Caroline, The Wicked Witch of my HMO

Last year Caroline, a lady of mature years, joined the HMO having appeared out of nowhere – been living abroad, no visible means of income and no next of kin or family. I thought she’d be a good influence in my house of testosterone fuelled “boys” and might calm them down a bit (or at least show them the importance of putting the loo seat down).

Almost as soon as she moved in her interrogation of each tenant and interfering opinions raised the boys’ hackles and they took to phoning me surrepticiously from outside the house to complain about her.  The main accusation being that she was a “plant” from the Social as she wanted to know what each of them did for a living and, god forbid, their surnames and ages!  I assured them that, having watched a recent programme about benefit fraud, that the Social were more likely to be sitting in unmarked cars outside the house decked in sunglasses, cheap jackets and holding a camera.  I was pretty sure that the Council budget didn’t stretch to actually putting their staff into shared housing (although not a bad idea?).  Did the boys have something to hide that I needed to know about?  After that they went quiet.

Suffice to say that, although she stayed for a year, she spent just about every rent collection appointment complaining about the other tenants’ activities from stomping around at 5am to rampant all night sex sessions.  I pointed out that, as she chose to live in a house of 20-40 year old single blokes -what did she expect?  We got on fine until the day she accused the others of being “cockbuddies” and ganging up against her.  I’m not sure what that term means but it points towards a certain comaraderie which is only on display  when one of them is being threatened by an outsider.

When she left in the summer this year she sent Tom a letter pointing out his shortcomings, accusing him of being a psychotic alcoholic and suggesting that he needed professional help.  He agreed with most of the points she made, we had a chuckle over the fact she was clearly mad and I would’ve left it until she wrote “and you’re taking advantage of a simple woman [me]”.

All was forgotten until we cleaned out Steve’s room over Christmas and found the following letters:

“Hi Steve

I don’t know what you said to Serena on Wednesday but thanks a million.  I have to say that Tom’s behaviour last Friday was pretty mild compared to some of the stuff I’ve had to listen to from him.  What really winds me up, though, is that he always accuses me of tweeting or texting Hmolandlady [not my real name!] which is something I never do – I try to avoid her.  He’s the one who is constantly contacting her to complain about other people in the household (usually me) and the silly woman believes him.

Cheers, Caroline”

There was another far more long winded letter following the incident of Tom attacking Steve and it finished:

“She said no one had told her that you were smoking pot, she’d walked in that morning and smelled it for herself.

She complained about the way you’d behaved the morning that she gave you notice.  I said it was because she’d woken you from a deep sleep.  She said that she’d be quite happy for you to stay in the house if you only phone her, said you wouldn’t do it again, etc.  She’s still paranoid about people who do pot but she’s even more paranoid about people smoking in the house and I suppose she’s got a point there.

So….there you are.  Please don’t leave this lying around where a certain person can find it”


I’d given her the benefit of the doubt, put the clashes down to age difference and told the lads to stop being neurotic.  I now realise she was pure poison to that house and upset more people than any unhinged drug dealer has ever managed to do.  Think I might just send the letter on to show her that I DID find it!


Filed under Tenant Stories

4 responses to “Caroline, The Wicked Witch of my HMO

  1. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Personality clashes, the bane of HMOs. All it takes in 1 new tenant to upset the balance and I have myself shared with many Caroline’s, both male and female.

    In a shared house I once lived in a German called Helmut moved in and started sticking noties up in the toilet saying “Look how clean ze toilet is now. Make sure it stays that way”. So I stuck up a sign in the toilet by my room saying “Dont shit on the floor” and a couple of days later he was talking to Annie, another housemate and said in shock “iz zat right vot I heard? someone shat on ze floor?”, Annie replied not that was just a joke from Ben and he said “A Joke????? Vell I dont understand ze context”. Hows that for a German?

    • It’s a bit like refereeing an argument between children: it’s a vitally important issue to them but, by the time you’ve got involved and found an amicable solution, the tiff has blown over and you’re left seething at having to sort out grown adults. United Nations level of negotiation is a vital prerequisite of an HMO Landlord!

  2. Am terribly disappointed not to find a comment from Caroline. Imagine what fun she’d have in the murky world of online forums where anonymity can be guaranteed.
    So, about this paranoia from which you are suffering…

    • And that’s why I don’t’ blog under my real name! You can almost hear the gasps of indignation of tenants past, present and future if they were to Google their landlady’s name.

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