Steve Messes Up

Here we go again – another tenant decides that his accommodation isn’t that important and decided not to leave his rent for me.  Steve came to me as a friend of another tenant a year ago.  He’d had two failed marriages, various children and was desperate for accommodation and, to be fair to him, admitted upfront that he was a gambling addict.  We agreed that he’d ask Housing Benefit to pay his rent direct to me and he’d provide a guarantor as a back up.  The first hurdle was to actually get the Housing Benefit team to give the money direct to me, so when he couldn’t provide proof that he was an addict (note from Gambler’s Anonymous, that kind of thing), he told them to give him a fiver and he’d show them what he’d do with it.  That seemed enough evidence to the Housing Benefit agent and I received his Local Housing Allowance minus money he owed for a previous claim leaving a shortfall of £76 a month which I was concerned was too much for him to deal with.

First Offence

Steve had become increasingly difficult to talk to .  When he started his tenancy he was quietly spoken (I’m as deaf as an old post) but smiled and was charming.  One morning I opened the front door of the house to be blown away by the stench of marijuana.  I absolutely hate the smell as it gets into everything and affects my ability to concentrate!  I adopted my best Nancy Drew tactics (1970s teenage fictional detective), sniffed each door and realised it was coming from Steve’s room.  Answering the door, he opened it and just said “Yeah?”.  “Please meet me in the kitchen” I said – I never go into a tenant’s room and close the door especially if they’re male.  He was so stoned I thought he was going to pass out on the vinyl so I explained the zero tolerance drug rule to empty eyes and followed up with a Section 21 notice.


A couple of day’s later I got a call from Tom (one of my bigger tenants).  “Look, I only shoved ‘im a little bit, but he was calling me a grass and was bein’ rude about you”.

“OK, so no damage done?  He’s not going to like me because I’ve asked him to leave” I replied.

“Yeah, but he finks I grassed ‘im up to you, but I didn’t.  That smells been around for ages and we all ‘ate it, but I didn’t ‘urt ‘im, ‘onest”

“OK, but you shouldn’t have got involved as my girly brain managed to work out where the smell came from all by myself so you can tell him no one grassed him up” (For big boys they can be a bit wet sometimes)

Two weeks later I got a call from another tenant “Why haven’t you done something about that animal Tom?  He beat Steve and broke the sink and they looked like they were going to murder each each other!”  So, back I go – “Did anyone actually hit anyone?  If so, did anyone call the police?”  Silence so I let it go.

Moving Room

Six weeks later, Steve had gone back to being his charming self and there’d been no drug odours so we had a chat and he asked to stay.  My lovely, big front room became available and he begged to be able to move in.  I knew that the back room he was in was darker and, being home all day, probably quite depressing also he seemed to want to make a go of his tenancy.  However, it was substantially more expensive and it meant he’d have to pay £112 a month top up but he assured me it was fine as he’d be working at the car boot fairs.

Second Offence

His top ups have been sporadic to say the least – never there on time, bit of cash here – bit there.  He asked me if he could pay me the following week as he was going clubbing in London and needed the money but absolutely promised it would be there the following week.  It was his friends who last week caused me to be called out at 12.30am so, with no rent there AGAIN this week and £112 plus £57 carried over from last month still owing in rent top ups, I’ve got no choice but to ask him to leave again.  I also heard he’d been saving hard to go clubbing in Spain……..

Helping Others

We’re taught as children by grown ups and the Bible that we should help our fellow man wherever possible, but it’s people like Steve that feed the cynic in me and make me vow never to help anyone again.  I’m not quite ready to offer him the other cheek to slap though.

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes  you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Luke 6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back


Filed under Rent, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Steve Messes Up

  1. I dont know anything about Christianty but I doubt if Jesus was ever a landlord, and I doubt he was naive either.

    It is lovely that you go that extra bit for your people, Its one of your lovely qualities and I dont think when someone craps on your generosity that it is any reason to harden up or beat yourself up for being taken in. Just look on it as a lesson learnt. You can be compassionate and world wise at the same time.

    In all honesty if I was renting to a self confessed gambling addict I would not allow a single inch in terms of missed payments, that protects you and him, and I would make that known from the start.

  2. And apologies for my accompanying picture. Somehow my Gravatar picture has become mixed up with my business partner’s. I am not a blond scouse woman but a shaven headed luverble cockernee geezer.

    I think your experiences show that no matter how much you might like your tenants ALWAYS keep everything strictly business.

    People will always be tempted to wipe their feet on anything with welcome written on it….Ben 6.30:

    • As usual, Ben, you are absolutely right. I am sad to say that my helping people days are now firmly over. I’ve tried contacting him for the last few days and have had no response so will pursue the Section 21 route as he clearly doesn’t want to live there any more. I also found out a funny story today: a couple of weeks ago he felt that the tenant above him’s TV was too loud so he got to the RCD and switched all the electricity off!! I might try that with my kids when I want them to get off the Wii and go to bed…………..

  3. NO, No you dont have stop the helping ya dafty, just do it with your eyes open in future. From what you tell us of Steve he handed all the information you needed about him on a plate from day 1. There was no need for him to take the piss when you were giving it away for free haha.

    Elephants are fantastic creatures, worthy of our affection but they need to be handled with a bit of caution, and you cant be surprised when they take a massive dump on your lawn

  4. Such a philosopher, Ben and so many metaphors! I shall now watch out for the next elephant to come knocking at my door in case he takes a dump or just a piss!

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