Landlord action to appear on BBC One programme Inside Out

by Paul Shamplina

13:58 PM, 11th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Landlord action to appear on BBC One programme Inside Out

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Landlord action to appear on BBC One programme Inside Out

I carried out some filming with BBC One’s Inside Out programme on Friday. After setting off early and getting stuck on the dreaded M25, I eventually arrived in Orpington to meet my landlord Brian at his property, where an eviction with the county court bailiff was due to take place.

Incidentally, two days earlier, the same landlord had been filmed by this very film crew at a possession hearing for on another rent arrears case in Bromley County Court. This too was against a tenant who had been receiving housing benefit which had been cut, and had consequently fallen on hard times.

While waiting for the bailiff I got chatting with Brian who is a builder by trade. He had 15 properties, but was planning to sell three of these, two of which were the cases we were dealing with. He was fed up with the councils not paying the housing benefit directly to him. As a result of the cuts he was finding that more and more of his tenants were withholding housing benefit and not passing it on.

The court bailiff from Bromley County Court attended on time and we proceeded to knock at the property. The tenant was not dressed and was still in the process of packing up some five months after serving the initial Section 8 notice, and was still not ready to vacate!

Whilst the tenant prepared to leave Brian and I were left waiting and waiting! The bailiff informed us she had a further eight evictions that morning so had to leave, but would return if the tenant failed to go.

Eventually the tenant emerged along with a number of black bags. She informed the landlord he could clear the rest of the flat, which was yet another expense. She did however state that she wanted her washing machine, which still had clothes in it.

Now I’ve been doing this kind of work for over twenty five years and have seen some real dumps, but this was a stark reminder of what the everyday landlord has to go through.

When we entered the property, there were clothes left everywhere, food out on the side and rubbish in every room. When you see the programme Inside Out on BBC One (due out in September) you will see what I mean. I think you will also enjoy Brian’s honest assessment of being a landlord which is quite refreshing even with a few expletives bleeped out.

The landlord was owed over £6000 in rent arrears in total. The tenant was claiming Housing Benefit, but had failed to go to the council in February this year to complete her application, meaning Brian did not receive a penny. He will also have to refurbish the entire property.

The tenant in this instance has made herself homeless. She knew she owed rent, but could not even be bothered to put in her application for housing benefit which would then have paid her landlord. A claimant tenant such as this takes things for granted and expects landlords to bear the cost of everything. This kind of attitude gives good Housing Benefit tenants a bad name which I find increasingly infuriating.

By the way, the tenant was going straight to Bromley Council to be re-housed. Maybe they should watch the programme and see what she did with regards to the state of her previous property and the rental arrears she ran up before she is allowed to enter the PRS again.

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Comments

Zoe C

14:38 PM, 11th August 2014
About 4 years ago

We have this everyday, I manage around 130 properties for one landlord. The state of the flats never cease to amaze me. The (in arrears) claimant usually wrecks the place to prove a point to us. Even though they didn't pay the rent! It's always our fault! Then they have to pay us back via their benefits, £4 a week, it never gets paid after the first month.

So we stopped HB completely. Our adverts state No unemployed or benefits of any kind. They still phone just for you to say no again and then abuse you down the phone that you don't take benefits.

They don't care one bit, even leaving behind the furniture they received via vouchers through the Council, they know they can get more. When the Council starts getting serious with them perhaps we can have HB tenants back again?

We do have 3 tenants which are as good as gold. The benefit is paid directly to us and cannot be paid to the tenant, that is the condition of the lease. We are sorry as it fills our voids quite nicely. But now the charges are £250 for the first court application, £200 for bailiffs and so on and so on. Plus the council always tell them to stay put until the bailiff comes knocking!

Percy Vere

15:10 PM, 11th August 2014
About 4 years ago

The situation regarding HB tenant's has reached a point whereby any small private landlord taking them on it will ultimately back-fire on them at some point.
DWP, Goverment, Shelter, CAB have got to get into their thick heads that private landlords are not a branch of the National Welfare system and the basic rule must be re-instated that by providing a tenant with a home payment must be passed to the landlord as a right like any business agreement.
It was shear lunacy to give rent money directly to tenant's.

Fortunately for me last year I did have a DWP tenant ( my first and last in 25 years ) that was having his rent paid directly to me as he did turn out to be a troublesome person which resulted in me having to get rid of him asap.
My good luck was, and not known by myself at the time, he was under investigation for benefit fraud and did a Moonlight Flit taking everything with him and posting the keys back through the letterbox.
So no rent money lost for me on this occasion, just the usual property clear and clean up that you can expect but I do know of countless cases whereby landlord's have been shafted by DWP Tenant's and it has to stop.
Will any Government take the necessary action? The short answer is .. No.

John MacAlevey

15:47 PM, 11th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Completely accurate. There are NO meaningful sanctions that can be applied. The PRS is unique in that a portion of its business is so lopsided in favour of LHA claimants that an outsider would view it as an insane business proposal and never invest.

Monty Bodkin

17:23 PM, 11th August 2014
About 4 years ago

I'd be very interested to know what precautions the landlord took before the tenancy started and why those precautions failed.

It's not as though he was a naive first timer just trusting to a firm handshake and the honest look in a tenants eye. He must have known what he was getting into if he was specialising in benefit tenants.

Smithy @hotmail

22:57 PM, 14th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Which 'Inside Out' will show this? Since 'Inside Out' is a regional programme.

If it's Bromley, presumably it will be 'London' or possibly 'Meridian'. They are all available on the Sky box, so long as you know which one to tune in to.

Neil Patterson

9:32 AM, 18th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Smithy @hotmail" at "14/08/2014 - 22:57":

Hi Smithy,

It will be on BBC London, but there is a chance that it may go nationwide.

Paul said its coming out in October now, but he will advise of the date nearer the time 🙂


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