Most landlords have rules that they expect their tenants to adhere to, especially if you are a live-in landlord who doesn’t want their daily life disrupted by an inconsiderate new roommate. However in an article published by the Daily Mail yesterday a woman revealed a list of thirty one rules that the landlord had given her – and she hadn’t even agreed to move in!
The live-in landlord provided the list to the young woman when she came to view the property, and she was surprised at how extreme some of the rules were. For instance, one rule said “No visitors can stay over (Unless discussed with me 2 weeks in advance and I will decide) if I catch anyone sneaking in deposit will be lost and you will need to vacate premises immediately.” Other rules included fines for leaving dishes unwashed in the sink, and that if the landlord decides the tenant is abusing heating or electricity he can charge them “as I feel.”
After receiving the bizarre list, Laura Evelyn posted a picture of it on the social media website Twitter, which then went viral with over one thousand retweets and four thousand comments on Reddit. She said to the Daily Mail that the landlord “Seemed intelligent and friendly. He only gave me the list as I was leaving. It made for amusing Tube reading.”
Many users of the Reddit website have commented on the story and said that they have had similar experiences, with one even saying that “I once had a roommate that had all these rules and more (i.e.: no dirty dishes in the dishwasher; that appliance is only to be used as a built-in drying rack for hand-washed dishes) but she failed to communicate them to me in advance. Rather she left a trail of post-it notes around the house.”
Whilst live-in landlords may have certain rules they expect tenants to adhere to, giving them a list usually strains relations before they even move in. It is probably wiser to have your stipulations entered into your tenancy agreement so if there are any disputes you can contact your landlord insurance provider and get them to advise you on legal proceedings.
A residential landlord in a Somerset town has set up his own landlord referencing network scheme after suffering a horrendous attack by one of his tenants.
Paul Routledge, who has operated his landlord business in the town of Weston-super-Mare for many years, has recently launched LandlordReferencing.co.uk. The company is targeted at landlords and letting agents and will give them a comprehensive overview of prospective tenants including information on any previous rental arrears they may have incurred or if they have caused damage at a previous tenancy. The tenant referencing idea came to Paul after he suffered at the hands of a previous tenant.
Paul related his traumatic encounter to cable TV explaining: “I had a call that there was a problem at one of my flats. When I turned up the front door was open, so I walked in calling ‘is anybody there?’ I got to the front room and found two guys sat down and another, my tenant, stood by the sink. It was obvious a drug deal was going on so I told them to get out, at which point my tenant jumped over and started stabbing me in the head. A fight ensued and he ended up leaving me for dead on the staircase.”
After recovering from the attack Paul realised there was very little protection in place for landlords who suffered from violent and destructive tenants and decided to go ahead with the tenant referencing network scheme. There is no doubt that stopping a nightmare tenant before he his ensconced in one of your properties is very much preferable to having to take action about getting one removed. Landlord insurance will certainly help protect your property and combined with signing up to a network that forewarns about possible troublesome tenants, both will give landlords that extra peace of mind they all look for.
Newly released figures show that the Borough of Rochdale has thousands of homes standing empty while the same number of families are waiting to be housed. According to the charity Empty Homes, there are 3,688 houses in the borough vacant, with 3,591 families currently on a very slow moving waiting list.
Of the empty homes, 150 are owned by the Rochdale council, 135 by local housing associations and 3,403 by private owners. Half have been empty for more than eight months. The issue of property owners leaving them empty has always been of concern to the council and they are looking at ways to help bring these properties back into use. They are in the process of trying to track and persuade owners of empty properties to take out landlord insurance and make the home a viable business. The property owners would then be given a tenant whom the council will vouch for and who is in need of a home. The housing situation throughout the United Kingdom is at crisis point, so there has never been a better opportunity to use empty properties to meet housing needs. Rochdale needs homes quickly, and the council believe the best place to start is with those that already exist. Re-using empty properties can also have environmental benefits. Recent research found that the renovation of an empty house creates about one third of the CO2 emissions that building a new house creates.
A spokesman for Rochdale Council said: “All applications to the housing waiting list are regularly monitored to ensure that changes in people’s circumstances are appropriately responded to and reflected in their position on the waiting list. Over 90% of the empty properties within the borough at any given time are privately owned and therefore not in the direct control of the council or any of the other social landlords working within the borough. Given that the majority of the empty properties are not available to be offered to people on the waiting list the figures can be somewhat misleading.”
An Ayrshire landlord has been left with an unwanted bill after her tenant stole the cooker, boiler, fridge-freezer and washing machine when they were evicted. The tenant also smashed up the microwave and ripped out a log effect fire.
The man never even paid a penny in rent to Loretta Wight, despite living in her Ayr flat for four months. He showed her the letter from the housing benefit office confirming they had his claim but when a cheque was sent to the tenant he did not pass it on to Loretta. When the landlord got suspicious she approached the housing benefits department, who informed her that they had started payments but could not transfer the rent to her without the written consent of the tenant. The entire ordeal has left Mrs Wight more than £4000 out of pocket and it’s unknown if she’ll ever see a penny of it back. Property investors with a landlord insurance quote are usually shielded from such situations and most landlords take out an appropriate policy.
Loretta Wight said: “That flat was my holiday home and I was forced to rent it out when I had to leave my job for health reasons. I relied on the rent to feed myself and pay bills and other than a deposit at the start I never received any money at all. The deposit is nowhere near enough to cover what I lost. On top of taking all the electrical equipment the condition of the flat was a disgrace. Dirty marks on the wall, carpets wasted with cigarette burns and dirt, two sofas from a three piece suite had to be flung out because they were ruined. We had to repaint and replace the curtains and blinds because they were damaged.”
Loretta contacted her tenant over one-hundred times by phone, letter and visits to try and find a resolution. But she was left with no other option when three months passed without any sign of the rent being paid. Loretta blames the system for making it easy for dodgy tenants to scam a landlord. Police are investigating the theft and damage and they are trying to track down Loretta’s old tenant who they suspect may be doing the same to another landlord.
A Scottish landlord narrowly escaped a jail sentence this week after he removed the doors and windows of a pregnant teenager’s home.
Mr Simpson of Fife owned the property that was rented out to Michaela Landless but when she started struggling to pay the rent he decided he wanted to get her out of the home and took matters into his own hands. He instructed his three sons to remove the front doors and windows of the property while Miss Landless was inside. She had no prior warning to the action and became hysterical when the men started hammering on the door and windows of the flat. At the time she was eight months pregnant.
Sentencing Simpson to 150 hours community service Sheriff McNair said: “The law was put in place to protect tenants good and bad from landlords who took steps without following court procedure to evict them. Perhaps the most famous landlord of this sort was [Peter] Rachman.
“I don’t suggest your actions were anything on this scale. But Miss Landless was in an advanced stage of pregnancy when you and your sons behaved in the manner that you did. It must have been a very frightening experience for her. The court must make it abundantly clear that unlawful eviction will not be tolerated.”
Mr Simpson believed that as a landlord he should have had the right to evict Miss Landless but said he “was not very good at paperwork”. Of course many buy to let insurance policies would have enabled him go through the legal process easily. On a happier footnote to the drama Miss Landless gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few weeks later.
In a case that will disturb all decent landlords with an interest in landlord insurance, a Warwickshire landlord has been given a massive £30,000 fine and a six month suspended jail sentence after one of the properties he rented out was described as looking more like a cave than a home.
Landlord Steven Boote was prosecuted after an inspector went to the property and found it was overrun with damp, mould and moss. The inspector put in his report that the property was the worst house he had seen in ten years of doing his job. The tenant lived with carpets that had become encrusted with mould an inch deep and the walls were all plastered with moss. The property has had no gas or hot water for many years and thirty buckets were positioned to catch all of the water dripping from the leaks in the roof.
Mr Boote was given a £30,000 fine including court costs and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work after the court was shown pictures of the horrific state of his property. He was also charged with two counts of failing to carry out gas safety checks and failing to comply with an improvement notice which was issued to him.
Tenant David Whorlow, who has lived in the property since he was born, said “Living there was an absolute nightmare. I couldn’t have friends and family round and I was finding it really stressful. If I had walked out or moved then Boote would have got off scot-free from doing any repairs.”
Mr Boote who has over 40 properties bought the house four years ago but he neglected to carry out any repairs or important maintenance. Coventry Council made a surprise visit to the property in November 09 and found a number of health and safety violations which also included electrical hazards and inadequate cooking facilities. The costs issued are very high because they reflect the seriousness of the offences and also the disregard shown by the landlord to both the law and his tenant.