A landlord in Blackpool, Lancashire is still trying to come to terms with the damage caused by tenants who vacated one of his properties earlier this month.
Karim Haji is a well-known landlord in the Fylde area and owns a number of properties in the region. He has never though, encountered the scenes he discovered at a property recently vacated by tenants in Caunce Street, Blackpool. The tenants had left a trail of destruction in the three bedroomed home that Mr Haji estimates will take £12,000 to put right. The property had been renovated just 12 months earlier but the damage caused to the property, some of which was caused by the tenant’s pets, has rendered the place uninhabitable.
Carpets had been ripped from the floor and had been heavily soiled by the animals, paper ripped off the walls and soft furnishings completely destroyed. They left dirty clothing and unwashed pots and pans strewn around the home and Mr Haji said there was clear evidence that drug use had taken place on the properties. Mr Haji, who has already reported the matter to the police was still fuming as he spoke to the press, saying “These people are worse than animals, their dogs had soiled the place and they were living among it. I was absolutely sickened when I opened the door; the smell was bad enough to knock me back before I even saw the state of it. I want tax payers in Blackpool to see how their money is being used because these were DSS tenants. I am going to be left seriously out of pocket, the dogs have damaged the walls, chewed the units and ruined furniture. They have absolutely no respect for anybody else’s property, It will cost me around £12,000 to put right again.”
Unfortunately Mr Haji may have to fund a lot of the repairs himself as the landlord insurance policy he owned did not cover him for damage caused by animals and pets, and he urged fellow landlords to check not only the tenants that they let a property out to, but the property insurance they take out on the property.
A controversial system to rate tenants and help landlords select the correct type of clientèle for their properties has been launched in Croydon.
The scheme devised by local landlord Steve Hanbury will invite other local landlords to rate their tenants on a number system which will enable local buy-to-let investors to inspect the tenant history of prospective customers. The scheme will rate good tenants on a 1 to 5 basis with those not considered quite so good rated between 6 and 8. Landlords rating tenants between 6 and 8 must provide evidence as to why they rate them so badly. The ratings will be put on the website for those registered to see and tenants will be able to contest their rating if they feel it is unfair. Tenants will only be rated when they leave a property.
Mr Hanbury explained: “We have got a portfolio of some 50 properties, mainly in the Thornton Heath area. We have had good tenants but also not-so-good tenants, which means we have lost huge amounts of money in the past. There are websites which set out to identify bad tenants – we are not one of those. We believe that tenants with a good rating under our scheme will be able to impress future landlords, which will make it easier for them to find a new tenancy when they need it.”
Tenant arrears are becoming more of a problem for many landlords as the financial downturn continues, and although a good landlord insurance policy can protect property investors to a certain extent it remains a worry for many. Local landlord John Cooke said: “I have not signed up to this website yet but can see its potential. The last thing any landlord wants is a bad tenant and spending a few pounds to avoid that is definitely worthwhile.”
A private landlord who had his property trashed by tenants has claimed he is being forced into repossession because his house has become a magnet for vandals. Frank Hesketh, has been trying to sell his two-bedroomed house in Preston, since it was first wrecked in 2009.
Mr Hesketh rented his property to a young family who after a dispute over the £500 per month rent left a scene of devastation including dog excrement in the oven, obscene comments on the walls and every floorboard removed or broken. Since the initial damage, there have also been several break-ins where more damage has been done each time. The landlord can not afford to spend the £9,000 needed to make the house liveable again and so may have to make the sad choice of voluntarily surrendering it to the mortgage company and making himself bankrupt. His biggest regret is not having an adequate landlord insurance policy and his insurance company paid out only a very small amount.
He bought the house four years ago for £90,000 and rented out the modern house with attractive flooring and a beautiful open fireplace. The first damage occurred two days after he told the tenants they could be evicted due to unpaid rent. They had been recommended to him and the references they provided turned out to be fake. To add to his problems, fly-tippers have been dumping rubbish in his garden.
Mr Hesketh said: “I will be making one last-ditch attempt to save my property. I’m going to fill in a voluntary re-possession form but ask them to look at re-mortgaging the property. My last throw of the dice is to see the mortgage company again and ask if they’ll lend me the money to get the property done up. The trouble is they’ve refused me once before.”