Too many events have taken place over the last few weeks to concentrate on just one for this post, so I’ll give you the headliners on what’s been happening in HMO Land.
It started with Adam going AWOL (Absent Without Leave) on me so I ended having to contact his mum to check on his safety. His Facebook updates told me he was still alive and having fun but, for some reason, he neglected to read my notes, texts and listen to my calls. Mum obviously got hold of him and he was gracious enough to do a midnight flit leaving his keys on the bed along with a couple of odd smelly socks and discarded packaging of a new phone and number – the lengths some tenants go to in order to avoid me!
Abandoned In The Cold
Then Gareth called in tears – he’d been woken that morning to give his girlfriend a lift into town from her house. Dressed only in his boxers and T shirt, he grabbed his keys and she ordered him to drive to his houseshare and threw him out of the car with the parting words “You’re dumped!”. Shivering on a snowy pavement, his bottom lip quivering with the effects of such unforeseen rejection, he called to ask me to collect his belongings from her house. Not sure it’s in the Landlord’s Guide Book, but I sympathised, laughed and went to get them. Mainly because his bank cards were in his bags and at least I had an outside charge of being paid his rent arrears.
Gareth then wanted to share his glee in getting a job interview but didn’t possess anything smart enough. My partner kindly lent him a pair of trousers and I gave him a food package all in the hope that he can start earning some money. In the meantime, he’s been adopted by a stray cat who is refusing to leave.
Finally, we’ve got some girls! Nice, working and pretty – the boys have been instructed to be on best behaviour and not to attempt any kind of drunken shenanigans. Gareth called shortly after “Man, you’re killing me! I’m heartbroken, desperate for a cuddle and you’ve put these two girls in the house with instructions that I’m not allowed near them. That’s just unfair.” No, I think it’s a fair risk assessment.
Refuge for the Abused?
I’ve had a small single room vacant for a while as the house is a sensitive one and extremely quiet so only the most well behaved person would do. Along comes Mark, a gas heating engineer (handy!). When I asked why he had a huge gash across his forehead he said his girlfriend had hit him a couple of days ago. “Blimey, she must have thrown you a good punch” I said. “Oh no”, he replied “She picked up a bit of wood and whacked me with it”. “Oh, what did you do to deserve that?” “I don’t know, which is why I want to move before she does something else.” Perhaps he needs to read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”.
And, lastly, my wild card. I met Stan this afternoon who was upfront about his needing to claim LHA and his Nan had kindly offered the deposit and rent in advance (it’s great when someone loves them enough to help out). He’s been sofa surfing and staying at the Downs “The Downs? I’ve never heard of that organisation.” I said. “No” he replied “The D-O-W-N-S. Those hills with grass on them.” “Oh, the South Downs! Bet that’s cold.”
So, off he’s gone to fill out the Tenant Information Form, get the proof from BHT (Brighton Housing Trust) that he’s been homeless so it can accompany his claim form and I’ll receive direct payment of his LHA (without having to beg for it)
A policeman has been referred to me who wants a room but hasn’t returned my calls.
When I asked Tom what he thought of Stan he said “Hey, I ain’t judging no one.” So when I asked if he’d prefer to have a copper in the house he laughed “Well, I ain’t got nothing to hide but I bet the others wouldn’t be happy.” Hmmm, a new method of voluntary eviction perhaps?!!
Interview for Property Tribes at The Landlord Law Conference
Last Friday Tessa held a Landlord Law Conference, part of Easy Law Training. It was an informative and hands on day for landlords and agents. She has kindly invited me to talk at an HMO course which she’s putting together on 23rd May 2013. In the meantime, if you want to hear more about running HMOs here’s a short interview by Vanessa Warwick of Property Tribes.