This tale of woe comes courtesy of the Daily Mail, first published on 27th March. It begs the question; what on earth possessed the landlord and/or their agent to allow this couple anywhere near the property?
With the use of proper referencing systems (and there’s some good ones out there) there should be no need for a landlord to experience this. At Martin & Co we use a very comprehensive system of checks developed for us by The Landlord Hub Limited. Because referencing by its very nature is a ”A Snapshot in Time” it can never be 100% totally foolproof but a decent referencing company would have hooked this chap and his girlfriend out before they got anywhere near the place. Indeed, a half way decent agent (if one was used, of course) wouldn’t have progressed an application in the first instance.
With Martin & Co’s arrangements with the Landlord Hub, our clients benefit from Free Eviction Cover should push literally come to shove. This is irrespective of the service level you enjoy with us.
Anyway, here’s the story (it makes for grim reading)…….
“A career criminal and his girlfriend gutted the flat they were renting, stripping all the copper pipes from under the floorboards within a fortnight of moving in. The pictures accompanying the original article reveal the scale of the destruction wrought by John William Flounders and his partner Stacey Everett at the property in Stockton.
A court heard the couple were given £200 to wallpaper and decorate their new home.
But instead they tore up the floorboards, pulled the sink from the bathroom wall and wrenched the kitchen work top from the cabinets. The heating and water system was destroyed, after the couple stole metres of copper piping from underneath the flooring.
Teeside Crown Court heard the couple went on to burgle someone else’s house.
Repeat offender Flounders, 19, was jailed while his girlfriend Everett, 20, was spared a custodial sentence after the judge recognised her 'potential' as she pursues an engineering career. The court heard the couple signed their tenancy agreement in September last year, days after Flounders was released from custody for a previous offence.
But a fortnight later their landlord visited the property only to discover the couple gone and the flat gutted. Prosecutor Ian Mullarkey said as well as the damage they left in their wake, the couple stole goods worth £1,000 - weighed at a scrap dealer three days before they were caught.
The court heard the pair were overheard plotting to raid the home of a woman who lived in Stockton, while she was out of her house. They burgled the house that day and stole a £250 laptop, which they sold for £25, and two coin tins, leaving the homeowner terrified. When police officers charged the pair, Flounders had to be restrained after launching at a detention officer threatening to bite off his lips.
He spat at the officers, yelled racial abuse, threatened to punch them and burn their houses down while shouting he hoped their mothers would 'catch cancer and die'. Flounders and Everett, of North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, admitted theft and burglary. The court heard Flounders had 32 previous convictions on his record, including burglaries dating back to when he was 14 years old. The 19-year-old complained to the court that the flat had been 'unfurnished'.
His barrister Stephen Constantine said: 'There isn't a single carpet in the premises. There isn't a stick of furniture. 'The bathroom needs completely redecorating.' The judge, Recorder Paul Camp, said: 'It doesn't look as though it's in bad condition, prior to what your clients did to it. The defendants laid waste to it.'
Mr Constantine said the burglary was opportunistic to an extent and not significantly planned.
He added Flounders had lived an "itinerant" lifestyle and would benefit from mental health help.
The judge sent Flounders to a young offenders' institution for two-and-a-half years. Everett had only one previous conviction for handling stolen goods and a caution for burglary. Catherine Fagan, representing Everett, said she was a bright girl who achieved four As at A-level and was working towards her future in engineering. She acknowledged her responsibility, apologisng in court. She said she has since split from Flounders. She was given a 13-month custodial sentence suspended for a year and ordered to undertake 240 hours' unpaid work”.
Sad, very sad.