13:58 PM, 11th August 2014, About 8 years ago 6
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.
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