9:38 AM, 14th July 2015, About 6 years ago
Into its fourth week, Channel 5’s ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ is growing in popularity with viewing figures of last week’s episode hitting 1.5 million. This week, a serial bad tenant and a subletting scammer will highlight the need for landlords to take action at the first sign of things going wrong.
Landlords Terry Sartin and Helen Miller have both been unfortunate enough to have had dealings with the same nightmare tenant who doesn’t pay rent. Landlord Terry has been trying to get rid of his tenant Sophia for five months and she now owes him £8,000. Eviction day finally arrives and despite a standoff with Sophia, he finally gets his property back. However, Helen Miller can be seen still battling to get her out. Four months ago, while still living at Terry Sartin’s, the tenant took out a tenancy with Helen also. Aside from paying the £900 deposit, she hasn’t received a penny since. After a tense court case, Helen finally wins a possession order. The question is whether Sophia will finally leave the property as she is supposed to or whether Helen will endure more months of unpaid rent and stress.
The second case features Lesley and Mark Irwing, an elderly couple who were supplementing their income by renting out a second property. They took on a tenant, Jecintha Rahman who, as single mother, had fallen on hard times. A few months into the tenancy she got very behind with her rent complaining of numerous financial problems that were beyond her control. The Irwin’s were patient and understanding, hoping she would get back on her feet. Sadly, it turns out their tenant is in fact a confident trickster, who was not only lying to the Irwing’s about her financial problems, but was working a sub-letting scam, conning students who needed to move into the area by advertising the Irwing’s address as a rental property, taking deposits off them and then refusing them entry.
Jecintha managed to do this over and over again until the law eventually caught up with her and she was arrested and charged. She served four months on remand and was given a suspended sentence for theft and fraud.
Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action who worked on both of the cases featured in this week’s episode says “Unfortunately the circumstances in both of these cases highlight just how imperative it is for landlords to act fast, ideally as soon as a tenant doesn’t pay rent. In subletting cases, we have to remember it’s not just the landlords who fall on hard times as a result of the scammer, but also the poor people who believe they are legitimately renting a property from a landlord…not another tenant. In this case it left innocent students beginning their college career out of pocket and on the street.”
Catch the next episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ on Wednesday 15th July on Channel 5 at 9pm.
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