An ‘accidental landlord’ who spent years coping with terrible tenants that turned his property into a scrap metal yard is quietly celebrating their imminent eviction.

The landlord – who doesn’t want to be named for fear of retaliation – inherited a three-bedroom house in Slough from his father-in-law six years ago (pictured).

But he’s now thousands of pounds out of pocket and has vowed never to take DSS tenants again after the traveler family of six piled up at least 20 cars in the garden, where they also housed people in a caravan and refused to pay rent for years.

“They are very abusive – I was scared to speak to them and terrified about serving the eviction notice,” he tells LandlordZONE.

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His tenants were supposed to pay one-third of the £1,300 rent while Housing Benefit covered the rest.

But, despite alerting Slough Borough Council to the problem years ago, it has felt like fighting a losing battle, he explains.

“The council said this family had a license for their business issued from another council, which surprised me, so I even wrote to my MP.

Section 21

He finally served a section 21 in January before the pandemic struck, only to receive a letter from Slough Council housing team saying they were going to prosecute him.

“They said I’d done the section 21 wrong, but then their enforcement team said I was doing the right thing – I was basically getting conflicting advice from different departments.”

After forking out for a solicitor and finally getting the council to understand the situation, he feels frustrated that the possession process has taken so long.

But with the help of Landlord Action, he’s finally about to serve the bailiff application and, after losing his job earlier in the pandemic, plans to move into the house with his family and rent out his one-bed flat.

Any new tenants will be carefully vetted, he adds: “I’ve always tried to do the right thing, but this experience has been so stressful that it’s taken its toll on my health. I’ve had to learn about being a landlord the hard way and won’t ever take housing benefit tenants again.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think this guy was an “accidental” landlord.
    I think he was an “amateur” landlord.

    I don’t see how anyone can “accidentally” allow an occupant into their property and then start taking rent from them.
    He should have sold the house immediately, if he didn’t want to live there.

    It’s a misleading title from Landlordzone, as it appears these tenants weren’t standard benefits tenants, but Travellers. How much due diligence and vetting did this landlord actually do?

    • He may have been an amateur LL but the law should still be on his side and this should not be allowed to happen. Once again the minority spoiling it for the many decent tenants out there !

      • I agree the law should be more sensible in these types of cases. Interesting that this guy is now planning to let out his one bedroom flat, instead of just sell it. So it seems he hasn’t been completely put off being a landlord.

    • What? You support this kind of exploitation of an innocent man? The fact that the law allows crooks like this to stay in a property for years, proves how badly landlords need a fair shake.

      • No. I think the law should back the landlord more in these situations.
        However, the fact is that this guy was probably not suited to becoming a landlord. Just as I’m not suited to becoming a barber, because I don’t know how to cut hair.
        Not many amateur landlords are actually accidental landlords. Except those that inherit properties with tenants in place etc.

    • Or just sell as it is.
      If someone is not suited to being a landlord, chances are they are not suited to property development either.
      Unless you can renovate a property cheaper than other people, then you won’t make money by renovation.

  2. I had a similar experience when a girl with baby who i rented one room . Was a nightmare boyfriend other tenants slowly left were girls.
    Emptied house stopped hosing benefit. I ended up losing 1k per month.12 months.section 8 .
    Judge did nothing.
    she wouldn’t let me in and when I went there i got arrested.
    No on else would move in.
    Lost 12k rent rooms kicked in trashed. Never took female housing benefits again.

    • I can totally agree.
      We own HMOs and we only let single men over 25 move in (as our lodgers, because each HMO has a family member as main resident).

      We never let to women for exactly that reason – nightmare boyfriends. These boyfriends hang around because the council won’t help them.
      The girl with the baby will get a council flat if she wants, so why is she even looking for a room to rent? Red flag.

      Plus letting a girl move into a house full of men is a legal case waiting to happen. If there were any allegations made, chances are the council would try and blame the landlord somehow. Probably would say we hadn’t vetted the men thoroughly enough or something like that.
      We have more assets than our lodgers, so the lawyers would always come for us.
      Just not worth it.

  3. This a bit misleading information. IT has nothing to do with HBen. YOu should not blame it on HB. THe problem is entirely yours and accept it. I have HB tenants and no problems . Sorry blame yourself.

    • Housing benefit tenants are fine IF the landlord has the knowledge and experience.
      The problems arise when amateur landlords get involved in a very high risk area.

  4. I think there are a lot of smug comments here. Tenants who defraud you are good at it and provide fraudulent references, etc. Often buy lots of stuff mail order and never pay for anything on credit.I calll it shoplifting at home !

    • Any business can be at risk of fraud or other crime.
      But the article makes clear that this landlord was an inexperienced amateur (“accidental” landlord).

      He inherited the property anyway, so it’s not like he was building up a business through hard work. He just happened to benefit from an “accidental” wealth transfer. He could have sold the house immediately, but instead tried to make even more unearned income from the state.

      This is often what happens when people don’t work to get into a certain position. They get handed the assets on a plate, but lack the experience and expertise required.

  5. Property is not for the faint hearted.
    I once found a dead body in a property I went to view.
    It was years ago, but I still remember it now.
    The guy was a heroin addict. He had one of those elastic bungees wrapped around his arm. The arm had turned black as the bungee was so tight.

    I didn’t recognize him at the time, but it turned out he was the older brother of a boy I was in school with.

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