Roommate to Rogue – Landlord faces £24k debt on Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords

by Paul Shamplina

12:25 PM, 6th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Roommate to Rogue – Landlord faces £24k debt on Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords

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Roommate to Rogue – Landlord faces £24k debt on Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords

Landlord Action logoFifth episode Wednesday 6th April – get it on Catch Up TV

The second series of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ has already revealed victims and villains from both sides of the buy-to-let battlefield, but this week sees Landlord Action helping a landlord in more than £24,000 mortgage arrears after his lodgers turn on him.

The leading story for the fifth episode, due to air on Wednesday 6th April, follows a once live-in landlord who had to move abroad for work.  He left the lodgers he had been sharing his home with in charge, thinking they would take care of his property.  Unfortunately, shortly after his departure, the lodgers stopped paying rent.  One year later and £24,000 in mortgage arrears, the landlord is seen in danger of having his house repossessed by the bank and even worse, no longer feeling safe in his own home as one of his lodgers threatened his partner.

Forced to seek refuge at his partner’s home, the landlord tries to sneak back to the property at night to collect some clothes, which does not go well.  Out of his home and out of options, the landlord contacts eviction specialist Landlord Action, but as always, there are two sides to the story.

It has become increasingly common in London for people to rent rooms to lodgers as a great way to earn extra cash to help pay the mortgage and support other financial expenditures. However, like any share service, it isn’t without risk and something we felt important to highlight. The landlord thought he could trust the people he had been living with to look after his home in his absence, in the same way as when he was there. However, being a live-in landlord on hand to take care of maintenance issues is very different to trying to do so from another country. Any landlord who has to move abroad should have in place a fully managed property service and where applicable, an HMO licence. Without the proper provisions in place, landlords run the risk of tenants collectively refusing to pay rent.

We can also be seen in another rent arrears case on the same episode helping landlady Ming Li.  She is owed almost £12,000 in unpaid rent for her apartment overlooking the Thames in London’s affluent Canary Wharf.  When the tenant couldn’t pay the rent, Ming felt sorry for her and tried to help but with no more rent forthcoming, Ming herself could no longer afford to subsidise her tenant’s luxury lifestyle and penchant for designer clothes.  Ming has no choice but to evict her, but when she gets in there’s one more surprise.

Watch this gripping episode on hit series ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ this Wednesday 6th April on Channel 5 at 9pm.

Contact Landlord Action

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


Comments

Neil Patterson

12:26 PM, 6th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Watch Paul tonight on channel 5 9pm if you can readers 🙂

Neil Patterson

12:29 PM, 6th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Don't forget catch up TV if you are out too 😉

Gary Dully

10:14 AM, 7th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Well I watched it.

What I saw was the following.

I saw a landlord that was first live in, then live out, then live in again, then live out again, a house in total disrepair, a landlord that has no management structure in place and then expected his tenants to ignore the state of the place.

A very expensive issue of a section 8 notice, then the landlord arriving back at nighttime for what he claimed were his own belongings, without giving written notice of his intended visit.
This guy was indeed owed rent, but he was asking for what he got.
I thought HMO's in Manchester and London had to be licensed, how the hell did that pass any inspection?

Then he ignored advice and issued his guests new tenancy agreements.

Then we saw the Asian lady get ripped off and have her canary wharf property trashed.
I have some sympathy for her - but we never saw her tenant.

I then saw the police in Manchester ignore tenant harassment, (saying it was a civil matter) and Shelter do nothing about an illegal eviction.

The we had the squatters in the old swimming baths that turned it into a refugee centre for smack heads and drunks and an eviction system that is completely busted.

Apart from the entertainment value, what is the purpose of this programme?

Does our Housing or Justice Minister ever watch this sort of stuff?
If not, why not?

The eviction system is a complete mess.
The prevention from Eviction Act is ignored by some Police forces.
Shelter are a useless
Some landlords should be in prison for harassment.
Some tenants should be in the cells with them.

Mandy Thomson

11:10 AM, 7th April 2016
About 3 years ago

I haven't watched it yet, but I'm somewhat puzzled by the above account of the "live in then live out then live in again(?)" landlord... If a resident landlord moves out COMPLETELY, the renters then have exclusive possession - that is, they cease to just be licensees, and they become tenants.

However, it's possible to remain a resident landlord provided the property remains your MAIN home AND you spend some of your time there, but I fail to see how this is possible if you're living abroad (unless "abroad" is the Irish Republic or just over the Channel and you come back often). I have heard of HMO landlords using the HMO as their main home, but maintaining their real home as a second home elsewhere, to keep control and enable them to quickly get rid of trouble makers, as licensees are obviously much easier to evict than tenants.

If the landlord in question did completely move out, he can't then re-assume his resident landlord status, and therefore can't legally re-enter the property without the tenants' permission.

As the owner of a lodger advice website, I have often come across this scenario (where a landlord moves out or just spends a lot of time away and lodger tries to assume possession of the property). It goes without saying that ANY landlord needs to thoroughly reference someone they will rent to, but if you're a resident landlord who spends time away from home, this is particularly important, as is being very clear with your lodger and others about when you will return.

Gary Dully

1:35 AM, 8th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "07/04/2016 - 11:10":

Hello Mandy,

Watch the programme and it will all make sense.

The guy couldn't make his mind up on what he was.
You needed the wisdom of Solomon to figure out both sides of the story.

Mandy Thomson

9:41 AM, 8th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "08/04/2016 - 01:35":

Hi Gary

I watched it, thanks.

The landlord believed himself to be a resident landlord, and Landlord Action obviously agreed, or they wouldn't have attended while he entered the property.

However, his renters were regularly referred to as "tenants". While this is a common and understandable mistake made by people outside housing and property, as the programme was being produced on behalf of Landlord Action, I expected the legal position to be accurately presented, and legal terms respected and explained, which are more than semantics in that context.

The programme also failed to explain that a resident landlord wouldn't ordinarily need to resort to having notice served by eviction specialists (that particular landlord had obviously done it because his lodger's were so aggressive). Where living accommodation (bathroom and kitchen) is shared with the landlord, a renter is a licensee and is only entitled to "reasonable" notice to quit, with no Court order required to enforce. In the case of that lot, the 28 days notice being given was far too generous IMHO.

I can imagine a lot of people who were thinking of renting out their spare rooms throwing their hands up in horror imagining they'll get the lodger from Hell and they'll take over their house!

Leaving aside the landlord's apparent stupidity in not only allowing the "renters" to remain, but actually granting them another...what? Tenancy? Again, is this just lazy research and script writing, or was the landlord actually moving out and granting them exclusive possession of the property as full tenants??! On further thought, I wonder if they'd blackmailed him?

The lodgers were claiming they withheld rent because the landlord failed to maintain the property. A resident landlord is not subject to the repairing obligations that a landlord under an AST is bound by. A lodger landlord is (like any occupier of a property or space) in regard to repairs, simply subject to the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 that says reasonable precautions must be taken to ensure premises of any kind are as safe for visitors as possible under the circumstances (although resident landlords do need to comply to some degree with the same health and safety legislation as "regular" landlords, such as gas safety certificates).

Even with the 5 lodgers, I don't believe the landlord was in violation of HMO regulations either, as the house seemed too small (under 3 storeys) to be subject to mandatory HMO licensing, and the London Borough of Enfield is not subject to additional HMO licensing, following Constantinos Regas' successful Court challenge against Enfield's proposed additional and selective licensing schemes. For the record, I've met Constantinos a few times and I know for a fact he would NOT approve of the bedsit depicted in the programme.

In the case of the lady and child threatened with illegal eviction, I was glad to see them re-housed, and Shelter did good by sourcing the property, but I couldn't help but wonder at Shelter making use of a landlord or letting agent when it suits them, without acknowledging the fact that most private landlords and agents are decent and giving credit where due...

While I agree that the programme is mostly for entertainment value, there are other programmes about landlord and tenant issues, I’m thinking of The Housing Enforcer in particular, that usually only tell the tenant’s side of the story, whereas at least Nightmare Tenants, Rogue Landlords shows both sides, which is much needed with increasing demonisation of landlords.


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