I wanted to share with you a story that I feel a lot of landlords could benefit from. Some time ago we had a phone call from a panicked Nuneaton landlord (and avid blog reader) . They are one of the many accidental landlords in Nuneaton and their story goes a bit like this…
(Just out of interest, see how many mistakes you can spot along the way)
They were left a property by a family member who sadly passed away and, rather than selling, they thought “why not rent it out?” so, with a WH Smith tenancy agreement in hand, they let the property to an applicant they found on Gumtree, took a deposit and kept it safe in their savings account. Does anyone else see where this story is going? I’m not mocking them. Even I made mistakes back in the day when I first started out with my first investment property (14 years ago…wow that makes me sound old!). I’m happy to report that I am wiser and (sadly) older now and there are no school girl errors!
Anyhoo, I digress….As is usually the case, their tenant was absolutely great for the first few months and then the late rent payments started (although they were still paying intermittently). When the landlords went round to do an inspection they were incredibly disappointed to see that the house was not being looked after. So, after some deliberation, they decided it was best to ask them to leave.
You must see where this is going now?…
They spoke to the tenant a few days later and told them that they were giving them one months’ notice to leave the property. After a month, the tenant had not left the property and had also completely given up on paying the rent. The landlord told them that if they didn’t move out, they would keep their deposit as compensation for lack of rent.
This went on for a further 2 months before the landlord got in touch with us as they were at the end of their tether.
Ok, now’s the time to see how many mistakes you noticed (red pens at the ready). We had to tell them in the nicest possible way that, without seeking legal advice and support, they would only continue to struggle getting the tenant out and it would probably end up costing them more than legal fees in the long run.
1. WH Smith Tenancy agreement (not sure how up to date they are but they change quite often!)
2. Gumtree (say no more)
3. They didn’t secure the deposit in a recognised scheme
4. Landlords give tenants 2 months’ notice. It is Tenants that can give one months’ notice
5. The landlords would not have been able to keep the deposit because it was not protected properly (even though there were rent arrears and damage to the property)
6. There were several other mistakes the landlord made at the start of the tenancy with regards to certificates and paperwork as well (but these weren’t mentioned)
What they did right:
Seeking advice as quickly as possible
Landlords are often incredibly embarrassed and ashamed when things go wrong with a tenancy and often feel incredibly isolated but, it’s happened to thousands of landlords. The best thing you can do is seek advice as quickly as possible.
It’s great when people self-manage their buy to let investment but it’s only worthwhile if you do it properly and understand EXACTLY what is expected of you.
I’m happy to report that said landlord did seek legal advice and did manage to get the tenants out. We now manage the property for them so they can sit back, relax and enjoy the monthly rental income (which is guaranteed!).
If you have had issues similar to this, please feel free to get in touch to see how we can help. It is incredibly stressful and you don’t have to carry the burden on your own.
We’d love to hear from you 02477 674545