It’s been a while, just over a month; I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long without blogging, and to be honest, I’m forcing these words out of myself right now just to end the drought. I’m not entirely sure how this post will pan out, but for the most part I know it’s going to be different from every other blog post I’ve written (some of you are feeling it already), and you’ll mostly sit there thinking, “What the fuck is going on here?”
I’m really not in the mood to blog about anything landlord related, but I am in the mood to air my dirty laundry in public as I’m hoping it will temporarily occupy my mind and prove to be therapeutic. Inevitably, I will throw in some landlord bits, but only because I have to, being a landlord blog ‘n all, but this will largely be about my personal trials and tribulations. Better out than in, as they say. Hold onto your condoms, it’s about to get dark and pathetic…
The good news is, I’m still alive. Well, partially. My limbs still function as they should and blood is circulating around my body, into every nook and cranny. The rest of me, like my soul, heart and mind, all that good shit, they’ve taken a beating, hence why my drive to produce unbelievably amazing landlord content has disintegrated into nothing but vapour. For now.
Why would any cold blooded male be so low and unproductive? Women. Always women. I’m going through a transitional period in my life where I’m having to adjust to the loss of a loved one. Not by death, just by regular cold-hearted bitchiness. The breakup.
Ok. Truth is, she isn’t a cold-hearted bitch at all (which makes it so much tougher), despite the fact I haven’t entirely agreed with how she’s conducted herself throughout the separation. But in these times, when do you ever agree on one another’s behavior? There’s no such thing as a perfect breakup when love is involved, right? Agree with me, I need some reassurance.
This has been by far my toughest breakup, but for a number of reasons. Primarily because I actually gave a shit about this one, and most excruciatingly, I don’t fully understand why the mutilation occurred; I only know it happened. That’s always the toughest pill to swallow with any massacre- when it happens for reasons beyond comprehension. I really don’t like things I don’t understand, I never have. It’s the “not-knowing”, it’s like a bullet slowly grinding through the skull. I know what I was told, I know what I’m meant to believe, but it doesn’t make sense, and it probably never will. I still genuinely believe it’s one big mistake. Ah, sweet denial.
The breakup has been ongoing for a while now, definitely too long, but the fight has been worth it, and will continue to be so. I’ve done the harassment/psycho thing, I’ve done the “get drunk and talk shit” thing (I would NEVER advice anyone to do that), I’ve done the painfully/pitifully long email thing, I’ve given the “i’m never talking to you again, you’re going to regret this” speech, I’ve done the “i’m not afraid to admit how I feel about you, even though I sound like a complete dickhead” thing, and apparently I’m doing the blogging thing now…on a landlord blog. I’m going to try the “space” thing next. Apparently absence makes the heart grow fonder. All my eggs are firmly in that basket right now, even though I was told it’s over. Eggs/basket don’t fail me now!
Albeit, in the mean time, here I am, in living hell, without an inkling of inspiration to blog about landlord bullshit. I’m sorry.
In these situations, hindsight is a fucker though, innit? All that heat-of-the-moment behavior that triggers by instinct after a breakup is a killer, and it drags us completely out of character. I probably should have gone with the “give her space” option first, because I did some serious damage while stampeding through the other irrational steps. She said I crossed a few unforgivable lines (ouch!). But seriously, initially “givng space”, without going through that fight for salvation, seems like a very tall order that defies mankind. In any case, fight the urges if you can.
I’m a little convinced though, everything I have done so far is with in the guidelines of the normal breakup protocol for a cold-blooded male. I’m not saying it’s right, just somewhat regular. Before you answer, let me clarify the “harassment/psycho” notion, because I feel the details are crucial before being able to determine a final verdict. I called her multiple times in a week (not constantly, just a few times, but it was knowing she didn’t want to talk) and sent her a frequent flow of messages every few days, encouraging her to resolve this, and reminding her that she’s stuck a rusty blade through my urethra. One particular night I completely spazzed out after I hit the bottle- if I had a “get out of jail” card, I definitely don’t anymore. I haven’t rolled up to her house and stuffed a bunny through her letterbox, although I did jot it down on a piece of scrap paper, as a crucial part of my overall master-plan. Yet to be executed.
Needless to say, it’s been an unforgettable experience. Not just the breakup, but also the actual relationship, because it genuinely was amazing, which brings me back to the question, “WHY?” That question alone can drive any sane man insane. In fact, every unanswered question adds to the insanity, and those questions breed quickly during these times. Unfortunately, I have no advice for anyone in a similar position, but someone recently told me that “hope” is a very real thing and not to dismiss it. I really liked the sound of that, especially because that’s all I really have left right now, so maybe hope is the answer. And that’s where I’m currently at.
Fuck me sideways, someone play the violins already. So there you have it, my reason for not being around and having absolutely zero motivation to fill your lives with colourful landlord tips and advice. I don’t think it’s actually sunk in how inappropriate it is to share my reasons for not blogging for 4 weeks. How many of you actually even noticed, seriously? I’m still contemplating whether or not I will press the “publish” button.
For those wondering, I don’t think the ex reads my blog, although she is aware of this magical haven. I know she used to stick her nose in now and then, but that’s when she gave a shit about what I had to say, so I can’t imagine she’ll swing around these parts anymore. Plus, what kind of pathological nut-job would write about their personal relationship dilemmas on a Landlord blog? We’re safe, she won’t suspect a thing.
So now onto the landlord stuff. I’m thinking I should take this down the “lessons you never forget” route. It seems fitting because I’ve just been through a journey which has taught me several life lessons, and I’ve also picked up many of those while being a landlord. I may as well tie it together.
Anyone can fall into arrears, even the least suspecting
While you can try to minimise the risk of obtaining tenants that are likely to fall into arrears, there is ultimately no silver bullet solution that will guarantee the perfect tenant, and there never will be because of the simple fact, circumstances always change. The reality is, even someone with impeccable references can fall into arrears. It’s a reality every landlord needs to be aware of- every tenant is a prospective, ticking time-bomb. I’ve had the most unsuspecting tenants fall into arrears because of change in circumstances.
It’s a horrible feeling; being at the mercy of a rent-dodger can be gut-wrenching; a real sickening experience- not only because of the financial losses, but knowing that people are able to get away with that bullshit (which they actually do). Unfortunately, it’s something most landlords will most likely experience at least once during their reign.
The best a landlord can do is try to prevent, and also prepare for the worst.
High-street letting agents are a financial drain
I think I completely stopped using letting agents at the start of my third year of being a landlord. By then I had spent enough money on them, and learned enough to get by on my own, but I wish I had done it sooner. Don’t get me wrong, letting agents have their uses, but let’s face it, they’re a financial drain and working with them isn’t always a pleasant experience.
In most cases, if you get the fundamentals right by finding good tenants, the letting agents job becomes minimal, and easily replicated. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
With the growth of online letting agents, it’s become cheap and easy for landlords to advertise on Rightmove to find tenants quickly, so it seemed like the natural step to go it alone.
I haven’t looked back since, and I’ve saved a bucket load.
Hygiene standards can drastically differ from one person to the next
I’ve learned this lesson once, but I’ve regretfully been reminded of it several times over. Just because I like to live in a clean and funk-free environment, it categorically does not mean everyone else does.
I’ve let properties to working professionals like an oral surgeon and head-chef (these are real life examples), only to be mortified at how low their hygiene standards are behind closed doors. In both cases, for example, the kitchens were left saturated in what could only be described as congealed kebab grease, including all the cooking appliances. It must have been a greasy and filthy existence for the pair of them.
These cases were particularly worrying because a fundamental element of their professions is hygiene- regardless, it’s worrying anyways! You never forget a dirty bastard.
The best way to combat greasy, scum-bag tenants is by conducting vigilant tenant references.
How forgiving the law can really be
Landlord law often amazes me. Granted, there are two sides to every story- tenants and landlords both believe they have insufficient rights. Perhaps there’s truth in both arguments to a certain degree. But from personal experience, I can honestly say landlords get a tough ride when it comes to tenants that fall into arrears. The eviction process is long and excruciating, so it’s often torture relying on the legal system. Why should the process of allowing justice to prevail be such a painful experience? It shouldn’t, but it is.
Not all landlords learn this lesson, and I hope they don’t, but the legal system can be a cruel mistress if you end up with a scumbag tenant. It’s great for the tenant though. Brilliant.
Working with people isn’t easy
It’s NEVER easy working with people, not necessarily because people are unreasonable, but simply because people are different and abide by their own expectations and ways of doing things, which we aren’t necessarily accustom to.
A landlord and tenant relationship is generally very fragile by nature, so it’s quickly turned sour, over very little. I’ve seen it happen, hell, I’ve been caught in similar predicaments a few times. Some times it’s unavoidable, but a lot of the times it is.
At times I’ve been extremely frustrated by the actions of certain tenants, and in an ideal world, I’d handle the situation with all guns blazing. I’d be hard, fast and aggressive. But in reality, that’s not a solution, that’s just a good way of creating long-term problems.
A landlord/tenant relationship is often long-term, and it’s imperative to remember that. Keep tenants in their place, but do it the right way. Going back to how I initially exploded after my break-up, I knew it wasn’t the best way to react, even while I was doing it. It didn’t help; it didn’t make me feel better; it didn’t make her feel better, so why was I actually doing it? All I really did was reduce my chances of resolving the situation.
The lesson is, take time to cool down, think about the situation carefully, and then make a constructive and rational decision. Trust me, it will end so much better and help retain a peaceful relationship.
So, there you have it.
This has been a bit of an odd one, ain’t it? I’m not sure how it’s going to go down, only time will tell. Happy for anyone to laugh, mock, provide advice and additional tips, whether it be landlord or relationship related.