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Landlord Blues: Renting out the house from hell

I am using this blog to publish extracts from my third book on the subject of dealing with tenants from hell. The aim of the book and blog is to give people an insight into what the life of a landlord can be like and to provide tips for making landlords’ lives easier. This is done by describing real experiences of our worst-case scenarios. This should help you avoid getting into the same fixes.

Ignoramuses thinking they know about our business.
13 March 2014 @ 15:49

I was getting fed up as usual about the way the bad tenants could get everyone running around to help them. So two days later, when I found out the Welsh Assembly was introducing yet more regulations and compulsory fees for landlords whilst, as usual, doing nothing to help us deal with rogue tenants, I decided to let off steam by writing them a letter:

Dear Sir/Madam

We are landlords and members of the Landlord Forum. We have attached our response to the Welsh Government’s Proposal for a Better Private Rented Sector in Wales. We would like to draw attention to the fact that the legislation is already in place to monitor landlords’ behaviour and professional practices and we, personally, see this as a cynical attempt to get vast sums of money from us (as we have a large portfolio).

We have faced numerous problems with some dreadful tenants over the years and continue to face all manner of problems, with non-paying tenants, tenants who damage our houses, tenants who make us take them to court and end owing us thousands of pounds. Indeed we have lost tens of thousands of pounds over the years in this manner, all the time never getting any help from the authorities, indeed other factors, such as court waiting times conspire to make us lose much more money than necessary.

We have several registered HMOs [Houses of Multiple Occupation] already and have had inspectors say: ‘Oh, you get £1,000 per month for that property and thus can easily afford the £500 licensing fee.'

In fact, the licence fee is the least of the expense as they then always suggest thousands of pounds worth of ‘improvements.'

My husband has had to point out to these non-business people that we are also paying mortgages, maintenance, furniture renewals, regular redecoration, insurance, gas safety fees, letting fees and so on and in the summer only receive half-rents. There have been many times when the profit margin has been about £100 per month of that "£1,000" rent and all of this in a market where our houses are worth less each year. It is thus with some indignation that we hear these false assumptions being made about us, by people who have no idea of the reality of what it means to be a landlord in a society which holds considerable disdain for us as a profession, but at the same time relies on us to provide a service.

Clearly, landlords such as ourselves will try and get out of this field when the market improves (we have several houses in negative equity and it would, in any case, be extremely difficult to sell our heavily-mortgaged houses at the moment), as we feel so unsupported in our role. We could make a lot of further points, but to save time you can read about them as Dr Rebecca Lynch has written two books on the subject of tenants from hell, which refer to the bureaucratic and regulatory nightmare of being a landlord as well as the emotional and psychological toll which this work has taken on us.

The current proposals will make things much worse and lead to many landlords leaving the market. This will create more homelessness and this will all be caused by regulations being proposed by people who are not business people and have no idea what is going on in this field.

I urge you to reconsider.

Kind regards.


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