Early one morning I get an email from the financial department: ‘Eugene, could you go and check on a room where we’ve planned a clearance with the bailiff shortly? The tenant is very behind with the rent. And we can’t get hold of this person by email, post or telephone.’
I grab my things and head for the address in question. When I get there I ring the bell and the door is opened by a friendly young man. ‘Good morning, I’m Eugene, the Idealis caretaker, and I’d like to have a quick look at a room in your corridor.’
Oh, of course,’ says the lad. ‘I’m the corridor rep. Does it happen to be a room which an occupant recently vacated? We last saw the main tenant a year ago, but he was hardly ever here before that. But the room has always been occupied by different people.’ Alarm bells are going off in my head. This sounds very dubious.
I open the door and see that the room is fully furnished. OK, it’s old furniture, but there’s everything you need: a bed, a cupboard, a desk and an office chair etc. I call my colleague from finance and ask if there are official sub-tenants registered at this address. It turns out that is not the case. No contract for sub-letting has ever been signed through Idealis.
Everything’s clear to me in an instant: this person has a lucrative little business going. He hasn’t paid any rent to Idealis for quite a while, and meanwhile he’s sub-letting his room without Idealis knowing anything about it. His room is furnished so he gets a nice sum paid into his account every month. He thought he was onto a good thing of course, and he’s been able to enjoy the extra money for a spell. But now his little business has been discovered, it’s going to end up costing him more than it earned him: the rent arrears and the additional costs of the bailiff will have to be paid promptly.
As my father used to say, the truth always catches up with you in the end