Tag Archives: tenant arguments

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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Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned!

Have you come across the phrase? I’ve never had the energy to take revenge on men who’ve let me down, but can’t help secretly laughing at my tenants’ love lives:

Regular readers will know that Greg, who rents a room, is still in prison and I eagerly anticipate his release in a couple of weeks as his rent hasn’t been paid since the beginning of January.  What you don’t know is how he got there and the story started last year (based on what I’ve picked up, not judicial evidence!).

Greg had a girlfriend, Jess, with whom he fathered a child.  This relationship failed so he started seeing Nicky (leggy, beautiful, smart, high maintenance).  Jess made allegations that Greg had hit her, it went to court and he was unceremoniously banged up in July last year then released on licence with instructions not to go near her or the child.  Nicky stood by him and all was well for the rest of the summer until they fell out after she produced a bag of cocaine after a night out and started to punch Greg so he hit her and she went to the police.  Telling me the story later his version was “I told her you don’t allow drugs in the house, she kept punching me as she was so pissed so I told her if she did it again I’d punch her back.  She did it again, so I punched her – after all, I had warned her”. Yes, but then he went on the run so the local Bobbies took the opportunity to come to my house for a cup of tea and the master room keys.

Greg went to Jess for comfort, Nicky let herself into his room whilst drunk/high, poured oil in the iron and kettle, smeared moisturiser on his clothes and fell asleep outside his bedroom door.  The other tenants nudged her a couple of times to check she was alive then did the sensible thing and left her to it – stepping over her on the way to the bathroom.  My tenants may not be rocket scientists, but they’re clever enough to know when not to get involved.

Greg phoned to say what had happened, Nicky sent me a long apologetic text and I just laughed – after all it wasn’t my clothes or love life.  They kissed and made up – much to Jess’s disapproval.  She went to the police to say that Greg had broken his licence conditions and, before you could say “Show me the evidence”, he’d been rearrested and thrown back into prison.

That’s not the end: Jess called to ask to be let into his room for retrieval of her jogging bottoms and, being the empathetic kind of girl I am, said if she got a signed note from him or was accompanied by the police, I was happy to oblige.  In the meantime, Nicky contacted me to ask if she could “do the room up” as a nice surprise for Greg when he got out – just a feature wall, new lampshade, etc.  He’s given her a key so I don’t think I can technically stop her but did suggest that maybe he’d appreciate a chilled bottle of Asti, soft music and her dressed in Ann Summers instead.

Andrew also fell out with his girlfriend.  Apparently it was down to the fact that she’s a bit posh and likes him for being rough and roguish but in the last year he’s become a bit too sensible by looking for a job and learning to budget.  We bumped into each other outside Sainsburys where he said even though it had been three days, he was really missing her.  The next day she called to say she wanted to get back with him, didn’t know she could trust him so could she see the CCTV footage of the last few days to check he hadn’t had other women in?  I said no on the basis that I promised the tenants the CCTV wasn’t there for spying only for incidences they’d reported.

“Thanks for that” said Andrew “As I did have a couple of girls sleep over and she would’ve flipped her lid”.

“Andrew!  It’s only been a few days – is that how you get over a broken heart?”

“Yeah, what else did you expect me to do?”

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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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Is My HMO Cursed?!

This is a ridiculous question, I know, but came to light after a phone call from Lewis.  Lewis left one of my rooms earlier this year after falling in love and moving in with his new girlfriend, but unfortunately owed me around £300 in rent arrears.  Not one to stand in the way of a true romance I told him, if he wanted a landlord reference, he’d need to pay off his arrears first as our town is small and I’m reluctant to lie to a fellow HMO landlord.  We wished each other well and he left looking like the cat that got the cream.

Not 3 months later and he’s on the phone.  To be fair, he did pay £50 off his arrears just after he left then called to explain that his mum had a number of suicide attempts, his sisters were out of control, his dad’s alcoholism wasn’t helping and his girlfriend had dumped him – could I give him a room or a reference?  Sorry about his personal circumstances, but no.

We went on to discuss the welfare of the other housemates and I told him that, since Christmas, three of them had lost their jobs.  “You know what?” he replied “That bloody house is cursed.  I lost my job within a couple of months of moving in.  What did you do in your past life that’s come back to haunt you and the rest of us?”  “Actually” I reasoned “People downgrade from self contained accommodation to a room because their life is starting to fall apart.  I really don’t think it’s me.”  This isn’t true as almost everyone who lost their job had seemingly secure, long term positions.  However, it got me wondering about my past misdemeanours………………..

Tom – Again!

Sunday morning and the phone goes saying that Tom had burst through the front door the previous evening, banged on everyone’s door swearing at each tenant demanding to know who had left a knife covered in chocolate spread in his beautifully polished sink and they were all a bunch of “F****** ***ts” for not respecting his cleaning skills.  This sparked wall punching and accusations over the pee on the bathroom floors and all hell broke loose between Greg, Andrew, Justin and Tom – only 3 of whom were sober.  I called a house meeting on the Monday and asked everyone involved to come along to get the underlying issues sorted.

Standing in the kitchen with 4 HUGE, jumpy, testosterone fuelled men baring their teeth and trying to talk over each other about the issue of who last used chocolate spread, it became almost laughable (to me).  Failing to calm them down enough so each tenant could voice his grievances I ended up grabbing a wooden spoon and using it as a Talking Stick.  The purpose of the Talking Stick is to only allow the person holding it to speak and everyone else must keep quiet until they’ve finished and each person has a turn to hold it.  After a shaky start and lots of indignant interruptions, it worked!  Greg was fed up of the toilet being dirty, Andrew was upset at being threatened in front of his girlfriend, Tom was depressed at being unemployed and spending his days cleaning the kitchen after the others and felt their dirty dishes disrespected him, and Jason, it appeared, was just there for fun.

I explained to Tom that, if he lived in my house, my kitchen, the sink and most of the house would cause him a coronary as it’s so untidy and was it really fair to take out his frustrations on the other tenants?  Andrew agreed to make an effort to wash up and, as for the pee, short of doing a DNA test no-one would confess.  Everyone shook hands, stopped short of a bear hug and felt happy that the air had been cleared.

Is the house cursed?  I really hope not – at least for the sake of the next tenant.  Perhaps I should warn him……

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