The Mother of all Tenants

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B
Broken Landlord
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My Tenant signed a 6 month AST on 5 August 2008 and since then has caused me and her neighbours absolute hell. It transpired that she was running a dog sitting practice from my house, had immediately applied to the council for a change of property use – from residential to commercial – so she could run her business, this was refused and I was to be held responsible, as the landowner, for breach of use and faced a £5,000 fine or prison sentence. The neighbours have had to deal with untold dogs barking, dogs breaking into their gardens, dog mess in their gardens – so much so that their children were too frightened to go outside. She has caused criminal damage to one neighbours’ property on two separate occasions and was fined and arrested. Immediately I found out these actions (in August 2008) I started proceedings with to try and gain possession of the property using discretionary Section grounds. Witness statements were taken from the local council, animal welfare and neighbours. When I finally made it to court, my solicitor requested the case be heard under mandatory Ground 8 – rent arrears – and possession was granted on 28 November 2008. The tenant did not move out. Bailiff action was requested and notice was given for eviction on 9 February 2009 at 11.00am. At the very last moment the tenant applied to the court for a stay of execution and I found out at 9.00am that her hearing was at 9.30am and after a very fast and hairy journey to the court I made it for the hearing. The Judge dismissed her claim. Thinking that the bailiffs would still be present at the property at 11.00am we made our way there – locksmith waiting. At 11.20am I called the court and was told that she had appealed the decision and it was to be heard by the Circuit Judge so back to the court we went and once again her case was dismissed. With the bailiff slot now gone another appointment was made at 9.00am this morning and finally I took back possession of my property. The place was in a mess, dog excrement everywhere, urine in everything, rubbish, rotting food, bedding, papers, clothes, general rubbish was all over the place – up the walls – you name it. Tenant left with 6 dogs and what little possessions she had. She later came back to the property and under my supervision I made her clean as much of it as possible for as long as I could tolerate being in her company. In the end I told her she had to leave and she did leaving a trail of destruction behind her. The long and short of it – the law is a slow, expensive, stressful and time consuming arse. I am £6,000 down on rent, £3,000 on legal fees and still have the expense of hiring deep cleaning/decontamination and repairs for broken window, broken toilet, re-landscaping the back garden/litter tray and redecorating. The local council were little help, animal welfare responsive but not reactive enough and to be honest I felt they were all just waiting for me to take action despite numerous complaints from neighbours and plenty of police involvement. Who the hell is the law protecting these days!! My advice is, if you are thinking of renting your home, think very, very hard about it. My house is going on the market as soon as possible.
10/02/2009 00:00

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