Following last week’s article on setting up an HMO from scratch I’m reporting on the last week’s activities which were pretty much devoted to finding tenants. As promised I have also included pictures of the HMO post refurbishment at the bottom of this article.
A second ad in the local paper has elicited some interesting people – advertising rooms demonstrates what an eclectic world we live in.
The carpets went down in the rooms, furniture pushed into place which had been bought from the auction and a charity shop, spent a fortune on household items such as bins, airers, ironing board, etc., hung curtains and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned……
Then: the shower stopped working, the boiler went on the blink, we couldn’t match the toilet seat so had to replace the entire unit and, to top it all, the water stopped. It turned out the flat below (which we don’t own) had noticed a drip from the stopcock so they turned it off not realising it fed the whole property. The landlord has tasked me with phoning the water company this week to get two separate feeds into the flat and our maisonette above.
The best way to illustrate the ad responders is to divide them into “Please come in” and “Absolutely no way”
Tenant Category one – “Please Come In”
- Heather: Senegalese, working in a local hotel, delightfully chirpy
- Rod: friend of another tenant, works in a factory
- Ted: Works on the ships, moved to be nearer his daughter
- Robert: Couldn’t work him out at first, slightly slow on the uptake, bought me a coffee and, despite his enormous size, I felt he could be vulnerable. Turns out he’d been sacked from his care job due to overdosing a patient but “It’s OK, no one died”. My builder used to go to school with him and said he was always being picked on as a youngster so I’ve put him into one of my rooms instead.
- Clara and Ricardo: Just arrived from Italy, living with his boss at £220 a week including breakfast and evening meal, being paid £40 a day as a labourer and she’s just started working in a restaurant for below minimum wage. The boss has told her that, as she doesn’t have a contract, she’s working illegally and if the police catch her she’ll have to pay a fine and be deported. She has a valid National Insurance Number and is terrified.
Tenant Category two “Absolutely No Way”
- Stuart: Couldn’t look me in the eye for the entire interview, was a refuse collector until he’d been sacked an hour before and had trouble remembering where he’d been for the last 20 years.
- Cynthia: In her 50s and didn’t like the look of the washing machine
- Mark: Beautifully dressed, works in a factory, said all the right things until he bumped into the decorator. Turns out Mark is well known in the drug world, hangs around with unsavoury characters and tells every landlord the same story
Tenant Category three “The one that got away”
- Natalie: The type of tenant I can only dream of – she’d just split from her boyfriend, had a well paid office job and seemed enthusiastic to the point of promising me she’d scan her Tenant Information Form and get it back to me that afternoon. I never heard from her again, but perhaps the thought of sharing a house with strangers pushed her back into the arms of her boyfriend.
There were others who phoned but I didn’t meet and I know there are many, many more out there. As the saying goes “Strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet” or, in my case “Strangers are still strangers until they’ve filled in the form, been referenced checked by the decorator and signed the tenancy agreement”.
Have your say by commenting below