A caring landlord is frustrated by how his efforts to help a homeless woman have backfired.

Peter Rainsbury, who runs several property-related businesses in the area, is now waiting for a court to hear his application to evict the tenant from his boarding guesthouse (pictured) and adjacent motel in Basingstoke after dealing with her anti-social – and possibly criminal – behaviour for more than a year.

The tenant had initially been given emergency housing by Bracknell Forest Council at the property, but Peter agreed she could stay on, offering her a paid cleaning job as well as providing food and clothes.

However, in 2019, CCTV had captured her letting people into the empty boarding house and the property was raided by police. During subsequent raids in early 2020, she appeared to be involved in County Lines drugs activities.

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Peter provided rooms to keyworkers during lockdown but wasn’t able to offer them at all because of what was going on in her flat. She also became verbally abusive to his wife.

“If this had been going on during a normal working period rather than the lockdown, my business would have gone down the toilet as we had complaints about late-night gatherings in the car park,” Peter tells LandlordZONE.

Closure order

A solicitor advised him to get a closure order which he finally managed to do with the help of police in August 2020, which flushed out London drug dealers visiting the property, but people were still regularly turning up to buy drugs, believes Peter.

He once got so desperate that he even phoned 999 – but the police simply escorted people from the flat. Peter then resolved to evict his tenant after neither Bracknell or nearby Basingstoke Council would take responsibility for re-homing her.

Since serving both a Section 21 and Section 8 notice in October, his solicitor has unfortunately died and Peter has been waiting for a court date – he’s now using Landlord Action to help. He hopes the situation can soon be resolved but reckons the system is weighted in favour of tenants.

He adds: “Homeless people need somewhere to stay but if we’re helping take these people in, landlords need the power to be able to react immediately if they start ruining our business.”

Read more about closure orders.

10 COMMENTS

  1. He adds: “Homeless people need somewhere to stay but if we’re helping take these people in, landlords need the power to be able to react immediately if they start ruining our business.”

    Well, that’s not going to happen is it?

    And that’s part of the reason for so many people being homeless, whether on the streets, sleeping in their cars, or sofa surfing. I’ve taken in homeless people, all of them a bad experience, and won’t be doing it again. I’ll leave them to the council to home.

  2. The problem was easy to spot from the start – the guy took in emergency housing people from the Council.

    As an ex hotelier I never did it – but I would still get housing departments from other areas sneakily book and pay transport, food and room costs for some idiot to visit the area to see the kids he abandoned. Luckily, they were so useless they’d often not bother to turn up anyway.

    There is a reason some people are “unhousable” – and I’m afraid the Council are to blame for standing up for them no matter what — let the Councils house them !!

  3. I’ve had the same thing…. My advice is don’t rent to homeless until the government guarantees 4 week evictions.. It’s far to risky and can cause a big problem for the other tenants in a house. There is a reason why homeless people are homeless as I have found to the cost of £15k in damages and eviction costs…. Usually involving drink or drugs… Stay well clear unless you are running a hostel where the rules are different… But stay clear of your giving a 6 month tenancy it’s a nightmare. I ended up with depression as a result of trying to be nice. And the police and council weren’t interested.

  4. Just one of countless reasons the government is going to end up with a huge housing problem within the next few years. I’ve recently sold a couple of properties as the increased legislation, costs etc etc are making buy to let a waste of time.

  5. BAD TENANT SAGA.
    I’ve been letting my flat for twenty five years. At the outset in 1996, I was advised by an agent to “never be surprised by what people/tenants will do”. Generally, it’s gone well but…since June 2017, I’ve had a ‘difficult’ tenant experience with a previously homeless man. My agent installed the tenant. The agent is at fault for being very economical with the truth. I used the pre-tenant check form, NLA TA but much of the info therein was useless. I subsequently discovered by chance that the tenant had been homeless following a four year prison sentence as a category A prisoner. Binge drinking is the problem caused by or part of a previously undiagnosed psychiatric disorder. I have persisted with this person. We have gone thru unpaid rent, which has since been paid, plus unacceptable and threatening behaviour to others in the block of flats where he lives. There have been many visits by the police and fire brigade called out once. I have contacted his GP by email via the receptionists on many occasions. I’ve asked the GP to take notice of this person’s condition and detailed the problems. I’ve also tried prompting social services to act but unless the person in difficulty contacts them directly, apparently they cannot intervene. The tenant should be in sheltered housing as plainly he cannot look after himself. I don’t think ‘sheltered housing’ would be able to cope with him with his erratic behaviour. He has several physical injuries in excess of two to his head and in late 2019 was diagnosed with cancer. He is in his early sixties and is on disability benefit. He has alienated his entire family and hasn’t been allowed contact with his children in the past. The local authority don’t want to help and I discovered that he is known to them as ‘trouble’. I’ve insisted that the rent (much lower than it should be) is paid by local authority. I succeeded in instigating this change. Late last year, I contacted the offending agent (who had retired shortly after installing the tenant). I told him that I was about to evict the tenant, CV19 or not, because the tenant’s behaviour had become completely unacceptable. The agent intervened and wrote to the tenant suggesting that if he didn’t shape up he’d have to go. Subsequently, the tenant’s behaviour has improved, that is, as long as he remembers to behave properly as amnesia seems to be factor. In January 2020, he was hospitalised for six weeks. His alcohol dependancy was addressed but since cv19 and the ‘lockdowns’ he’s lapsed starting to binge drink again. On a good days, he keeps the flat clean and tidy. There have been breakages and he’s altered things without asking me which has subsequently caused problems. He’s broken terms of his TA with me on numerous times. I’ve pointed this out in writing. I’ve seriously considered taking a counselling course to help me cope with this tenant. I realise that this move would probably be futile but may help relieve my stress!
    Any helpful suggestions from you fellow landlords out there would be most welcome.

    • Moat people in this world are very nasty.
      Being a Good Samaritan is a mug’s game as you have discovered.

      It simply isn’t worthwhile dealing with the dross of society.

      Bet off not having anything to do with them.

      Eventually you’ll source a decent tenant.

      Forget having anything to do with Council dross.

      If you can’t source anything but dross then sell up and invest in areas where you can avoid the dross..

    • Katrina, it may sound like heresy, but try buying the tenant out of the agreement.
      This has worked twice for me now. In one case I initially offered the full deposit back, but that was refused. I then made a further offer of the deposit and one months rent, if he left by the end of the week. He took the bait and was outside the property on the Friday night. He signed a vacate notice/receipt for the refund of rent and deposit. Anything to get the cash. After a few weeks of repairs, clean up, new carpets and redecoration I had a new paying tenant. Happy days!
      The second case just cost me a deposit refund. I also agreed not to pursue either through the courts, if they accepted.
      I have also been to the courts twice in the past for other tenants. It was slow, painful, and expensive overall. Got the possession order and a judgement for the money in both cases. One fought the order and it ended with bailiffs. Both never paid the judgement. Worst of all was the time it all takes.
      Cash is worth a try. The tenant may just want to get out and break the spiral but cannot, as they have no money to leave with. Cash sounds expensive but can be cheaper. It certainly reduces your stress, and allows you to move forward with your life.

  6. Similar generosity did not serve me well either and the LL should always be on their guard. Such a generosity should be left for charities

  7. Landlords should not be charitable imho. As others have said, we are a business, not a registered charity. Leave it to charities as that is their area of expertise. There are no safe guards for Landlords to provide charity. What an earth was the landlord in the article thinking of pqying for clothing, food &:employing this woman? Next thing you know he’ll be in trouble for not sorting out a pension for her or for not having adequate safety standards in her place of work.
    It’s too risky to be charitable with no chance of any support from councils, police & government if needed.

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