Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Meet Mr Pinocchio, My Would-Be Tenant; Victoria Whitlock Is Told a Pack of Porkies by a Man Who Wants to Rent Her Flat. and He's Not the Only One Being Economical with the Truth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Meet Mr Pinocchio, My Would-Be Tenant; Victoria Whitlock Is Told a Pack of Porkies by a Man Who Wants to Rent Her Flat. and He's Not the Only One Being Economical with the Truth

Article excerpt

The accidental landlord THERE'S something about the guy who has turned up to view my two-bedroom flat that is making me uneasy. He is friendly enough, very chatty and easy to talk to, but he is in such a rush to move in and I'm not sure why.

When he rang to make the appointment to view he told me he had just moved back to the UK after an overseas contract finished unexpectedly early.

However, now he is here he is saying he is back in the UK because he felt homesick, then he says he is looking after his sick dad. Later he claims a colleague is arriving from Asia and he needs to sort out accommodation for them both, which doesn't sound right, but then, as the viewing is drawing to a close he says he has recently bought a rundown property and is waiting for it to be done up.

Which story should I believe? Or are they all lies? He is also a little too eager to give me his photo ID and he insists on fanning out his credit cards in front of me, even though I tell him I don't need to see them. He says he has recently checked his credit rating and it's good, but who does that unless they think there might be a problem? Even though I have often accepted tenants without bothering with credit checks, I decide not to in this case, despite the guy trying to hurry me into a deal. I am as eager as he is to sort out a new tenancy, especially as the flat has been empty for a couple of weeks, but no tenant at all is better than a bad one.

I'm particularly wary after being forced to evict the last tenant, who stopped paying her rent and rubbished the flat. I had to replace the carpets and some of the furniture and completely redecorate.

However, this guy appears relaxed when I tell him he needs to pass a credit check to get the tenancy, and texts me later to say he has sent all his details to the referencing agent I am using. …

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