Whether you are renting or letting a property in Birmingham, you will no doubt be familiar with the concept of a nightmare tenant. Whether that’s if you’ve had the misfortune of partaking in a house share with one or renting to one, you will no doubt never want to live that experience again.
Francene Patey, a poor landlady in St. John, had her nightmare punctuated when her former evicted tenant destroyed and robbed her property, culminating with the theft of her washing machine and dryer. Other stolen items included curtains and her child’s desk, whilst they also went as far as making holes in the wall and tearing mouldings up.
With 40% more people living in rented accommodation comparative to 2006, what systems are in place to make sure that these sorts of situations are at least limited, if not eradicated?
References are a good way of ensuring the consistency of your tenants, however Patey’s tenants came with positive references, which she described as hard to trust because, “you're going by a phone call based on a reference that could be anyone's mother, sister, brother.”
Contract legislation and deposit schemes exist for such situations, but what happens if the damage exceeds the amount of the deposit? The landlord can invoice you for any damage or extra cleaning which must be undertaken to return the abode to its former glory, but in poor Patey’s case, the tenants went on the run. At this point it becomes a matter for police investigation.
The signing of an inventory would be essential in such a situation, meaning the tenant and landlord are in agreement as to what was in the house at the start of the tenancy and helps to identify, if not prevent, theft. Unfortunately for Patey, the brazen attitude of her evicted tenants makes them that little bit more slippery to catch, whilst you would think a couple so heavy handed in their post-eviction activities would leave a trail of evidence.
The audacity of some tenants means that such systems are a necessity to avoid advantage being taken of the good will of landlords and fellow tenants. It is important as a landlord to remember to have your tenant agree to, and sign to, the above just as it is important to sign these documents and protect yourself as a tenant.
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