A LANDLORD was owed £5,000 in rent from a tenant who had not paid a penny to him in more than 12 months.

Channel 5’s housing documentary Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords took a look behind-the-scenes into the world of Paul Ainsworth-Lord’s letting company in Darwen.

In the eighth episode Mr Ainsworth-Lord met with landlord ‘Ian’ a gas engineer, who was owed £5,000 by a tenant and was desperate to get her out.

She had not paid any rent for a year and had refused to answer calls or respond.

Ian said: “Twelve months down the line and she’s not answering phone calls.

“She won’t let me in.

“She’s changed the locks on all the doors and she’s screwed the letterbox shut.

“There’s a big dog in there as well, a big nasty dog.”

His tenant used to be a family friend, he said.

Mr Ainsworth-Lord said: “It turns out he’s done her a favour because there’s some connection between her and some family member.

“When there’s tenancies and rental properties being rented to people where there’s connection with friends and family, I can usually say eight times out of 10 that’s going to be trouble.”

Mr Ainsworth-Lord visited the home five days later with a colleague to serve a non-paying tenant with an eviction notice.

After finding the house was empty, Mr Ainsworth issued a warning altering the tenant the locks would be changed.

He said: “We need them to communicate with us, it gets a reaction.

“We can come to some arrangement that suits everybody and they can leave peacefully.

“But with this one, well, I wasn’t sure if she was going to leave or not.”

In the days following Mr Ainsworth-Lord tried repeatedly to contact her but could not get a response.

Mr Ainsworth-Lord returned to see if she had left, after hearing from a neighbour she had been seen moving out.

Inside Mr Ainsworth-Lord found a pet rabbit in a cage and suspected the tenant had left.

However a few days later his business received a call from the tenant, asking to be let back into the house as she was stood outside, with a baby in hand, and it was raining heavily.

Mr Ainsworth-Lord handed the keys back and returned to make an offer to the tenant in a bid to avoid a court case.

Mr Ainsworth-Lord offered to help her move to her next time, but the offer was declined and two months later the landlord decided to cut his losses. He sold the house at a discounted price.

Mr Ainsworth-Lord said: “The poor guy was at his wit’s end.

“I could see in his face, the frustration, he’d had enough.”