The trials and tribulations of one of Nuneaton’s accidental Landlords


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.

Mistakes:
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

Are you saving money by self-managing your Nuneaton property investment?


I bumped into a couple of our lovely Landlords in town last week and we decided to have a catch up over a Costa coffee (we should really be paid commission from Costa!). Terry and June used our Tenant find service a couple of years ago. As they are a retired couple, they decided they had the time to manage things themselves, which is great.
I asked how things were going with the house and immediately saw on both their faces that the answer was “not great!”. They said “well it’s funny that we’ve seen you today because we were going to pop in and have a chat about finding us some more tenants…and taking over the management for us”.
They went on to tell me that once the tenants had moved in, they had intended to do regular inspections (every 4 months or so) but, when it came time to schedule them in they had unexpected hospital visits (both ok thankfully), family birthday events to attend, last minute holidays…and the list goes on. Anyway, 4 months turned into 6 months, 8 months, 12 months and, before they knew it, two years had passed and the tenants had given their one month notice to leave.
The tenants had been paying the rent each month and had been cooperative when arranging the annual Gas Certificate so, Terry and June just assumed all was well. A mistake that many landlords often make.
When it came time to the check-out June said that she was so upset she nearly cried. They had spent around £4,500 on improvements prior to letting the property and, although the house wasn’t “trashed”, it was not in the same state that it was handed over to the tenants. It was evident that they had been smoking in the property (evident from the smell and yellow staining), the carpets were well trodden and quite mucky (they obviously were a fan of removing their shoes) and they had also noticed a stained patch on the ceiling which indicated a leak somewhere upstairs.
Luckily Terry and June had protected the tenants deposit, however, their inventory was not very detailed and they did not get the tenant to sign the inventory. They knew this was advised but it was just an oversight on their part. Anyhoo, the tenants (who were all lovely and accommodating to begin with) refused to accept responsibility for any of the issues raised and insisted that the full deposit be returned to them. The landlords disputed this with DPS and after months (yes, months) of disputing the matter, they lost and the entire deposit was returned to the tenants.
The reason for this was that the inventory was not detailed enough and there were some things that they did not mention (like the ceiling) and the fact that the carpets were newly fitted etc. The fact that they did not get the tenants to sign the inventory also went against Terry and June who were then left with a grubby house with a leak, no rental income and no funds to claw back for repairs!
The sad fact of property investment is that you often don’t realise how bad things are until it’s too late! Certain things HAVE to be done prior to a tenancy, on the tenancy start date, throughout the tenancy and, if they are not done, the consequences are often pretty horrible but, of course, by then, it’s too late.
Terry and June put it down to experience and they even considered selling the property because of it. However, they know the benefits of investing in Nuneaton property and, in the right hands it can be very successful.
I absolutely admire Terry and June for giving it a go but, it’s not easy. They may have saved themselves management fees in the two years they self-managed but, they worked out that it would’ve cost them just under £1,500 over the two years but it has cost them just over £2,000 to rectify things. They’ve now come to the conclusion that they’d rather pay the monthly management fees and know that everything is in hand rather than worrying that something like this will happen again.
If you have had a similar experience or are considering having your Nuneaton property investment manage, please feel free to give us a call and we’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see how we can best help.

Letting it and getting it RIGHT


We have so many landlords come to us when things go wrong with their tenants. This video aims to help you get it right from the start. If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this video, please feel free to give us a call on 02477 674 545 or visit our WEBSITE