Tag Archives: antisocial behaviour

Christmas of Domestic Disturbances

Happy New Year and welcome to a first globally bumpy week of 2015!  The events around the world over Christmas and the last few days have certainly put any trivial issues I have into perspective.

Christmas Disturbance

At 11.30pm on Christmas Eve, whilst digesting the contents of Swedish Christmas Eve dinner and discussing the origins of Elk meatballs, the phone rang to say one of the tenants was locked out.  It was minus 10 degrees where I was so I felt sorry for them, phoned a friend who was holding the keys, organised re-entry only to discover in the meantime the tenant had rung the doorbell and, lo and behold, someone bothered to let her in.  Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be too reactive.

A few days later, I was enjoying a bit of TV catch-up Downton Abbey by the fire when a tenant called at 10pm which I ignored and they could leave a message if it was urgent.  His persistent ringing punctuated my daydream of owning a team of domestic workers (Downton had THREE nannies, for goodness sake!) and I threw a coat over my pyjamas to head down to the house.  One very cold night, two police cars, four bored policeman, a tenant clutching an arm, another sobbing in her room and a howling, ranting Portuguese called Amaro banging around in the back of one of the police cars.

Amaro’s girlfriend, Kalina, was 30 minutes late home from work and he was waiting for her.  Continue reading

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Eviction – From an HMO Point of View

Last week we had to evict Gareth.  I say “Had” because, despite trying to reason with him and help him find a way through his problems he had gone from a decent, working man in October last year to a cannabis smoking, paranoid boy who couldn’t even complete benefit claim forms in March this year.

His use of emotional blackmail was textbook which even my six year old son could have learnt a few tricks from him!  At 39 years old he reacted to the conflict over his rent arrears by crying, intimidating me and the other female tenants and threatening the male ones.  Things became so bad that I couldn’t enter the house for ten days and one of the girls had to temporarily move out.  This is the effect of anti-social behaviour in HMOs where the statutory legalities are the same as if the tenant were in a self contained unit, but the distress is unbearable to those living behind the same front door.

With every eviction I learn something new – about human nature and myself.

Human Nature

You can’t always change the way people think and behave.  As an outsider you can see the other person’s faults but that’s just your opinion, which is why it’s important to focus on the facts of the case. Some evictees understand how they come to this point in their tenancy and choose to continue to lead their lives in the only way they know how at the expense of their accommodation and the goodwill of those around them.

On the plus side, some DO see the light.  Greg, who was hovering on my Top Ten Worst Tenants list, for being anti-social and unreliable, is currently joining Tom on my Top Ten Best Tenant list.  After two spells in prison last year, his rent top up is bang on time and he answers my calls without hesitation.  Tom, despite being a binge alcoholic, has a strong ethos of honour and is as loyal to me and his housemates as a slightly erratic Rottweiler with the added bonus of weeding the front patio when it needs doing and putting the bins out.

About Myself

Yes, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is the Christian thing to do but the bit I wrestle with is setting limits.  I realise I can’t change anyone’s behaviour or how far they believe it’s OK to push me and take advantage, but I can know when to put the brakes on.  Each time I have to face facts and realise I’m being taken advantage of, a little bit of my belief in good presiding over evil dies.  Then I remember the tenants that have made it and have moved on with their lives.  I’ve also learnt to try to absolve myself but still ask: could I have done this better, reference checked more thoroughly, handled the situation differently or been harder on them earlier?

Whatever the answer, some landlords will tell you it’s difficult not to become emotionally involved with a few tenants.  I’m not talking about the ones who pay on time and you never see, but the ones you have known for many years and have shared their ups and downs over coffee and witnessed their  idiosyncrasies.  As an HMO landlord, once you enter the front door into the communal area, you have taken one step further into tenants’ lives than you otherwise would have done as a single let landlord.

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Proof: Weed Makes You Paranoid!

This is a tale of two boys, actually, they’re in their late 30s so should be called men, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.

They both took a room each in an HMO late last year – Gareth came down to be near his girlfriend, but she sensibly didn’t want him living with her, and Kurt upgraded from a caravan on a farm.  Both fitted my profile of nice blokes, good personal references, financially unconfirmed but eligible for LHA.

All started well: they found common ground in their weed smoking, had both received a bollocking off me and the threat of a police visit if I ever smelt the stuff again.  Their mutual regard for me as a bitch left them scratching their heads at my sniffer dog talents even though they  couldn’t “smell nufink”.

Kurt did well in getting his claim for LHA sorted and paying his top up on time so I haven’t seen much of him, but his complexion is evidence that he divides his time between being shut away with his computer and bunking at friends whilst becoming paler, thinner and struggling to hold a conversation.

After Gareth lost his job and his girlfriend, he spent most of his time crying but finally got round to claiming JSA and LHA.  Last Friday I accompanied him to the Housing Benefit offices to go through his paperwork as he couldn’t work out if he’d been paid, how much or what all the letters he was clutching meant.   As it’s Easter holidays, I left the kids at home in front of the TV with a pack of biscuits (tenant problem solving is no longer a novelty to them unless it involves the police) and promised to be back within half an hour.

Gareth and I registered then sat down to fill out his DHP form (Discretionary Housing Payment – good time to do this as it’s the beginning of the financial year) and I completed the Safeguard Form (to have payments made direct to me as he was 8 weeks in arrears).  He made such a fuss about the paperwork, chewed my pen to pieces and couldn’t stop crying and moaning “Why has my life come to this?  It ain’t fair, I try hard, everyone hates me, nobody loves me, etc. etc.”  Actually, he didn’t say the last bit but you get the picture.  In fact, he was making such a noise and I was getting so cross telling him to pull himself together and to save the tears for someone who hasn’t had to listen to him day in day out for the last couple of months that the Housing Benefit agent came over to ask if I was harassing him!

Paperwork filled in, he then got into my car uninvited and started on AGAIN.  I gave him a pack of tissues, suggested we drove to the bank to find his LHA payments which had definitely been made and I needed to check on my kids (by now I’d been away for almost 2 hours) who hadn’t realised I’d gone and could they have the remaining custard creams for lunch?

Kurt called me whilst I was waiting to say that Gareth had threatened him the night before, accusing him of breaking a computer so he was going to London for a few days as he feared for his life.  I told him he should have contacted the police if it was that bad and would drop in when they were both at home to sort this out.  He then texted “Thanks for your usual calm, level headed approach!  Also Gareth told me you thought it was me trying to get in that cupboard.  It wasn’t!” [the locked cupboard with the telephone line and router]

Shortly after, I received another text from Kurt:

“He [Gareth] was calm when I was there, tried to ask him to leave me alone by text, a veiled threat and some abuse and psychotic crap which I will show you later.  Had to leave my computer there unfortunately.  I won’t be back till Weds now.  Tbh I’ll be looking to get away from him asap just don’t have the money at the mo.”

A couple of days later:

“Just got back to Gareth stinking the kitchen out with weed and now he’s refusing to give me back my phone charger he borrowed because he is convinced that I have broken his computer, which he was convinced I did before he ever turned it on conveniently.  Anyway, hope you’re doing better than me!”

A couple of minutes later:

“He just did the intimidation thing again “Ohhh Kurt, you’re using my pan.  Only joking course you can use it….yeh, but don’t use my stuff again” he ain’t been out of prison that long and my feeling is he’s on his way back.  Didn’t know he had a pan.  I’m literally scared stiff to come here, Alice told me today she is too cos of the noise.  I’m working on staying at friends”

I asked why he thought Gareth was going to prison as I hadn’t realised he only came out last year and must have fibbed on his Tenant Information Form.  I won’t incriminate Gareth further as I’m sure it’s a storm in a teacup but the rest of the text read:

“He’s nice enough when he doesn’t flip.  There will never ever by any mutual ground between me and that psychotic bully”.

During this text conversation I was actually at the house changing a lightbulb- I only found out it had tripped the RCD because the tenants said the TVs hadn’t worked for 24 hours!  I took the opportunity to talk to Alice, who was fine but fed up of the atmosphere between the boys.  I then spoke to Gareth who, for once didn’t smell of weed and he asked why his ears were burning, was I talking about him and proceeded to gossip about Kurt.

Several calls from Gareth and texts from Kurt today bitching about each other and I’ve had to let my mobile battery run out for the sake of my sanity.

After thinking about it, I’ve decided to let them play this one out between themselves, see where their individual paranoia’s take them.   I’ll keep talking to the other tenants but really feel that they’d be happier if I stuck THEM in front of the telly with a pack of biscuits!

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HMO Landlady vs The Homeless Shelter

This week threw up an interesting case: I met a young girl called Kirstie at our local homeless charity. She had been accepted on a 12 week “back to work” programme helping out in the shop and organising the meals for the Drop In Centre. The support workers had asked me to meet her with a view to letting her a room but decided to be slightly economical with the truth – “lovely girl”, “good worker”, “just needs a chance” whilst looking shiftily over my shoulder.

Regular readers will know that in the past I’ve taken just about anyone on providing they can string a sentence together and aren’t displaying any obvious signs of substance abuse. However, after my narrow scrape last time, I’ve decided to be a bit more cautious as I’m letting the room on behalf of another landlord. On meeting her she came across as a scrap of girl, vulnerable, bewildered and happy to let everyone else talk for her. When I asked about references they all nodded and said “No problem. Her Social Worker, Foster Carers and Probation Officers can all give her a reference”. I bet they bl**dy well could – anything to get her off their case list as she’d just turned 19 and I guess was about to be unceremoniously evicted from the care system that has been supporting her.

During the interview it was difficult to get a measure of HER. I wanted to see her personality, see if she really did want to turn her back on her apparently violent past and was genuinely fed up of the chaotic lives of the friends she’d surrounded herself with, but I just couldn’t find a way in especially as it felt like I had the entire homeless population of the South Coast breathing down my neck, quick to block my intrusive questioning.

For the next 24 hours I pondered, wrestled with my conscience to rescue and give this little girl a clean bed in a safe environment versus using my experienced loaf and knowing deep in my gut that, by the end of the weekend, she’d have invited her mates around to see how well she’d done, they’d all decide it was warmer than their gaffs and I’d have a riot on my hands. Presumptuous on my part, yes, but I’ve been here before – several times.

Time for facts: I banded her name around my existing tenants who all knew her as a feisty little thing when drunk and the family was infamous locally; Mum was an addict, step dad and dad both died from drug addiction followed shortly after by her brother, another brother was in prison and the other teenage brother in B&B accommodation until the state had no legal duty to look after him. OK, so they knew her worst side – there HAD to be a good one. I contacted the local PC who Kirstie said she had a good relationship with (never a good sign if you’re that young and know your local Bobby well). “Put it this way” he said “Last time we had to arrest her it took four officers just to get her into the van. Funnily enough I’m just going through her ASBO and typing up a possession report – I’m really not sure you’re brave enough for this one”.

The following day I went back to the shelter and met with her and the support worker who possesses the Christian belief that everyone has a good side and they just need a chance (which I agree with, by the way). With coffee in hand they finally revealed to me what I’d already found out and I explained that I couldn’t risk putting her in a shared house with four other working tenants. Immediately, their defensive hackles rose and they prepared for attack. “Look” I said “I’ve housed some people you may just know:

Adam – kids taken taken into care and subsequently adopted after he failed to maintain contact, ran off to marry a Thai girl who loved him very much over the internet. Last heard of in the Bangkok Hilton suffering gangrene having trafficked drugs

Pascal – reportedly ex-French Foreign Legion, alcoholic with a knife wielding girlfriend in constant tow. Asked me to marry him during the eviction process.

Jeremy – took a drugs overdose, was stripped and robbed of his belongings and I found him 2 hours away from death. The b***ard never did thank me

Jenny – two kids taken away from her, several suicide attempts, part time prostitute and caused the police to kick every door in the house off its hinges.

Alex – serial shoplifter and drug user and last seen under the “Have You Seen This Person?” column in our local paper

Finally Tom – binge alcoholic and Andrew – trying to make it after a life in foster care. Both still with me, but not without their issues.”

“Oh, you housed THEM?! I guess you do know what you’re talking about then” and they graciously, but reluctantly backed down.

“Yes, just because you give these people good references based on their ability to turn up to the shelter remember you haven’t seen them at 1am on a Saturday night.” We calmed down and I explained that the trouble with finding their customers accommodation is not the lack of deposit or first month’s rent (that can be achieved through various council/charity run schemes) but the lack of CREDIBILITY. They turn up, have a well practised story to hand, cause chaos with other tenants and move on, unable to deal with the responsibility of holding down a job, paying rent on time and being considerate to fellow housemates. Because, for some, it’s boring, conventional and tedious and it’s much more fun having a piss up on the beach and appearing at whichever charity is dishing out the hot meal that day.

Now, I was still open to persuasion so explained to Kirstie that I, and any landlord she comes across, will want references and credibility. “As landlords we have a responsibility to the other tenants in the house. We need to know that you’re reliable and trustworthy which can be demonstrated through your turning up to work (paid or voluntary) every day. We also want to know that you’re a good tenant who is able to respect other people and the need to be quiet at certain times of the day as well as paying your rent regularly. The problem is, you don’t have any of these which is why landlords who are advertising rooms are turning you away. I can show you how to build up those references and how to go about securing a room – are you interested?”

While she was thinking about it, I showed her the local YMCA information. It’s sheltered accommodation with a 24 hour watch, £8 a week top up from benefits and you can only get a bed by being referred through your Social Worker. If she could do some time there, get a reference from the Manager then she’s half way to proving she would be a good tenant; the other half would be to turn up and complete her 12 week back to work programme and get a reference from them too. I’ve offered the possibility of a room which may be coming up later in the year if she can gather her references together. Will she pick up the gauntlet and prove everyone wrong or will it just be too much like hard work? She didn’t looked convinced.

Afterwards I spent a bit of time with the support workers and their customers talking about the legal implications of giving someone unreliable a tenancy. We’re not all heartless carpet baggers, just fed up of having to deal with anti-social behaviour at 2 o’clock on a weekend morning. This interaction has awoken my ideal of Supported Living which you can read about here. Idealistic? Probably, but my waking hours are spent working out a viable, self sufficient plan to create something which is a combination of a Tracy Beaker style home (drama about a children’s home aka The Dumping Ground) and The Good Life – supporting vulnerable/displaced adults to become independent within a safe community. Anyone got a spare £250K and feeling philanthropic?

Next Post: Besieged by tenants’ disgruntled girlfriends – why don’t they learn from “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”?!

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‘Twas The Rent Collection Before Christmas

The weather’s miserable, the odds for a white Christmas are as wide as Tom being sober for the next 48 hours and the Christmas Spirit has yet to touch the hearts of my tenants.

This weekend I played a poor version of Santa and gave everyone a net of not only chocolate coins, but BANK NOTES as well!  However, the irony of me giving them money along with a rent receipt seemed completely lost on the tenants.  For good measure, I also gave each house a huge box of shortbread to share if they come out of their rooms on Christmas Day.

First off: Greg is spending his Christmas Day at Her Majesty’s Pleasure AGAIN.  I’m confused as to what happened exactly but it involved a court appearance, expectation of a slap on the wrist which became handcuffs and taken down to serve five weeks (or five months I got a bit lost on the story at that point) of his licence.  Luckily his housing benefit is being paid direct to me and his girlfriend is going to take in his net of money as a small consolation.

The Poles next door are getting into the swing of the yuletide festivities by partying and arguing all night.  No amount of police visits, banging on the door pleading to keep the noise down is helping.  Tenants are now on strict instructions to keep a noise diary, contact the police when the noise kicks off and we’ll try to find the landlord.

On top of that, there’s a clash of personalities.  I’m not entirely sure what’s going on but the accusations involve running up and down the stairs in the small hours of the night, followed by door banging which has produced genuine confusion between the perpetrator and accuser.  Having just received some personal bad news and said goodbye to my own children for the Christmas period I’m in no mood to sort out the squabbles of others – especially those that are old enough to make a cup of tea and sit down to sort out their differences.

The Good News:

To salvage a little Christmas magic, I’m pleased to report that Nadine has now finished chemo which has left her without hair and feeling worse for wear but ALIVE!  She starts radiotherapy in January and is sporting an array of woolly hats mimicking strange furry animals.  Stewart came across an enormous Christmas tree in a back alley which he’s shoved in a bucket and is looking forward to it dominating his room.

And Tom: I was given a nearly new washing machine to put in the house – rather than see the old one (which is on its last legs) go to the tip, he reckoned he could spruce it up and do a deal with the bloke on the corner to get some cash for it.  Fine, I said, but if you get more than twenty quid you have to give the remainder to a good cause – that means a registered charity, not the pub.

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Dealing With Cancer In An HMO – Nadine’s Story

Ben Reeve-Lewis recently recommended that I interview my HMO tenants to backup this blog’s aim of showing the human side to being a landlord.  Nadine is the first victim and knows why I’m writing about her (just in case anyone is worried about privacy infringements!).

Two months ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately underwent surgery.  The interview takes place from her hospital bed during her second chemo treatment.  She’s mostly positive, we’ve all had a laugh with her wig and NHS “fillet” as she calls it and now I want to understand, from her point of view, what it’s like to deal with debilitating treatment whilst sharing the house with relative strangers.

Whilst Nadine has been renting for years (she’s 45), this is her first experience of a room in a shared house.  She’d been stung a couple of times after someone purporting to be the landlord took a month’s rent in advance and deposit, gave her the keys, until she met a man in the kitchen claiming to be the actual landlord and threw her out, minus her belongings.  When she finally caught up with the original “landlord” he refused to give her any money back claiming that it was his fee for storing her goods!  After seeing various rooms in dreadful states – including one offering just a mattress on the floor – she landed on my doorstep through a contact at the Salvation Army.

How has your perception of house sharing shifted since being diagnosed with cancer?  “I’m less tolerant, which is to be expected.  I’ve always tried to keep everybody as friends but slightly at arms length then you don’t fall out with people or have problems.  I’ve found that I’ve had to involve a lot more people that I wouldn’t normally involve as I knew it would have an impact on their lives as well as mine which has been difficult and trying to get them to understand what’s going on .  I think they’ve sympathised, not empathised as until you’ve been there yourself you can’t empathise.

Have they sat and talked about what you’re going through or kept you at arms length?  “I think it’s brought us closer and I’ve tried to explain as much as possible, leaving booklets out asking them to read and understand what I’m likely to go through.  But it’s not their problem and it’s not fair for them to become too wrapped up in something that’s not their problem.”

I think that’s very generous of you to say that but there are 5 people in that house and it could have happened to anybody.  “Most of the tenants have been absolutely lovely, but I’ve become less tolerant of the noise and the people around me.  Two of them have even helped with the cleaning”

Do you feel comfortable in the house or would you  prefer to be in your own house?  “If I’m honest, of course I would prefer my own house and it’s only going to get worse, like the times when I’ve got no hair and I have to go into the kitchen and meet someone or their friend.  That’s the thing I will find difficult and I’ve discussed it with the others.   I notice I’m sneaking around more in case any of them are drunk!”

Do any of them understand your need for peace and quiet?  “I have tried to explain to them that there will be times when I will tell them to **** off but I don’t mean it, but it might happen and I’ve tried to pre-empt every situation that might go wrong as much as possible.”

Has having Andy there made it bearable? (Andy is Nadine’s step brother and a lovely fellow tenant who is registered partially blind) “Yes, because he’s made me a cup of tea, cooked meals, sorted out the buckets and it would be a lonely hell without him.  He has a calm quiet demeanour whereas the others will try to cheer me up and be positive!   I worry that, as the treatment goes on, it’s only going to get worse and have a profound effect on me and on the house.”

What’s your greatest dream?  “To travel to India, see the world, do voluntary work.  I don’t want lots of money, I want to be free.  Life’s too short and this illness has made me even more determined to achieve my dream”

On privacy: “I’m terrified that when I lose my hair I don’t want to have to put a wig on just to go to the bathroom.   I feel so self-conscious and what doesn’t help is that my room is by the front door so I hear all the comings and goings.”

Did the nurses or doctors show an interest in how you were going to be looked after at home?  “No, not really.  You’re expected just to get on with it and they wouldn’t give me patient transport – they said I had to get the bus.”

How have you changed emotionally through this experience?  “I’m an emotional wreck.  I feel very alone and it’s a lonely journey.  It doesn’t matter how many friends you’ve got, some have backed away because they don’t know how to deal with it or I think they think you’ll become too needy.  I haven’t seen some of them for months, but that’s because I’m probably off the scene.”

It must be very strange to feel alone when you’re in a house full of people.  “It is”.   Do you think it would be better in a bedsit?  “I think it would be the same as it hasn’t got anything to do with the amount of people around you but that it’s something you’re going through and nobody else is.”

Do you get support during the bad days?  “Not so much, because during the bad days you just want to curl up and die, but Macmillan are brilliant on the end of the phone and little texts from people letting me know they’re thinking of me is lovely.”  I’m frightened I’m turning into a neurotic monster but the drugs do make you feel intolerant of other people.”

Stop worrying about other people, concentrate on yourself.  There are far more antisocial behaviours you can inflict on the other tenants than being a stroppy bitch – normally that’s my job.  They’ll get over it and if they want to party they can go to their friends’ houses or the pub.  “I don’t like causing people trouble and I know it has a profound effect on everyone and I’ve spent months preparing them.  It’s very important, when living in a shared house, to keep a certain balance in terms of we all get on and we’re equal and we don’t feel anyone is given preferential treatment.  It doesn’t work if one person tries to be the head of the household or more dominant than the others  and it’s very difficult to keep it like that.  Shared housing is about tolerating.  It’s very difficult to get the exact balance of people.

Do you feel safe in the house?  “Most of the time, but at this point I’d love to have my own place just to have that bit of serenity and calm and you don’t have to worry about who’s coming in and out of the house and if there are too many people drinking there’s going to be a fight.”  These are valid issues that I can do something about.  I’d be livid if there were parties going on in other houses.  But I have to catch them at it otherwise they’re going to think they’re being gossiped about.  ” Yes, they’re lovely people but they do tend to forget.”

In Summary

The point about a shared house  – if you want to party, get your own house, go to someone else’s or go out.  This is where people are living and it has to be kept quiet as tenants have different shift work or routines.  I understand why she doesn’t want to upset anyone but for me it’s a big issue as I don’t want them traipsing around, getting pissed and throwing bricks through the window – yes, this has happened which he still hasn’t paid me back for.

Nadine’s treatment will last until after Christmas during which she has chemo sessions every two weeks which I take her to and bring her home with my builder as back up transport if I can’t do it.  We’ve put an external lock on the downstairs toilet so she can have some privacy while being sick and doesn’t run the risk of coming across the boys’ pee!

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Getting Rid of Shower Grime and Pesky Pigeons!

A friend of mine very kindly spent the morning helping me with an HMO fire alarm as I’m ashamed to admit that I go into a panic involving anything technological AND that makes an incredibly loud noise.  For some reason the alarm responded to her gentle touch but ignored my banging at the keys but we think we’ve now got it sussed.

On the way back she offered to show me her newly refurbished bedsits so I could look at her shower rooms.  I can’t seem to keep the showers sparkly and white as the body fat (the orange stuff that comes off the skin) gets into the grout and grime lodges itself in the corners.  Her solution was to put in aquaboard which looks fantastic, easy to clean, no risk of broken tiles if the tenants get frisky in the cubicle and, most importantly, the orange stuff can’t stick.  

Pesky Pigeons

Just as we were leaving a tenant emerged bleary eyed from his room (midday) and said in a thick foreign accent “What you gonna do about these pigeons?”.  “Er, what pigeons?” replied my friend.  “The ones that wake me up at 6am every morning.  They make so much noise and wake me up so I can’t go back to sleep.  You need to fix roof.”

“The roof’s been fixed – that’s what all the scaffolding was for”

“Well, it hasn’t solved the problem of the pigeons”

“What would you like me to do?”

“I don’t know but they’re disturbing my sleep and it’s your job as landlord to sort it”

“OK, but I’ve fixed the roof and can’t control the pigeons, so what do you want me to do?”

“I want you to tell them to be quiet.  I hear them walking about”

At this point, I wouldn’t have blamed her for becoming exasperated at the futility of the conversation which could have gone on all day, so she bowed gracefully out and we both left sniggering.  She said “What does he want me to do, knit the pigeons effing slippers?!”

This is the problem with some tenants: they think the landlord has a duty to do just about EVERYTHING.  I’ve known tenants call me to say the lights aren’t working only to find that the bulb needed changing, there’s wee on the toilet floor, there’s no internet signal (because some bright spark switched off the router at the plug!) .  Going back to birds, though, I once had a call from a new tenant in the bedsit which is at the top of the HMO to say that a seagull was waking him up every morning at 5am.  It turned out that the previous occupant had been feeding a seagull which had learnt to rap on the window with his beak whilst standing on the ledge and waited for him to open it for his daily helping of seeds.  This was tolerable until the seagull went and got his mates and there’d be a whole flock of them waiting to be fed and having a tantrum if they were ignored.  Apparently, you’re not allowed to kill seagulls.

Tenant Update

In the meantime, here’s an update:  Tom was beaten up on Friday night “for no apparent reason”.  He picked the only place in the town with no CCTV, swears he was sober and four complete strangers pounced on him – he doesn’t look great and it’ll put his job hunting back for a few weeks. We’ve advised him not to go out in daylight in case he scares old ladies.   The mystery of the copious amount of baby clothes has been solved – Eva is pregnant and due later in the month.  Luckily she and her boyfriend have found a flat as they’ve decided that it’s not a great idea to bring a newborn baby into an HMO even though she’s cutting it fine.  Congratulations to them but I’ll be sad to see them go after four years of regular rent.

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