My Favourite Tenant Is Leaving

So, check it…

Moving HousesI got a phone call 2 days ago from one of my longest and most faithful tenants (since 2005). Initially, I thought I was going to be on the receiving end of a winter maintenance call, so I was hesitant to answer. Apparently plumbers are so busy right now that they have a 2 week waiting list, not to mention their winter service charge, which I guarantee doesn’t line up with their summer pricelist. Anyways…it wasn’t anything to do with maintenance; it was actually a little worse.

My tenant didn’t beat around the bush; she basically said she is going to be moving out at the end of the month. I was pretty surprised because I thought she was a keeper. Apparently her kids are becoming teenagers, so they need their own rooms (they’re currently sharing). I remember at the age of 13, I was growing bigger in all areas and I needed more private space to experiment with the curiosities puberty bring- so I can fully appreciate their situation.

Losing good tenants is a BIG loss

The thing is with good tenants is that they’re extremely difficult to find, and you don’t actually know when you have one until about 4 months into a tenancy agreement. So it’s not like you can just pick one out of a crowd.

She’s been real good to me and my property over the years. Granted, she’s had a few psychotic episodes which made me question her sanity, but ultimately, she was cool like bubble gum. Looking back over the years, the soppy old tart has made my landlording experience a lot less complicated that it could have been. In comparison to some of my other current and ex tenants, she gets 5 out of 5. She’s a good tenant, too. Har har har.

What now?

Right, so what does this all mean? It means I now have to go through the bitterly frustrating dramatics of recruiting suitable tenants. Great. I hate this part. For those who are regular readers of this deadbeat blog, you’ll already know I despise lettings agents and their shitty fees, so I do all the recruiting in-house, baby!

I’ve already documented how I previously obtained tenants by using my own shady methods, and I’ll be utilizing the same shady methods again. For those that missed the documented milestone of my Landlording life, you can ketchup like a squashed tomato over here, Finding Tenants Without Using A Letting Agent.

Here’s a quick recap of the methods I used last time, which I’ll be using again:

  • Put an ad on gumtree
  • Use social networking sites to spread the word e.g Facebook and Myspace
  • Create and print out flyers and put them in shop windows

My only fear right now is that I unintentionally replace my current groovy tenant, with a shit-for-brains waster. Anyone ever lost a great tenant? It’s like losing an erection during climax, right? Urgh.

Wish me luck!

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4 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Paul 25th January, 2009 @ 11:49

Heck, that indeed is bad news. Love the accompanying photograph though. That made me chuckle.
I fully agree with your sentiments in relation to letting agents. The fact of the matter is that when you vet tenants yourself, if you get a bad tenant then you've only got yourself to blame. This is easier to accept than blaming a crappy letting agent and tenant, AND yourself for making such a bad choice; if you get my drift. Eighteen years ago I owned a flat and I let this flat out by doing it myself through an ad in the local press. I vetted seven potential tenants and was 'lucky' in my choice. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky in my choice of partner. She left and I had to eventually sell the flat to pay her off. By coincidence my 'model' tenants wanted to move on at the same time. In addition I sold the flat at the top of the market. Lucky all around really because in hindsight she did me a favour.
Once again I'm now dabbling in the property market.
'When are you to old to become a landlord?' This is a question you have already raised on your excellent blog/website. I'm fifty this week and just bought another property. I wanted to sell the one I'm in now, but I was going to lose so much on this property that I felt it made financial sense to buy somewhere else. Time will be the judge of whether I've made a good decision.
Now back to the point of choosing a 'good' tenant. I've had my home advertised in the local shop for a number of weeks and had no shortage of interest. In addition I picked up some interest from Gumtree too. Your suggestions by the way are brilliant and I had already covered these 'common sense' avenues. However I have a secret weapon that most,(if not all) of you landlords out there don't have. I am a housing benefit assessor. YIKKKES!!Yes my friends, I am either your enemy or your friend. I am indeed in a priveliged position because during the day I get a steady stream of prospective tenants phoning me and the temptation is there to mix personal business and work. Also as a result of my recent ad, prospective tenants and people whom I have assisted in the past with their benefit claims have shown an interest in my property. Benefit claimants and the local authorites have been given short thrift on this website (and quite rightly so). However being in the position I am, I'm perfectly placed to sort out the good 'uns from the bad 'uns. I think we all agree, having a benefit claimant ensures you get your rent. Problem is when things go wrong, things usually REALLY go wrong. However because of my knowledge and experience in benefits, I don't have to worry about any of this because I know the system inside out. It goes without saying that when I get my benefit tenant in that I will have to declare them. This means I won't be able to assess my own claim. This is not a problem because I know someone who can. It's just now up to me to chose someone.
One particular claimant called me wanting to look at my property. I told her who I was, immediately she started saying she'll promise she'll be a good tenant and that she's desparate to move etc, etc. Poor girl, I had to turn her down right there and then without letting her anywhere near my property, just because I know her history. A guy has just phoned. I have specifically said no pets. He told me that he does have a small dog though. I asked what breed. A Staffy he said. Christ, the neighbours here would freak if they saw a Staffy on the loose!
To cut a long story short though I have found my tenant. Or should I say she found me. I was at work last week when she called wanting advice. She's been given notice to quit, one child, looking for accommodation. I was in two minds whether I should mention that I had a property to let. But after listening to how articulate she was, I couldn't help myself. To coin a phrase, she didn't come across as one of those 'shit for brains tenants'. I gave her my number and said call me tonight, I can't discuss this in work. She phoned, was keen, popped around on Saturday morning for a viewing with two of her friends. I think I've picked a bit of a gem here. But like I said in relation to my recent property purchase... time will be the judge of whether I've made a good decision.
By the way, I wish you luck with your search my friend. Love that picture!

1
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 25th January, 2009 @ 12:35

Hey Paul,

Great comment, many thanks for sharing!

I'm glad we're on the same wavelength in regards to letting agents. I've paid a letting agent 12% only to find me a tenant that I had to evict 2 months down the line. The letting agent was helpless. Since that experience I realised that I'm just as capable of finding a bad/good tenant as agents!

"housing benefit assessor" haha wow! That's pretty cool, because you actually get to assess a claiment's situation thoroughly, a priviledge landlords don't get.

Back in the day, when "Housing Benefit" scheme was in place, I had no problem with Benefit claimants, because the money went directly to the landlord. But now "Housing Benefit" has been replaced with Local Housing Allowance (LHA). One of the main changes is that the tenant gets the money directly. So rent ISN'T ALWAYS guaranteed like before.

I'm glad you've found your tenant! Fingers crossed she really is a gem. I've got a few viewings this week, so hopefully i'll find a gem as well.

After 2 days on Gumtree, I've had 5 viewings lined up! Pretty good.

Kind regards

2
Guest Avatar
Dee 27th January, 2009 @ 10:18

Hi guys,

I hate letting agents!!! I have got some of my property on let on a fully managed bases, and i want to get out. If there is nothing about getting out in the contract does anyone know the procedure?

By the way i love the picture!

It's such a shame when a good tenant leaves. I am currently trying to negotiate a well over due rent increase for one of my properties. I know she wants to stay and she knows that she is getting a bargain right now. Let the negotiations begin! Any advice?

3
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 27th January, 2009 @ 10:36

Hey Dee,

Unfortunately you can't escape the contract unless the agent actually breaks a clause e.g. doesn't do an inspection when they're contracted to, or something like that.

I've written an article on increasing tenants rent, you may find it useful :)

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