Crazy old lady losing me good tenants

Crazy old lady losing me good tenants

10:13 AM, 18th May 2014, About 10 years ago 15

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The Freeholder to my property lives upstairs – it is a 1930’s build House that was split into 2 one bedroom flats some time ago, and my tenants will of course have the (my) lower flat. Freeholder losing me good Tenants

The problem is I keep losing tenants after a couple of months or so simply because I have what seems to be this crazed elderly lady who is hell-bent on being as rude and noisy as possible. By noisy I mean occasionally opening her upper front window to hurl abuse at me should I happen to wonder into my property and more so, at any tenant. She in addition makes the most horrendous banging noises on a regular basis. I can only think she is jumping up and down at full blast and there are now slight cracks appearing that I would most certainly put down to her persistent ‘thunder jumps’.

In fact her banging/noise coupled with her general verbal abuse is so intense at times that it is a somewhat frightening. My most recent tenant, a hardened Builder by trade when he first moved in, was actually shaking when I came along as a response to his urgent call on the matter. He is worried for his 5 year daughter who is due to join him along with his partner shortly.

The police have now been called no less then 4 times and all have spoken quite firmly to her and each time she has promised to change her ways. The police are reluctant to prosecute or at least be more firm for two reasons as I understand it:

1) She is elderly.
2) She seems to have some serious psychological issues, possibly dementure or something associated.

It’s absolutely impossible to communicate with her in any form or shape. The only people she opens the door to are the Police.

Any similar experiences anyone?

Any ideas?



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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:20 AM, 18th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Jacob

I seem to recall speaking to Mary Latham about a similar issue a few years back. I have tweeted the following and mentioned Mary @LandlordTweets so that she can see this discussion and hopefully get involved

Mary Latham

14:21 PM, 18th May 2014, About 10 years ago

We did indeed have a discussion about this Mark. My case was where a owner occupier in a block of flats was suffering from Dementia. I let a flat above her and my lovely tenants were really suffering from her behaviour. She was attacking them as they passed to go up to their flat, pushing rubbish and food through the letter box. I closed the letter box and put in an external post box. She then began throwing food onto the stair case. Other people in the building has already complained to the Management company - who did nothing. I complained to Social Services who I knew were supporting her but they were rude to me and suggested that I was being uncaring - this certainly was not the case and even my young tenants were really concerned for her well being as well as their own.

I posted this discussion and I was given some really good advice.

Eventually I asked a senior Doctor friend who worked at the local hospital to help me and he managed to get Social Services to take action. It was months later that they took her into a care facility. She had no relatives and the whole process took forever.

Perhaps some of the advice that I was given on the discusion above will help you - I hope so because this is a really stressful situation for you and for your tenants and more so for the poor lady who is not "crazy" she is ill and the health service is letting her down when she needs them most.

This is a growing problem because people are living longer and Dementia is becoming more common. We need to get our act together and to take care of these people who built the health service and were promised a safety net

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:03 AM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Summary of suggestions in the thread that Mary very kindly referred to:-

1) Collate evidence, video, photo's, recordings
2) Contact Social Services, keep the pressure up with weekly contact
3) Contact Age Concern
4) Contact local MP
5) Continue to call the Police whenever an incident occurs and keep the pressure on them to take the lead to call a meeting with Social Services. Attend that meeting if at all possible and encourage other affected residents to to so too.

Clearly this lady needs help before she causes harm to herself of others. Copy all and sundry into all correspondence and go to the local press if nothing is done by the authorities to help this poor old lady. Let all the people that you contact know this is your only alternative if they do nothing and that you will name and shame them all if necessary.

The discussion thread over on Landlord Referencing forum is well worth a read. Whether you are currently affected by this issie or not, read it anyway so that you know what to do if you are ever faced with this proble.

Thank you Mary for sharing such an informative case study. I was very pleased to read that everybody lived happily ever after 🙂

saul jacob

11:44 AM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Many thanks for feedback so far.
Another quirk to the story here which I very recently learnt from the immediate neighbour - he wanted to add a loft to his home some time ago had commissioned a building company report at the time which included party wall stuff. Courtesy being the emphasis here he arranged for the building company to visit the elderly lady's property. Their report mentions that in their opinion the loft conversion that she seems to have had done at some point is full of significant 'potholes' so to speak. I contacted local planning to check if they have any knowledge at all of a conversion loft to her flat? They do not. It seems to have been constructed without any permission and poorly so. Another mess. The police have told me because of their concerns with regards to her mental state of mind, that they are writing up a report which is geared to (hopefully) get Social Services moving on this one. I will try to contact SS my self later this afternoon. I have also asked planning/building control at least on H&S grounds to investigate her dwelling asap, particularly as they have no knowledge of a conversion ever taking place.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:56 AM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "saul jacob" at "19/05/2014 - 11:44":

I'm wondering whether litigation could bring this one to a head too.

Clearly this old dear has assets so it may be worth having a pop at her through the Courts, if only to accelerate matters a bit. Sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind!

With this in mind I've invited Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law) to give this some consideration 🙂

Mark Smith Head of Chambers Cotswold Barristers

11:59 AM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

If the 'care in the community' route is too unwieldy you can consider a quite rapid legal route-

1. Claim for breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment and for derogation from grant.
2. Seek an injunction based on the evidence gathered hitherto.
3. This could lead to committal to prison quite quickly, which would at least bring the freeholder into contact with the mental health services-which from my experience is the quickest way for the mentally ill to gain the services that they need.

I can help you with all this if you message me.

saul jacob

12:05 PM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "19/05/2014 - 11:56":

Yes, that is something on my radar.
I have just got off the phone with the local authority social care. They say they have been made aware of the situation as they have just received the police report.
My phone call to them was about immediate H&S concerns vis the loft conversion but they say they will not get involved with that part, which I can understand. This matter is quite live at present. I am conscious should I need to pursue litigation I may need to be careful about writing too much with regards to prejudicing my case.

saul jacob

12:08 PM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "saul jacob" at "19/05/2014 - 12:05":

Hello Mark,

Our posts just crossed. I will contact you.
many thanks,

saul jacob

12:17 PM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

The local authority personnel are due to visit her premises tomorrow. They originally gave me a planning enforcement visit reference number, but almost in the same breath cancelled that and said H&S will visit tomorrow.
** They may need to ask for police assistance as I doubt if she will open the door, unless perhaps they are wearing some sort of official uniform.

margaret barrett

14:49 PM, 19th May 2014, About 10 years ago

I can empathise Jacob. Some years ago I had the misfortune to buy a flat that had a neighbour with mental problems. She would bang on the ceiling in the middle of the night with a broom handle. All of the services listened sympathetically and did nothing. I tried all avenues without success. It later transpired that another neighbour was tapping on the wall next to her bedroom with a small hammer. He had a young family and was eventually rehoused. I then sold up and moved. Would never live in a block of flats again. Too many fruitcakes around.

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