Story of landlord couple Joy and Frederick Bibb reveals risks for landlords who rent to council tenants through a ‘bond’ scheme.

A landlord couple with a rental property in Suffolk are deciding whether to exit the market altogether after experiencing one of the worst cases of ‘dirty tenant’ behaviour ever seen by LandlordZONE.

Joy Bibb, 69, and her husband Frederick, 74, have properties in the North West and South West of England but have been so traumatised by their experiences in Great Yarmouth that they are considering pulling out of the market altogether.

The couple have owned the house in central area of the Norfolk seaside resort since 2002 and by 2011 were ready to sell the property as they approached retirement.

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But the local council’s Housing Options team persuaded Joy to include the property in its housing list and two tenants subsequently move in – a disabled woman and her carer son.

“They told us that they could put a nice family in there, and they would manage the property for us, our rent would be paid direct every four weeks, and they would liaise with the tenant and do regular checks on the property,” claims Joy.

“This was great because we had moved to Cornwall many miles from Great Yarmouth and therefore would not have to worry, or deal with problems, and Housing Options told me it was a ‘win, win’ situation.

But the reality of the situation soon began to unravel. Housing Options was not responsible for the property’s management and it denies this was ever said to Joy. After moving in the tenants began exhibiting extreme hoarding and ‘dirty living’ habits including using many parts of the property as a toilet and the rest of it as a rubbish dump.

“It was worse than anything you ever see on TV and we were left with the job of cleaning the property up – eventually we had to sell it for £60,000 under market value because it was such a mess,” says Joy.

She claims Housing Options weren’t interested once the horror of its interior was revealed.

“Also, the ‘guaranteed’ rental payments stopped before the tenants left, totalling £1,000 and we had problems getting payment off Housing Options,” she says.

It also transpired that the mother and son kept several dogs and nine cats, despite Joy being reassured that they didn’t have pets.

Joy says she has approached local council CEO Sheila Oxby, as well as several former and current housing ministers including Heather Wheeler and Esther McVey for help without success.

“We’ve lost nearly £70,000 in total which is a lot of money to lose at our age,” says Joy.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council told LandlordZONE:

“This property is privately-owned and was not (and is not) managed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

“The council has a number of schemes to help those in housing need to access housing in the private sector.

“One of them is a bond scheme which allows the landlord, if required, to claim up to the bond limit at the end of the tenancy towards eligible costs. In this case, the landlord claimed and was paid up to the bond limit.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds once again, like a council over promising, then under delivering and finally attempting to claim “we never promised anything/ not my problem guvnor”. This is systemic across the Private Landlord system when it comes to letting to social tenants.

  2. I will never join one of these schemes for this exact reason. The government can see what the tenant goes through but many time the tenant is in the wrong and the landlords have to fill out their hard earned money to clean they mess. Property rental is not worth the hassle anymore. With all these new legislation against landlords I’m considering selling mine.

  3. Yup we were contacted by a council housing organisation while looking for new tenants for our place. Were told exact same promises. Plus emotional blackmailing that these people really need our house and help. In the end we thought it too good to be true and didn’t go for it although they did touch my soft side. But f you’re soft in this business you’re gonna pay for it, and councils and tenants on benefits/”in need” at the time of renting seem to be most unscrupulous unfortunately

  4. That is exactly why I will not involve myself with anything to do with councils or government schemes. They are bad to the bone and only interested in clearing their responsibilities onto some other poor sap. Tenant history is crucial credit referencing and actually talking to the people yourself is the only way to rent properties. If they do not pass the credit referencing allowing me to have rent guarantee insurance then its end of story.

  5. We let our house to a housing association (HA) in the portsmouth area in 1995/6 whilst I was on an overseas posting for two years. When we came home a couple of months early, the tenants did a ‘moonlight flit’ without telling anyone. Two days later – a cold January night, the gas prepayment meter ran out, causing the CH system to shut down. The rising mains into the loft subsequently froze, ruptured and water ran for several hours overnight before the neighbour reported it. Long story short, the Housing Association didn’t send anyone around to sort it out, or even install a dehumidifier etc. for 6 (yes six) weeks!!! we lost several ceilings and three walls had to be replastered. The stairs were never the same again and we had to stay in rented accom for a further 3 months until the repairs were dealt with. Never again! We later found out that one of the tenants had sub-let to a bin man who was living in the loft for two months – the loft wasn’t even insulated and only partially boarded for storage. The HA never visited once in the two years they took it on for. Be warned people!

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