Anyone else having a nightmare interviewing lodgers?

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    Anyone else having a nightmare interviewing lodgers?

    I recently moved to a new area where I'm finding hard to get "sane" lodgers. The area I used to live had so many decent people looking. However, everyone who comes to see this place (which is only 1 mile from my old place) is completely mental. Has anyone else noticed this in certain areas? Transport links were amazing at my old place but here the links aren't the best, so that's the only difference I can attribute it to.

    Latest lodger interview examples:

    - Lodger 1 turned up at a different time to that arranged, called me upset that no one is in. I dropped everything to come home for her in the space of 5 minutes. 3 mins later saw her storming down the street, and persuaded her to come back to view the room. She complained about how she had the same experience with other people- she arrived at different times to her viewing, and she finds it ridiculous that no one was in. She couldn't seem to understand how it's her fault for not turning up at the correct time. She didn't smile once during her viewing, walked around my home like she's the owner, opened all kitchen cupboards without asking, crawled around the room looking under the bed, and when I asked "is everything okay?", she replied "I NEED TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO SURPRISES.". In the end, still with her straight face, it turns out she hadn't looked at the price on the advert & it was out of her budget anyway. She begged me to reduce the price for her because "I WANT THE PLACE. EVERYWHERE ELSE IS DISGUSTING. I WANT THIS ONE.". I said I'd think about it but then said goodbye with the same bad attitude she'd had during the whole viewing so I was glad to see her leave.

    - Lodger 2 turned up & loved the place. She told me how she hates her current landlord and housemate because they have a bad attitude toward her. She wanted to take the room, but then she said she wanted my 1-car driveway to be dedicated privately for her own car. Since we live in a large city, parking is at a premium and you'd never find a driveway included with a bedroom. She insisted she didn't want to park on the street because "it takes too long to find a place". I suggested she can rent the driveway for £50 a month, and everyone else will then park on the street instead. She replied "to be honest, since the driveway comes with the house, I'd expect it to be included for free." She couldn't seem to understand how other people live here and her needs are not more important than theirs. I finally understood why her current housemates don't like her. I gather she had been looking for months because she didn't like anywhere.

    - Lodger 3 turned up and asked the same questions. He kept saying "how many viewings have you done already?" - and asked that repeatedly about 20 times. I told him "2" repeatedly.. I laughed at one point, thinking he's joking when he kept asking. He genuinely but didn't remember asking before. He also asked "when is it available?", to which my answer was "straight away".. but he asked again approximately 15 times, genuinely forgetting that he'd already asked repeatedly. The final straw was when he became obsessed with the identity of my previous viewer, and compared her to his previous girlfriend.. he had never even seen her as their viewings had an hour in between, yet he asked where she was from, what she does etc. I explained to him I didn't know her and only met her for 15 minutes. He then repeated those questions an infinite number of times. I didn't think it was a good idea to live with someone with memory and obsession problems.

    - Lodger 4 turned up drunk, and said he'd been to the rugby on his own but didn't actually watch the game- he only goes to get drunk with rugby fans in the bar, and does this on a regular basis.

    - Lodger 5 kept staring into my eyes & asking me questions about me & my life, instead of looking at the house. I had to persuade him just to move his eyes to the room I was showing him by pointing at the cupboards and saying "look at this, here are the cupboards", but still his eyes stayed fixed on me. He asked literally nothing about the room or house, and only wanted to know what I do for a living, how old I am etc.

    They all told me that either they hate places because they're disgusting, or in the nice places they don't get selected. I wasn't surprised.

    There's plenty more but I'll stop there. We're all a bit weird, but in a good way- I had no idea so many bad-weird people existed in such high concentration in this area. I know from experience it isn't a good idea to accept these types of lodgers, because their problems become amplified when you live with them.

    It's quite time consuming. Has anyone else had similar experiences?

    #2
    Well i can not comment on lodgers as i have BTL's and would never let anyone else live in the same dwelling as myself, but my experiences of interviewing new tenants is somewhat similar to yourself, one young '' lady '' who turned up to view one of my properties was late and then within moments of looking around and saying how she wanted it '' so bad '' then said the immortal words ' i think i can afford it ' !!!! Excuse me. She also let slip that the housing benefit she receives is lower than my rent....... needless to say she was out of there asap, i also had some harsh words with my agent as i told them that i do not want anyone on housing benefit. I work in a job which brings me into direct contact with the kind of half-wits which you appear to have encountered, this is why i do not take in lodgers...... EVER. There truly are some odd, at best, and at worst dangerous people out there. Be very careful and good luck.

    Comment


      #3
      Move to somewhere with good transport links and you might attract professional lodgers

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        #4
        I have the same problems with my HMO's. I have to conclude that many of the local people needing a room (all but one have been men) are those whos mothers, girlfriends, wives, mothers of their babies, and friends, are sick to the back teeth of them and they look for a room as a last resort. Some turn up having lived in their cars or on foot with a bag of belongings (very often containing drugs). Occasionally I get one who is very enthusiastic then at the last minute says 'I love everything and I'll take it, just one problem, the rent.....can you lower it?' I reply 'No, I'm sorry you can't afford it but I've got bills to pay. I hope you'll be able to find a cheaper room somewhere else.' And then walk to to door saying 'goodbye' and ushering them out.

        Sometimes I get somebody who just can't get along with other people or who want to be in control of everything and everyone and they all want me to sort their swabbles out. One tenant wrote me letter complaining there was a spider in his room. Oh good grief!

        However, now with the council wanting a licencing fee, I've closed down one of my HMOs which, despite the odd-bods was a good source of income as well as keeping the homeless number down. The licencing fee was the last straw. Running HMOs takes up a lot of weekends with tenant changes, tenants not turning up, wanting rent reductions, telling me they have a wife/gf they want to share with etc.

        I used to let out rooms in my house when I was a student and had the same problems then.

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          #5
          The only way I had success with renting out rooms in my house was to only take people who worked at the same company as me. This goes back to when I was single and a homeowner!

          Since professionals only work at the same company as me, it usually sorts out the wheat from the chaff..... and if they're a pain in the ass, I know where they work, ... there's an incentive to remain sane... fortunately it always worked out well. That's a sample of about 5 lodgers.

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            #6
            Tenants wanting to see if you will reduce the rent is just haggling.

            Something we are not that used to in the UK nowadays, but is standard practice in other cultures, as well as certain businesses here.

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              #7
              Finding good tenants is always hard.....

              If only Shelter did HMOs, we could refer these tenants to them :-)

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                #8
                Oh to be a fly on the wall if they did... I'd love to see how sympathetic they were then.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Flashback1966 View Post
                  Finding good tenants is always hard.....

                  If only Shelter did HMOs,
                  They would probably be the best HMOs in the world.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                    They would probably be the best HMOs in the world.
                    Does 'a certain beer company' do HMO's?

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                      #11
                      Thanks all for your replies. Good to know I'm not alone. I agree with your sentiments, if shelter or the people in government who introduced these new rules (not able to claim mortgage interest against tax, HMO licensing fees, and now the new fees banning landlords from even charging to clean up after tenants), IF they had a huge mortgage & had to deal with these tenants I'd love to see how well they handle it & how fair they think their new rules are then!

                      Alas I wish I could simply sell the place or move back to the area with better transport links, but unfortunately neither of those are an option for me. I became an accidental landlord soon after buying, my income took a huge drop & I had to move area for work. The house won't sell despite my best efforts. I have to rent a tiny flat for myself to live in near my job & can't afford both the mortgage for an empty house as well as the rent for my flat so I've have had rent the house out. The rent doesn't cover to mortgage & bills or my costs to manage it / maintain the ridiculous repair costs caused by the lodgers (who seem to age the house by a rate of about 10 x normal human beings). As a result, I've found the only way to keep on top of things is to keep a spare room there for myself to do all the work myself & keep paying huge travel fees to live there a few days a month just to keep up with maintenance & repairs. This also means I'm a resident landlord, which helps prevent lodgers from going crazy. Hiring an agent is impossible financially (who does nothing anyway), but still the rent doesn't cover all the costs especially with these new rules. I'd do much better investment-wise to have no house at all rather than have lodgers.

                      The only other option would be to leave the lodgers to it- but I tried this for 6 months and they trashed and caused so much damage to the place that it reduced the house value hugely. I managed to repair most of it for about £10k by doing it all myself, but had to use my pension to do that & it cost me months in lost paid work.

                      I also agree with everyone's sentiments that lodgers seem to complain to you like you're their parent or therapist. They complain about really minor issues that most of us would just get on with in life instead of complaining, but they complain about it like they're the unluckiest person in the world.

                      One girl complained the other lodger spent too long in the downstairs loo & she didn't want to go to the upstairs one. I asked if she'd talked to him about it, and she said "no, I don't want to get involved- it's your house". Meanwhile, the other guy would spend 2 hours a day in the toilet & treat it as his personal retreat to play games on his phone.

                      One person became emotionally unstable after moving in & complained he hadn't noticed MDF furniture in the house before moving in, and he strongly believes I'm poisoning people with MDF furniture. He then spent hours sending me links to home-made websites where there's a group of people who believe MDF is poisoning the world. He then disassembled inbuilt wardrobes without permission & started complaining about the fact the house has just been renovated. He said "you can't rent out rooms without warning people first that it has just been renovated, or at least air the house for 6 months first before you rent it out. Paint smell is extremely extremely extremely toxic and you're killing people by renting it out without airing it for 6 months first!!!!!!!!!!".

                      One guy complained to me he didn't have a small desk in his bedroom, and he forgot to consider that before signing the contract. He seemed so emotional and upset that I offered to re-imburse him to buy a desk & he agreed, but then instead of going ahead and getting his desk, he did nothing for months. He then started complaining about other minor issues such as "if I don't clean surfaces regularly, dust appears on them within a month"- he would send me huge complaints by text message and every week it was something new. After weeks of random complaints he then complained he had been sitting on the floor all this time and now has a bad back as a result of my negligence because he still doesn't have a desk in his room. I asked why he hadn't bought his desk yet, or why he didn't sit on a chair, at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, at a coffee shop, or on his bed- or indeed anywhere instead of the floor.. he looked at me angrily as if I'd given him revolutionary ideas that were ridiculous. He insisted it was my job to travel 300 miles, choose a desk & build it for him as well as pay for it myself, and that my simply offering to re-imburse him for a desk was not enough. He was shaking with anger & appeared mentally unstable so when he gave his notice to leave, I was actually relieved at not having to do it myself. When I was a lodger, in the time it took him to send so many emotional complaints, I'd have already earned £20 and got myself a desk from argos or ikea in less amount of time.

                      Most lodgers in this house really don't know what major life problems are. They focus on tiny issues and blow them out of proportion. Meanwhile, they all seem to despise the landlord because they assume you're making a mint and living off the land for free while they work hard to bring in free money for you. I really just want nothing to do with lodgers anymore.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I think you probably answered your own question in the first paragraph. People with a job and a reason to get up in the morning need decent transport links. If you dont have those then you're left with everyone else.

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                          #13
                          I have to rent a tiny flat for myself to live in near my job & can't afford both the mortgage for an empty house as well as the rent for my flat so I've have had rent the house out.

                          As a result, I've found the only way to keep on top of things is to keep a spare room there for myself to do all the work myself & keep paying huge travel fees to live there a few days a month just to keep up with maintenance & repairs. This also means I'm a resident landlord,
                          As you are not living there as your main home then you are probably not a resident landlord, - and you probably have tenants not lodgers.

                          'A few days a month' will not be enough to count, where you live most of the time is your main residence.

                          You could have big problems if you have not complied with tenancy law, eg. if you have taken deposits and not protected them.

                          https://www.gov.uk/government/public...dent-landlords
                          1.3 How exactly is a landlord considered to be ‘resident’ in law? Does it make a difference if I don’t live in the property all the time?

                          For lettings started from 15 January 1989, the important point is whether you are using the property as an only or principal home, both at the start of the letting and throughout it.

                          It is accepted that, for short periods, a landlord may not live in the property yet still be considered to be resident: so long as he or she intends to return and this is apparent, for example if he or she has left belongings. However, only a court can say for certain whether a landlord has maintained enough residence in the property to count as a resident landlord: if not, then it is possible that the letting arrangement may be deemed to have become a regulated or assured tenancy, depending whether it first began before or from 15 January 1989. The definition of ‘residence’ for determining how the landlord must give notice or can evict an occupier is slightly different (see section 1.4).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            HMO or a hotel?

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                              #15
                              If there are more than two residents (other than the landlord) who don't live together, this is an HMO and will have to follow all of the HMO regulations.

                              Based on the statement "I have to rent a tiny flat for myself to live in near my job", the OP doesn't have their primary in the property - because you can only legally "live" in one place, regardless of how many places you may occupy from time to time. That would make the "lodgers", tenants as Nukecad has pointed out.

                              They do sound like a bunch of weirdos though.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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