There’s No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

I think any landlord who has got a few properties under his or her belt has committed the cardinal sin of renting out a property to a friend or an acquaintance AND NOT going through the correct credit checks and procedures.

If you haven’t fallen foul of this situation, then read this tale and heed my warning.

The story begins about 3 years ago… I made the acquaintance of a guy, who I’m going to call Steve for the purpose of this tale.

Initially, he’d done a few odd jobs for me, but soon I started giving him quite a few jobs to look after the general maintenance of my property portfolio.

He seemed to do a good job.The price was reasonable and he seemed like a nice guy – always polite and never spoke out of turn.

Several months passed and we had built a great working relationship,and that’s when the ‘sting’ happened. He mentioned that he was moving house and after he’d completed some work with one of my tenants they told him they would be moving out of the property soon. He called me and said that he’d love to take over the tenancy, so we agreed on the rent etc.

About a week before he was due to move in the phone rang and it was Steve on the other end, in tears. He explained that his mother, who had been ill was about to have her home repossessed and that he’d had to bail her out and as a result, he couldn’t afford the deposit.

I suppose it was selfishness on my part and the fact I didn’t think I’d get a new tenant in such a short timescale, so in a moment of weakness, I said it was fine and he could sort the deposit out in a couple of weeks when he was next paid.

But then, from the moment he moved in it was excuse after excuse. Here’s his top ten…

  1. My mother’s ill
  2. My employer hasn’t paid me
  3. I have just been diagnosed with diabetes after collapsing in the street
  4. My brother died ( I later found this to be a complete lie)
  5. It’s Christmas
  6. My car broke down
  7. I have been suspended from work
  8. I have been sacked
  9. My mother died and I have to pay for the funeral ( This too was a complete lie)
  10. The stress is too much, and I have had to be sectioned

Steve should have written children’s books!

In the last conversation that I had with Steve, he explained that he was sorry for inconveniencing me, he didn’t have the money that he owed and he would be going to Africa shortly to teach kids how to play football!

Then as promised, he vanished, owning nearly 3 months’ rent, I’d had no deposit and the real kick in the pants was that he stole my fridge when he left!!

Lesson learned:

Whose fault was it? Mine 110%. Don’t cut corners or take sob stories and always take a deposit before anyone moves in – no exceptions.


The Buy To Let Landlord