Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Nightmare

To continue the tenant saga - our next one was a very confused young man who was an erratic diabetic.

I’d never heard of that, but in practice this meant that when the rent was due at the end of each month, he would drink a bottle of sherry, call an ambulance and be taken into hospital for several days while they stabilised his insulin levels.

During this time a) the rent wasn’t paid and b) I had no way of knowing whether he was dead or alive – under housing law I couldn’t just go in and see if he was OK.

He went on benefits so the rent started coming through in dribs and drabs which was better than nothing, but we started to wonder what – or rather who – we’d got involved with.

He had an unfortunate manner which did nothing to endear himself. On one occasion he told me to “get your hubby to come up with his screwdriver, will you?”

I very nearly told him exactly what to do with his screwdriver but managed to refrain. I was running a business, after all.

Over the next six months, his girlfriend came and went (she spent most of the time in Surrey and went back there full time) and we heard all sorts of allegations about him from his ex-landlady/friend that he’d got the money for his deposit from her mother – who was frail and on a state pension. Whichever way you looked at it, it wasn’t good.

The stories got worse and worse, from various people in Falmouth, and in the end we had to get a court order to get him out. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds, particularly as it happened over Christmas when of course the courts are shut. In essence he was given three months to get out, so we had to put up with him for longer than we would have liked while the council rehomed him.

The last run in with this fellow was when the council Man and Van couldn’t move his stuff on the day he wanted. He came storming down to tell me saying, “You just can’t rely on people.”

I stared at him, open mouthed, astonished that he could be so dense, so unfeeling, so uncaring. But I kept my mouth shut. I was learning the fine art of being a landlady.

We’d also been warned by the housing department not to say anything to antagonise him. It would only be seen as harassment against him: housing law is on the tenant’s side.

Finally he left and we nearly wept with joy and relief. I was able to ring the fellow who’d been wanting to move in for the previous four months – and who’d hung on for all that time – and he and his son came straight round and picked up the key.

He’s the most amazing tenant and he and Himself go to jazz together on Sundays. And it’s his son who came to stay on Saturday night.

On the other hand, I saw the former tenant around town not long ago. He was standing in Boots with his arm around a girl in her twenties, at a guess, who was pushing a buggy. I’d like to think that fatherhood would be the making of him – but who knows?


Lane said...

What a hassle!

Glad you've got a dream tenant now!

Flowerpot said...

hassle wasn't the word lane - more of a nervous breakdown! But as you say all is well now.

Rebecca Taunton said...

Crikey. That sounds really bad. I'm glad you've got good tenants now! what a struggle that must have been.


p.s. sorry for my absence...been rather busy. I'll have to catch up!!

Flowerpot said...

RT - bad wasn't the description, but we're very lucky now. Glad to see you back!

Miss Understood said...

Perhaps you should have let it out as a B& could have kicked him out after a night!

I'm glad you have nice tenants now. It must be a nightmare having to deal with unsavoury people in your property.

laurie said...

it's really tough evicting tenants here, too. our next door neighbor owns a duplex in another part of town, and she finds being a landlady to be extremely dfificult.

you can only screen people so much (by law), and once they're in it's hard to get them out again.

Flowerpot said...

MissU - that's a thought, though I couldn't stand the thought of doing B&B!

Flowerpot said...

laurie - it's a real gamble but as I said, the law doesn't protect the landlord. Mind you, that's often quite a good thing but not when it's you!

Philipa said...

fatherhood with a loser like him? Scary thought indeed!

Flowerpot said...

Philipa - that's exactly what I thought.

Akelamalu said...

I bet you felt like giving up! Glad to hear your present tenent is a good one. :)

Sweet Irene said...

I know for sure that I would never want to be a landlady, although I realize that real estate is a good investment. It must be so hard to judge how weird someone will get once they are in your property. I imagine many hours and days of insecurity and worries, although it sounds like you have the right tenants now. Is there any way to check up on people before you let them rent from you?

Flowerpot said...

Ak - we did feel like giving up, but it was a bit late then!

Flowerpot said...

sweet irene - yes we get references - bank and personal - but that doesnt seem to make much difference. Instinct is quite a good one though.