Whether it be due to ignorance or intention, most landlords are generally arseholes (not you or I though), first class honour dip-shits. They drag their heals when repairs are required, they’re oblivious to their legal responsibilities and obligations as a landlord, and even though they’re drowning in mortgage debt and/or negative equity, they still have the audacity to stroll around with a repugnant sense of financial superiority.
Of course, ALL professions have their inferior breeds, it’s just terribly unfortunate that we happen to be involved with an industry that’s outnumbered by them. We’re not quite as low down the food chain as estate/letting agents, but we’re not miles apart; we’re all rats caught in the daily grind, but the marginal difference being that their urine contains Leptospira, and they’ll cause your penis to shrivel into a party sausage and inevitably drop off. They’re not subtle about it either, so you’ll hear your dignity hit the pavement like a sack of salami as they pierce a shank into your pelvis and run away with your fiver and the Elizabeth Duke chain they managed to snatch from your neck.
I think I’m digressing here. The point is, there are a lot of bullshit landlords out there (but there are more bullshit estate/letting agents).
While we all have our own beautiful opinions on what the makings of a terribly landlord is, I think we can all agree that there are ranks with in the division. By that I simply mean there’s a hierarchical chain of dipshits- some landlords are bigger idiots than others. The lower tiers are occupied by lazy and ignorant fools, while the higher tiers entertain the sharks that only exist to draw blood.
Most people will generally pick the same examples as to what defines the “worst” landlord; the obvious example being a landlord that neglects health and safety related repairs. No doubt, that’s a worthy contender, but recently I was reminded of what I consider to be the worst kind of landlord, and perhaps it’s not one of the most obvious choices because it’s a practice often forgotten about.
Last week I rendezvoused with an old friend that had recently relocated into the big smoke after taking a brief timeout from city life. She managed to find a very reasonably priced, ground-floor flat in a trendy part of Camden town. The actual flat physically resembled dogshit, and smelt like it too, but it was all about the location. Meanwhile, I was scared of brushing against the walls in case I became contaminated with hepatitis again. My friend certainly had a lot of spring cleaning to do. I entered the flat “not-knowing” and out of courtesy, but I probably wouldn’t do it again unless I was coated in a Hazmat suit and a thick condom that has all the quality control accreditation’s. You know, just in case the suit just isn’t enough to protect my most prized possession.
Whenever a landlord is shameless enough to put something so embarrassing onto the market it always makes me curious to why, so I started asking my friend questions about the landlord. To cut a long story short, the interrogation unearthed a lot of reasons for causality. The landlord only accepts cash-in-hand and is able to offer such a competitive rate in such a sought after area because she’s subletting a council house. That pretty much explains the nature of her character and why she doesn’t give a shit about the condition of the property- she’s a genuine scumbag. Essentially, she’s been given a council house to occupy, but chooses to live elsewhere (her boyfriend’s crib) so she can benefit from her savvy business acumen as a landlord.
That’s it! That’s the worst kind of landlord. Throw this bitch onto the pile of evidence that supports the theory that evolution can go backwards. She should be dismantled with a toothpick and fed to the crows!
My friend didn’t seem phased by the situation, which was pretty disappointing. Generally speaking, I think that’s the problem in society, people generally don’t give a shit until they’re the one’s being shitted on. I guess you mere mortals are all guilty of that in one way or another *sigh*. But what my friend’s feeble little mind didn’t consider in this instance is that by her landlord abusing the fortunate allocation of her council house, there’s a deserving family missing out. The butterfly effect.
I know a lot of people despise Oxfam adverts because they overexpose children covered in flies and suffering from malnutrition, but that’s literally the reality of the situation. Maybe my friend needs to see the consequences of her actions before being able to understand the severity of it. Perhaps I should compile a slideshow of suffering families waiting for a vacant council house, while cramped into a shoebox and utilising a large flower pot as a bed… ending with the caption, “You did this, bitch”
Unfortunately, council houses being rented out isn’t all that uncommon. At least, I’ve heard of many cases, and it drives me bonkers. I remember a few years ago when my ex g/f’s friend and partner had the opportunity to acquire a council house, and the only reason they were considering it was so they could become landlords and profit. It wasn’t even like they discovered the opportunity after receiving the council house, they were trying to acquire with that intent. Proper scumbags, right? I’m not sure how easy it would have been to execute their master plan or if they actually succeeded, but they seemed pretty convinced by their chances at the time. One thing I am convinced by though, if a pair of over-tanned tangerines like them could pull off a stunt like that, then almost any idiot can, and probably does.
I don’t know how seriously local councils take this issue, or how much is done to try and prevent it, but I know it’s happening, and it’s fucked up on so many levels.
Obviously this is my perception of what constitutes as the worst kind of landlord, and the situation genuinely makes my blood boil and makes the hairs on my nut-sack stand on end. If you have a different opinion (which will be less correct by default), I’d love to hear it…
Quick tip for tenants
If you’re a tenant that’s fully aware of supporting a landlord committing this type of fraud or stumble upon the opportunity to do so, do the right thing- sucker punch the landlord in the throat, urinate over him/her while they’re on the floor gasping for air, swiftly vacate the property, and drive off into the sunset feeling like a hero.
A landlord of this nature is NOT going to provide any tenant with a good service because it’s extremely unlikely that attending to essential repairs and abiding by health and safety regulations is on their list of priorities. They have already proven they don’t care about people or the law, what more evidence do you need?
If you consciously enter an agreement with a landlord committing council housing fraud, it’s your funeral. Literally.
On a side note, it’s perfectly OK for tenants to reference landlords before entering a tenancy. It’s not all about landlords referencing tenants, which is a common misconception. I’m always left surprised at how little tenants want to know about me (their prospective landlord) during viewings, especially while I’m probing the shit out of them, trying to determine whether they’re a flight risk or not.
Even if you don’t have any doubts about your landlord, it’s advised and perfectly OK for tenants to ask for proof of ownership and for references from previous tenants. In fact, as a landlord, it shows me that you’re not a complete dumb-ass, and that fills me with utter joy.
Needless to say, a lot of the most common landlord scams are actually based on unauthorised individuals letting out properties. Buyer beware.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.