How to be a landlord — Pay your mortgage!

That might sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but believe me it is not!

I had a chat with a friend on Saturday who needed some advice because his “lovely friendly landlord who was doing me a favour for five months” had now made him homeless and effectively squatting in the house he had called home for five months.   A house that his six year old daughter had also called home.

Here’s how.

Mr Landlord is a professional landlord.  Owns a decent sized portfolio of properties, including large houses and small apartments, all in a smart seaside town.   Unfortunately Mr Landlord was divorcing Mrs Landlord and that meant the large houses had to be sold.    To make sure there was vacant possession Mr Landlord said to Paul* (not his real name) “if you move out now I will let you live for three months rent free in one of my apartments.    I could do with you moving now, I will send the paperwork over and you can sign it at the end of the three month grace period and we will start the Tenancy from then”.

Sounds like a great deal for a young single dad, doesn’t it?

Scroll forward five months, during which time Paul has tried to make contact with landlord to get the Tenancy Agreement and Standing order sorted out and nothing has happened.    Not that Paul is worried, Mr landlord is a professional whom he has rented from for over four years.  What could possibly go wrong?

Last week Paul discovered, quite by chance, that the property had actually just been repossessed by Santander because the mortgage had not been paid.   Yep, repossessed.   And Santander would be taking possession of said property in 14 days.

Surely that cannot be allowed, can it?  Paul is a tenant and has a right to occupation, doesn’t he?

No, actually he doesn’t.  You see, he isn’t a tenant.  He has no Tenancy Agreement.  He has never paid any rent on this property.  The fact that the landlord has given him the keys does not mean he has a right to stay in it.

Paul doesn’t have a proverbial leg to stand on and now has just over a week to try and find not only the deposit and first month’s rent etc but physically find a property to move into.  With his six year old daughter.

“Sue the landlord” I hear you cry.  Paul can’t.  The landlord has gone back to India, with all the proceeds from his house sales.  Seems this original offer was highly calculated and what Paul thought was a genuine offer to help was far from that.

So if you are a landlord, please pay your mortgage.  Please don’t make honest, hard working people like Paul and his daughter homeless at the drop of a hat.

And if you are a tenant, please don’t trust your landlord when they make generous offers.  There will be an ulterior motive, I can assure you.

Call me a cynic, or call me in six months when you have a bite mark on your arse.


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