HMO Landlady Sacks Tenant

HMO Landlady Sacks Tenant

10:16 AM, 14th November 2011, About 12 years ago 6

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Continuing on the maintenance theme (somehow I think this could be ongoing!), I’m in the midst of a continuing dilemma:

Tom has been a tenant for 4 years after being referred to me by the Salvation Army. He’s an asset to the house when sober but a pain in neck when drunk as he can never get his key in the front door when he staggers home and is often found on the stairs having forgotten which room he lives in! He’s unemployed, survives on Value noodles, spends his days ironing his clothes and keeping the common areas spick and span – talents picked up from his Army days.

The only time he has cash in his pocket is when he’s picked up a bit of work, but it doesn’t stay there for long. He’s told me of all the things he’s going to save for: a trip to see his mum in London, visit his brother in Ireland, upgrade to a bigger room. However, while the cash burns a hole in his pocket he just can’t help himself but go to the pub, followed by a ticking off by me after some of the other tenants complain about his behaviour when he gets home.

According to Tom he has lots of skills and is a trained HGV driver, scaffolder, builder, gardener, bouncer and can put a bullet in his enemy’s head from 5 miles away. Unfortunately, he can’t pass his CSCS (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) test which is needed to work as a labourer on a building site. He says he revises but is thwarted by the multiple choice answers and the local council will only pay for him to take the test 3 times.

In this vein, and in recognition of the fact that he tries his hardest to be a decent member of society, I give him some painting work. To be fair to him, the finish is excellent but I’m not 100% sure about his preparation. He tells me what he’s done, the products he’s used but always seems to have finished the work in a quarter of the time me and most legit decorators do. The point is, it keeps him happy, makes him feel useful and I compensate him for his time as well as giving him a little bit of credibility down the pub.

And here’s the problem – no sooner has the cash hit his pocket then he’s suited and booted, off to town and staggers home in the usual fashion. Another tenant, Jason, called me the other night “Have you given Tom some money lately ‘cos he’s off his face, banging on the front door and I can now see him p***ing in the porch. I ain’t answering the door because I swear I’ll smack him one!”. Luckily, my recently trafficked Romanian border guard graciously let Tom in and pointed him to the right bedroom.

Next day, I spoke to Tom to say that he’d put me in an impossible situation – I can’t give him my money just to drink and, whilst I appreciate once it had changed hands it became his, I was having to deal with the repercussions. Also, I’d done him a favour so he could visit his mum on her birthday. I’d previously mentioned that the hallway and outside the house needed doing but I’m going to retract those offers now – if he could cause havoc with £40 in his pocket imagine what he’d do with 10 x that amount!

At another house, a tenant called to say he’d got into a fight last night, the other bloke followed him home and put a plant pot through the window – could I get it sorted as it was letting in a draught?

Guess my maintenance budget really is being p***ed up the wall!

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Ben Reeve-Lewis

19:17 PM, 14th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Serena I laugh tears reading your articles. Your life seems like a housing version of Doc Marten, or Hamish MacBeth, full of unique characters beyond reasoning but who are still human beings in your eyes.

I'm sure in the real world you must feel really frustrated but I feel a kinship with your dodgy tenants who act in their own worst interests.I think Tom would probably provide a better night out as a companion than Jordan.

Keep the stories coming girl


22:03 PM, 14th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Thanks. To be fair, it's always a bit of a laugh taking them out for a coffee and a bollocking then chatting afterwards - especially as we're from different ends of the spectrum. It's a real eye opener and I'm much more empathetic these days (to a point).

Still worried about the poor and needy as none of my lot are leaving - can't you get hold of some Government cash for me to set up a ghetto of HMOs? We could split the profits...............! Only kidding if you're listening in, Big Brother.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:17 AM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Serena, why not get him to do all the jobs you need in return for train tickets or a flight to Ireland?

I have to say, I'm amazed at some of the stuff you deal with, especially that you remain such a happy, positive smiley person.


10:21 AM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Mark, I would but I feel that, at the age of 42, he should be taking some responsibility for himself. Even my kids know the basics that, if they want something, they save or sacrifice! He'll be fine - he's cross with me but we'll get over it and, at the end of the day, he's still choosing to live there so it can't be that bad!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:37 AM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago

One step at a time Serena. He may be 42 but that's not relevent. Look at this like teaching a child to walk, a step and a time and praise progress.

5:30 AM, 12th January 2012, About 12 years ago

Would it be possible to put Tom in touch with the local British Legion.
There are all sorts of grants and assistance that the Legion provides for Ex-service personnel

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