Landlord Tips Opinion

Bad Romance

David Rutland
Written by David Rutland

Tenancies can be like relationships. But how do you deal with a toxic other half?

Letting your property to a new tenant is like starting a relationship. You each have something the other wants – whether it’s a steady income and references, a smoking hot bod, a fitted kitchen, or a good personality.

As time goes by, you both realise that this might not be ‘the one,’ and gradually start looking elsewhere.

It may not even be conscious. You could be letting your eyes linger overly long on the new cashier in Asda, or surreptitiously start scanning the property pages in Metro for ‘accommodation wanted’ ads.

Sometimes you just know it’s going to end soon. Your tenant is complaining about every little thing. The drains. The lighting. The way the carpet doesn’t match the drapes. And then, eventually, you get the ‘Dear John’ letter. It isn’t working out any more. It’s not you it’s me. I’m moving out in two weeks.

And with a heavy heart and poignant memories, you move on with your life, post a new advert on gumtree, and bask in the bittersweet memories of the one who got away.

But occasionally, it’s toxic from the start. You’ve made a commitment, and you’re determined to see it through. The warning signs are all there, but they’ve not done anything to warrant drastic action. Yet.

Maybe, they’re never in when they say they will be. You’ve made a date to meet up, but they have other plans and don’t tell you until it’s too late. They owe you money. Their housekeeping standards aren’t up to scratch and you think that they might have an *ahem* infestation that they’re not telling you about.

You’ve warned them time and again that they have to pull their act together, that it’s never acceptable to let the dishes pile grow that high in the sink, and that if they keep putting food waste in the recycling bin, you’re the one who’ll end up with a nasty letter from the council. And for Pete’s sake, they’re six months behind on the rent now!

You plead and bargain but to no avail. They won’t get a job and they won’t stop day drinking. This relationship in no way resembles an equal partnership. They’re not going to mend their ways, and even if you take them to court, it’s supremely unlikely you’ll get back any of the money you’re owed.

You tell them it’s over, but they won’t accept it. They broke down and cried, begging for just one more chance. You hardened your heart and pointed to the door. No.

You want them out of your life and out of your property, but they just won’t give up, and your notice to quit is being ignored.

It’s time to look at legal options. Either with an injunction, or with a section 21 notice followed by an injunction. But lawyers aren’t generally known for their sense of urgency, and courts exist in their own slow-paced temporal loop. You want this situation over with so that you can escape the nightmare.

There’s only one option. You scour the classified columns for alternative accommodation and upsell it to your soon-to-be ex. You promise glowing recommendations, and you’ll even help with the deposit.

They just have to move out today.

Photo Credit: Eleni Preza 


About the author

David Rutland

David Rutland

With a decades long career as a professional writer, David Rutland has worked as a journalist on local, national, and international newspapers, before embarking as a career as a freelancer.

He has ghostwritten several books, as well as producing travel guides, manuals, humour articles, and more internet blogs than you can shake a stick at.

David maintains offices in East London, but spends most of his time in a shed near Liverpool, where he writes, as well as developing apps for Android.

What people say about him:

Arrogant and abrasive - Alan Davis, Editor in Chief North Wales News Group

An absolute liability - Matt Simms, Editor, Vale advertiser

Are you sure this won't get us all arrested? - Mohana Prabhakar, Editor in Chief, Apex News Group

Go and have a shave. You're all prickly - Mrs Donna Rutland.

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