My Tenant is Causing Damp to my Flat: Episode 3 (The Unexpected Twist)

Honestly, it feels like I’m writing some sort of damp-based drama series for Netflix, but real life is stranger than fiction, so here goes…

If you’ve missed episode one and two, you can catch up via the hyperlinks.

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I think there’s a saying that all plans are made to be screwed up?

If there’s not, there should be.

Because that kind of feels like where we right now. However, let’s skip back to The Plan.

So, having been threatened with the tenant reporting us (by ‘us’, I mean me as the landlord and the agents as the letting agents) to the council, we decided to shortcut the process and contact the council ourselves. Help is what we needed to try and get this situation under control. And we were happy to make it official, we had nothing to hide and everything to gain.

But, this is the council.

I don’t know what we were expecting, having sent proof of the flat before he moved in and now two months later and the humidity readings, but to be quite frank, the response was lacklustre and non-committal. I guess the only good thing is that they did attach an up-to-date damp and condensation leaflet to give to the tenant, silver linings and all that.

So, the next plan.

Big boss letting agency man said we should get commercial dehumidifiers in the flat. This would then remove some of the humidity to a stage where we could deep clean the property to try and get the place back on a more even keel.

An electrician was also contacted to install humidistat fans throughout which would kick in when the humidity levels got too high and extract the air to more normal levels, thus preserving the fabric of the building. We decided on the silent type so as not to be too much of a noise nuisance.

We also decided to get an expert in to see if we could boost the insulation and see if there was anything more that could be done, from our end, to prevent the damp and mould.

And I have to admit, it’s an infuriating situation to be in, because there’s a lot of cost involved here, when all the tenant has to do is open the windows. But I have to be pragmatic and future focussed.

Doing nothing is not an option.

And when you look at the potential damage to the building – and the cost of rectifying that, I guess, in comparison, this is cheaper. Not as cheap as opening a window, granted, but I try and not harbour on this. Sometimes tenants will not do the simplest things to help themselves, and thus I have no choice.

To regain control of this situation we need to force air into the property, whether the tenant likes it or not. 

So this was The Plan. Stage one of contacting the council had been completed and thus it was time to move to the next stage. But then the phone rang, it was the tenancy liaison manager.

‘Sorry SL, I’m calling you with more bad news about this flat.’

‘OK,’ I reply, nervous as to what else could be happening.

‘The police attended last night.’

‘The police? Why were the police there?’

‘The tenant had an illegal lockdown party and they were all high on monkey dust.’ At this, I quickly typed ‘monkey dust’ into google, to learn it’s a synthetic drug (MDPV) which causes powerful hallucinations and paranoia, with many users climbing trees and buildings, plus it makes you violent. Highly addictive and unpredictable, the effects can last for several days. It can be bought for as little as £2.

‘Oh dear God,’ I reply.

‘So the tenant in the downstairs flat had to leave last night and stay with friends because it got so noisy.’

‘Oh my goodness, was it him who called the police?’

‘No, it wasn’t him, it was the tenant.’

‘Which tenant?’

‘The tenant who was having the party.’

‘Sorry, did I hear you right? The tenant who was having the illegal lockdown party where everybody was high on monkey dust was the one who called the police on himself?’

‘Yeah, you got it, he said he wanted the people to leave.’

‘Well, why didn’t he just ask the people to leave? He was the one who invited them there.’

‘That’s the other thing SL, I think we have a bigger problem here.’

‘What’s that?’

‘He thinks he works for CID.’

To be continued….