The accidental landlord

They squabble, won't share and they mess up big time. That's why Victoria Whitlock wants to put her tenants on the naughty step
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All hell has broken loose in my rental flat. The tenants are squabbling and they think that it's my job, as their landlord, to sort out their petty problems. They are (almost) as bad as my kids.

They are all complaining about each other. One won't chip in their share towards the cost of the weekly cleaner, a girl is using a guy's shampoo, someone leaves crumbs on the kitchen table every morning, another hogs the kitchen every evening.

As this lot didn't know each other before they moved in they seem to think it's my fault that they don't all get along. But how I'm supposed to sort out their "he won't, she won't" arguments when I don't even live in the same flat is beyond me.

Even if I wanted to get involved - which I don't - I wouldn't know where to begin. Can you banish tenants to their rooms for a few hours, or send them to bed without dinner? What I really want to do is bang their heads together. So far I've told each of them to talk to the others to try to resolve their, quite frankly, childish problems. But now one is leaving and I've had a letter from another telling me that I've broken my contract with him because he is unable to use the living room as it's always a mess.

'My favourite tenants are those I've hardly met - the ones who don't call me to sort out problems way beyond my control'

He goes on that he is also considering suing me for damages because the flat's internet connection, which I provide, was suspended for three days eight weeks ago when the tenants exceeded their download capacity for that month because one girl was frequently online. He says the interruption to the service damaged his business.

What business? This guy is renting a room in a residential property. His lease states that "the tenant shall use the property for residential purposes only and shall not operate a business at the property". Even if he had told me he's working from his room, which he didn't, does he seriously believe I am responsible for providing him with a guaranteed internet connection? Is there even such a thing? And how can I monitor how much time the other tenants spend online?

I called the letter-writer to remind him that the wi-fi is only for residential use. He still tried it on."You should have told me there was a limit to the downloads, then I wouldn't have taken the room." I reply: "You should have told me you were running a business from home. Then I wouldn't have let you have it."

As he seems so unhappy with the situation, I give him the option of moving out and cross my fingers that he'll take it. But after a deep sigh he says he'd rather stay put. Which is a shame because I've really had enough of this guy's moaning.

I met a professional landlady once who said that to let properties you have to like people, but after just a few years of dealing with tenants I've decided that even if you're a "people person" when you start out in this game, it won't be long before there are quite a few you hate.

That landlady told me she got along with her renters so well that she was invited to their weddings ,christenings and anniversaries.

But you can stuff the party invitations thanks - my favourite tenants are those I've hardly met. The ones who don't call me to sort out problems way beyond my control and expect me to wave a magic wand each time something, anything, goes wrong.

Mother-of-two Victoria Whitlock lets three properties in south London

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