in arrears and I’ve always been on benefits.

Me: Yes, but you also paid on time before, didn’t you? Until your circumstances changed. And I have other tenants on benefits who pay on time every time, in advance.

Tenant: Well, they must have more money than me. Maybe I should just wait until the 21st to see what the council pay and then take it from there.

Me: I don’t know what their circumstances are, but they do it. You have an arrangement in place, and you should keep it.

Tenant: OK. I will pay the £100 this month.

Me: Thank you and good bye.

The sheer audacity of it all. As you can imagine, I was barely hanging on to my temper by now, and speaking slowly so as to stay calm.

So, there you have it. So, what exactly did she expect me to do? let her off paying her arrears because of supposed LHA coming in July? Does she think I’m stupid or what? This is the same person who expects me to jump to her bidding and spend hundreds carrying out non-essential work when she owes rent. She had the audacity to moan to my maintenance man that we didn’t respond to her quickly when she called to report something that needed doing. It is quite noticeable that its the ones that are in arrears that shout the loudest when they want something from you. The maintenance man said to her “if all the tenants don’t pay their rent or are in arrears, where is the landlord supposed to find money to pay the mortgage on the house or carry out the repairs? you are asking them to spend money they don’t have” And her reply was, “oh, I see, I hadn’t really thought of it like that”! She doesn’t think, period! Which lends more weight to the saying that tenants think that Landlords are made of money or rolling in it. Some might, but a heck of a lot are not, and particularly in this economic climate.

And the other thing is this – who do the benefit claimants think funds the council or where does the council money come from? Me and every other hardworking person in this country who earn an honest living and pay our taxes.

I keep saying this, until people are taught from an early age, how to manage money, and their responsibilities, and how local government (or government in general) works, then it will be folk like us who end up carrying the can. And until housing benefit claimants in particular have it drummed into their heads, that it is their responsibility to pay rent, (and not use the LHA to buy wides screen HDTV tvs, and stuff like that), then the landlord will always be the loser.

Aha! light bulb moment!! Perhaps she and her partner were hoping to spend the money in the World Cup Football Store and get what, supporters gear? new Plasma TV, football DVDs or games….   Not at my expense!! Had a look to see what good stuff was out there … Check this out

Anyhow, that’s my excitement for the day. Hopefully, nothing else will bring out the grump today.

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