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Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing

15th October 2016

Let me tell you a story about a landlord that didn’t trust his gut instincts.  His buy to let property had been empty for one month, this is because it was the run up to the Christmas period, which is typically a quiet time, and therefore there had not been any interest in the apartment.  Understandably, the landlord was getting quite concerned.  In time, he was approached by a family that was desperate for accommodation.  There was something disconcerting about this family, so I advised him that it might be better to have the property empty than just any old person in there, and that he should trust his gut. However, he decided to let them move in, as he was anxious to have tenants in his empty property.

Once they had moved in, they proceeded to redecorate the property, painting the walls black and all the radiators dark purple.  Numerous complaints were received from neighbours about their behaviour and loud music at night.  There were several incidents when the police were called out to the property, and it was suspected that they were taking drugs.

They had paid one month’s rent in advance, but had then failed to pay any further rent.  The landlord had to issue proceedings for possession, in order to evict them.  This took four months, by which time the rent arrears had risen to several thousands of pounds.

The night before the bailiffs were due to come to evict them, they had a huge party, during which several windows were broken, and other damage was done.  It was left completely filthy, with rubbish in all of the rooms.  Much of the furniture had been either broken or removed from the property.

The landlord was left with a property which needed several thousand pounds of work (including re-decoration throughout and replacement of almost all the furniture) to make it fit for re-letting; a bill from his solicitors for the eviction proceedings; and no chance of recovering anything from the tenants, who had disappeared without a trace.

Moral of the story?

Never let anybody move into your property without full references, and be very, very careful who you rent to.  Once in, it is not so easy to get them out.  This type of nightmare story only happens rarely – but this does not mean it cannot happen to you!  Use our service to find a tenant and manage your property, in order to reduce any risks.

Richard Bond

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