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The house is in a location where I am unlikely to attract professional tenants, so I am aware of the calibre of tenant that it will attract. However, I do my due diligence, am selective as I usually have a lot of applicants to choose from, and on this occasion I got a guarantor. He was a housing benefit and needed to top up his rent as the benefit entitlement did not cover it. I did a TenantVerify and he came out as Green - Accept.
We worked together to work out a payment plan so that he was aware of the shortfall in benefit and the due date and amount of his top up. Initially he appeared to be the ideal tenant. He had custody of his child and the house was reasonably clean and tidy on inspections. He maintained the garden to a reasonable standard. He called me if he was going to be late with a payment and all appeared to be well.
However, despite regular rental payments over the past 6 months the garden became unkempt, he became difficult to contact and the last 2 months rent was not received. I eventually received a text message stating that he had left the property and put the keys back through the letterbox. This was fortunate as it meant that I did not need to pursue the lengthy and costly eviction process.
However, by this time he was 2 months in arrears. The property was very dirty, the garden neglected, and the house required complete painting and decorating throughout, new carpets and vinyl flooring.
It also transpired that he had paid NO water bills. He also paid no gas bill until I presume he was threatened with being cut off, at which point he pretended he had just moved in and had a card meter fitted without my consent. In total he owed over £500 in water bills & over £900 in gas. It would appear that in the last 6 months or so he lost custody of his child and had therefore been overpaid more than £600 in housing benefit. I think life that prior to that must had taken a turn for the worse - he appeared to be taking steroids and going to the gym (It would appear that the needles and syringes were for steroid administration not illegal drugs although I cannot be sure) The spare bedroom was where the marijuana was grown………………………!!
I don't feel that the actual tenancy would not have been entered into by myself as I did my due diligence. However, it is obvious that he is no longer a person that I would want any other landlord to have to cope with so I guess the national alert will help prevent a successful tenancy application going forward.
A learning curve - when I do inspections in future I will want evidence that the utility bills are being paid. If a tenant disappears with no forwarding address, and guarantors cannot be tracked down and calls & texts are not answered it is difficult to recoup any losses.
Anyway, hope that's of interest!!
I have activated my account and uploaded this tenant, why don't you?
I finally got my deposit back today……keep good records!
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