Tenant’s Aren’t Just For Christmas

cat fight

Holy shit, this has been the longest period of time I’ve gone without publishing a post. It’s almost been a month. What’s my excuse? I’ve been sunning myself in various locations around the globe. Alas, it’s back to reality now, and what a landfill of diarrhea it is.

Naively, I had genuine intentions of sitting under an umbrella, tapping away on my laptop and unleashing a few posts. Reality was, I ended up laying there with my shades on while drooling over exotic women and tucking my erection under the elastic waist band of my swim shorts. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted; I’m back now, doing what I do, and how I usually do it…

Anyways, I digress.

If this particular holiday taught me anything about being a landlord, it’s that tenant’s aren’t for Christmas, or even for moments when I’m in the country, but they’re for life. Every damn second of the day.

While I was away I had a few tedious moments with one of my tenants that got right on my tits. I don’t know what I did that was so terrible in my past life, but I felt Karma unleashed her wrath. Granted, ordinarily I wouldn’t have been phased by the ongoings, but I think I became overly aggravated because I was going on holiday, and I just wanted everything to be perfect and worry free.

Schedule of events that irritated me

  • 1) Tenant was due to pay rent 4 days before I was set to leave the country. I silently waited until my day of departure (I figured 4 days was a generous amount of time for him to get his shit together). He failed to deposit the funds. Mistake number 1.
  • 2) On the morning of my departure, I text my tenant enquiring when rent would be paid. That’s mistake number 2. I shouldn’t have had to initiate the conversation. He knew rent was due, and he knew perfectly well he didn’t pay it. He should have contacted me first; I had given him 4 days to come crawling on his knees.

    If I was in his position, I would have made contact first and informed the landlord with whatever sorry excuse I had managed to construe from out of my arse, and then told him when it would be paid. But I guess that’s the difference between someone with decency and an inconsiderate skidmark that enjoys sucking the blood out of innocent and beautiful people.

  • 3) It took him 48 hours to respond to my text message. There we go, mistake number 3. It shouldn’t take someone 48 hours to respond to a text message, especially when it’s about something relatively important.

    If my tenants need extra time to pay rent, i’m perfectly fine with that. Just let me know so I don’t waste my precious time waiting and chasing.

    In his text he apologised and said he was paid late by his employer, and would pay me the next day. He said he would notify me with a confirmation text. At this point I was on my holiday in the Far East so I didn’t want to think about work, and also, texting back and forth was now an expensive delicacy. Either way, I responded and told him that was fine.

  • 4) Next day had come and gone and I was still waiting for his confirmation. Mistake number 5.
  • 5) Even though I didn’t receive any correspondence from the mute, I checked my bank online to see if he managed to pay rent. To my surprise, he paid £500. However, rent is £775. Mistake number 6. He didn’t pay the entire amount, and didn’t even bother informing me he was short.
  • 6) 24 hours later, I’m laying on a beach texting my tenant, enquiring why the entire rent wasn’t paid. Mistake number 7 & 8; once again he had forced me to initiate a conversation he should have started, but more crucially, he had forced me to deduct time from my perving parade so I was able to chase him for rent. I told him rent was short (like the mute shit-for-brains didn’t know!), and asked him to tell me when the remaining balance could be settled.
  • 7) Another 24 hours past and I was still dealing with a mute. Again, I decided to check my account online. Amazingly, he had deposited the remaining £275. So after 10 days of being in arrears, he had paid his rent. But again, there had been no correspondence from him (even until now). He was obviously receiving my texts. Weird.

I’m not even sure what the point of this blog post is. But I think it has something to do with the following:

  • I wanted to explain why I haven’t been posting as much recently.
  • I’m a reasonable guy. I don’t mind if my tenants need extra time to pay rent (as long as it doesn’t become a habit), but be bloody courteous and let me know what is going on. Moreover, don’t ignore my texts and say you’re going to contact me when you’re not.
  • The combination of ignoring my texts and paying in unorthodox amounts without informing me became tedious.
  • Tenants always seem to become problematic when I’m on annual leave.

So, on that note, has anyone else recently been irritated by their tenant or landlord? If so, let’s here it!

For those wondering, yes, I had a fabulous time, and it’s truly disgusting being back! x

Like this post? Then maybe you should sign up to my FREE newsletter so you receive more like it!

26 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Benji 14th December, 2011 @ 19:49

Is it sunny in Blackpool at this time of year?

1
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 14th December, 2011 @ 20:27

Benji: Can you not read? He had his holiday in the Far East, not the North West. So how was Sunderland, then?

2
Guest Avatar
Armin 14th December, 2011 @ 20:37

Sunderland is not in the Far East. Far East, that clearly would have to be Norwich!

3
Guest Avatar
YesAdam 14th December, 2011 @ 21:37

Just 10 Days of arrears, Can we do a Tenant swap?

lol, I hope you had a good holiday. As for frustations of them not contacting you, I think you need to lower your expectations. Its embarasing and no one wants to make embarassing calls about being LATE and especialy beig SHORT.

4
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th December, 2011 @ 09:19

@Benji, @Armin, @Jeremy
You guys and your cute playful ways!

@YesAdam,

Yeah, 10 days is nothing to be concerned about, it was definitely the lack of communication and common courtesy that got under my skin! Are your tenants currently in arrears? If so, by how much?

Brilliant holiday(s), thanks :)

Ha, I suspect he went mute on me due to the embarrassment. However, honesty is the best policy; i'd rather know where I stand, innit

5
Guest Avatar
YesAdam 15th December, 2011 @ 09:44

Id rather know too, I do make a point of saying "thanks for letting me know" a few times in a call, even if I initiate it.

Unfortunatly majority of tenatnts in low income housing are in arrears. We keep it at a minimum but landlord wants "long term tenants" rather than us putting foot down and scaring them away.

Since its coming to xmas i've had what id call some of my "best" tenants being late or prosponeing payments.

A letter going out now to a tenant who he and his mum prommissed payment 3 times and was yeaterday now in two months arrears. Late fee going his way, unfortunatly.

6
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 15th December, 2011 @ 10:04

Yeah, I'm actually concerned a few of my tenants may deploy delay tactics through the Christmas period.

Ahh the 'late fee' penalty is interesting. Do you tie that into the tenancy agreement or through a separate contract, and is it 100% forcible by law?

7
Guest Avatar
YesAdam 15th December, 2011 @ 10:42

Yes, its in our AST we use a customised version of the AST from the "Residential Landlords Association" so im sure they have tested the "legality" of such terms, here is the wording:

"2. Pay our reasonable costs for sending reminder letters. These will be £10.00 for each reminder.
3. Pay our reasonable costs for any cheque that does not clear or any unpaid direct debit or debit or credit-card or standing order payment. These will be £10 each time this happens."

I dont realy enforce the "fee" that often as you have to give some flexibility but make sure they know I have NOT enforced it. Its only £10 but..

8
Guest Avatar
mark 15th December, 2011 @ 13:38

hope you enjoyed holiday
1 dont tell tenants when you may be away.
2the tenner threat is good but dont enforce imho,suggest you may ask agent to look after property, that will scare the hell out of him.
3.the guy was not too bad ,prob felt scared /guilty ,he sounds ok?
4.great site missed your posts
regards

9
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 15th December, 2011 @ 20:56

If you're that pedantic over your easterliness then you need Lowestoft, not Norwich.

I went to Elveden Forrest for holiday this year, so I think I'll shut up and go stand in the corner!

10
Guest Avatar
Armin 16th December, 2011 @ 14:58

I haven't been on a holiday since 2006. Holidays are for rich people, like LL.

11
Guest Avatar
YesAdam 16th December, 2011 @ 15:03

Armin, Get to Butlins, "All work and no play makes Armin a dull boy".

12
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 16th December, 2011 @ 15:59

They shut Butlins at Blackpool. All the more reason to go to Lowestoft instead

13
Guest Avatar
Ali 16th December, 2011 @ 22:04

Just come across this blog - brillant. I love it

14
Guest Avatar
Mr X 17th December, 2011 @ 13:06

I know 3 landlords that all have a penalty clause in their agreements for late rent, one for example is 4% of the rent, which then compounds for every day the rent is late.

However my point is, the times where rent has been a day late or more, none of these have been enforced.

Perhaps it is just a scare tactic.

15
Guest Avatar
Ryan 20th December, 2011 @ 10:31

I can only think of very few examples where the tenant has told me before hand that they were going to be late, every other time it's me chasing them!

16
Guest Avatar
pab 21st January, 2012 @ 06:05

"The tenant(s) are jointly and severally liable for the payment of rent and a late payment fee of £20 will be made against each late rent payment."

If they're a day or so late I don't mind too much but three days or more without any communication then I'm usually pissed off enough to enforce it. Depends on the tenant and my mood mostly. If it's one of their first couple of rents though I'm always of the mind to enforce the first one to make them weary of being late again.

17
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 22nd January, 2012 @ 13:21

Hello Mr X and pab,

The Office of Fair Trading has a stance which is rather against liquidated damages for late payment being defined in the tenancy agreement.

They tend to take the view that any amount must reflect or be close to the direct costs (not overheads or consequential costs) of the rent being late.

So should a tenant ever refuse to pay the penalty amount and the issue go to court, the landlord would have a burden of proof to show how £20 / 4% / wahtever is reasonable and not just an exercise in leveraging more cash out of the tenant.

18
Guest Avatar
Mr X 22nd January, 2012 @ 13:26

Yeh that does make sense Jeremy

19
Guest Avatar
pab 24th January, 2012 @ 18:59

@Jeremy, I imagine that stems from the debacle the banks had justifying/refunding those unauthorised overdrafts charges. Funnily enough I reserve charging interest on late rent for my commercial tenants only. Don't think I'll be changing either lease agreement anytime soon - good to know though.

20
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 1st February, 2012 @ 22:59

Hello pab,

Yes, you're right. It's exactly the same principle. And it's cropped up again in the news with airlines charging us £25 to use a card when they're charged 50p by their banks for the same transaction.

I made an assumption (never assume!) that you are a residential-only landlord. As far as non-consumer contracts go, the OFT offers more lattitude. They make an assumption that a business deal is between parties with equal trading strength and interfere less in the fairness of contract terms. So if you ever wanted to enforce these terms, you proably could.

21
Guest Avatar
shikira 9th May, 2012 @ 15:39

Sticky fingers on the keys scenario!

I believe that a £20 penalty fee is reasonable and possibly a whack on the backside if it is necessary?

Never draw up an agreement that can be subjected to 'loose' conduct from the tenant, you have to be assertive and forthright in your manner as well as lay down the law right foot first.

22
Guest Avatar
shikira 28th May, 2012 @ 17:21

To the Landlord,

Sometimes, extended holidays can result in catastrophic events whilst away, so always a great idea to make necessary calls to tenant/s if certain that things haven't been communicated well, before your absence commences are conveyed well and truly clear.

I twice had the misfortune of buyers turning up to one place I had rented, and they wanted to speak to the landlord, yet he was some place I couldn't reach him over the telephone. He had been away for at least two months and did not mention about the buyers: Perhaps it had slipped his mind, I don't know?

Unfortunately, the downside of being a landlord is the fact that not all tenants are happy to take control of a ship, especially if it requires navigational strengths. Not that all tenants are this incapable, yet some will allow a vessel to sink if there are good signs that it is about to sink anyway.

I am positive that you are a savvy man and only pick people you know and have exchanged a great deal of trust, yet that also means allowing tenants the right of access to your whereabouts, weekly schedule - You can't expect or demand a good return on a venture that has no mutual equity.

23
Guest Avatar
jacks 15th November, 2012 @ 13:06

Funnily enough I reserve charging interest on late rent for my commercial tenants only. Don't think I'll be changing either lease agreement anytime soon - good to know though.
couchsurfing

24
Guest Avatar
josen 6th January, 2013 @ 08:02

So should a tenant ever refuse to pay the penalty amount and the issue go to court, the landlord would have a burden of proof to show how £20 / 4% / wahtever is reasonable and not just an exercise in leveraging more cash out of the tenant.
detox bali

25
Guest Avatar
Jeremy 6th January, 2013 @ 11:31

Hello josen,

A clause which says x% of the rent looks like a fee chargable to cover general financing costs. It's about the same cost to chase £400 as £900. So that might be worth challenging.

YesAdam's example of £10 for a set of defined events looks far more reasonable to me. If you assume a proptery manager earns c. £20 per hour (gross, before tax and both streams of NI), then this gives about half an hour to spot the late payment; read the case file; draft and send a letter.

If a tenant goes to court and the fees are found reasonable then the tenant stands to lose all their costs, probably the landlord's costs, too and still owe the fees.

The opposite would apply if the costs were unreasonable.

So the most important decision the tenant can take is to work out if they are objectively reasonable before taking the issue to court.

26

Please leave a comment...

Nobody

Nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Agent

Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast