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My brush with a “professional” tenant

Appearances often are quite deceptive. And so it turned out to be with the supposedly nice young couple (Mr D & Ms S) that I took on as tenants in a 2-bed ground floor flat. These two were really keen on taking on the flat and after they’d viewed it, wrote a very nice letter, explaining their circumstances. I’ll let them tell you in their own words…

Well, what do you think? They sounded quite genuine, seemed to have their head screwed on the right way (compared to some others I’ve come across), and I do take on LHA claimants, though sometimes I do question why I still do so…… Their letter went on to say

I spoke to them, particularly the female half of the partnership, as she was the mouth piece. After much deliberation, I decided to give them a chance. After all, we all deserve a chance in life and they were at the time living in a shared house, and wanted their own space.

They duly completed the application form, with requisite supporting documents, and I then went through the usual tenant checking process, including references from landlord etc., credit checks (Mr D was previously working), and crucially, I made a point of speaking with their current landlord, who gave a good reference. They moved in before we’d finished some of the redecoration that was planned, but which was completed the following week, to include all new new carpets (bedroom) and laminate flooring (hallway & lounge).

Then it was one thing or another, and my maintenance man was backwards and forwards to the property like a yoyo. Mr D was the one who contacted us to report maintenance itmes, and he  preferred to make contact by email, and we would respond both by email and letter.  Just when we thought everything was sorted and settled, I got a call from a nice gentleman from the Local Authority, an Environmental Health Officer who claimed my tenants had called them to complain about various things, some of which we were not even aware of, and he’d gone to inspect the house etc. etc. and wanted to meet with me. Some of the items were – front door was sticking, loose tap in kitchen, end bath panel missing/removed, one element of gas fire not working, one broken power socket (which was fine when they moved in). But, what shocked me was he claimed there was no gas safety certificate for the property. I nearly hit the roof, as I’d given them their copy on the day they moved in. I am an accredited Landlord, for goodness sakes, and know what the law says about that. So, I duly scanned and email my copy to the EHO showing both boiler and gas fire were safe, and told him we’d see to the other issues, which we did.

But not satisfied, the tenant called the EHO’s office to report that he was concerned about the “delay” in resolving the matters he had reported. It would seem that the EHO was too slow in contacting us, etc.etc. and anyone who knows how the system works knows the EHOs are overworked as it is, with too few of them, and too many scumbags like these ones trying to work the system. And of course we were also too slow in responding. What ever happened to the idea of  “using the property in a tenant like manner?”

My tenants are all given full contact details for us when they move in, phone, fax, mobile, email…… and told the procedure for reporting maintenance issues. Our dear tenants conveniently forgot, didn’t they? When I asked them why they had not reported the issues to me, and how come the Council got involved, Mr D told me it just happened that someone from the council visited them (yeah, right!!) and wanted to know how they were getting on etc.etc, because they were DSS. You and I know, that does not happen, and unless the Council is called in, no-one just turns up to check on a tenant’s well-being. They obviously thought I was not clued up and it would seem they were intent on trouble from the start.

It turns out this lovely tenant of mine, Mr D, who claims they were not given a gas certificate, and all other manner of untruths, had wanted to put a radiator cover over the fire in the lounge, and my Gas Safe plumber who had gone to see to another complaint they’d apparently made, told the tenant in no uncertain terms what would happen if he did that.

By the end of the third month, I’d had enough, and with the deposits paid to that point registered with DPS, issued them with a S21(1)(b) notice requiring possession, and reminded them that unless I heard from them by a certain date to confirm if they wanted to continue beyond the fixed term or not, I would work on the basis that they were leaving at the end of the fixed term.

What happened next would be funny if it was not so contrived. The story continues …….

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    Posted in LHA, Maintenance, Tenant Behaviour.

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