I have the misfortune of being taken to court by nightmare tenant in small HMO?

by Readers Question

15:11 PM, 25th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I have the misfortune of being taken to court by nightmare tenant in small HMO?

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I have the misfortune of being taken to court by nightmare tenant in small HMO?

Hi all 118ters, I have had the misfortune of being taken to court by a nightmare tenant who rents a room in a small HMO. The tenant in themselves is not too bad but her boyfriend who has moved in with her (not in accordance with her tenancy agreement) is a foul-smelling weed head.

My reputation in my area is the landlord who is zero tolerant to drugs as such I have tenants in my HMO’s for over ten years.

I have been telling the weed head he does not belong there and that he is stinking the place out with his weed. The smell is overpowering. I have knocked on their door on numerous occasion when I visit and berated them over the awful smell. I have other tenants in there who are really unhappy with the smell but who fear repercussions from the weed heads if they get involved.

They are cocky and warned me they would seek action against me if I continued to berate them over the weed.

Went to court on Monday the judge had read the particulars of their claim and I must admit whoever put the story together paints me as this bullying landlord with some very creative wordplay.

During the hearing, the judge expressed he did not want to hear any evidence and “let’s try and sort it amicably”. They naturally played the victims and I got the impression he had already prejudged me and tended to side with them. Despite me telling him drug use was illegal and that I had an independent witness who could confirm he was selling the drugs in my property.

He wouldn’t allow me to rebuke any of their wild untruths with hard actual evidence, instead chose to threaten me with an injunction if I continued to knock on their door over the weed. I have to appear again in mid-March because they told him they would be moving out by April (highly unlikely)

So the judge forbids me from trying to stop illegal activity in my HMO, total disregard for the decent tenants who don’t smoke weed and who knows on my next appearance award them the 200 quid they are seeking for loss of the quiet enjoyment. …..you couldn’t make it up !!!

Am I from a different planet or am I wrong to feel hard done by?

Paul

Comments

john

9:35 AM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Usual story about Landlords always being in the wrong even though the tenants are breaking their tenancy agreement T&T & also breaking the law of the land The whole system is out of control & heavily biased in favour of tenants with Landlords always left picking up the pieces

Lindsay Keith

9:35 AM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Was it reported to the Police? If not, why not?

psquared

9:38 AM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

On the face of it of course I would side with you but of course that is only one side. To be perfectly honest you do come across as overbearing and bullying. Referring to people as “weedheads” “cocky” “berated them”. Obviously I am unable to really understand the situation but I would hazard a guess you mishandled the situation and really annoyed your tennant to the point they took the action they did......
In my experience “berated tenants” knocking on the door on numerous occasions comes across as bullying and intimidating.

Of course you need to sort the problem and it sounds like it was a difficult situation but reading between the lines I suspect you have some culpability for what happened.

Elana

11:16 AM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by psquared at 26/02/2021 - 09:38
how unhelpful.

The boyfriend moved in when he shouldn't have, other tenants are unhappy and fear repercussions if they get involved. I have come across these situations many times and when you get a person who thinks it's their absolute right to do whatever they want, regardless of how it affects others, civilised conversation or mediation rarely works. Especially if your head is full of weed. I speak as a Drugs & Alcohol worker. I love my work and have great empathy with the clients I work with, but when they are able to start managing their problem drug use and see some hope for their future, I guarantee you, they do not want to live next door to a weedhead! Paul is in an impossible situation. The only people who win in these types of situations are the crap landlords - who find nasty ways of dealing with these types of situations. Your average landlord only seems to get covered in the crap. I know too many decent landlords (and tenants who share the property), who have been broken by this type of behaviour.

Judith Wordsworth

12:09 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

If the boyfriend is not on the tenancy give HER written notice that he must leave and that the room size is too small for 2 people - which is against the law and that she (the girlfriend) (and you) can be prosecuted for allowing this over habitation. Also inform them that the Police gave been notified re illegal drug use.

psquared

12:23 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

I think people are misunderstanding me. Of course it's a horrible situation and it maybe that the tennant is totally unreasonable.
But when I read that the landlord "berated" and is constantly knocking on the door I think this just inflames the situation. I have 50+ tennants and I generally find if you approach in a reasonable way and try to explain without berating the tenant.
My point is that the language he was using sounds inflamatory and if he has that attitude with the tenant it aint going to help.

The tenant may be terrible but an attitude where you think its ok to mutiple knock on doors and berate isnt going to help the situation

Amanda GdM

13:00 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

You are allowed to be in the communal areas and enter when you wish (use reason and common sense as to the times).
If you smell drugs / suspect drug use call the police.
If you dont want your tenant anymore, cut straight to a section 21 (however long it takes) and just request repossession of the room.
Work with the tenant to negotiate an early departue. If they are in arrears, maybe offer to clear it and reimburse the deposit.
Your number 1 objective is to move this tenant out and get your room back. There is no positive future with this tenant.
Even if you have to swallow your pride and it does not seem fair - calm negotiation and financial incentive can work.
You can point out that you have a duty of care to all tenants and that you are obliged to look after them as well, hence the need to come to an amicable agreement about moving out. Otherwise you have no choice but to get the police involved.
you could say..."because I have a duty of care to the other tenants and they have made compalints about drugs use I need to keep popping in to make sure everything is ok".
RE' the boyfriend - not sure how many are allowed in the HMO without a licence but if the boyfriend pushes you into licence territory I'd contact my local HMO officer to seek advice. Maybe they can help put on some pressure by writing directly to your tenant.
Try open ended questions - "lets see if we can come to an agreement...how long would you need realistically to move on ?...It has been a terrible time for both of us...lets try and work it out. "
I know it is easier said than done but worth trying as clearly the court route is just not getting you anywhere and winding up the tenants.

psquared

13:16 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 26/02/2021 - 12:09
not sure where you are living but in Manchester would take around a year to get someone out at the moment if they use all the tricks available....the police would be very unlikely to be useful and more likely to inflame the situation and sadly breaking the terms of a tenancy is not a criminal act and your tennant cannot be prosecuted....only you if the council become involved and act against you

mccabeproperties

18:04 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Elana at 26/02/2021 - 11:16
I applaud you for seeing it exactly how it is. I get extremely frustrated that the law breaker will at the first opportunity use the system that they so willingly ignore for there own selfish means. and will use that system when somebody who is not intimidated by them treats in the same way they go through life I call him a weedhead because that is exactly what he is. Oh and by the way he doesn't come across as a future Richard Branson.
I wonder how the previous commentator would like someone like that in there home somehow i don't think they would be so sympathetic

mccabeproperties

18:18 PM, 26th February 2021
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lindsay Keith at 26/02/2021 - 09:35
I haven't reported to the police for many reasons, but let me give you one.
I report there are drugs being sold on my property by so and so. the cops turn up knock the door of the dealer or in this case the girlfriend she sticks her head out the door to answer the knock. she will certainly not let them in, by this time weedhead has either thrown it out of the window or secreted somewhere in the studio the cops cant go searching without a warrant. cops inform me "insufficient evidence" They laugh at me and the law and carry on. does this make my point

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