A landlord who houses homeless people in serviced accommodation is having to foot the bill to evict a difficult tenant after the council stopped paying his rent.

Duncan Belton provides about 70 units – nearly half to local authorities across six different council areas – housing tenants including those fleeing domestic violence and newly released from prison.

Councils pay him a daily rate while they look for a more permanent place for the ‘guests’, who don’t have tenancy agreements.

One tenant, who has mental health issues and is prone to violence, is living in a property he operates in Aycliffe Village, County Durham (pictured).

After the ‘guest’ refused to accept any of the properties Durham County Council offered him, it stopped paying his bill last November and has now asked the landlord to remove him. Belton has lost about £7,000 in rent and is annoyed to have been given the task.


“He’s basically squatting so I’ve had to get Landlord Action to start eviction proceedings – but why is it up to me to get him out?” Belton tells LandlordZONE. “The council have at least said they’ll provide evidence in court, but I’m hoping they’ll pay my costs.”

Lynn Hall, Durham County Council’s housing solutions manager, tells LandlordZONE that as it doesn’t own the property and is “not party to any implied agreements made directly between the landlord and the occupant”, it can’t take legal action.

She says: “However, we are in contact with the accommodation provider and have offered our support with any reasonable court costs associated with their own enforcement action.”

Read more: how to handle the evictions process.

The difficult tenant has tracked Belton down on Facebook and messaged him, asking to meet using menacing language.

However, he’s used to dealing with the more colourful side of life; last weekend, the police were called out to another tenant in the block, which resulted in a scuffle and arrest.

Belton adds: “It can be challenging and properties often get left in a state. I know this particular tenant is now damaging the walls, but it doesn’t put me off.”


  1. Ignore the type of tenant.

    This landlord has lost £7,000 in rent over 4 months for ONE PERSON.

    He’s doing rather well at £1,750 per month for 1 person in serviced accommodation.

    That nice earner comes at a cost, which he’s now paying.

    He needs to deal with the situation he signed up for.

  2. Fully agree he got his just desserts, quite glad he got his fingers burnt getting involved with such ‘clientele’.

    As well as losing rent he has to factor in repairs to trashed property and huge legal fees, councils are too skint to waste our money on this sort of stuff.

    Maybe he should focus on helping house the genuine hardworking people who live within the law and contribute!

  3. The landlord didn’t deserve to have this hassle. The council agreed to pay a high rent but that was an agreed amount & does not mean the landlord deserves to have a tenant live there without paying rent from now on. Some people have very strange ethics.
    Any landlord who deals with either the councils & / or those who aren’t capable of paying their way, is taking huge risks though & less & less landlords will be less willing to have vulnerable tenants in future.

    I wonder where the tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees will live over the coming months?

    • Certainly no LL will.
      These are not refugees.
      As soon as they leave the first safe country they become illegal economic migrants.

      The UK has suffered 5 million EU migrants who are staying in the UK.

      Therefore those EU have population shortages as they are all over here.

      Therefore more than enough room for about 5 million refugees.

      Even Russians are escaping the evil Russian regime.

    • I couldn’t believe it when I read it yesterday…………

      Someone local to me has announced she’s got 2 spare bedrooms, a spare lounge and a mezzanine area she is offering to the Council for Ukrainians.

      We all want the best for Ukraine and its people (and the Russian people too) BUT this woman is totally clueless as to what may happen in her home.

      It’s great that she wants to help (though strangely won’t help our own homeless) but the potential for hassle is huge – and will our Local Authority jump in to help her? we know that answer.

  4. The eviction process in the UK is a disgrace.
    As a bare minimum LL should be able to remove any sort of feckless rent defaulting tenant for whatever reason 45 days after 1st rent default.

    No County Court action required.
    Police assistance if necessary to prevent a breach of the peace and to assist LL in removing miscreant tenant if tenant refuses to leave at the behest of the LL.

    If tenant pays with cleared funds on 45th day then no eviction allowed..

    • Do you suggest a LL should just turn up to evict on day 45 then? The Police certainly have better things to do (they’re not doing so but that’s a different issue lol)

      LLs would have to turn up with a locksmith and “eviction personnel” – which costs money.

      Then the Tenant pays that day – what about the cost incurred by the LL?

      Then Tenant fails to pay for 45 days and repeat.

      Thankfully, I’ve never had to go down the route but AS LONG AS courts process the case within 28 days of submission then S8 is OK – it’s the legal timeframe that’s the issue.


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