With the tantalising onset of summer, comes happier moods and none more so than in my “mature” house. They’re still recovering from Simon’s outburst last month after he turned the whole house into a gibbering wreck, became paranoid that they were all against him and, as I later found out, had hounded them all into submission with his constant bullying.
This is a house I go to at least weekly, if not twice weekly and the tenants have been with me 7 years – so how the hell hadn’t I seen the destruction that was being wrecked by one person? Because they were terrified of getting him into trouble with me. There had been constant weekend parties, late night weed smoking, music playing and what felt like hundreds of strangers running amok through the house.
The tenants are in their 40s and 50s and usually not afraid to speak their minds, but what has come out is the systematic abuse levied by 24 year old Simon telling them that he “had rights” and “could do what he wanted” whilst appearing completely angelic to me. He’d trashed the garden with BBQ parties and stolen all the kitchen equipment upon his eviction.
To help dissipate the atmosphere Simon left behind, the tenants asked if they could finally do up the garden. Remember, this is their HOME, not a temporary place to stay until a Council house comes available as they’ve given up on that idea. As benefit claimants, they don’t have much money and each pound not spent on necessities is a pound closer to saving for clothes or cider. So, yesterday afternoon, we took a trip to the local garden centre with a budget of £40 and I sat in the car whilst they spent a happy hour choosing plants and compost. To be honest, it was a bit like taking out a couple of aged relatives as they had a domestic half way round the bedding plant section after failing to agree on Salmon pink or white geraniums.
Back at the house, spent and happy here is the result:
We’ve since taken Chris, a 62 year old who enjoys listening to Radio 4, has a penchant for brown clothes, walks his ex-wife’s dog and, quite frankly, has “had enough of bleedin’ wimmin” – we love him!
Moral of this story:
(1) Don’t underestimate the damage one bad tenant can do in an HMO and,
(2) long term HMO tenants are happy to take responsibility for their environment – so give them some cash to make it home and let them choose the household items that make them feel they truly belong.