"I came here ", he said, "out of concern and compassion, when I heard about that"
He points to the gaping void where his front window used to be.
"Well that's good", I say, all the while knowing that he's only here because the Housing Executive have just served him with an order to seal the building in seven days or they'll do it and bill him.
We're having the "man to man chat" that's been long overdue. I tell him that I have described him as a "Holylands Slumlord" on this blog and that I've published his address and phone number because with power must always come accountability.
"I can't tell you what to do", I say, "but I know what a responsible landlord would do. Take it back to three people, cover every square inch of party wall;the cupboard , the hot press, the bathroom, with foam backed board, put glass fibre under the floorboards, and delay your building work until the summer."
He likes none of this. He starts trying to pull it apart.
"The building has to be gutted. It's not safe"
" You ask building control, they were out here. If it was that bad they would have had it sealed within twenty four hours then taken action to have it pulled down"
"What am I supposed to do then?!"
"Put steel shutters on it"
Of course he's more concerned about losing rent than any thing else
I call over my neighbour Sharon and she tells him the nightmare his tenants have put me through, how the stress of them put me in hospital.
"I was on a drip for three days, Douglas. I nearly died of pneumonia. That doesn't happen by accident. I couldn't sleep with the noise. I couldn't eat with the stress"
Sharon asks him to put professionals in. He says it's all students here. We point out the professionals three doors down, two doors up, across the street. He knows if he puts students in he won't have to pay rates on his property, a very nice little earner.
Sharon has to go. She leaves us to it. He doesn't want to cut the numbers in his house down.
"What's the difference between three and four?"
"Peace! You see that house on the other side of me? It has three people in it, and only ever girls or girls and boys together. In sixteen years I've never had a problem with that house. Now that's a responsible landlord"
He has no answer to that. He offers his hand.
"I'll have the house sealed tomorrow. I don't want you feeling vulnerable."
That was Thursday. It's now Monday night. The property is wide open front and back.