Life as a business woman is always interesting. Life as a HMO Landlord is even more so. Dealing with people, whether landlords, tenants, agents comes with its own unique set of issues. In fact, I was just speaking to an agent today about renting a property from them and we got into a mini argument about which HMOs need to be licensed and which do not. I was surprised to realise that I knew a little more than they did, though I agreed to disagree with them as I wanted to stay on the right side of them.:-)
Anyway, in my journey towards adding HMOs to my portfolio and assisting other landlords by providing them with a guaranteed rent on their property, I have had to deal with quite a few tenants and I can understand better why some people would choose to avoid houses of this kind in their portfolio but the cashflow is surely worth the trouble.
My interesting Tenant
One particular tenant stands out as slightly strange though my naivete could have been my undoing in this guys’ case. A few weeks ago, I had three people viewing a double room and two of the three people took interest in the room and wanted it immediately but as I more often than not deal with people on LHA, they usually have no money to their immediate name.
I informed them that whoever got the money to me first would get the room. One of them, then proceeded to tell me his story which involved an ex-partner, being kicked out, two kids he wanted to remain near to etc etc. I felt he was genuine, took pity on him and decided to give him a chance if he could get some money together, speak to the council and get fast tracked and ensure that the money comes directly to me.
He kept calling me and texting me with his progress. His parents could not give him any money, I advised he apply for a crisis loan. His ex-partners parents are now threatening to beat him up or pay him to leave their daughter alone. The girls and I met up with him a few times to get him the items required by the council, dropped him off at the council and generally tried to be as helpful as I could. Finally, he scrapes together some money to cover some of the admin fee, he is fast-tracked by the council and I agree to let him move in on the basis that he pay the rest according to a set out payment plan.
He moves in about 5pm.
Next morning, I get a text telling me he has been in hospital and now wants to move out and go back to his parents down south somewhere. and… “Sorry for all the hassle but Can I have my money back?”
I call him and explain that as I held the place for him and he had moved in, I would not refund the money to him. Could he please ensure the room is tidy and he leaves the key behind as he intended to leave before I could get there. I advise him however not to return down south as his kids were up here and he was working on a ‘return to work’ placement so he had a job here so what was the point of going home now. We agreed to chat again later.
Later comes along, he is now no longer answering the phone. I go to the property, no sign of him, no sign of key. I call him again, nothing! I finally call him from a random friends number and surprise, surprise, he answers the phone! He says his head is a mess and he is trying to figure out what to do. The truth is I do feel sorry for him because I realise the whole situation is horrid so I take pity on him and say he can stay put in the property until the Sunday but he needs to have decided by then what his plans are. He agrees to text me by 5pm on Sunday.
Two hours later, a text arrives from some random source telling me that this is the tenant’s mother and I need to give him back his money or else I will not see the keys.
Halo turns fiercely red…
I decide not to react to the text, speak to a trusted mentor and then the next morning, I pop over to the house, room is completely empty. I take pictures, call in a witness, send the lovely hubby to change the locks. Start marketing it again.
Monday comes along and … Tenant is in touch again with a text, saying he will stay. I call him up and explain that locks are changed. He pleads with me and again, I feel my nice side coming through. I pick him up, all forlorn by the side of the road with his luggage all around him. We chat for a while. Some more of the sorry tale is imparted to me. His partner’s mother had sent me the text as they want him out of the area, blah, blah, blah… I feel sorry for him and continue to think he is a nice guy with issues.
So yes, like a fool, I let him back into the house, give him the new key, even take him shopping for bedding! I Know, I know, so gullible! We agree again how he will pay his rent and fees and bedding.
I leave him to it.
A few days later approaching the day of first payment, I give him a ring to provide him with bank details and guess what, he is not answering the phone again. I pop round the house to see him and his light is on but no response at the door, I use my key to enter and the room is again deserted… including my bedding!!!!!! Aargh! I feel like a complete fool!
I immediately call a guy who had been interested in a room in the area, arrange a viewing for the next day. And decide to put it down to experience and never to be nice to anyone again.
Of course, I get home that evening and a text comes through asking for bank details. I call him up and ask what is going on?
He claims he had just been too scared to leave his things behind in the house so he had taken everything with him to a friend’s house. He promises to pay the next day as arranged, which he does. And today, he pays in his LHA as promised. He is up to date! Long may it continue.
So all’s well that ends well, right?
Weird tenants 🙂 and Man, I need to be less helpful, I think…