For the last six weeks I’d be forgiven for thinking that Room 2 has been cursed. The first person to occupy was Paul who was evicted after a week following five separate police visits, a warrant for a recall to prison with a charge of rape thrown in for good measure. I never told you exactly how he left but I am in possession of his keys and a signed Voluntary Leaving Letter – I’m not a bin bags on the street kind of landlady.
Mario was next. The one whose mum was desperate to be rid of him and also a well known face to the police, so the offer of a room was withdrawn as he had failed his referencing – even though he probably had a decent credit score.
The next to turn up and ask for the room was Belinda from Portugal. Smiley, bouncy and recommended by another tenant who worked with her – she didn’t seem put off by the ingrained smell of testosterone or the fact that the toilet seats are permanently up. Brave girl, I thought and her friend seems nice, also I do like a good recommendation from another, trusted tenant. She was living with friends after a holiday in Portugal to visit family so struggled to provide a landlord reference. Just before she was due to move in, Antonio called in distress; he knew her from a house he’d been living in where she regularly “entertained” gentlemen throughout the night and had been forced to return home following a spate of charges against her for dealing. To be fair, she took the news of the room offer being withdrawn incredibly well.
Then Karim – came across as hardworking and had entered the UK years ago as a Kurdish asylum seeker, but his wife had just left him taking all the money. During the referencing process the only black mark against his name was the wife who was apparently unpredictable and a “nightmare” manic depressive. Well, that was OK as his wife had disappeared. At 10pm on the Friday night before he was due to move in on Saturday morning, he called to say he’d forgiven his wife and could she move in too? No. My suspicion is that they figured it was easier for him to find accommodation and then she could surreptitiously get under the bedcovers without anyone noticing.
I took the decision to lay the room fallow (I think that’s what they do to a field to allow it to recover from the trauma of being turned over time and again) and see if anyone suitable appeared in my lap. My confidence in tenant selection had taken a knock and I needed the current round of room hunting tenants to subside. This time of year also brings out many of the people who may have been evicted over the summer and they don’t fancy spending a winter under the pier or don’t qualify for the local Winter Night Shelter.
A Familiar Face…
Then Greg called. This potted history is going to make all our lives appear ridiculously simple: He has two children by two different women of which we’ll call one X, plus a high maintenance, glamorous, pregnant girlfriend who we will call Y. In the summer, Greg bonked X then Y. X found out, got cross so reported him for breaking his bail conditions not to contact her and he was thrown into prison for eight weeks. Y was waiting for him when he came out and talked of setting up home together. The next I knew I was receiving a reference check for Greg and X to take a house together. I asked Greg if shacking up with the woman who put him in prison was a good idea whilst her arch rival was pregnant with his child, but he said it would be ‘fine’. And there I thought that he would somehow find domestic bliss……..
Turns out that, once he’d bought new sheets, furniture, car and a Sky dish the relationship foundered within a few weeks as he “was working hard and not getting any”. He answered my quizzical look by spelling out the word “S.E.X.”. He’d been offered a roof over his head from friends “but they’re all coked up and I don’t want that life” and had decided he’d been at his happiest renting a room in my HMO where “the landlady was spot on”. I think that was a compliment.
When I asked Tom what he thought about having Greg back into the fold he said “I’ve got two heads, darlin’ and only one of them’s for thinking and that one thinks it’s great!”.