Perfect tenant of 6 years turns heroin addicted prostitute – EVICTED!

Perfect tenant of 6 years turns heroin addicted prostitute – EVICTED!

9:07 AM, 10th August 2012, About 9 years ago 14

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I first let to these tenants in 2003. They already had a daughter and later gave birth to a second. She was an accountant, I forget now what he did. They were model tenants but in 2008 I received a call to tell me that he’d left her for another woman. These things happen and as she had been such a wonderful tenant I had no issues whatsoever in granting a new tenancy in her name, no guarantor! Seriously, would you ask for a guarantor under these circumstances?

A few months went by without problems but then a rent payment was missed. I followed my procedures and wasn’t too concerned at first. After three weeks I called her at work and I was told she was off sick. I eventually tracked her down at home and she explained she’d been off for a few months and was really sorry about the rent. Apparently the stress of the separation was getting to her. Under the circumstances I agreed that she could miss another months rent payment (due at the end of the following week) and then catch up over the next 12 months when she get’s back to work. She didn’t go back though, not for long anyway, she’d hit the bottle and got fired for being drunk at work. I tried to help her but she ignored my calls and left me with no choice other than to serve a section 21 notice giving her two months to vacate. She was already four months in arrears so I could have served a section 8 giving her two weeks notice but I guess I’m just a softie. She’d been a good tenant for years so two months notice wasn’t too bad and I thought she’d get better and being an accountant she wouldn’t want debts hanging over her. I was wrong 🙁

No rent was paid and the notice period had expired but she was still there. I’d never been in this position before. What would I do? At this point I also found out that the children had been taken into care. This was getting nasty.

It turns out that she had also got into drugs, heroin to be exact, and was funding her habit through prostitution.

To cut a long story short we had to go all the way through the court process. It was my first time. It was only on the third attempt that the baliffs actually managed to get her out of the property. There were a ton of excuses for the first two times which I will not go into.

She knew she was going to be evicted and had completely trashed the property. My suspicion is that she got all the local druggies to collect all the bin bags off the estate and tip the rubbish in the house. The stench was over-whelming, three of the clean up team literally threw up, one refused to go back into the house. 23 skips were filled in all and I was down 18 months on rent. OK, I might have got away with a few less if I’d have been a bit tougher but seriously, would you have done anything different than I did as these events unfolded?

I learned two lessons from this:-

  1. You can never be 100% sure about any tenant
  2. You need a rainy day fund as you never know when a scenario like this could befall you. I’d been a landlord for 17 years and owned a massive portfolio before this happened to me but it could just as easily have been my first tenant in my first property.
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Comments

by Steve From Leicester

11:48 AM, 12th February 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "12/02/2014 - 11:39":

I can probably help here.

Most policies run for 12 months and will require the tenant(s) to be referenced to the satisfaction of the insurer at the outset.

The policies we use allow us to renew annually as long as its the same tenants (i.e. they don't insist on re-referencing them every year). We're not obliged to tell them of any change of circumstances as long as its the same people.

But if one half of a couple has left they'll require re-referencing to ensure the remaining tenant can afford the place in her (or his) own right.

In the situation described by Mark, the woman would almost certainly have passed referencing in her own right. A policy would have been issued, accepted for renewal as necessary, and they would have evicted and covered rent arrears when it all went wrong.

by Mark Alexander

12:20 PM, 12th February 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "12/02/2014 - 11:02":

Very well said Steve 🙂
.

by Mark Alexander

12:37 PM, 12th February 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "12/02/2014 - 11:39":

Hi Jeremy

This lady was a very well paid Chartered accountant, there would have been no problem in getting RGI even without a guarantor.

There are several schemes out there so I can't comment on the terms. The one that my brother uses for instance just runs month to month - see >>> http://lettingagentsonline.co.uk/rent-on-time-every-time/
.

by Mandy Thomson

11:19 AM, 19th March 2016, About 5 years ago

I know this is an old post, but someone told me about a very similar situation that happened in South London the other day, and at least the first part of this scenario has been mentioned on here recently: http://www.property118.com/might-lowering-rent-impact-ability-remortgage/85472/

I've never forgotten Mark's account of his experience, any landlord's worst nightmare, but something about it has never made sense to me: WHY would a couple of high earning professionals need LONG TERM rental accommodation (unless we were talking about high spec property in somewhere like Central London) especially when they had a family?

Even with today's much bemoaned high property prices, most people who rent rather than buy fall into 3 categories (sometimes of course more than one applies):

- they're just starting out and aren't ready to buy
- they only want somewhere relatively short term (e.g. while they establish themselves in a new location)
- they're too poor to buy (for several different reasons, including vulnerability)

This couple sound like they were pretty unstable from the start or at least were too lazy to take on the responsibility of ownership - either way, not good.


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