If you’ve been reading my blog posts or run an HMO yourself, you’ll already know that the quest for affordable rooms is on the up. This is partly due to the changes this year in LHA for people aged 25-35 whereby councils will only pay for a room in a shared house and, over 35 years old they can claim for a one bed flat (if they’re lucky enough to find one at the LHA rate!). The increase in demand is also, in my opinion, due to tenants electing to have a life rather than work themselves to death to afford self contained accommodation and all that comes with it – Council Tax, utility bills, telephone, insurance, etc. Continue reading HMO Landlady’s casting couch story
After moving into my ex-HMO and refurbishing it last year, I decided that I wanted an open fire or woodburner. I’ve always wanted one and seemed to have come so close a few times but then sold a house before my dream could become a reality – husband citing it as a poor investment.
During the renovation the builder found the old hole for the fire, the surround which had been ripped out years ago in a fit of “modernisation” (bastards). I did some research and gawped at the prices of surrounds, flues, hearths and decided that I’d have to have the heating on full blast for the next 10 years to make it cheaper than fitting a fireplace and its paraphernalia. You see, I also needed to build the chimney up as someone had decided to take the stack down to just above the tray which was now leaking. £££££s or should I say, bills, were floating before my eyes. It was whilst salivating over what could be that I met THEM…………… Continue reading I Should Have Known Better
Last summer I met a very well heeled friend for lunch and listened as she commiserated her devastating investment losses over the past couple of years. She said “I need to get into property! It’s the only thing that I can rely on for the future and I’m fed up of hearing how much money my financial advisor is losing me – and he doesn’t even apologise!”.
I accepted the challenge of preparing a buy to let proposal for her based on the different markets, comparing returns in the local area and seeing whether it was student/HMO, family or renovation projects which would float her boat. Heady days, lying in the garden carrying out research courtesy of wi-fi – what better way to apply one’s brain? It was an interesting exercise as I’m so caught up with HMOs that it’s easy to forget the other markets. Doing the financial analysis vs hassle factor was enlightening too and, not one for numbers, I actually enjoyed fiddling around on Excel with percentage returns! Continue reading HMO Landlady Becomes A Letting Agent!!
Continuing on the maintenance theme (somehow I think this could be ongoing!), I’m in the midst of a continuing dilemma:
Tom has been a tenant for 4 years after being referred to me by the Salvation Army. He’s an asset to the house when sober but a pain in neck when drunk as he can never get his key in the front door when he staggers home and is often found on the stairs having forgotten which room he lives in! He’s unemployed, survives on Value noodles, spends his days ironing his clothes and keeping the common areas spick and span – talents picked up from his Army days. Continue reading HMO Landlady Sacks Tenant
I know there’s been a lot of mud thrown at lettings agents over the years mainly due to their high charges, limited ability and the fact that most landlords think “anyone can do it”. However, I always gave them the benefit of the doubt as, alongside being a Dartford Tunnel toll booth attenda Continue reading **%£~%! Lettings Agents!
I was going to write a piece about what to do when an HMO tenant goes AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and disappears off the face the earth. As an “exciting” read as that sounds, I’d rather pick up on the Article 4 directive that has been publicised today.
Over the last six months quite a few colleagues have pointed me towards Article 4 and I’ve now been forced to put down my copy of “100 interesting facts about being a landlord” and read this piece of legislation properly. I’m now firmly sitting on the fence opinion-wise. Continue reading Pondering Article Four – Stick It On The Students!
A couple of weeks ago I started a discussion thread on Property Tribes about the trials and tribulations of dealing with trades in terms of property maintenance. It started out as a bit of a rant after my long-standing builder and I “had words”. Actually, he came over after sensing that I’d got my knickers in a twist about lack of visible progress on starting some roofing work before the winter and bravely sat in my kitchen whilst I launched a stiff accusation of “it’s not bloody rocket science – I just want a start date, quote and timescale. I’m not asking you to perform brain surgery and if I knew anything about roofs or wasn’t scared of scaffolding, I’d do it myself!” Continue reading Maintenance Men – Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them!