Have you run into a rotten resident?
When rental goes wrong, the fallout can be spectacular. We round up some of the scariest stories of nightmare tenants, and offer a few tips for avoiding them.
The home wreckers
As a landlord, it’s always nerve-wracking handing over the keys and hoping that your tenants take good care of your property. In some cases, the havoc wreaked on a house can be eye-popping.
Landlord Glenn Schofield was in for a shocker when he returned to his picturesque four-bedroom house after evicting his tenants. Paint-splashed walls, a toilet not worth mentioning, ripped out kitchen fittings and broken bannisters were all that was left of the property.
The damage was so bad that it was treated as a case of criminal damage by the police.
Some tenants ignore the ‘no pets’ clause in their contract, and try their luck with a dog or a cat in their rental house. But some have taken it to a whole different level, stuffing the property with an ark-worthy bunch of animals, from squirrels to tortoises.
In one of the worst cases in Hull in 2010, a house full of badly-treated animals landed a mother and daughter in court. Over 50 cats and dogs were found in the council house, including a grey squirrel caged in the loft!
RSPCA officers took the animals away from the home of nightmare tenant Kindred Hummer, with Miss Hummer and her daughter later pleading guilty to charges relating to animal cruelty.
The cannabis cultivators
A chocolate box cottage in Devon was used by tenants as a handy site for growing cannabis, to the dismay of the landlords who had left the country to work for a Christian charity in Jerusalem.
The landlords returned to the country to check up on the tenants when they stopped paying rent, but found that the tenants had boarded up the house and wouldn’t let them in.
When the couple eventually got them evicted, they discovered the property had been stripped of furniture and fittings and was severely damaged by high heat and humidity caused by the secret grow operation.
The landlords’ insurer refused to pay out, because their insurance policy didn’t cover malicious damage by tenants, leaving them sky high with repair bills. Make sure you equip yourself with the right cover with our range of landlord policies.
Avoiding nightmare tenants
It’s impossible to predict how your tenants will turn out, so be extra scrupulous to lower the chances of something going wrong. Prior to letting out your property, try to ensure that you -
Carry out proper checks before your tenants move in, including references from former landlords.
Consider contracting a good managing agent to look after your property and keep an eye on your tenants, especially if you’re going to be out of the country.
Read the small print so that you know what is and isn’t covered, and ask about adding malicious damage cover if you’re concerned.
Finally, ensure that you have a landlord insurance policy in place. There are important differences between a standard home insurance policy and one that’s specific to landlords.