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Landlord is left with a £7k repair bill after tenant destroys three-bedroom property

A tenant left a three-bedroom house in Birmingham “completely destroyed” after piling rubbish in every single room and dumping mattresses in the back garden.

Landlord Michael Walker, 56, was shocked to find extensive damage to his property in Great Barr when he inspected it on Good Friday.

The house was left in an unlivable state, with grease stains covering the walls, plaster chipped off, and bark left on the floor.


Not only had every room had been left vandalised, with half-empty bottles of oil, milk cartons and used tins left out on the counter and floor, but the tenant allegedly dragged the washing machine into another room and the living area had large holes in the flooring as a consequence.

The bedrooms were hidden under piles of rubbish and mould was left growing on the ceiling, leaving the property with a bad smell and covered in flies.

The landlord said: “The tenant hop-scotched overnight and left the property in complete disrepair.

“It has been left unlivable. It's shocking.

“It is an absolute mess at the moment. It looks like he has been doing house clearances and it has all piled up.”

Walker is now seeking the advice of an independent evaluator to assess the extent of damages. He estimates that there are over £7,000 worth of repairs to be done.

To make matters worse, the tenant had not paid any rent for 11 months and was issued with a repossession order which he ignored.

Walker added: “That house wasn't a buy-to-let property, it used to be my family home. I have had the property over 30 years.

“The only reason I rented it out was because I went and stayed with my 87-year-old dad at his house because he was ill.

“It has been destroyed completely - every single room.”


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    I cannot see anybody trying to stop this kind of thing happening? So, what is the landlord to do in situations like this?


    bill the ex-tenant and pursue in high court

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    This should be classed as criminal damage and the tenants prosecuted. Similarly rent arrears after 2 months should be theft. Perhaps Shelter will refund the landlord out of its resources collected in the pretence of providing homes?

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Agreed Robert, but Landlords know that Police tend to defer these matters as Civil disputes which they are most certainly Not. My advice is to make a formal complaint against the Police officer the matter was attempted to be reported to.
    I had a tenant steal carpets and curtains from my property and on initial handling of my complaint, the Civilian investigator tried to 'write it off' until a Detective Inspector quite rightly reviewed and condemned the action, Upholding my complaint.

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    • 29 April 2019 09:23 AM

    The answer is not to rent the property out!
    But what you can do is maintain the property as your family home and PPR.
    No need to be at the property though for plausibility everything remains as though you are living there.
    Visit the property once a month to ensure compliance with residential insurance conditions.
    Oh! Yes rather than leave the property empty take in lodgers.
    So no families just single lodgers who will pay cash only.
    No more than £7500 will be received in lodger rent as far as anyone is concerned.
    If more lodger income is received how would anyone know!?
    So a 3 bed house with 3 lodgers at say £600 each after about £800 monthly expenses leaves a tidy annual lodger income.
    No CGT; no income tax, no S24.
    Many Accidental LL will be using a lodger strategy to avoid CGT etc.
    Yes a lodger strategy means a bit of work and requires self management.
    However the lodger demand is there.
    Obviously means such Accidental LL properties will no longer be available to families.
    Another advantage is there is no requirement for a PPR to comply with EPC legislation
    The benefits of using a lodger strategy are legion.


    So you are up to advising people to commit fraud? Evade income tax? I think you need to sit on what you are clearly talking out of you stupid man.

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    Pay council tax 100% whist having to refurb it, that's fraud, thats stealing money off us, that should be illegal, here comes the even more odd bit, but 1 person in the property and that person gets a 25% discount on their council theiving tax, work that one out because even the clueless nick your money, dont earn theirs,council bods cant explain it.

  • Joanna Dickens

    This is just such a sad story and representative of what is happening to landlords all over the UK. We deal with hundreds of rent arrears claims from letting agents day in day out and it’s common for non payers to then cause significant property damage. Last year we paid over £1.2 million in rent arrears and legal costs to agencies. It has never been more important for landlords to ensure they are correctly protected against the risk of rent arrears and damage. Take out rent guarantee and ensure you have proper landlords buildings insurance with malicious damage cover. Nobody wants to end up in this situation but at least if the worst does happen, landlords need not be out of pocket.

    • 29 April 2019 16:09 PM

    The problem with your suggestion is very few tenants qualify for RGI so stringent are the qualifying criteria.
    As you may be aware LL suffer over £9 billion of losses per year; most of them being rent arrears.
    There is simply no way RGI insurers would wish to take on the risk with such known losses.
    RGI remains for most LL an unattainable ideal.
    There is no doubt that RGI is a highly effective and actually very cheap insurance for what it provides.
    Trouble is few tenants etc qualify for it.
    Though I have seen that Hamilton Fraser might be offering RGI for tenants or their guarantors who don't currently qualify for the usual RGI.
    Quite frankly it should be the case that EVERY LL has RGI.
    This would actually garner more tax for the Treasury as LL would not be suffering the massive rent losses that currently occur.
    RGI; great idea though not much use if the vast majority of tenants haven't a hope of qualifying for it...............which leaves the LL carrying all the risk.
    Rarely will a LL EVER recover rent arrears as the Civil Revovery process is simply pathetic.
    Of course when S8 is beefed up to replace the soon to be abolished S21 process there will be millions of rent defaulting tenants ending up with CCJ as a result of LL having to use the S8 process.
    So no RGI for those tenants!
    Then would any LL take on a tenant with a CCJ for rent default!?
    Rent defaulting tenants need to carefully consider their future behaviour when LL are forced to use the S8 process.
    Any rent defaulting tenant evicted via the remaining S8 process will be considered by the council to have made themselves intentionally homeless and therefore the council will have NO housing duty towards them.
    Plus they will have a CCJ record which will stay on their credit files for 6 years and potentially even longer preventing even applying for a mobile phone contract!!!
    Perhaps tenants will consider that for their future domestic circumstances having a CCJ for rent default would not be a very wise thing to achieve!!!
    We shall see!!
    i would also mention that you don't seem to appreciate that for any LL owning a flat it is simply NOT possible to obtain buildings insurance.
    This is paid as a block insurance with service charges.
    A LL may only obtain contents insurance.
    It is a requirement for ALL LL policies in the UK that for these extra facilities you suggest that a LL has a buildings policy.
    Simply not possible with flats!

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Joanne, I'd like to discuss your post in detail if you'd be kind enough to contact me - provide your details - via my web site.
    Thanks, Chris

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    • 29 April 2019 15:44 PM

    Mr Robinson I am not suggesting anything of the sort!
    At no point do I suggest any evasion of any sort. What others may choose to do is their choice!
    As it happens there are millions of fraudulent tenancies and to consider that there aren't would be naive in the extreme.
    There are hundreds of thousands of fraudster LL operating fraudulent tenancies.
    These are all those engaging in short term letting who are breaching mortgage; insurance, freeholder, council conditions.
    Then we have all those LL who do NOT have CTL which number about 4 million.
    This figure includes LL who let to DSS tenants in breach of their mortgage conditions.
    We also have the Accidental LL who still have a resi mortgage and who have NOT obtained CTL and who therefore have breached mortgage conditions particularly as far as insurance is concerned.
    It is rare that a resi mortgaged property can obtain insurance commensurate with letting a property.
    Consequently many LL will be illegally letting with resi insurance which means they are in breach as it is usually NOT possible for resi insurance to cover tenancy situations.
    It is not possible to have LL insurance with a resi mortgage.
    So you see there is mass fraud in the PRS.
    If there wasn't there would be millions of homeless.
    Lodgers are a way to retain a resi property as such.
    What HOMEOWNERS choose to do is their business.
    However the chances that anyone will ever discover what a homeowner does with lodgers is highly unlikely.
    It is either a lodger strategy or leaving the property empty.
    At least with lodgers and a guest the homeowner will not be in breach of conditions.
    Most lenders allow 2 lodgers.
    They cannot prohibit regular guests!
    You need to think further ahead than your simplistic understanding of things and appreciate that there are plausibly perfectly legal ways to manage a resi property other than letting it with all the risks and damages that the poor old LL subject of the DM article has suffered on an AST
    There is as they say more than 1 way to skin a cat

    Think on!!


    You're probably making a number of valid points no doubt based on years of experience as a landlord. Unfortunately though because you have a tendency to make each sentence a paragraph, it's actually quite difficult to read and follow your posts without quite quickly losing interest.


    So you are up to advising people to commit fraud?

    Mr Robinson I am not suggesting anything of the sort!

    So perhaps you can explain what you meant by

    No more than £7500 will be received in lodger rent as far as anyone is concerned.
    If more lodger income is received how would anyone know!?
    So a 3 bed house with 3 lodgers at say £600 each after about £800 monthly expenses leaves a tidy annual lodger income.
    No CGT; no income tax, no S24.

    My interpretation of 'as far as anyone is concerned' and 'If more lodger income is received how would anyone know' is you are telling people to not declare their full lodger income on their tax return.
    Why do you mention the £800 in expenses. These are not relevant if you are claiming the rent-a-room allowance.
    How is there no income tax with an annual lodger income of £21600?
    My interpretation of what you are saying (particularly when your post is combined with posts on other websites by someone with the user name Paul Barrett) is that you encourage landlords to defraud the tax man.

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    We have all been there, we learn by our mistakes .

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    • 29 April 2019 17:32 PM

    Barry sorry about the long paragraphs.
    It isn't my particular interest to hold the interest of anyone.
    Can't really see how reading a paragraph loses any attention.
    Just a long sentence!
    Perhaps your attention span is limited as you have better things to do.
    Fair enough I am no journalist just a simple LL stating things as I see them in perhaps not the best way of stating such opinions.
    I cannot see me breaking such paragraphs into short and pithy sentences.
    Though I take your critique onboard and will try to do better in future comments.

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    With flats if freeholder or his agent or his mangement( yer right) does not pay ball then seek an RTM, get you own tripleA insurnance reduce SC in some cases by half, build up a sinking fund, then offer 50% of value to buy FH as only the GR is payable to the FH. Fact and works.

    • 29 April 2019 18:39 PM

    Not possible where a HA owns 51% of the flats.
    Their vote beats other leaseholders.
    Personally I believe ALL flat LEASES should be converted into Commonhold.
    Chances of that ever happening............precisely ZERO!!

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    Agree but love keeping pressure on FH, but we hold more than 50%, so done deal if they continue to Rip us off

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    • 03 May 2019 23:13 PM

    Adam my dear chap I am NOT suggesting anything.
    Of course all LL AST or lodger should adhere to all regulations
    Just as I suggest that all LL comply with lender conditions
    Insurance conditions
    Council conditions
    Freeholder conditions.
    In your little naive world do you believe that all LL comply with these circumstances!!?
    If you do you are a complete and utter IDIOT!
    You need to reavaluate your comprehension of the real world because your views are idiotic.
    The real world is out there mate; something you don't seem to be aware of.
    Are you really that stupid!!??
    I'll educate you.
    There is MASS fraud by LL ofdering millions of illegal tenancies.
    Surely you understand this.
    How long have you bern in the PRS
    If it is for a long time you haven't learnt much!!
    I believe that you are one of these self righteous idiots that fails to understand what is actually going on.
    Of course I agree it should NOT be occurring but like it not it does.
    As for LL evading tax.
    Absolutely I contend that such LL should comply with the RFR conditions.
    If they don't however many live-in LL might consider that if they exceed the RFR tax allowance who would ever know or even be able to find out!???
    Do you believe that sole trader LL should comply with S24!?
    If you do you are an idiot..
    To evade S24 is totally justified by whatever means.
    A lodger strategy is a means to defeat S24.
    Very few LL will be able to achieve this strategy and therefore is a very unlikely policy for many LL to enact.
    LL will have to make choices.
    Personally I would have no qualms about doing anything to defeat S24.
    Bankruptcy and poverty awaits if I don't.
    So for me an easy choice to make.
    Many other LL will be in similar circumstances.
    But until I have sold up from being an AST LL I really don't know what my situation will be.
    Many LL will be in a similar situation.
    Who knows what they might do!?
    But a fight fir survival of domestic circumstances will occur.
    If that neans evading RFR taxation then this is what might occur.

    Nobody will ever know the level of evasion because poor old Big Brother Connect just can't detect how much lodgers pay live-in LL.
    No live-in LL will accept anything but cash in excess of £7500 per year.
    But this issue is such a minority situation it won't even register with Connect.
    ALL LL should comply with
    Very few LL comply with the above!
    Welcome to the real world!!

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    There are probably more (rogue landlords) not declaring their income than there are honest citizens.
    In my area, it is common for people to work only for cash.
    I was at the checkout in Wickes the other day and a 'jobbing' builder was in front of me paying for everything in cash.
    The checkout assistant was quick to point out that these types never pay by card, therefore they are untraceable by the HMRC.
    They probably factor in the 20% VAT that they are losing, in their estimate for the job?
    I suspect that a sizeable few are probably on benefits also, resulting in a two-fold loss of income for the treasury.
    It is stupid people like me who declare everything and pay the correct amount of income tax.
    The one good thing about a cashless economy, is that virtually every transaction would be traceable.
    At least it would be more of a 'level playing field' if this were the case and it would be easier to compete with the rogue landlord element in the PRS.

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    • 04 May 2019 09:21 AM

    Got nothing to do with not paying taxes.
    Most rogue LL do.
    But there are millions of illegal tenancies out there.
    No CTL to DSS tenants
    No correct insurance when letting without CTL on a resi mortgage.
    Having tenancy AST longer than a year
    AirBnB etc etc.
    There is mass criminality in the PRS.
    Very few LL adhere to all relevant conditions.
    If they did millions would be homeless.
    Rogue is not defined by not paying tax.
    The vast majority of rogue LL pay tax they are just rogue for so many other reasons even to the point of using a credit card for business purposes despite CC conditions clearly stating not to be used for business purposes.
    But what LL do pales into insignificance compared to the average £9 billion in losses that tenants cause LL as exemplified by this OP experience with the trashed flat.
    I have had similar.
    Believe me if rent controls are ever introduced there will be even more rogue LL being paid market rent in cash over and above the controlled rent.
    It is simply not in the Govt's best interests that all LL comply with relevant conditions.
    If they did mass homelessness and bankruptcies of LL would occur causing a banking collapse and recession and another bank bailout.
    No wonder Govt wants rid of mortgaged LL!
    This is why few banks actually ever enforce their conditions.
    They don't want to know LL are breaching their mortgage conditions.
    If they did they would have to take action.
    They prefer to allow sleeping dogs to lie!


    Do you think that rogue landlords pay taxes, I very much doubt it?
    That is the whole point about being 'off the radar' so to speak.
    That is also the reason why they can undercut genuine landlords, so in my opinion it is everything to do with not paying taxes.


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