The trouble with ‘accidental’ landlords….

The £1m farmhouse in Markington

Latest Landlord News by: Madalena Penny

10 skips, mattress’s and an old sofa was still not enough for one private landlord to barricade in tenants and deter them from leaving a plush £1million rented property.

For someone who has written for the private rented sector for some years, there is something very odd about that opening sentence.  Go on read the above sentence again.

Not many landlords, (well personally I don’t know any) would go to such lengths to prevent problem tenants from vacating a property.  In fact most would be glad to see the back of tenants who owed rent without the need to serve a notice 8.  But then again, when the landlord in question is of the ‘accidental and reluctant’ species, reactions such as those mentioned above become evidently clear.

In fact, landlord and businessman Simon Everingham became so incensed by the departure of his tenants who leased his 18th century farmhouse in North Yorkshire that as a last resort he blocked the driveway to prevent them from leaving.  Claiming his tenants had reneged on their lease worth £3,000 per month, Mr. Everingham was adamant that the tenants should not leave until they had paid the money he claimed they owed him.

Dan Herring, the American tenant, who worked at the nearby US base, Menwith Hill had accepted another post back in the US, which would terminate his UK visa and any residency forthwith in the UK would be deemed unlawful.  Mr. Everingham, however believes that Mr. Herring should honour his tenancy, which he had signed and agreed for a further 31 months ( a total of £83,000 ).  Also claiming that Mr. Herring and his wife is responsible for £15,000 worth of debt resulting from late mortgage payment charges and legal fees accrued through late rent payments, Simon Everingham fears he won’t see the money owed to him.

You see Mr. Everingham did not become a landlord through design, but through reluctance.  Fearing the loss of his home when his beauty product business went into administration in 2005, the Everingham’s decided to lease part of their home and retained the apartment contained within the main property for their own use.

The flood of reluctant landlords in Simon Everingham’s position is an all too common trend.  Due to UK economic downturns, more and more homeowners are leasing property to keep afloat.  Unfortunately for the Everingham’s it is unlikely they will receive the reimbursement they are claiming is owed to them and through the desperate landlord’s actions and measures surrounding his dispute, it is highly unlikely he will attract tenants to lease with him again.

Mr. Everingham, who even contacted his tenant’s employers over his claims could well have left himself open to charges of harassment, had the tenant a mind to do so.  As seasoned landlords are aware, courts and legislation are mainly stacked in the tenant’s favour and landlords in the private rented sector arm themselves against arrears and possible problem tenants with rent guarantee, tenant guarantor and good tenant referencing.  Sometimes, saving money by acting independently is a false economy.  Accidental landlords, who have no understanding of residential rental market trends, insights and working professional standards, should employ a good letting agent to act on their behalf and guide them through the process.

Again it is most unfortunate for the Everingham’s who are now facing repossession of their home next month, a home they no doubt worked very hard for.