Winter of Discontent?

As the relentless rain continues to pour on a daily basis, I’m suddenly finding that the small stain in a room can no longer be treated with Muffycid and is starting to become a threatening, full-on damp patch.  It’s not just happening in my home (where I’ve successfully managed to ignore the growing discolourations) but I’ve been called out to three houses all showing similar symptoms.

It turns out, according to the builder, that most of the Eastbourne town centre housing stock was built between 1880 and 1910.  Bearing in mind a roof has a lifespan of about 50 years this means that all the roofs in the town are starting to fail for the second time since they were built.  And it’s not just roofs – the mortar between the bricks has around a 100 year lifespan.  At first I thought he was joking to get away from the boring explanation of roof felt, but as I look around the town it’s certainly gold rush time for roofers and scaffolders.

And here’s the problem of having all your eggs in one basket – I have four roofs which need doing including my own.  Not just a bit of bitumen and a patch but completely stripping back, refelting and retiling – hopefully I’ll live long enough over the next 50 years for the pay back.

Damp patches seem the least of the tenants’ moans at the moment.  Wesley has rented a room above Polish Michael for years in a previous HMO with no problems.  I moved them to the new development which was completed earlier this year, with the added bonus of floor insulation between the boards and extra thick underlay.  Since March a full on Cold War has been developing between the two over Wesley’s snoring.  Why this wasn’t an issue in the old house which had paper thin carpet, I have no idea but according to Wesley, Michael is smashing on his room door at 3am and according to Michael, it’s an “either he goes or I go” situation.  Trouble is, I’m a snorer so can sympathise with Wesley and the most helpful suggestion I can make is for Michael to invest in some ear plugs or a one bedroom flat where he can store his cases of wine, embezzled from the hotel where he works.

Additional Tenancy Clause:

I’ve been prompted to insert an additional ban of smoking/recreational drug use (within the property) clause into the tenancy agreement.  I’m not sure if it will stand up in court but at least the tenant can’t say “You what? You never said”.   Ash is a civil servant, drives a nice car and can afford a large room.  He’s been increasingly griping about a housemate: a young girl from Italy who still can’t speak much English but has finally understood my “STOP BL**DY SMOKING IN YOUR ROOM!” rants after months of successfully ignoring me.  Anyway, my partner received this text on Sunday night,  it looks like matters are coming to a head:

Ash photo 1

















Ash photo 2








So there you have it, proof that weed does make you paranoid.  Case dismissed.


Filed under being a landlord, Management of an HMO

6 responses to “Winter of Discontent?

  1. Jane Macswayne

    You know you should do a book of your blogs they really are funny

  2. Pingback: Leaking Roofs and A Drunken Call Out | A Practical Guide to Managing a House of Multiple Occupation

  3. Ian Narbeth

    Under the Health Act 2006 it is now a criminal offence for tenants to smoke in the communal areas of an HMO. They can smoke in their rooms (unless the tenancy prohibits it).

    A prohibition in the tenancy on smoking should stand up in court though you might not be able to evict the tenant for a single crafty fag. Persistent offending (especially if you have complained numerous times in writing) may be sufficient. If he is doing drugs the court may be more helpful.

    • Hello Ian

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, dragging a tenant into court tends to be time consuming and financially unrewarding. Whilst you are absolutely correct in the terms of the law, the outcome of this type of behaviour usually depends on the relationship between the tenant and landlord and the ability to come to a mutual understanding!

  4. Very funny your post, brought back memories! I am now in palm mar tenerife , but I remember the many problems of moisture. You really cannot imagine how right you are, notonly in the center Eastbourne but in many old areas of London they have many moisture problems too, hope you get a fix!

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