Ok, so being a landlord is hardly a profession which requires a degree or other formal qualifications. We’re not going to save lives with our medical expertise or improve the world with great engineering feats. However, every day, in our small world, we deal with good tenants, clever tenants, unbelievably daft tenants and downright manipulative, difficult tenants.
Being a landlord and letting agent is a 24/7 profession – you can turn the phone off or not look at your email, but your customers are human and your product can fail or leak outside of the 9-5, Monday to Friday. This blog was set up as a form of personal therapy to let off steam and encourage would be HMO landlords to think twice. Faithful to its origin, here’s a rant of the week so far:
Friday – Broadband down at one of the houses after swapping providers, confirmed by five texts with varying degrees of English.
Saturday – one tenant does a midnight flit after meeting a girl on the internet and running abroad to live with her, leaving a £1,200 rent arrears debt. He had been with me for four years without issue until losing his job and failing to claim Housing Benefit. Panicked and ran even though we’d agreed an 18 month repayment plan.
Broadband still down
Sunday – eviction of one long standing tenant, Tom, who had been with me for eight years. His alcoholism is now so far advanced he rarely made it to bed and spent the night face down on the stairs having decided even getting to the bathroom for his ablutions was too much effort. As we said goodbye, I swear he couldn’t remember who we were.
Monday – Trades enter empty rooms of departed tenants for full refurbishment including repositioning radiators. Tenants offload how awful domestic life was with Tom.
Tuesday – Bed bugs are announced. Not one or two little rogues who’ve laid a few eggs, but an entire room crawling with the critters who didn’t even bother to hide. The pest controller backed out in horror claiming “this is too big for me, mate”. The tenant who has been playing host to the black, blood sucking buggers is vulnerable and said he genuinely hadn’t noticed his pillows were moving.
Newly refurbished shower leaking, female tenants up in arms over lack of cleanliness by the boys
Broadband still down, tenants getting grisly.
Wednesday – Tenant hosting bed bugs is given a talking to and is close to tears. He has no family, no money and my “professional” opinion is he needs supported housing, especially as he gets older. I put the Section 21 notice back in my bag and we agree a plan of action to help rehouse and delouse him.
Thursday – Bed bug letters delivered to all tenants to advise of treatment next week and the precautions they need to take before hand. Sit down to watch next episode of Versailles and last week was the final episode! Received call at 9.45pm from neighbour of an HMO to say she’s fed up with the “constant weed smoking” by two of the tenants and is prepped to contact the police.
3 new washing machines delivered to 3 separate houses in 2 separate towns. We wait for the delivery van, check the install and not one tenant says Thank You. Not one.
Landlord wants to know why he was charged £60 for an emergency leak when he feels tenant should claim on her insurance. He called the plumber a “Brazilian Toyboy”?!?
Broadband still down, tenants threatening anarchy. I place an order with BT instead – brilliant service.
Friday – I daren’t look out from under the duvet, but remind myself I’m tough. My own children have been neglected but, sadly, really don’t seem to mind. It has strengthened their resolve to find a career which doesn’t involve Marigold gloves, bleach and an optimism that everything will improve.
In the meantime: ..
It’s student season at the moment so houses have to be emptied of last year’s University stragglers who have failed to make their way home or into a job; clean, repair and refurbish the houses and get the new students in with only a couple of days’ void period before the landlord notices.
I’d love to be a professional – perhaps a costume designer for Versailles, a charity worker rescuing street children or a scientist edging closer to a cure for incurable diseases. Instead this week my Continuing Professional Development has enabled:
- A vulnerable man to accept he belongs in the social sector
- A plumber, decorator, waste clearance company and Argos to earn more money
- A pest controller to rub his hands in glee whilst counting £ signs
- BT to gain another customer
- Two tenants to be unwittingly evicted for trying to pass off weed as “sage”
- My bank balance to fall by £4,000 and counting
- Five tenants to find other forms of entertainment and embrace the world before Wifi was invented. Alternatively, they can swap searching for Pokemons to searching for Wifi Hotspots.