Apparently I’m Responsible For The Broken Communal Garden Fence

Before diving into the core issue, the landlord’s responsibility to repair and maintain garden fences, an issue which I’m sure you’re helplessly excited about, let me tell you where my miserable little life is at right now (although, feel free to skip the intro if you couldn’t give a crap, because it really has nothing to do with anything other than my dwindling spirit!)…

I’m currently on a flight from the deepest and darkest depths of hell.

It’s freakin’ happened again.

In a blog post I wrote last year, which was about my tenants’ getting divorced, I briefly mentioned how I was uncomfortably writing my post during a flight home from Bucharest, while being physically squashed alive by two rather hefty neighbouring individuals that were sat on the right and left of me.

To cut a long story short, they were both spilling into my designated seating area, which meant I had to retract all my limbs deep into their sockets and restrict myself to very limited movements to accommodate their ‘snug’ fit.

While I didn’t say it out loud, I think my point was that I was the real victim of bad fortune, not my divorcing tenants’. They’ll move on, probably with the help of Tinder. I, on the other hand, scarred for life- you don’t just walk away from being squashed alive by human-blubber without physical and psychological battle wounds. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t an app to help with that kind of rehabilitation.

Some of you may remember the massacre. If not, don’t worry, I’m re-living the mutilation…

Short of torpedoing into the Atlantic, I didn’t think it could get any worse as far as a flight was concerned. I was wrong.

On this particular ‘full’ flight I’m currently enduring, I’ve been lumbered next to a guy that’s not only unapologetically consuming my allocated space, but he’s also harbouring some pretty concerning hygiene issues. If I had to describe this guy, sitting to the right of me (not the guy on the left, he’s fine), in 3 words, I’d have to go with “human gas chamber.” He’s releasing thick, congealed waves of body-heat, which every inch of my exposed flesh can feel; he genuinely smells like beef stew; he’s profusely wiping sweat off his face with tissues, like he’s soaking up the final remains of a delicious soup with bread; and he has rolled up balls of off-white tissue in his ears.

Seriously, fucking gross! I feel physically sick. What a foul creation.

The silver-living here is that I’ll be vomiting my guts out later and I’ve probably lost my appetite for the next week, so I may lose a few pounds of body fat! What hurt the most though, is that when I updated my Facebook status (something I rarely do) before take-off, to inform my loved-ones of my life-threatening dilemma, it managed to produce a staggering amount of ‘likes’.

Now, life-threatening dilemma aside, this coincidentally leads me onto another recent experience with another type of unpleasant neighbour. Mind you, it’s not a particularly gripping story, but right now I’m prepared to write any ol’ shit just to distract myself from my reality!

Folks, quick quiz…

Question: what’s more inconvenient than your tenant contacting you to report a problem you couldn’t give a shit about?

Answer: Nothing!

Well, that’s the obvious answer, and what I wholeheartedly believed up until last week, when my tenant’s neighbour’s landlord (you with me? Read it again!) contacted me.

Updated answer: your tenant’s neighbour’s landlord contacting you to report a problem you couldn’t give a shit about.

The broken garden fence

So last week I received a noticeably snotty text message from my tenant’s neighbour’s landlord, informing me that one of the supporting garden fence posts, which helps divide our land, has disintegrated into a toothpick and was on the verge of toppling over. He then smugly pointed out that the ownership ‘title deeds’ indicated that the fence was with in my boundaries, so basically it was solely my responsibility to repair, and I should get a move on.

There was an air of pleasure and obnoxiousness about the way he worded his message. Or maybe I was just so devastated by the news that everything suddenly looked dull.

Anyways, OK, cool, it’s my fence. Don’t touch it. Ever. Not even from your side of the garden. I’ll rip your fucking fat-sausage digits off if you do.

TRY AND TEXT ME THEN!

In all seriousness, his text came across like he was forcefully telling me to fix it, almost like I would put up a fight, or completely neglect the problem. Typical asshole landlord. I mean that, too.

Bear in mind, this was the first time I had ever interacted with the guy, so he could have just been, well, courteous and well-mannered.

Annoyingly, I think my tenant gave him my number. I’ll rip her stupid fingers out of her sockets too, just for throwing me into the lion’s den. What a snitch.

I’m overreacting, aren’t I? Probably.

Don’t worry, it’s all part of the show, I’m cool.

Garden fences I can deal with, they’re relevantly easy and cheap to repair, no biggie. Now, dealing with faulty boilers, on the other hand, that’s when you’ll find me snotty-nosed and teary-eyed. Many of you will know that I had to replace two last year, and consequently I’m still on a cost-effective pot-noodle diet so I can recover the losses. Jesus Christ, they taste like dog-shit, don’t they? Ironically, I’m pretty sure there’s more nutritional value in dog-shit.

So, anyways, broken fence post. Right. I’m on it.

Options available to fix the rotten post

After receiving a couple of quotes, some being more ludicrous than others (they must have been wrongfully quoting to build a 440ft brickwall), I gave the nod to a reasonably-priced landscaper to replace the post the following week, so the division between the North and South could stand strong once again. The ordeal set me back a manageable £120. I suppose it could have been worse, £121.

Now, if you happen to be in this precise predicament, be careful, because the usual ‘rules of life’ will apply- be wary of scheming little pillocks. Yes, remarkably even when it comes to a £120 garden fence post.

Here are a few things I learned along the way, which you may want to take note of…

  • Depending on the type of fence you have, some people will claim that you need to replace not only the post, but the entire row (or at least a large portion of it, including some panels). Usually, you don’t. That’s the expensive option. The damaged post alone can be replaced with the help of some metal brackets. It is a considerably cheaper option, but the metal brackets can look slightly odd. However, they can be painted over to blend in with the fence, or strategically masked with nature/wildlife.
  • I received a £200 quote for the damaged post to be “fixed”, not replaced. I have no idea how or why anyone would fix a rotting post that genuinely looked beyond repair, but needless to say, he never heard from me again. I didn’t even bother asking him how much it would cost to actually do a proper job and replace the post.

Who’s responsible for fixing communal fences?

I’ve blogged about some pretty excruciatingly boring drivel in my time, but “ownership of fences” has got to be the clear cut winner on the ‘boring shit’ scales. I may as well be blogging about Brussels-sprouts. I think that’s why I splashed so much ‘colour’ into this post, just to give it some life, albeit, understandably unbearable for many of you. Sorry!

On a sidenote, here’s an interesting fact, although probably not utterly surprising- the unsubscribe rate for my landlord newsletter literally rockets to the Moon when I’m [subjectively] overly blasphemous. People literally evacuate like they’re on the Titanic. I’ve probably already passed the tolerable quota level (I’ve said “shit” five or so times times), so this post is probably going to sink my subscribership.

That said, I’ve probably decided to publish this post during a very appropriate time (even though it wasn’t intentional), as I’m sure many landlords were at the receiving end of unwanted phonecalls earlier this week, from their tenants/agents after ‘storm Katie’ through a hissy-fit over the Bank Holiday weekend. Annoying.

Anyways, back to the riveting issue of garden fence maintenance and ownership…

I’ve heard many people say that you generally own the fence on the left. Yeah, that’s not true. Usually the plans in the title deeds will show you the boundaries of your property, usually highlighted in red.

Title Deeds Garden Fence

The ‘T’ symbol indicates who is responsible for each wall, fence or boundary. The deed may also explicitly state in words what the boundaries are, and who owns what wall/fence.

If you don’t have a copy of your deeds, you can usually get a copy from the Land Registry for £3 by doing the following:

  • 1) Start from this link: https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry
  • 2) after the “start” button, enter address of property and select “search”
  • 3) from “Find a property map enquiry” scroll down to below map and select “information available” next to relevant property
  • 4) scroll to underneath map again and tick “title plan” (which is £3)

Not sure who owns the fence?

Garden Fence Ownership

I’m pretty sure there have been buckets of blood shed over fence ownership disputes. I suppose it’s as good an excuse as any to kick the living shit out of someone. I’ve seen fully grown men go to blows over a two-timing skank that looked like a bag of hemorrhoids. Apparently people will literally fight over anything. But not me, I’m a lover.

Sometimes you will see a ‘T symbol on both sides of the boundary line on the deeds, which means both neighbours are responsible for the fence/wall. If the deeds don’t make it abundantly obvious who’s responsible for the fence, that could also signify it’s a “party” fence- jointly owned by both home-owners. That’s cute, right? You both get to chip in for the repairs and then part-take in a celebratory high-five afterwards. It’s a win/win.

I’ve also heard that you can call the Land Registry and they will tell you over the phone who is responsible for which side.

In most cases, if neither party can find a definitive answer, everyone is happy to split the cost.

Do you have to repair a broken fence/post?

Depends, I guess.

As a landlord, if you sold your property to your prospective tenants with a fully functioning fence in good condition, then it is your responsibility to repair and maintain it. Obviously that’s where I screwed up, I should have provided broken fences from day one! Lesson learned.

If the tenant caused the damage (which maybe exceptionally hard to prove since “weather” is always an easy scapegoat), then ultimately they’ll be responsible for the repairs.

According to this article by In-Brief (their slogan: “helping with life’s legal issues”), as a homeowner, unless the deeds contain a provision requiring you to maintain the boundaries (which I’ve read is rather uncommon), there is generally no legal responsibility on the owner of the boundary to keep it in good repair. Who knew?

For more riveting information on ownership of fences, particularly if you’re in the middle of a ridiculous full-blown dispute, I recommend checking out the In-Brief article and/or the Garden Law website (yes, remarkable, there is an entire website dedicated to ‘garden law’, which truly is a barrel of laughs– and fair warning, the website looks wholly as terrible as it sounds).

Right, so have you had anyone other than your tenant, abruptly/smugly inform you of your responsibilities? Have you had any fascinating fencing disputes? Have you ever sat next to a complete hideous disaster with piss-stained pieces of tissues stuffed in their ears? Tell me about it!

Quick flight update: as I’m approaching the end of my blog post, the guy has stopped perspiring so is no longer soaking his sweat up. At least that was a temporary ordeal, unlike the smell of beef-stew, which is miraculously growing in density and potency. Absolutely repulsive.

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64 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 14 - 64 comments (out of 64)
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Mr White 31st March, 2016 @ 09:13

I am relatively new as well. [2 years]

I was briefly a landlord of a property in Chafford Hundred just before the 2008 crash. Needless to say, these experiences, though short generally meant every word that left my wispering lips were swear words.

Your blog is both heart warming and accurately detailed with helpful advice. A reassuring tool for me to have.

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Barrie James 31st March, 2016 @ 10:11

Great blog and so accurate, been a landlord since 2009 but have now sold 60% of my stock and lost heart with the game generally, and cannot really face providing a property FOC any longer when the tax grabs take hold!! So it's onto a different type of investing, still in property, still hard work, just no tenant risk

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monabri 31st March, 2016 @ 11:26

Most annoying things about fences? When I pay for one I have to put up with the crappy side which shows all the posts while my neighbour gets the nice side.

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Cardifflandlord 31st March, 2016 @ 11:37

This made me chuckle.

Firstly WTF are you sat in cow class and not upfront sipping mimosa's and eating fois gras, raising your tenants rents appropriately to cover the additional cost. Come on man, your letting the industry down!

Secondly you'd be eating even more Pot Noodles if you hadn't told the plumbers who installed your new boilers to f*** off and shove it up their arse with their first quote after I told you to grow a pair lol.

I was on a flight recently when the poor chap in front of me (yes ok, I was in cow class too but it was Lufthansa and wasn't that bad)had a seizure and a couple of us had to try to catch the attention of the cabin crew who were taking the piss out of the passengers in the rear galley. Waving and shouting "achtung achtung, gott in himmel" didn't seem to motivate them as seeing a man haphazardly moving and bouncing up and down in his seat seemed perfectly normal to them.......anyway he was fine and my point is that he didn't smell of stew so I think you were very unlucky buddy. Actually, I did manage to have an arguement in the business class cabin of a Virgin jet on my way to San Francisco a few years ago with an obnoxious Yank who insulted my wife and the cabin crew. It got very heated (people were taking off their noise cancelling headphones because the entertainment was better than the inflight movie) and even the Yanks wife kept her head down because he was being such a T**t. I finally told him that if he didn't apologise to my wife and the female cabin crew I would punch his lights out, to which the gathered cabin crew added "and after he does that we will place you in handcuffs and truss you up like the pig you are". It was great.

Anyway, I agree with Barrie, sick of being stiffed by the Government and soon the Bank of England who seem to have no idea of the forthcoming crisis when landlords leave the industry. I am selling some of my properties because it's no longer going to be worth the hassle.

Nige, British Gas Homecare (yeah right) once 'serviced' one of my boilers and failed to reseat the combustion box properly ensuring a good supply of CO into the property. My gas fitter was back like a shot when he came round to do the safety cert and asked if I had been doing some DIY? When we went back into the property we asked the, admittedly rather dim tenants, if they had been feeling unwell to which they replied in the affirmative. How long have you been feeling crappy we asked - about 3 months!! I asked them if the CO alarm had been going off and they replied "yes but we removed the batteries because we thought it was broken"........

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Nige 31st March, 2016 @ 11:42

I see other landlords say they are pulling out. Ive sold 5 out of my 7 and every other landlord I know is also pulling out.
Not one of my sold houses went back on rent.
Im just 'evicting' another to sell and
a/ they can't afford the rent in the private sector
b/ cant get a property because of CCJ's or bad credit history
c/ haven't worked on at least 11 years... lazy
d/ get more benefit was one child with a ficticious illness than an old age pensioner gets in pension.
e/ only pay 15% of the council tax yet a pensioner pays full rate.
f/ have always driven a car.

Just where did I go wrong !!!

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Cardifflandlord 31st March, 2016 @ 11:46

Re cats: My Mum once bought this model cat thingy from Lakeland or similar that had these great big green beady eyes that was supposed to "flash in the sun and cause the cats to become frightened and leave the garden".

Total bollocks - the little furry four legged wasters loved it and came from miles around to see this strange old lady shouting shoo at them. They use to sit next to it and when she looked out of the kitchen window at them, piss on it and then walk off with tail high!

The grass was like a kitty version of minefield and it was worse after she installed the bloody deterrent than before hand.

My Dad on the otherhand in the 60's used to sit in the garage with a length of copper tube and some glass marbles and try to scare them off by firing these projectiles at them. The cats got wise and used to sit on the fence just out of range (which actually was quite impressive), wait till he was reloading and then run like hell across the lawn to then sit on another fence again just out of range. Unfortunately he could not keep this up 24hrs a day and they just came back and shat on the lawn during the night.

You can get some ultrasonic cat scarers that work quite well.

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Nige 31st March, 2016 @ 11:55

@ cardifflandlord

And have you noticed that the British Gas advert says 9 out of 10 boilers attended to on same day. IT DOESN'T SAY FIXED so tenants whinge when theirs needs parts that have to be ordered.

In all my letting history..13 properties at one time I have never taken a property back with working smoke alarms. They are either missing , broken or no batteries.

And now a funny story to brighten up the day. My daughter bought a fire damaged ex council house. The other 2 in the block were still council.
To get the insurance money he set 3 ...yes 3 fires in different places. Obviously done to show it was an accidental fire !!
The council had an alarm fitted which ran to the other 2 properties as well !! So pandemonium.
Walls were black as the ace of spades but no structural damage at all.

The guy now resides as Her Majesty's pleasure .

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Kevin Day 31st March, 2016 @ 12:26

KATY, if it isn't on your deeds you may find it is on your neighbours, I have a house with no T marks and had a neighbour claim a boundary was his (as on his deeds it has nothing written and he assumed it was his). However, on my deeds it has all the boundaries I own (I.E. on my land) or are a shared boundary that both sides would have to pay 50/50.

Thanks,

Kevin

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Sue 31st March, 2016 @ 13:40

Keep up the great posts! It makes this landlording life less odious and relieves stress ( you give me reason to live). :)

Well; we are currently selling our rental home to a lovely family that will be living there. One more less rental out there now I guess.

We just had enough with the recent repairs to tenant damages ( from tenants who were quite demanding during their term). It's a very difficult life being a landlord.
Your sense of humor and amusing way of dealing with the stress is a real strength in this game.

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Isobel 31st March, 2016 @ 13:52

I'm on the other side of the fence, so to speak. I am, I like to think, a responsible tenant, one who has turned the derelict wasteland that is my garden into a lovely, flower and veg filled little space, and done some construction to boot. All my own time and money, and I told my landlady I wanted to do it when I moved in.
My neighbour's fence has been wobbling for months, and the last few weeks (especially Easter) have seen it now teetering perilously over my blooming garden, about to collapse and do serious damage. Despite me, and the landlady, asking her to fix it, she wont. She isn't bothered and clearly feels that, because it's 'only' rented, it doesn't matter. Mind you, she also tried to get the LL to pay for the damage her leaking hall radiator did, saying the leak was obviously coming from the mains water entering through my property. It took 3 visits from Thames Water to prove this was not the case. I suspect my neighbour thinks that a) I don't care about the place I live in, and b) my LL is a wealthy land-owner who can afford to shell out whenever it is demanded of her.
So, LL has to go through a load of hassle, or just fix the fence. Or, I can sit here and just let the fence damage my lovely garden, as well as pay my not inconsiderable rent.
Do you have any advice?

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Nige 31st March, 2016 @ 14:34

There is a difference between teetering and actually doing damage.
I think as far as the legal definition of fence it is a boundary. Farmers will put an electric wire or barbed wire after ripping out a hedge.
When I bought my house years ago it had 2 strands of wire between concrete posts. I have a feeling that the neighbour could remove the fence altogether and stick a 2 wire fence down. There would be nothing you could do about it as the fence isn't in your tenancy.
Or you could wait until they are out one night when it is windy and give it a nudge.

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BSM 31st March, 2016 @ 19:32

I love your profanities!

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 22:54

Thanks for all the comments, folks. As always, it's very much appreciated.

But oh man, did I receive some disgruntled emails off the back of this post. Someone told me to get a real job (I think he was implying blogging was my job, odd!), and someone told me to learn proper English :/

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:03

@Zazie
Ahh yeah, the concrete spurs will give extra support- usually applied when there's a weakness at the bottom of the post, typically due to rot.

In my case, the entire post was pretty much damaged, so concrete spurs would have been futile.

I know that feeling entirely- when I see a tenant calling on my phone I literally suffer from multiple anxiety attacks! Every landlord knows that when a tenant calls they're bearing bad news- they have no other reason to make contact.

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:31

@Gareth
I don't think it needs to be like-for-like in regards to "material"

As Nige said in comment #24, and what I also believe, is that the purpose of a fence is to define boundaries. I read on the Garden Law website that a Judge defined a hedge a form of a fence.

But more importantly, as a tenant, I think I'd be pretty annoyed about it, and it does make the property rather undesirable, especially for tenants that enjoy their garden, so it could affect future lets. You could end up limiting your market.

I think they'd be less of an issue if you went from a brick ball to a wooden fence. In that case, I'm confident that would be fine. It's going from a solid fence to a transparent one that makes it controversial.

I don't know the definitive answer unfortunately. I wonder if anyone else does.

But my opinion is that the material isn't the issue, it doesn't need to be like-for-like, but you should ensure the replacement provides the same "functions" (e.g. same level of privacy and boundary control), if only out of fairness. In terms of legal obligations, if going by the rule that a fence is just to define boundaries, I suppose you could replace a wooden fence with a mesh wire. But a tenant could argue that thier level of security/privacy has been compromised.

Every blog I write is riddled with grammatical errors. However, as you accurately suspected, this one is probably more so, because I was practically sedated by beef-strew fumes.

In any case, don't by shy, if you point them out I'll be more than happy to correct them :)

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:35

@Ken
Ha, agreed!

Thanks Ken. Hopefully I'm not permanently damaged. But I know it will be a long road to recovery.

I can still smell the beef-stew (genuinely) and I keep getting vivid flashbacks of those tissue-balls covered in earwax!!

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:39

@Brendan
Yesss, been there! So been there!

One of my tenants from 2 years ago racked up debt with literally every utility service provider possible, and my current tenants are STILL getting debt recovery letters through!

I think there were like 6-8 different debt-recovery agencies chasing him at one point.

Thank God utility bills are associated with the person, and not the property/landlord.

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:51

@Cerith
Thanks Cerith, appreciate it.

Yeah, George Osbourne is really squeezing the crap out of us with his poncey little budget proposals. It's pretty horrendous.

My plan is also just to sit tight and clear as much mortgage debt as possible, as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, landlords are always at risk from death by stress! I'm surprised I've made it this far.

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Jenna 31st March, 2016 @ 23:51

A fence post eh...ha my fence is great...my roof on the other hand...not sure how much longer my shaling tiles will hold out. 😢😢😢
Onwards and upwards though (literally with regards my roof 😉)

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The Landlord 31st March, 2016 @ 23:54

@Mandy!!!!

As always, you bring wisdom and knowledge to the table. I've updated my post as per your instructions to getting the £3 title plans. Many thanks for that.

I didn't know you worked for LR. You really are a snake in the grass!

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:10

@Steven

People truly baffle me. I can't believe your tenant's neighbour behaved like that. That's genuinely what's wrong with the world, unreasonable people like that.

I'd be interested to know on what grounds he would have taken legal action against you. What a knob!

Your current situation sounds like a right pickle. From what I understand, just because you repaired the fence once, it doesn't mean it's your responsibility forever if you're not legally responsible for it.

As a leaseholder, you should still have title plans. Is there nothing in there regarding the fences/boundaries?

If not, I would actually talk to the leaseholders and see if they want to chip in.

I'd be very reluctant to fix both fences without being certain it was my responsibility! I doubt you're legally responsible for both sides (although that could be the case).

Thanks for your comments, Steve! Keep me informed with any progress...

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:18

@Val
Hah, I think we're all old enough to know better, but some times you gotta' [legally] break free from conformity... and go with it.

While I'm amused by your shitty-nappy story, and thoroughly pleased you shared it, I'm also utterly mortified. Who the hell would do that in a cafeteria? I would have projectile vomited square in the mother's face.

Thanks Val!!

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:29

@Nige
I'm so bitter about my boiler tragedies that it's always on my mind!! They're the bane of my landlord life! I gotta vent about them at every given opportunity.

Sounds like you've had a freaking nightmare!!

I'm actually surprised the council called you up! How did they even know the boiler was broken?

That sounds extremely dodgy that something was physically ripped off the boiler and then rendered unrepairable. I would be screwing.

Section 21 ASAP, Nige?

Out of curiosity, which boiler did you go for? Since I replaced two last year, I'm always interested to know which ones landlords choose.

God, I'm getting depressingly boring. I'm genuinely interested by boiler choices.

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:32

@Mr White
Haha, at one point or another, swearing becomes synonymous with every landlord!

Thanks for your comment Mr White, appreciate it.

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:39

@Barrie
I'm so with you.

Not sure if you read it, but I wrote a blog post several months ago, back in July 2015, where I said, "the thought of buying another BTL makes me feel physically sick", for pretty much the same reasons.

While I think BTL is still a great way to invest money and build a secure future (I wouldn't discourage anyone from doing it), I don't plan on buying anymore BTLs for the foreseeable future (not unless a deal of a lifetime swings by, which it won't).

So I'm also looking to invest in other areas which don't come attached with tenants!

Thanks for the comment, B!

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 00:42

@monabri
Haha, totally agree!

It's also annoying when you put a new fence up on the side you're responsible for, but on the other side, your neighbour's one looks like crap! It just looks weird.

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 01:07

@Cardifflandlord
I'm pleased my misery was your joy. I should have known you would have got off on it!

The only available flight from Stansted (my closest airport by far) to my destination was Ryanair and they only offer cow-class!

The only other option would have been to drive 2 hours to Heathrow and grab an indirect (1-stop) BA flight, which offers premium seats.

I HAD NO CHOICE!! SO HOW VERY DARE YOU?!

Ha, I actually do owe you for the prep talk. You really hyped me into a bartering Del-boy!

WTF!! They weren't even bad in-flight experiences (like I asked for), all you did was brag about your beautiful flying experiences.

You told me about a non-bad scented passenger that temporarily bounced up and down, and how you ended up looking like a hero.. and presumably had a 4-some with the cabin crew!!

I'm inclined to believe that your sole mission was to make me cry today.

Yup, as said, I'm also in agreement with Barrie. That slimly little rat-weasel, George Osbourne, has totally screwed us over. But at least he commissioned a new pound coin design, which will be released next year. That will be nice.

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 01:17

@Sue
Thanks Sue, appreciate it.

The problem with being a landlord, as you've experienced, is that you're mostly at the mercy of complete strangers (tenants), and that's always a dangerous/high-risk situation.

The reality is, most tenants don't treat the properties their renting like a "home", and there lays the problem.

I can fully understand your sentiments! Being a landlord can be demoralising and unbearably draining... and I'm sure every landlord, at one point, has wondered whether the stress is actually worth it.

If I didn't joke and ramble about my musings I probably would have strangled a tenant or two by now ha!

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The Landlord 1st April, 2016 @ 01:32

@Isobel

Ahh, you sound like the kind of tenant every landlord wants, but rarely ever finds.

Unfortunately, your options are limited if she's refusing to fix it.

If I were you, I would do either one of the following:

1) Do as Nige said, give the fence a nudge on a windy night, either until it collapses, or enough to make it fall on her side in the event it does eventually give way. Is that actually feasible? I know, I'm making it sound like we're talking about a fence made of paper.

2) Try to stabilise the fence from your side so it either holds strong, or again, enough to force the fence to topple onto her side in the event it does give way.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Please keep us informed!

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Cardifflandlord 1st April, 2016 @ 08:09

Ah ha - Ryanair, you poor sod. Much nicer experience to start shoving wasps up your arse and sticking needles in your eyes than fly that lot apparently. I managed sleazyjet once AND it was from Liverpool - say no more.

It wasn't my SOLE mission to make you cry, but it was a bonus lol. Drive to Heathrow? Chauffer service and stick it on the rent as 'an Osbourne surcharge' a bit like courier companies and Tesco shoved on their prices when fuel went up to £1000/litre a few years ago and haven't taken off since.

Perhaps a joint venture into the rent boy agency you were thinking about starting - or did I just dream that? Anyway, I don't often dream about you so don't get the wrong idea you cheeky boy. Osbourne seems to be intent on bending us all over so why not get in on the act too (other forms of money making by dodgy methods are also available the best of which seems to become an MP or even better an MEP).

@Nige - I know. The lying bastards just turn up, fanny about for half an hour and then sod off after placing a do not use notice on the boiler. Useless. Also, the 'engineers' and I use that word loosely, are not individually gas safe registered. They are under the umbrella of British Gas and like most trades you get some great ones but more recently shite ones because they don't have the experience or skill.

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Nige 1st April, 2016 @ 13:30

@cardifflandlord
Yep boilers are like cars. Working or not.
Bit like tenants really !!!

Ive just had a boiler fitted at ONE THIRD of the British Gas quote.
Friend had BG fit a new boiler on a honeywell 3 way system.
WTF . Told friend they had to redo some of the piping in the airing cupboard ..blah blah.
There are 2 pipes coming out of a boiler like that. Flow return. As the old boiler worked...but noisy..exactly what needed to be changed. ZILCH . No new work in airing cupboard could be seen.

@landlord
Ever travelled by whizzair ? now every time Ive been on a flight its store handbags under your seat. Obviously so you don't trip over it when the plane reverses into a mountain.
Whizzair? Hand luggage between you knees or extra 10 euro if in overhead locker.
Any ryanair ? My daughter flew from Barcelona to uk. She had big suitcases. It was cheaper to fly by BA !!

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Nige 1st April, 2016 @ 15:33

@landlord

Council got involved because tenants father phoned them.
BUT When I confronted him he said he didn't and my attitude was hard to say the least. So it must have been one of her shitty teenagers posing as dad.

Last time I had a dispute the tenants brother wrote a long diatribe about poor sister, bad landlord etc.
Ha ha. He wrote it on a letter heading of a Bristol property management company.
But you know how intelligent these tenants are !!
He photocopied the letter heading but did it so some of the ends of words were missed out.!!!!
Found out that he is a musician !! No association with property at all.
WHOOPS !!

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The Landlord 4th April, 2016 @ 13:13

@Nige

Haha, Wizz Air, now that brings back memories. I've flown with them a few times, but years ago. I've only ever seen their planes at Luton Airport (my least favourite airport!). To be honest, I didn't find them any worse or better than the other budget airlines, and they all charge extra for the basics. There have been a few times where I paid more for the luggage than the actual flight fee! Ridiculous.

They sound like awful tenants. Why are you even entertaining them? It's not like you to hold onto dead weight :)

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Nige 4th April, 2016 @ 13:47

@landlord. Plan to be out of the game by April next year. Clearing one out this month and its hardly worth the hassel , costs and void time to get the others out. Seems a lot of people I know are disposing of rentals at the moment egged on by the govt first time buyer incentives giving boost to the market. Houses selling here in minutes now.

Its a bit of social engineering and local paper announced this week that there wasn't one rental property in town that fitted the max paid by benefits. Not one house I have sold went back to rent. Other landlords here reporting the same.

Our society is interesting. Somehow we seem to have got into the one person/family per property attitude. But from brief snatches of Judge Judy in America where many cases are unpaid rent by sharers or snatches of 'Neighbours' in Australia it seems house share is common. Im sure that there are countless other countries with more than one generation in one property.

HMO s seem to be the trend here but are not for the faint hearted. Rooms the size of my downstairs toilet going for the rent I got for 2 bed houses 5 years ago.

Most landlords I know consider themselves glorified cleaners now cleaning up the garbage of inadequates.(Don't we read that a lot on here) Thus the policy here of putting rents well above DHSS levels. The problem is that if a working tenant wrecks a house you can attach earnings orders etc to recover damage. With DHSS there is no hope.
I have just been informed by my council that if a tenant is issued a section 8 they are deemed to have made themselves homeless and get no help. With a section 21 they get basic accommodation help. Why couldn't those policies have come in 10 years ago?

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Nige 4th April, 2016 @ 13:51

Oh flights !! Friend went on Balkan airways. The inflight meal was a piece of meat and 2 slices of cucumber. When someone said they wanted a vegetarian meal the meat was removed and another 2 slices of cucumber added !!

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David 4th April, 2016 @ 15:41

Regarding the flight, much humour, here is my solution.

1. Push the button requesting the Steward(ess)
2. Ask the Steward whether you can swap seats as they have inadvertently seats not one but two people next to you who are morbidly obese.

The Steward may or may not be able to help you but it tells the person in the next seat that they are encroaching on your space. When this is done via a steward it makes the offender very conscious of their lard factor (I can say that as I have my own).

3. If you are mischievous like me, if they say they are full you ask them if they could put another obese person in your seat and you take theirs, the benefit of this is that they are all giving and receiving.

4. Another thing to do is be prepared, take with you some stomach remedies, Milk of Magnesia, Exlax. Pepto Bismoll, and some diacalm to undo the damage. Now you take these and they allow you to get your own back with your very own bad smells. To replicate the sweating use chilli and cordomon. Some air freshener is also a good option, you can buy some value one at Tesco but not sure it is allowed on flight, a cheap small one from pound shop should do it.

Comments like “my God what IS that smell, has this plane not been cleaned? Is there a dead cat somewhere” and then pull out the spray. The good thing about the pound shop is they do these awful smelling body sprays that are in small containers and two for £1. Spraying the air above you all does the trick but diagonally spraying from your position to above the next person means they get 90% of it.

Now if you are dead set to get revenge you can also arm yourself with bad smelling foods, mixing sugar and fat is the best way, two for £1 original pork scratchings from Poundworld along with some maoam strips should do the trick, then to add insult to injury chew a gum with sorbitol and xylitol (e.g. Trident fruit gum). Then just let it all happen naturally.

The rest of the article only has one thing I feel worthy to comment on,

How come in the email the subject was "My tenant's stupid fence broke!‏ " but for everything else it is YOUR property!

It is their boiler too!

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Nige 4th April, 2016 @ 16:24

@David
Ah but the boiler broke !! ie busted by intervention of a third party. Not malfunctioning or not working properly but a sequence of events starting off with the tenants discarding my new CO alarm an substituting an old faulty one. Mine has probably been sold at a car boot.
Tenant then goes into hospital leaving the 2 disfunctional teenagers to wreck the place again.
So after circumventing my normal 'give me a call with your problem'' and getting transco to cut off the gas the poor things get cold and phone grandaddy.
So by the time I get there the gas is off. (no cooking and they cannot work a microwave ) the alarm they fitted has a mind of its own in the fresh air of a garden and we can see daylight through the flue.
Oh the flue has not rusted or anything. Its been manhandled off its clamp . By who? The teenagers, grandaddy, transco ?
So after being let down by gas engineer no 1 we pull in gas engineer no 2 who looks at the flue and says WTF.
Anyway he orders new boiler and its being fitted following morning. Then my phone rings.
Yep someone from the council. WTF. Then our investigations reveal grandaddy did not phone them. Now I wonder who did ?
So its fixed at my cost.
Ah well 2 year warranty so should or might be still in warranty next April when I sell. Subject to the effects of another teen party !!

As for gas problems I would recommend Andrews liver salts. Creates rather a large volume of gas through the exhaust if needed.

Oh we need humour as landlords . So when a tenant phones and says ''me fence is broke'' it doesn't mean that the guy who buys their stolen goods has no money.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 5th April, 2016 @ 10:54

@Nige
Interesting about the section 8/21 policy.

I remember my DSS tenant (who was 2 months in arrears) wanted me to serve her a section 8 so she could get a council house! That was the only way the council would rehouse her- if she could prove that she was on the verge of becoming homeless.

hah @ removing the meat to make it a vegetarian and making a cucumber sandwich! That did make me laugh, but I'm not surprised.

Fortunately my next flight will be with Emirates. You can always count on good food/service with them!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 5th April, 2016 @ 11:00

@David
You sound like a terribly scary/dangerous/sick man! I don't ever want to sit next to you... anywhere!

Ironically, while your comment was about tackling the problem, you managed to bring back very vivid memories of the smells/heat I was exposed to! Urgh!

It disappoints me that you felt there was one thing worthy of commenting on, regarding the core of the article...

In any case, my response to your question... I just pick and choose what's mine as and when!

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David 5th April, 2016 @ 13:25

@Landlord

Thanks for comment, you are a funny guy (which is why I keep coming back) the Howerd Stern of Landlord Blogging!

It was only my time in military and having to clean the shit of 60 others that I stopped caring about poo.

It got under your fingernails and we did not have all this antibacterial stuff.

Funny thing about your comment to @Nige

" section 8 so she could get a council house! "

That is an Oxymoron

For the sake of any tenants out there considering this let me explain.

There is this little thing called "intentionly homeless" if you are found to even leave a property without being asked to leave with a S21 you are "intentionly homeless" but if you do not pay your rent you are not only "intentionly homeless" but you can't join or bid on the housing scheme until you pay off your previous landlord. As a Section 8 is mostly used for non payment of rent getting one will NOT get you on the social housing.

If you are antisocial and neighbours complain, guess what, you can be found to be "intentionly homeless" basically if you caused the Landlord to no longer want you then you made yourself homeless.

Oh and if you think because you have kids you can get on the list think again, the best you might hope for is a bit of time in temporary accomodation while you find a place.

I mean it, some Councils would rather break up your family and put your kids in care, because that may be all they have to offer. I never thought I would see that, but I have.

The reality is that the social housing is now strictly limited to the most vulnerable and there was a Supreme Court decision last year that means they can discount the vulnerability of being homeless itself. I have seen people with post traumatic stress disorder on the streets and others with mental health issues that make them "difficult" to handle.

Things are only going to get worse because now the Government in its wisdom has said that developers no longer have to provide 20% social housing. Now they have to provide "affordable" housing, yep affordable if you went to Eton, have £40k in the bank and earn over £40k.

So where is the new social housing stock going to come from?

Housing associations exist because of their access to cheap land or property, other than old Council stock they are not offering "social" tenancies but rather "affordable tenancies".

Another bastardisation of words, bit like the "National Living Wage" or "Hard Working people" soundbites of ConGov that are designed so you can't object to them.

Once the Housing Associations are forced to do right to buy you will see the shit really hit the fan, because the economics to not add up (none of Georgy Porgies policies do).

The madness of it is that the Housing budget is based on the lowest 30% of Market Rates (AKA the shitholes) so when the Government increases rents with their policies they increase the deficit (don't get me started on that).

This is the same bunch that are sticking it to small landlords by cutting their tax allowances and when you hear of Panama in the news just remember that Georgy Porgy is the beneficiary of a £7m trust fund set up by Daddy who had a lovely wallpaper shop in the Kings Road called Osborne & Little. Yes I was a customer back in the day, even then their wallpaper 7 times the price of Laura Ashley!

Oh and just for good measure, they have not paid corporation tax for about 8 years

independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/george-osborne-receives-dividend-payment-from-family-business-that-pays-no-corporation-tax-a6873151.html

Corporation Tax, ah yes, wasn't that the tax reduced in the budget by taking £4bn from the most disabled people in the UK?

Yes that would be it.

END OF RANT!

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Nige 5th April, 2016 @ 14:53

@David
I agree with all you say but the selling of council/HA housing stock does not make the house go away.
It removes it from rental stock and transfers the payments to mortgage.
The real issue is that if you sell at a substantial loss which most are then there is no money to buy replacement stock.

I do however have an issue with foreigners who can get a council/HA property (skipping up the housing waiting lists) and then buy it at a discount . A few years later they can sell and make such a profit that they can buy a small village in their own country.

But I suppose its no worse for us than the Hong Kong investors bumping up property in London and leaving it empty until they sell. Or the foreign landlords here mopping up property wholesale and raising rents. They also mop up the lower end properties leaving none for UK citizens.

There are 2 problems. There are to many people in the world where numbers have doubled since 1970 and the attitude that we have to have our own property. As stated in many countries people share (including our inner cities).

But one thing is certain. Rising house prices mean we are kept on the treadmill grafting to pay for our accommodation instead of more leisure time.

Our council has refused any 'refugees' on the basis that there is not enough property to satisfy local demand with the waiting list growing.

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andrewa 6th April, 2016 @ 20:17

Ah yes, Emirates, first class service, second class prices and third class seats. They are always my first choice if ticket prices are reasonably equivalent for a reason.
Still I prefer my tenants to phone and complain about the leaky roof when it can still be patched rather than when it collapses completely (leaks drips rather than buckets) so in my opinion its a good thing they phone. At least you only have to fix a bit of fence rather than the length of the entire garden round.

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David 7th April, 2016 @ 18:27

Hey Nige

You are always thought provoking; you are right that we have too many people on the planet, UN says by 2050 people who have never experienced famine before will feel it and not take it, they will move to where there is food and in a violent way.

Chinese will be taking all the surplus beef that Argentina can provide as they get an appetite for it.

India will overtake China in population by 2021 and China has said if India does not put in place measures as it did then it will remove its rule, already done in distant places.

Social housing is by definition cheaper that market property, it is being sold off already. So what replaces it, HA social property and HA affordable property, rent rates vary but if an affordable property is 120pw a social is around £80.

So the Councils have the HA's all their stock and they WERE getting new stock from the 20% rule on new developments.

Selling it does not make the house go away, it puts the rent up and thus there is a loss to social housing (as defined by the £80 say).

The HA can't replace it because if they have to buy land at commercial rates the numbers will not add up to rent it at £80 so there is no new social housing stock.

You hit the nail on the head about LOSS because HA's are now becoming commercial just to survive, undermining their reason for being and they are going bust trying to do it.

It is not just selling at a loss, although that is bad enough, it is that this all fuels increases in house prices when what the UK needs is for prices to FALL and for that to happen it needs a bottom up recovery not a top down recovery, i.e. build a million new properties and let market forces do the rest, the increased supply will temper demand and prices will drop. Yes there will be a few casualties of people over extended but they will refinance over a longer term. @Landlord has the best investment strategy; avoiding buy to let.

The top down recovery is a lie, go watch the Banned Ted video on YouTube by Billionaire Nick Hanauer or see his blog

politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014

We are all being told that foreigners are a bad thing, that we do not have space or infrastructure.

Only the latter is true, if you look at Germany, their whole strategy is to grow their population, consider that they swallowed East Germany and just grew it. Their domestic population is in decline so they need new blood. What they do is build build build and they are not frightened of asking people to adapt to a German way of life. It is funny how in the UK we blame the EU for silly laws, in Germany they cannot preach in Arabic in a Mosque, it must be German. In France religion is banned in schools and the Burka and face veil are banned in public. The truth is that it is usually some white person that comes up with a stupid idea to accommodate cultural needs. Like moving of exams for Ramadan, giving less time to revise by bringing exams forward. Ramadan is about going without, so accommodating goes against it, it also has option to defer fasting.

Back to point, we need infrastructure, schools, GP practices, Hospitals and Housing. Put in place a massive home building programme and get the developers to include them. Change the way developers build, currently they build a handful at a time to create scarcity and sell at high prices. If they get given permission to develop 3000 homes then they must develop them with 3 year or lose the land.

There are a lot of nimby's and tree huggers but the reality is that less than 8% of the UK is developed including the roads. Non whites also represent less than 10% of UK population, so I do not worry about them, I do worry that anyone granted EU ID can come here in future. So to me the answer is to increase each town proportionately by 0.5% of current size, maybe even 1%. 1% of 8% is still very small but would provide a huge amount of space and local planners can decide where it is allocated. In reality they can allocate current green belt. Green belt was only invented to stop farmers getting rich by developing their land.

Nobody likes someone to appear to jump the queue and economic migrants do often have access to money from relatives. In Denmark there was that family that were loaded and there was uproar they were asked to pay when it was reported that they were bribing officials and border control at £5k. Some migrants have complained that they bribed but did not get enough!

The real refugees are those in Syria not those that can afford to pay their way out. This is a world problem and the reality is that until all the Arab countries start taking them in (which makes more sense because they share religion) then I do not think we should either.
France can scaremonger about the tunnel but they need to process everyone in Calais, fingerprint them and DNA them, then if they commit crime they are deported to the next EU Country they came from because they should have processed them in the first place.

One thing that is full up is temporary accommodation for the homeless, it only caters for the vulnerable and I mean seriously vulnerable (plus pregnant teens and refugees of course). As it is, there has been inadequate growth to accommodate just normal homeless growth as a percentage of population growth.

Add the policies that resulted in people not being able to afford rents, if they leave they are told they made themselves intentionally homeless so are not housed.

I have seen first hand people being evicted, kids taken into care because a LA has capacity in care for the child but not for the mother or father and child.

Rather than sell of social housing I would like to see "starter" homes built, 6 flats can be built for £100k if you have the right land with access to water and waste. My daughter earns a decent wage but a mortgage is just not an option, yet when I was 23 I had my first flat in London.

The foreign buyers I worry about are those that demolish a tower block they bought for a pound from local council, removing social homes which they replace with lux flat that have a starting price of £1.3m and these are not even occupied. They are just investment properties with tax incentives.

I want the young to have aspiration and to have a chance to get their foot on the ladder, but the banks put an end to that because we are still paying off their debt, all of us.

If we build a shit load of flats at the lower end, offer funding to help the young get them, offer them ownership (not part ownership) then after 5 or even 7 years, if they improve the place they can rent it and move on.

That is how Thatcher created lots of new Conservatives, this lot are a different breed, they want to maintain the so called elite, for them the middle classes are lowlife when as Nick says, it is the middle classes that truly create wealth and the working classes that underwrite it.

I totally agree that rising prices mean we are all going nowhere

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th April, 2016 @ 18:59

@David
60 different types of poo under your fingernails. Lovely. Thanks for that David :|

I think I'll go have dinner... next month.

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Nige 8th April, 2016 @ 20:08

Thought provoking !!
Ive posted before about the HA house I had. For £5 I could buy a share in 20 houses and live in one. My rent would not go up for the time I lived in it. After a number of years the house would be revalued at the new rental value..not resale value.
The outgoing tenant would then receive a sum of money to place as a deposit on another house.

Funnily enough as a landlord I do not believe anyone should rent.
Renting in some areas encourages irresponsibility and problems are always somebody elses problems. Thats why we get run down ghetto areas.
I challenge anyone to tell me that they have not treated a rental car worse than they treat their own car !!

We must also educate people that the x box is a luxury. iphones are not the be all and end all.

We can of course blame google for lack of education. We don't need to learn anything because we can look it up. Or maybe reality shows where after singing pathetically they burst into tears because they didn't get past the first stage. Or even £1 million a week footballers preventing kids from learning because they ALL think its attainable.

Im getting old !!
I did however get a degree of shock when I looked at one of my benefit tenants rental statements. I do running totals . One of my tenants who is perfectly capable of working has had the equivalent of 70 years of my council tax bill. And she is only 35 !!! (and my rents are considered low)

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Stefan 24th April, 2016 @ 10:26

If you want a laugh. Watch Jim Jeffries sketch on airline seat etiquette. Fckin hilarious
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qFx1Cpxpx1E

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Stefan 24th April, 2016 @ 10:33

DSS tenants.

Did you know. If you have 2 properties with DSS tenants in each. If the council decide one of them has not been entitled to their housing benefit, say the find the tenant has been working and not declaring the income.!

Then the council not only stop their rent FROM TENANT 1, but then can RECLAIM all over payments from your OTHER tenants rent.

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andrewa 24th April, 2016 @ 18:55

@ Stefan

The council does this to encourage the growth in supply of property's that accept DSS tenants. What puzzles me is with this sort of encouragement why the acceptance of DSS tenants by private landlords is dropping?

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Nige 25th April, 2016 @ 09:57

@Stefan.
If as you say the money is reclaimed from the other tenant then this causes a legal argument.
Housing benefit is an entitlement for each individual tenant.
Each individual tenant should have a separate tenancy agreement.

Landlords are not entitled to receive any HB or LHA directly unless the tenant is on some sort of bond scheme or the tenant is 8 weeks/2 months in arrears.

Could be a legal argument to say that any grab back off a second (good tenant)would therefore put the good tenant in arrears as you have not received money in respect of that tenancy. (Oh goody you can then evict tenants in one go)

Any grab back should only be applied to an individual tenants money but may involve more than one rental period . The grab back should be billed and itemised.

There is also the argument that the landlord has been paid thus maintaining a tenancy and that the councils should claim back from the tenant. Just because the council pays directly should not cause the situation you describe.

Imagine the situation if the tenant themselves had the benefit paid directly to them which may happen under universal credit. The tenant pays the landlord. The council would not go after the landlord any more than they could demand the payment back from sky tv.

Private landlords here are not touching DHSS anyway. The rents are well over the DHSS threshold . Also tenants here have a max figure they can top up rents with. The figure here is £25 per month. So with a limit of £595 HB payment plus £25 the max a tenant is allowed to go up to is £620. (3 bed) With 3 bed rents in the region of £750 to £800 nobody I know takes DHSS and DHSS are being evicted to raise rents.

I won't get into arguments over DHSS / working but a young friend has just bought a 2 bed cluster home. It was rented at £675 a month . His mortgage is £465. A no brainer. He cut back on everything to save his deposit and works for 75p an hour more than minimum wage. Age ? 25. Its priorities and not one of my DHSS tenants is not capable of the same. But of course they get more benefits NOT working. Oh and my young friend has to pay full council tax (less single persons) . DHSS pay 29% of the rate.

One thing that should concern everyone is the benefits policy if evicted. A house owner losing their job has to pay the mortgage regardless. A friend was one month one day in arrears due to job loss. Mortgage company threats came in. A person who rents can drop straight onto housing benefits. Something wrong somewhere.

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Landlord with DSS! 25th April, 2016 @ 17:39

@andrewa

I think you read the post wrongly. It means you would be mental to rent 2 separate properties to DSS.

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andrewa 25th April, 2016 @ 19:39

@ Landlord with DSS

Bwahahahahahahaha
You are really saying the same as me but in a much more subtle and understated British sense of humour way :)

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