I have been doing more and more writing for companies (which I love). Recently, I was asked to contribute to a booklet for landlords, sharing my experiences. I’ve rented out my teeny tiny flat for the last 12 years and here are my top tips for new landlords (or those considering becoming a landlord) whilst retaining your sanity. To make it simple I have used some real life (almost unbelievable) examples of my tenants problems over the years.
1. Make a foolproof list of instructions, imagine you are writing them for a teenager
Problem 1 : “The oven is broken, it’s not working.”
Solution : Try turning on the switch at the wall that says OVEN ON.
Tenant : Ah, I didn’t do that, thanks.
Problem 2 : “I can’t work the heating out at all, we are really cold.”
Solution : Read the instruction manual.
Tenant : We don’t understand it.
Next solution : Print out a foolproof piece of paper of how to set the heating on timer with photographs taken on your phone and then added to the paper.
2. Leave a few spare lightbulbs before they move in
Problem : “The light in the hallway is broken, can you send an electrician?”
Solution : Have you changed the lightbulb?
Tenant : Where would I buy one and how do I know which one to buy?
Next solution : Leave a few spares, clearly label where the lightbulbs are for e.g. bathroom, kitchen etc.
3. Stand your ground
Problem 1 : “Our electricity bill has gone up but £50 over the Winter, can you contribute to this please?” (Yes, this happened only two weeks ago).
Solution : Sorry but if you check your tenancy agreement, paragraph X, clause Y, you will see that all bills are your responsibility.
Problem 2 : “The noise from the road is really bad, can you get thicker double glazing for us please?”
Solution : Ermmm, no. When you chose the flat, you could see the road.
Some tenants have been very high maintenance, they tend to be the younger ones with no life experience and literally cant change a lightbulb. Older tenants take the initiative more and not rely on their landlord for tiny things.