What You Should Know Before YOU Become A Landlord…

Becoming A Landlord

“I want in”, he says, with a smile stretching from ear-to-toe, so smug that it makes me want to launch a bowl of warm piss over his face.

A friend of mine has managed to stack together a little too much cash under his withered mattress, and now he wants to taste the sweet nectar of landlord living.

But is it actually worth being a landlord today in [insert desired year, because this blog post will be timeless]?

The reality is, being a landlord is one of those professions that mostly looks glamorous from the outside… and exponentially hideous from the inside, and that’s precisely what I told him.

Once you’re in the game, the anti-climax will rapidly hit you square on the jaw like a tonne of used tampons. It’s like, finally hooking up with that one person you’ve been pining over for years (the one that never gave you the time of day), only for the sex to be bitterly disappointing; nothing fits quite right and you encounter soul-destroying blemishes in places you fantasized being flawless.

Welcome back to planet earth.

Is now a good time to invest in BTL rental property and become a landlord (timeless advice!)?

Before I cover the pitfalls of being a landlord, I’m going to quickly address the most frequently asked questions:

  • Is it even worth becoming a landlord today?
  • Can we really “time the market”?
  • Is now the best time to invest in rental property?

What’s actually being asked is, “can I still line my pockets with cheese by being a landlord, even though property prices are freaking out of control and running expenses are diabolically evil?”

Fair warning, if you’re looking for a “yes” or “no” answer, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. However, perhaps you’re willing to endure some rational insight instead.

I’m writing this [update] in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic (2020), because it’s made for a good opportunity to share my fundamental thoughts on “timing the market”

No matter what is happening in this world today, whether there’s an industrial revolution or a killer viral infection on the loose, there will be industry sectors that are booming and sinking. As it so happens, the property market is highly anticipated to take a hefty kick in the nuts in the coming months due to the coronavirus (it’s not quite happened yet), so the vultures are circling in preparation. You might even be one of them.

Those that are fortunate enough to be sitting on excess cash reserves are pondering whether now is the perfect opportunity to invest in property, while the global economy is burning to the ground in front of our very eyes.

The truth is, my thoughts on investing in rental property is always the same. The whole coronavirus pandemic is a [tragic] variable in the current equation, but it certainly hasn’t interfered with my approach to investing in the rental market.

Yes, it’s possible to take advantage of a declining market. But I don’t consider that a necessary strategy, but I do believe focusing on the bigger picture will serve you better.

So what’s the bigger picture then? Good question.

First, let me clarify, I’ve never tried to time the market. I’ve never actively waited for a downturn or a global pandemic to take advantage of simmering prices (don’t get it twisted, though. I’m not saying I never take advantage of a choking market, I’m just saying I’ve never waited for it to happen before investing).

If you’ve invested sensibly, history says investing in property for the long-term will not fail as an investment.

Case in point, I purchased my first two rental properties back in 2007, right at the peak of the previous property cycle, literally months before the entire global economy went to shit, particularly the property market.

Long story short, I was 30% down on my investment soon after investing. That hurt. Hard.

Fast forward 10 years, the economy inevitably recovered and I have more more than doubled my investment.

What is the most fundamental aspect of property from an investment viewpoint? There will always be demand for it. You cannot say the same for precious metals, stocks, crypto etc. That should be comforting for every landlord, even during the darkest of times.

That is precisely why I consider property the most reliable and secure long-term investment, and that’s why I believe it will “worth it” any day of the week. Well, short of an apocalypse.

it’s extremely difficult to time the market, and experience has taught me that it’s statistically a losing battle, because most people just end up waiting on the side-lines and end up missing the best opportunities. And those that do time it right – more often than not – just got damn lucky. For that reason, I believe time spent on trying to, err… “calculate” when the market has bottomed out is both futile and unnecessary.

I have found that there are ALWAYS good investments available that will produce mouth-watering yields, particularly for medium to long-term investments. Moreover, someone is always looking to sell below market value, and property prices have so far always increased over time. With that in mind, I don’t think there’s ever a bad time to invest in rental property, but there’s good and bad deals at any one time.

Make of that what you will.

What you should know before becoming a landlord…

Take it from an average landlord that’s been scratching around in the game for several years, being a landlord is actually hard work and it can be extremely exasperating, even for an energetic playboy such as myself. Not consistently hard, but periodically. But those periods are some of the worst I’ve experienced in a professional capacity, and believe me when I say they come around far too quickly. The money definitely doesn’t come easy, and there are easier ways of making a lucrative living that’s attached with far less stress.

On a side note, screw those people that tell landlords to “get a real job”

I’m one of those chumps that got suckered into the game after watching one too many episodes of Sarah Beeny’s Property Ladder. If you remember the programme, you’ll recollect how excruciatingly painful it was watching the world’s biggest idiots making a killing from their restoration projects. To me, that made property seem like a viable option. If they can do it, I certainly can. Probably.

I didn’t have the time or testosterone to develop, so buying properties in ready-to-let condition seemed like the natural and easiest entry point.

In hindsight, as much as I loved Property Ladder and Sarah Beeny, it really shouldn’t be the sole reason for inspiring anyone to enter the property profession, because the truth is, most of the series was filmed during a booming market, so most of the participants could have purchased properties, sat on their arses getting blitzed off their tits on crystal meth for several months, and still made a killing.

But at the time, it looked fabulously easy. And there lays the problem, being a landlord just looks too damn easy. How difficult is it to put down a deposit and then get a conveyor belt of 9-to-5 sweatshop monkeys paying off the mortgage over the course of 20 odd years? We’re really onto something here. Rinse and repeat. Easy.

However, from my experience, the following pitfalls hold true…

1) The industry is polluted with degenerate assholes

I’m not just talking about letting agents here, although they seem like the obvious target. We all know what they’re capable of- everything you’ve heard about them is true. They’re mostly a bunch of unscrupulous tossors that create imaginative ways of swindling money out of landlords and tenants (those of you agents that read my blog are OK though, I swear! You guys are slick!).

But agents can’t take the entire blame (only the majority) for the state of the industry, otherwise eradicating them from our cycle would make it the perfect profession.

The bigger picture is somewhat more terrifying, and that’s because every level has an asshole waiting to suck the life out of you. Literally, every level, from the bottom all the way to the glitzy top, whether that be cowboy tradesmen, out-of-touch asshole politicians introducing ridiculous laws on a whim, or tenants that feed off ruining the lives of innocent landlords knowing full well they can get away with it, thanks to those… ridiculous laws.

A good example is the tenancy deposit scheme, because it comes attached with bullshit laws/penalties that unconscionable tenants take advantage of. Many dip-shit tenants needlessly prosecute/threaten decent landlords to make an extra buck just because their deposit wasn’t protected. It’s shameless. The landlord SHOULD have protected the deposit, yes, but prosecuting for the sake of profiting even though they’ve been a good landlord is an asshole move.

The industry is just contaminated and it’s extremely difficult to entirely avoid collision.

Why is this different to any other industry? In principle, it’s not, but ploughing money into property is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so it’s considerably more painful when someone tries to fuck with that.

2) It’s NOT a get rich quick scheme

The average property investor won’t get rich from being a landlord, they’ll most likely secure a cosy pension and make a comfortable living by the end of the cycle if they’ve been relatively successful. But even reaching that stage is a slow grind. Very slow.

People seem to have this warped perception of how it all works. Let me assure you, it’s rarely a case of dabbling in the market for a few years and cashing out with a couple of million and a dangerously attractive gold-digging stripper g/f that’s jam packed with syphilis (basic rule, the more STDs they’re riddled with, the more attractive they are).

The average rental return typically isn’t that great, you’ll be lucky to achieve a 7% yield, so you’re not really making any real money for the first decade. You may even buy and sell at the right time, but that definitely won’t happen overnight.

However, while it may not be a get rich scheme for most, being a landlord can be an extremely reliable investment vehicle which is efficient at turning a profit and fighting inflation.

3) Research is boring, but essential

I hate researching. Always have, always will. If you’re relatively normal/cool, you feel the same as I do.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that can knock it off the top spot for being the most tedious shit on the planet. I really don’t have the patience for it. Much like Golf. Don’t even get me started.

But as much as I despise it, I know sometimes research is simply not optional.

Unfortunately, far too many douchebags jump into this industry penis first without doing any of the essential groundwork, which of course, is totally psychotic, no matter how much you hate the idea of cracking open a book and soaking up knowledge.

Every day I hear at least one landlord say, “I didn’t have a clue about the tenancy deposit scheme, and now my tenant wants to sue me. What can I do?”

That only tells me one thing. That landlord refrained from getting off their fat, crusty ass to do even the most basic of research before spending tens of thousands of pounds.

If you can’t even be bothered to do your own independent research to support your investment, then you’re a loaded weapon. You’ll most likely be a liability to yourself and your tenants.

You’ll need to do a pile of research before spending a penny, and then continue to keep your ear to the ground because new nonsensical laws are regularly being introduced.

4) It’s NOT passive income!

“You’re making money in your sleep”, they say.

Yeah, I’m really not. Being a landlord really isn’t that passive, despite popular belief.

When you’re dealing with bastard tenants in rent arrears, spending late nights cleaning thick, congealed shit off the kitchen units with a toothbrush, resolving continuous maintenance issues, and spending long weekends painting and decorating in-between tenancies, you then realise how actively you’re working for every penny, which goes against the very nature of passive income.

I don’t have products flying off the shelves while I’m sleeping. I have adult-shaped children living in my property that need maintaining and servicing all year round. Being a landlord is a 24/7 gig and your services could be required at any moment.

Tenants WILL regularly want repairs that will require your attention, and they’ll often ruin your day with bullshit minuscule maintenance issues like a loose door handle. They COULD remedy the issue themselves within minutes, but they won’t. They would rather play Satan and torture the landlord because that’s just easier for them.

Unfortunately, the more properties you buy, the less passive it becomes (up to a certain point).

5) Continuous investment

One of the reasons that BTL isn’t a get rich scheme is because it’s like every other business- there are continuous outgoings, many of which are unexpected. Being a landlord is literally a money-pit; it’s often expensive as hell, and forecasting costs is incredibly difficult so you can’t even prepare for it. You will continually have to throw money at problems, mainly repairs and maintenance issues.

I was recently browsing through a landlord forum, where I read a thread by an aspiring dip-shit landlord that was the epitome of ill-prepared. She was forecasting the figures for her prospective investment. I honestly couldn’t tell if she was asking for opinions or just gloating.

The figures she provided looked amazing, but her projections were horrendously flawed. The only expense she accounted for was her mortgage payments. She didn’t take into consideration the cost for complying with legal requirements, insurance, tenant acquisition, maintenance, tax, marketing, and the shit load of other expenses that come with being a landlord. Unfortunately, she posted her comment in a rather hostile environment, so she soon got yanked back down to earth by the scruff of her neck. Poor girl. Stupid as hell, but still a sad way to go.

If my outgoings were limited to my mortgage payments, rest assured, I’d only be blogging selfies next to my Lambo with my middle fingers grinding against the camera lens. Alas, a landlord that is only restrained by mortgage repayments is either lying through their teeth or unbelievably reckless at their job. An asshole, either way.

It’s a business that requires continuous investment and rightly so, because you’re dealing with tenants that expect a service.

6) Incomprehensible laws

I can’t say I’m familiar with many sector specific laws, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that landlord law is probably the dumbest shit out of them all.

To sum up the state of the system: good landlords with bad tenants don’t stand a chance. They really don’t, they’re cannon fodder. We’re basically paralyzed from exercising any resistance when tenants screw us over.

To put it into perspective (most of you will already know this), a tenant in arrears cannot be served a valid eviction notice until they are 2 months in arrears. Once an eviction notice is served and then ignored by the tenant, the landlord will have to sit back and anxiously wait for a court hearing. The hearing could take up to several months depending on how busy the courts are (they’re usually filled to the brim). In the meantime, the tenant is kicking-back rent free for the entire duration.

The landlord cannot even attempt to enter the property because that could be deemed as harassment, as would sending aggressive text messages (which is something we would all, of course, naturally want to do e.g. “get the hell out of my property, you freeloading, dippy bastard, or I’ll put your head into a meat grinder and feed you to the crows”).

The reality is, you’ll have the urge to smash the door down with a sledgehammer, threaten to burn the living shit out of your tenant with a blow torch unless he/she moves out immediately, and then change the locks. Unfortunately, unless you want to get severely prosecuted, that fantasy will forever remain in the spank-bank.

That’s just one example. The sad reality of how long landlords have to wait for justice to prevail makes me want to puke my guts out. To make matters worse, tenants falling into rent arrears and dragging their heels is incredibly common, it happens on a daily basis.

The collective group of assholes that designed and approved such injustice deserves the Ray Rice treatment. Did you all read about that? Oh man, that shit was messed up. Ray is a professional American football player who punched his fiancée square in the face, knocking her out cold while they were in a lift. It was all caught on camera. He then dragged her lifeless corpse out of the lift and… actually I don’t know what happened next. I guess she woke up and went home. But punching these assholes in the face by a team of professional American footballers seems appropriate, innit?

7) Something will go wrong

There’s no such thing as smooth sailing around here. Sooner or later you’re going to get screwed over and you’re going to feel like your world is falling apart. You’ll then probably question whether or not it’s all worth it.

The culprit could be a broken boiler that’s going to set you back a few thousand pounds (which you really can’t afford) or perhaps a shyster letting agent that deceivingly milked you for every penny, or most frighteningly, a tenant that doesn’t want to play ball.

You won’t know what to do, you’ll frantically research online and read similar horror stories on various forums, and then you’ll feel worse, shrivel into a ball and worry yourself to sleep. Unfortunately, most problems end up hitting you where it hurts most: your pocket. It’s generally quite a painful experience, like getting drop-kicked in the nuts.

On a side note, researching online is a double edged sword. It can make you wiser and feel more empowered, but it will often unnecessarily scare the shit out of you. I stopped diagnosing medical concerns online years ago, because everything pretty much led back to cancer or an incurable STD that would see the demise of my penis.

The primary problem with being a landlord is that you’re ALWAYS relying on other people not to be idiots, and that makes you extremely vulnerable, because people are generally idiots. But essentially, no one is going to value your possessions as much as you do.

8) It’s ALL on you

It doesn’t matter whether you use a letting agent or your mum to run your affairs, because if anything remotely inconvenient occurs, the responsibility will ALWAYS navigate its way back to its rightful owner. The burden is permanently fastened to your ass like a cluster of haemorrhoids.

I don’t know if it’s down to genius marketing, deception or just pure stupidity (perhaps a combination of all three), but many landlords think they can pass their responsibilities onto a letting agent and void all accountability. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen, not even if that’s how the agent packaged and sold the deal.

A letting agent is NOT going to stay awake at night chewing their nails off, worrying about your tenant’s spiralling rent arrears issue. It would be nice if they did just to prove they’re not entirely soulless, but they won’t. They’ll probably just rub their greasy mitts together and use it as an opportunity to up-sell their eviction services. You’re the one that’s going to worry and pay through your nose to get the situation repaired, no one else.

Similarly, if you fail to meet your landlord legal requirements, who do you think is going to get persecuted? Your agent? That would be super cute. But no. You.

9) Booms and busts

The natural cycle of every economy experiences growth and contraction. Booms and busts.

That means your property could be worth 100k today and 70k by the time you get woken up by your morning wood poking you in the eye. That could also mean negative equity for you, and once you’re wedged into that hell hole it’s often tough getting out alive unless you have disposable income, which leads back to throwing money at the problem.

The last bust in the UK occurred in 2007, but since then the market has recovered. However, some experts are anticipating another one closing in soon. So what does that mean for landlords? It means you can’t always start/stop playing the game when you choose- some times you either get aggressively thrown out by the teeth or you ride it out until the coast is clear.

Is becoming a landlord even worth it?

Yes. One hundred percent yes.

Play by the rules, be sensible, and you’ll make it through with good fortune.

Over to you. What do you think aspiring landlords should know?

48 Join the Conversation...

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Benji 21st October, 2014 @ 07:43

Good article.

"What do you think aspiring landlords should know?"

The way out.
Capital Gains Tax.

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Mandy Thomson 21st October, 2014 @ 08:22

Hi Landlord

Aside from your colourful metaphors, you've pretty much described my recent experience (luckily WITHOUT the crap tenants in my case). There are ALWAYS maintenance issues, and as you say it can be hard, if not impossible to budget for these. There's another aspect to this; I've been ripped of by unscrupulous tradesmen at least twice, one provided by my then letting agent who took the money to pay this character then refused to reimburse me when the bodge job came to light. I once had a conversation with a decent builder - he said these characters love small landlords, because they know they can charge what they like (whereas an owner occupier can sometimes wait, a landlord is often desperate to put the problem right ASAP) and the landlord can't usually be there when the work is done.
In addition to this, you've got all kinds of unhelpful, exploitative and punitive legislation, that I frankly think is going to drag the BTL market back to the 1980s and 1990s, when there were very few properties to rent privately because it wasn't economically viable for the landlords to let.
As if this wasn't enough, we now have the Bank of England wanting to impose MMR style powers on mortgage lenders, as if getting a BTL mortgage (with big deposits demanded) isn't difficult enough!
I've lost count of the number of nights I've sat up recently trying resolve all kinds of letting related issues I've had lately!

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Nick 21st October, 2014 @ 08:25

Nice article from another forum I frequent it seems like a large percentage of "brand new" "accidental" and "First Time" landlords can't be arsed to do 10 minutes of research before jumping in up to their greedy fat necks. "As this is the first time I've let a house out I didn't know I had to protect the deposit" makes me laugh everytime. Unlucky, supply your own vaseline, might work out a little cheaper!

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Katie 21st October, 2014 @ 08:46

Oh Landlord, you do make me laugh! (with you because you hit the nail on the head, not at you!) I don't really have anything useful to add but wanted to say thank you for entertaining me as usual.

Yours, one slick agent.

PS We don't charge our Landlord's for filing for possession on their behalf. I know it's unheard of. But we figure Landlords have enough misfortune when a tenancy goes bad without kicking them while they're down with extra charges, and if we actually help (for free) they might just stick with us for the next tenancy. I honestly don't know why everybody doesn't use us ;-)

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emma6 21st October, 2014 @ 08:54

I am currently going through new boilers like nobody's business. All the buggers have decided to die this year. If I see another diverter valve EVER, it will be too soon.

The important thing to tell a new landlord is about eviction. If you HAVE protected the deposit, you have access to the ACCELERATED eviction process. If you haven't, you're doing it the long, slow, painful way.

When I started out, I was warned that I would not make a profit in the first year. Perhaps that should be first FIVE years, cos I'm barely breaking even, even now. But it's not about making a profit, it's about making a LOSS. You will be funding these properties out of your own money for the first few years.

That's fine if you have another source of income, like a day job, but if that goes (like mine did, recently), you are SERIOUSLY STUFFED. Have a backup pot so you can still eat even if all your boilers die at once.

And if your agent is crap, DEFECT. There are plenty of other ones willing to do a good job in return for the same cut of your money. I've had to sue some agents in the past, so keep aside a few hundred for claim issuing fees, just in case.

If you must read the horror stories in the Sunday papers, take them with a pinch of salt. (This week's was "Our tenants created a cannabis farm and did £56,000 worth of damage and our insurance won't pay" - my answer? Burn it to the ground and blame their tampering with the electrics) In reality, most tenants are fine. They need a home, not a hovel.

But keep an eye on the law and the BBC, because both of them hate you by default.

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Andy 21st October, 2014 @ 09:56

Another great read and from my experience of 5 years as a landlord it is bang on accurate. Landlord work can be very rewarding when you see a house that you buy as a wreck, do it up, rent it out and then visit and see a family home being well cared for by good tenants. Landlord work can be destroying when you buy as a wreck, do it up, rent it out and then visit and see what you thought would be good clean tenants basically living in a shit hole as they are dirty b******s!


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Nige 21st October, 2014 @ 10:06

Ah !!
Welcome to the effects of the Friday club. What is the Friday club you may ask ?
The Friday club meets in a pub. Its consists mainly of lawyers and policy makers. Their only tools are the back of a cigarette packet and a pencil.
The conversation seems to go like this.
''Well everything seems to be going smoothly this week so what can we put in place to F*** it up.'' A quick scribble and ten minutes later some crackpot scheme is launched upon the public to take up more of their valuable leisure time.
The latest ? No car tax disks so if anyone does happen to bump into my car I now have to call the police with a special ANPR system to ensure that this guy is taxed/insured etc.You cannot buy a car now unless you carry your laptop connected to wifi with you.
You can take virtually any sector of life and apply the same. Despite building societies reporting interest and tax to the tax man you still have to report it yourself.
And if you don't do it by... then we pay more.
Landlords are no different. One minute we are encouraged to put energy eficient measures in and the next the grant mysteriously vanishes.As Bengi says the CGT on disposal suddenly jumped from the index linked system to a top rate of 28% just to F*** your retirement plans. Or a special case is created where a lettings/propety company is not treated as a business so cannot get the 10% CGT rate.
Follow that with doubling of court case costs and councils refusing to rehouse (decent tenants) until you drag yourself down to court, fill in more forms than applying for a visa to visit India. Then you find yourself alone argueing with a judge over whether a full stop should be placed or it should have been a comma. It usually ends up with..yes you have got it..the tenant lighting another fag as you then instruct another team called bailiffs at more cost and another half day standing in ankle deep snow only to find the tenants went the night before.
I'm about to take my old school to court for clearly having a career advisor who failed to inform me of the benefits of getting qualifications to join the Friday club where I could charge the hourly rate equal to the national debt of a small South American country.

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Simon 21st October, 2014 @ 11:23

>Yes. One hundred percent.

So, what makes it worthwhile ?

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Nige 21st October, 2014 @ 11:58

The fact that you are helping the needy !!
In case you have not noticed the Govt. policy was to encourage the private sector to take over where the councils were as providers of housing. Then once you were trapped in the system they could control it.
The same happened with childrens day nurseries which I was involved with. Setting rules contrary regarding staffing levels which the state suppliers did not have to adhere to.
Then housing associations were subsidised by cheap Govt. funding .
Funnily enough my daughter missed a council tax payment. Stupid I know but suddenly banged into court 1 month and 3 days after it was due. (sorted). But what was interesting was the court fee was £120. I believe its £250 for Mr.Average Landlord to go for money.
And then under the Localisation Act we got banged for full rates on empty houses. Fair enough but mine were empty by being made uninhabitable by lousy tenants who were 'vetted'' by the council themselves.
Grab my ankles and shake em.
It seems the only way to make money now is to be totally illegal (you know the landlords who caused us to have all these rules foisted upon us) or only let to tenants who are accountable.
What makes it worthwhile? Yep heart attacks, spending weekends or weeks doing up property, high blood pressure, supporting the paper making industry and the thought that one day it might just end and you can get your investment cashed in and actually do up your own house instead of a rental house !!!
I now see that there is a move to stop landlords buying new properties !! So we will be confined to letting in slum areas eventually.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st October, 2014 @ 16:47


Welcome back! I enjoy the fact you still give credit when you think it's due :)

Good points!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st October, 2014 @ 16:57


Yeah, I've also been completely done over by tradesmen in the past, specifically one's recommended by agents. It's scandalous.

I'm not surprised at all by what you said! Too many cowboys out there. I only use people I know now.

It's definitely getting more expensive to be a landlord! Sigh!

Hope you've started to get your issues resolved!!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st October, 2014 @ 16:59


It's a situation that's spreading like wildfire, which could have been resolved with literally 5mins of research.

The problem is, tenants are quickly starting to find out how easy it is to prosecute/blackmail landlords that don't protect the deposit, and they just see it as a quick and easy way to make a buck!

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emma6 21st October, 2014 @ 17:03

Why would anyone NOT protect a deposit? It costs about twelve quid a year and it takes the pressure off of me. I know I get the accelerated eviction system if I need it and I can't accidentally spend it when I'm broke.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st October, 2014 @ 17:08

Thanks for your kind words and for not ass-raping landlords when they're already down ha!

You genuinely are slick!

Great tips!! Definitely agree with funding out of your own pocket, at least initially! That should 100% be factored into the cost of being a landlord from the start.

Broken boilers are literally the worst! It's the one thing I pray not to be broken when a tenant reports a water/heating problem. I know as soon as one pops, I won't be eating for a few months!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st October, 2014 @ 17:11


I can think of 4 reasons:

1) They can't be bothered. I genuinely think that's why many don't.
2) They want to keep the money so they have control over it.
3) They need the money so spend it.
4) They genuinely don't have a clue about the law.

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Claire 21st October, 2014 @ 19:44

We've been landlording for 3 years and for the most part it drives us nuts. Strange requests at strange times of the day and way too much cleaning unmentionable things off of walls - HOW!?!?!

But I still say it's worth it. Research is king which is why we started our blog at the same time we became landlords to learn and share as we made mistakes www.gcpropertylettings.co.uk

Deffo not passive income - it's all lies!

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Katie 22nd October, 2014 @ 08:22

@ Claire

I enjoyed your DSS article - which part of "u take DSS?" is going to make any sane person reply "Sure! Which of our properties would you like to rent?" *smacks head*

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Claire 22nd October, 2014 @ 18:21

@ Katie haha thanks. It drives me nuts!!

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SteveH 23rd October, 2014 @ 21:13

Just looking for a bit of wisdom please, I'm contemplating helping with a property let as an HMO, and I'm trying to budget for costs (maintenance, voids and managing agents fees). 4 rooms @ £50 a week. Does 25% sound reasonable please?

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Nige 24th October, 2014 @ 00:11

I have a friend who does this. Dragged out to all sorts including drunks, fights,family disputes at all times of the day and night.
£50 for 4 rooms = £800 per month approx.
Agents fees would be £80 minimum plus VAT.
Voids..could be anything depending upon your luck. Repairs ...well its HMO . Expect everything possible to go wrong. And then there is licencing blah blah. Not going to make a lot more than letting as a private house to one family without the hassel.

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Dann 25th October, 2014 @ 10:38

Good article, The laws should favour tenants because life is more important than money and yes Landlords can become very nasty when they are losing out on money.

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Nige 25th October, 2014 @ 11:15

Maybe but its funny that gas and electric companies do not suffer in the same way. Owe money? Yep the supply is transferred to a card meter and that is set to grab back the debt. Miss out on your council tax payment and suddenly £120 is added and all credit facilities removed. (ie the 10 monthly payment system).
I have a good tenant who had his credit rating wrecked because he missed out on the last payment of a mobile phone contract.
Landlords get nasty ? I am not surprised at times. I have a tenant who has run in arrears but because his benefits were cut a bit because he fiddled..yes fiddled the DHSS and the situation is getting worse.
When I visited to try to resolve matters i.e. let him keep his home, he answers the door with an expensive brand of cigarettes in his mouth, talking on the latest smart phone. Inside he has a sky box with premium channels. Hmmm. And I am expected to smile sweetly and say ''there there never mind''.
In the mean time I get hounded by my own suppliers to pay all my bills on time. And its must be remembered that my rent is my income. I pay my taxes into the system to provide social security etc.
My choice ? Yep evict them and live off the capital.(The capital is the result of investing/saving wisely over a great number of years of hard work often 2 jobs at a time and up to 16 hour days. I didn't have to have the latest car/phone/tv channel/x box. Simple !! Then where will they go.
I come from an era when if you couldn't afford it you didn't have it. If you wanted it save instead of borrowing at interest rates equal to to my telephone number.
Finally there are 3 areas of priority in life. Food, clothing, housing. I have never seen Tesco or Primark being subject to having to supply these if the tenant cannot pay.

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Andy 25th October, 2014 @ 13:16


Here Here, well said, your comments are spot on. I have no problem with DSS tenants and treat them exactly the same as those who are working - they both have to pay ON TIME or they will have to move on, i am in business not taking social responsibility for those who don't want to play by the rules that most people stick to.

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Nige 25th October, 2014 @ 14:57

@ Andy
Thanks for support. As you say I am not part of the social security system. Thats why VAT was increased to 20% , CGT increased to a max of 28% and National insurance as well. Why does somebody who went through the same education system as me (no I didn't come out with flying colours) can bleat that their kid needs...notice the word 'needs' an x box or similar for xmas despite the fact that they haven't worked for years.
There are so many social injustices levied at working people. My pension will be far lower than I would get if I was on DHSS despite paying in all my life. My working friend was going to lose her house when she lost her job because she missed a mortgage payment. (sorted fortunately as she HAD to find any job or end up in 1 room in a shared house). And those are for starters.
Like you I take DHSS and treat them no differently. The exception is of course paperwork is greater due to delayed payments and the 4 week payment system.They have all been made aware of bedroom allocation and reduction of benefits by me, the council, advertising and the press. Did they know it was coming. YES. Did they want the x box instead...YES. Well its house or x box. Simples !! But then again I don't suffer from ostrich syndrome.

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Big Crasher 26th October, 2014 @ 11:48

Read here about everything you should know-


Fact. Landlords don't make any money.
Fact. Landlords avoid paying millions ££ in tax.
Fact. House prices will crash, it is a Ponzi scheme propped up by future generations. Anyone buying a house since 2002 is fecked, no one will buy your crappy houses when the props are removed.
Fact. Landlording is not a business, they are just middlemen.
Fact. Landlords exploit tenants, they are only doing it for the money.

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Nige 26th October, 2014 @ 12:32

Oh I thought that everyone went out to earn money. I must be deluded. All the people in work do it just because they love getting up, dragging themselves through all weathers. Grafting all day and trying to make a living.
In the process paying tax and NI and being forced into providing their own pension.
Ah well as you say its hardly worthwhile investing and renting property any more.
My advice is to sell up everyone whilst you can.
So where will those who don't own their own houses live in future?
Time to invest in tent manufacturing instead.

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Mandy Thomson 26th October, 2014 @ 13:28


Hear! Hear! It seems it's ok for every other type of worker and business to make money - not landlords! After all, it doesn't cost us any money - far from paying eye wateringly high mortgages - we normally own the property outright, mortgage free (OK some landlords might, most don't). Then of course, what expense and effort is there in maintaining a property? We all know that tradesmen and maintenance companies work for free, and they ALL do excellent work (no such thing as a cowboy builder!). Can't manage your own property? Don't worry, your helpful local letting agent will take all that off your hands, and arrange for their own team of excellent maintenance people to do the work for you, at a reasonable price - I wish!
There certainly aren't any sleepless nights involved either, caused because you've paid thousands on bodged maintenance work, all but exhausted your sink fund, and your poor tenants are still living with it! That is, if your tenants themselves aren't the cause of your grief and pay their rent.
No; being a landlord is not just easy money, it's an enormous responsibility - you are responsible for providing someone else with a decent home, for which you are being paid. However, NO occupation - whether you're self employed or work for someone else is EVER care free and all occupations and business ventures carry risks and have their downsides.
As for exploiting tenants, aren't supermarkets exploiting customers every time they buy groceries? What about other shops and services? Football - where you've got players earning astronomical amounts of money, propped up by their fans and investors, all happy to buy into it? Car dealers? Petrol stations? Phone companies... etc Shouldn't all these providers give their goods and services for free, or at least at cost to deserving exploited customers? After all, the providers don't have to make a living and they don't have overheads to pay, do they?

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Pete 26th October, 2014 @ 13:54

I've just hit my thirties but throughout my twenties I must have lived in about 15 HMOs and frankly what I saw was absolutely appalling. Most landlords of HMOs don't give a flying shit about their tenants.

After the new legislation on deposit protection came in, I had two landlords not bother to protect the deposit, one was an agency acting on behalf of a big landlord of theirs (was a bit of a joint venture).

It wasn't just the lack of of protection, it was the fact they had no idea how deliver a notice to quit. They served it incorrectly then threatened illegal eviction when I asked for a correct notice and specified the dates required for it to be served correctly. They had relet the entire property out to students so wanted us all out asap.

The room I was renting was £400/month, in a three bed house which had been converted into five bedrooms. The agency fee was £285 (just for me) and the deposit £600. My experience suggests this isn't unusual.

Why should a tenant feel bad for enforcing the Housing Act and getting compensation for the deposit being incorrectly protected? As is quite normal with HMOs the property was in a dilapidated state, as people were always coming and going and there was no rota to clean communal areas. Five of us were sharing a small fridge freezer. Things would break and the landlord would only repair stuff if we constantly hassled him.

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Nige 26th October, 2014 @ 13:55

Oh don't you realise that landlords are responsible not only for helping those by supplying a home but also allow them to afford sky multi channel, buy the kids an x box for xmas, allow them to smile at you in the pub because they can afford to because you didn't screw them for as much rent as the current market value?
Funny how all my tenants have smoked. Even at one packet a day thats £180+ a month.

Like you I have myself and a family to support and funnily enough not once in my life have I not been screwed by government or some business trying to make a profit out of me. Oh those naughty businesses !!!
They should do it for free because I might struggle buying my next scratchcard at the shop.

Oh and doesn't the government grab back VAT on every thing or service I buy for my property. Thats together with car tax,car insurance, mot (I know its not a tax) plus fuel tax just so I can run around to a tenants house because they broke something.
Yep had a tenant call. Couldn't get in with key. Lock broken. No it wasn't. They had just had a new key cut and it didn't work. Never THOUGHT to try the old one. LANDLORDS RESPONSIBILITY of course.

Maybe winging tenants should open their eyes and realise that its not all profit.

Oh and I wonder how many tenants would accept putting their money into a savings bank with ZERO percent interest !!!! Or as has happened more than once on a property a very negative rate of interest.

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Nige 26th October, 2014 @ 14:05

Just to add
It would seem that the govt is trying to stop landlords buying new property.
Because foreigners are mopping up the property market.
What is one of the fears that many of my good tenants have expressed?

That when I sell up one of these foreign landlords buys the property. And you can be assured that tenants would soon pull their socks up if faced by 2 burly Russians and an alsatian dog.
I have been in meetings sitting beside this type of landlord. They send a text AM on the day rent is due. If its not paid that day its a night time visit.

Will these types of landlords care about their tenants the way I do. They are untouchable sitting in Moscow or wherever.

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Pete 26th October, 2014 @ 14:08


Should probably explain that I was a student for 8 of those years and one year I had to move about five times sadly as my health took a turn for the worse and I wasn't studying.

I took a professional inventory of the property above, which includes many photographs, which backs up a lot of what I'm saying.

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Nige 26th October, 2014 @ 14:16

I had a heart attack. It didn't stop tenants wanting this or that. It didn't stop one paying kids to set fire to one house after they skipped it.
You see once you are stuck being a landlord you are stuck with responsibilities and even if you try to call it a day and get out you still have to go to court (in a wheelchair if necessary) to argue your case for selling up.

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Pete 26th October, 2014 @ 15:06

Nige, the private rented sector is heavily stacked in the favour of investors. Ever since passing of the Housing Act, 1988 and the creation of Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements tenants have had little rights in comparison.

There are definitely some good landlords out there but my experience tells me they are few and far between. However regardless of that, the fact tenancies are so short and that an end of a fixed term is grounds for eviction means landlords have the power to evict on whatever grounds they want.

This means it's very difficult for tenants to raise issues with the property, for fear of eviction. Even if they are very good tenants. I personally have never missed a rent payment in the last 12 years but I've had no end of problems with landlords and have been subject to this kind of threat of 'revenge eviction' on a number of occasions.

I've also been bamboozled out of money to furnish a flat that was supposed to let on a furnished basis. The fact it's furnished gives the landlord a number of tax breaks but often these benefits are not passed onto the tenant. The protection of deposits was a major step forward in resolving some of these issues.

Personally I think the government should require for example that the 'wear and tear allowance' tax break monies be invested into repairing the wear and tear on the property.

I'd also like to see longer tenancies as that would again make it more difficult for landlords to threaten eviction when tenants ask for things to be repaired.

I think there should also be stronger regulation of HMOs, which are supposed to already be properly regulated, with fire regulations and all sorts but my experience is very little of this is adhered to.

Moreover, the government should stop the practice whereby tenants are asked to sign joint tenancies, to prevent the property being deemed to be in multiple occupation (single tenancies) and therefore not requiring regulations to be met. This practice has been absolutely rife in student areas for example, for donkeys years.

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Mandy Thomson 26th October, 2014 @ 15:16


Sorry you had such an awful time living in HMOs; presumably the HMO licensing law came too late for you to benefit? Otherwise, as you're no doubt aware, you could have reported those landlords to Environmental Health because from what you say it sounds like they were in breach of strict HMO rules.
Having said that, please don't tar ALL landlords with the same brush - most landlords are good, and strive to do their best, even if sometimes things are not perfect. That includes plenty of very good, professional and knowledgeable HMO landlords.
IMO, letting an HMO is a massive undertaking, much more so than being a regular landlord (which as has been stated, is an undertaking in itself, at least to those who want to it properly), which should only be considered by those with plenty of funding, not just to set up, but for ongoing maintenance. They also need to be prepared to do all the necessary studying to understand the property, legal and management requirements. In addition, there are personality requirements: you need to be firm but tactful, good at managing people, as house sharing isn't easy! I know from my experiences as a lodger and live in landlord - which inspired me to write lodgersite.com.
As if all this wasn't enough, HMO rooms are often let to tenants with additional needs, such as young people who've never lived away from home before (i.e. student tenants) and/or people who can't afford anything else as they can't hold down a job because they have issues and behaviour problems, and you can see being an HMO landlord isn't a job for the faint hearted - either that, or as you say, you'd have to be an uncaring, unprofessional wotsit...

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em6 26th October, 2014 @ 15:16

@ Pete: I have rarely heard such nonsense. The system is vastly stacked against the landlord. You can't just throw someone out on a whim. It takes MONTHS of legal proceedings, because the tenant has the right to not be made homeless. The landlord has no rights whatsoever.

The wear and tear allowance exists purely to pay for replacement stuff when the tenants destroy it. It's about a twenty quid a year, which, after the tenant has done thousands of pounds worth of damage, doesn't stretch far. It is certainly not profit for the landlord.

I would LOVE longer tenancies. Every six months or a year, I have to pay out afresh for new tenancies, new tenancy schemes, new admin and paperwork. I have tenants who have been with me for four years, yet they will not take a tenancy for more than 12 months. It creates uncertainty for me when they clearly intend to stay. An AST can be up to three years. It's just that everyone wants to hit and run, trash the place and bugger off. Don't you dare tell me that short tenancies are my fault.

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Andy 26th October, 2014 @ 15:32

What is clear from all the comments is that the system does not work for tenants or landlords. To be clear most tenants are good, most landlords are good it is the 10% of rogues on both sides who spoil it for everyone, and who give the press the power to tar everyone with the same brush, creating a negative environment. A landlord wants to be paid a fair rent, be paid on time and have tenants for a long time. Tenants want clean, affordable, safe housing that they call home for a timeframe that suits them......In 90% of cases this is exactly what happens throughout the UK. What needs to happen is a real target on the 10% of rogue tenants and landlords, get rid of some legislation not add to it, reward those good landlords with incentives, reward tenants who stick to the rules etc

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Nige 26th October, 2014 @ 15:34

Yep you make some valid points as a tenant.

Why should landlords be treated differently from other suppliers to yourself. ie. Do you get a new mobile phone free after so long. Nope.
You pay high costs throughout the period. The alternative is to BUY one yourself.
I will not cast aspersions but 8 years as a student. My daughter got 2 degrees in 4 years and was lumped with a student loan to pay for it.
ALL landlords would love long tenancies. The sheer cost of painting (see thread on this site) after short period tenancies plus full council tax on empty properties plus no rent coming in for a month soon eat a large proportion of the rent paid in say a 6 month tenancy.
And why should I as a landlord be subject to the proposal for a 3 year tenancy? Say I became ill and couldn't work. I would need my savings from my investment to live because as you are perfectly aware if you have savings you get sod all help from the government.
It might be interesting to you but my NET figure from my decreasing portfolio is actually less than one of my tenants gets in DHSS payments. No wonder their car is better than mine. And to boot they DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING to receive this. I recently got called out at 11 o'clock at night in a howling gale because a brick had been thown through a tenants window.

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Pete 26th October, 2014 @ 16:27

"em6 26th October, 2014 @ 15:16
@ Pete: I have rarely heard such nonsense. The system is vastly stacked against the landlord. You can't just throw someone out on a whim. It takes MONTHS of legal proceedings, because the tenant has the right to not be made homeless. The landlord has no rights whatsoever."

Whilst it's true it can take a while to go through the courts (although it can in some cases be fast tracked), the point I made is very valid and true - that the end of a fixed term is grounds for eviction. That's just the way it is. You don't have to give any other grounds to a magistrate to evict at the end of a fixed term. The Housing Act, 1988 offers you that protection.

"I would LOVE longer tenancies. Every six months or a year, I have to pay out afresh for new tenancies, new tenancy schemes, new admin and paperwork. I have tenants who have been with me for four years, yet they will not take a tenancy for more than 12 months."

Firstly, yes I agree it would be better for both tenant and landlord if tenancies were longer than 12 months. I think I may have got my wires crossed somewhere because I was under the impression that anything over 12 months would turn it into a different type of tenancy?

I've never ever come across a longer AST than 12 months anyway. I'd have happily signed one had it been offered to me.

One last point about HMOs is that they tend to change the character of an area. Sadly student areas tend to become ghost towns over summer holidays. I think such housing is much better suited to families whether privately rented or not. It's a shame universities haven't invested more in halls accommodation as that would have remedied some of it.

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Pete 26th October, 2014 @ 16:54

Moreover, I don't consider myself to be an unreasonable person, twice I could have taken my landlord to court over deposit protection and claimed the full wack but settled for the deposit to be free of the agro.

I doubt many tenants want to go to court If you find yourself without a job and facing eviction at the end of a fixed term, the council will encourage you to stay in a property until the landlord gets a court order. I have found this totally unreasonable and made myself intentionally homeless in the process a couple of times.

I don't think many tenants understand the limited rights they have and the consequences of making themselves intentionally homeless.

Whilst I have sympathy with landlords who have dodgy tenants, please consider that to a tenant, it's not the threat of losing their livelihood but the very real threat that they could be out on the streets.

It's not the business of landlords to necessarily have a social conscience, that I understand, my problem is when they resist any form of regulation of the sector as you can see in their responses to consultations to local HMO licencing schemes like that in Southampton for example.

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Harassed Pete 3rd November, 2014 @ 23:55

I've have two arse tenants. Both slowly wrecking the places. One has cost me £3500 so far due to lost rent and legal fees. The other may cost me £50 to send in a heavy 'hush hush'! Does anyone know of any? This is the stage I've reached!

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Nige 4th November, 2014 @ 01:16

@harassed Pete
Oh Pete how could you suggest such a thing. According to some on here if you do not treat them ever so nicely you can expect them to be absolute B******* towards you. You must be ever so nasty as a landlord.

PS if you do find a crew who can do this please forward them to me ASAP and we can give them plenty of work !!!

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Pete 15th November, 2014 @ 22:49

Here's a professional inventory I had done when I rented out a room in a HMO. I've removed the first page as it has personal information.

I'd describe this property as kind of mid range, medium quality. I have seen a lot worse, several properties where the carpets were literally black.

The rent was £400/month for this room. A deposit of £600 and I had to pay a £245 agency fee (all just for the room).

The room was a living room converted into a bedroom. I'd also point out that five of us were sharing a small dilapidated fridge freezer and the landlord refused to supply another one, even though legally HMOs are required to have more than one IIRC.


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Jack Ass 15th November, 2014 @ 23:52

I want me 'mum'!

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Jack Ass 16th November, 2014 @ 00:21

The word 'landlord' is a dirty one, just like car dealer, pimp, rat, hooker but NOT tenant, oh no!

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Nige 23rd November, 2015 @ 14:43


And it never occurred to the occupants to look in newsagents windows to see if they could club together to get a better fridge ? I wonder who I can moan at when one of my personal appliances breaks down.

Well for all the tenants who have commented they are in for a big shock.
Recent changes which will hit landlords together with a few past ones.

CGT rates were increases to 18% and 28% depending ypon tax level. This means someone on average salary pays 28% on the sale of the property/
Insurance tax has been almost doubled.
Any landlord who claims back mortgage interest relief will no longer be able to.
There are over 1 million small landlords with one property. The 'landlord' status does not allow you to be classed as a business . (this is long standing)

Latest figures state that at least 5% of landlords will pull out and sell up if they cannot claim interest relief.

So where does this leave tenants . In the C*AP I'm afraid. Ive already had tenants who left me returning crying on my doorstep because the next landlord sold up. They eventually got another house at 100pcm more than I charge.

So like any business its going to be up with the rents to pay for changes and tenants will realise that they had a reasonable run.

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deepak rana 27th March, 2020 @ 19:58

Hey Landlord
i found you recently and have been going through your nice blog.
I wanna buy some BTL for some possible cash flow. but they say it's dead now. Do you think BTL is dead now with new rules, etc.

thank you

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 27th March, 2020 @ 20:00

Hey @Deepak,

Many thanks, appreciate it.

Never a bad time if you can find the right property for the right price, in my opinion :)

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Boj 20th January, 2021 @ 09:05


Being a landlord is bloody hard work. It is pretty soul destroying. We have tenants who have been given a posession order but realise that bailiffs are shut so just staying put. And all the necessary checks where done satisfactorily.

It goes to show that their are no perfect tenants. Everyone comes with their problems as we all do! Tell you the truth 80% of tenants are trouble free and good people. I think that's why we set up our own letting agency to help landlords have a less stressful life. It is ridiculously hard to keep up with changes and you want a human not a robot that just sees you as stats and figures (that's what we have always wanted!)

Well summed up and I am interested in learning about whether we buy properties through buisness or personal.


















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