How The Coronavirus Has Impacted This Landlord (So Far)

How The Coronavirus Has Impacted Landlords

Hey! How’s it going? Everybody keeping safe and plodding along? Bit of a shit-show out there, innit?

I’ve been meaning to blog about how the coronavirus has impacted my life, both from a personal and professional perspective, and the changes I’ve made to adapt. But I didn’t want to share too soon, or too late. I’m not sure if now is the right time, but it is the time.

Relatively speaking, I’ve gone by unscathed [so far], but I have taken a few blows; I’ve lost a few quid along the way, but perhaps the biggest expense has been my dwindling faith in humanity. Apparently there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned pandemic to bring out the absolute stupid in some people, am I right?

Other than that, much like most other people, I’ve had to make some lifestyle adjustments to accommodate “the new normal” (a phrase that has quickly become overused and consequently started to get on my saggy tits).

Despite the lack in extreme turmoil and drama, I thought it might be cool if we had a catch up – I haven’t blogged in a while – and who knows, perhaps the little that has happened might prove to be encouraging.

Fair warning, there’s going to be no real structure, just a random assortment of… stuff…

Landlord / Business / Financial

Loss of rental income

Yeah, man. Sadly, I couldn’t dodge this nasty bullet.

At the very early stages of the lockdown, one of my tenants reached out to inform me that her income had taken a sharp nose-dive due to the coronavirus (one of her main sources of income was generated from the wedding industry, yikes!). Inevitably, that meant paying rent was going to be a struggle.

Fortunately, it was an easy problem to resolve…

WHAT AM I, A FUCKING CHARITY? FIND THE CHEESE OR PACK YOUR JUNK UP AND ROLL-OUT, CHEAP-SHAKE! YOU MAKE ME SICK!

Relax, Corbyn.

I’m only yanking your pecker.

To give you some context:

  • She’s been a tenant for 6 years (maybe longer, I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to look it up)
  • She’s never missed rent
  • She takes immaculate care of her home
  • She’s an awesome person

She started off by trying to entice me into helping her access government support, but her methods sounded too complicated and uncertain, and to be honest, it didn’t sound completely legit. She was understandably stressed and desperate.

Before she said too much and offered to cover her short-fall with sexual favours, I stopped her in her tracks by proposing a 50% rent reduction for a period of four months and an evaluation at the end of it. It felt like a no-brainer solution. It wasn’t a ‘rent holiday’, or an unhelpful scheme which will involve repayments once she’s back on her feet.

Yup, the loss in rent hurt, but it felt necessary. Hopefully I don’t need to explain the economics of taking care of good tenants.

But I must stress, I’m in a financial position where I’m able to do that for my tenant, and she’s built up an incredible amount of goodwill over the years. I’m not trying to pave the way for the masses or set a precedence. As I’ve said from the beginning, we should only do what we can to help, no more.

Thankfully she’s back on her feet now, so this month the rent will return to the regular fat rates.

Need legal advice with a problematic tenant?

Before I jog on, I just want to remind you that – as a spectacular PIP subscriberLegalforLandlords are still providing free legal advice for landlords that require assistance with problematic tenants, whether it be rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, serving notice, court action etc, COVID-19 inflicted or otherwise.

I’ve heard from too many decent landlords that are dealing with tenants that are taking the absolute piss and taking full advantage of the coronavirus eviction ban. Yes, it was inevitable, but the sheer numbers have even made me dizzy.

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Postponed non-essential maintenance

To safeguard my cashflow, I have postponed all non-essential maintenance to help retain cash. God only knows how long this bullshit is going to last for.

For example, pre-COVID-19, I had scheduled to replace the windows for a property. It wasn’t a critical job, but it needs to be done at some point. It can wait.

Critical maintenance issues still continue to drain my pockets and ruin my life as normal. *mutters*

Cleared mortgage debt (and paid an early repayment penalty)

With interest rates being shitter than shit, it’s the worst time – certainly in my life time – to hoard large amounts of cash (not that I have large amounts), especially while I’m still riddled with debt.

So I took the obvious strategic decision to clear the balance of a mortgage loan, which had an interest rate of 3.79%. Meanwhile, the best ‘Easy Access’ savings accounts are offering a puny 1% (approx), and with the looming possibility of negative interest rates, I don’t even expect that garbage rate to hold for much longer.

I was still tied into a 5 year fixed rate period with my mortgage policy, with 1 year remaining, so I had to swallow an early repayment penalty in order to clear the balance. However, it was still more profitable to open wide and toss it down my gullet, especially with Section 24 (the ghastly legislation which stops landlords from offsetting mortgage interest payments against their tax liability) fully rolling out this year.

I’m still not buying!

Some of you old-timers may remember, a couple of years ago I blogged about how I had no interest in purchasing more BTLs, which was a position inspired by various reasons specific to my circumstances. I quote, “The thought of buying another BTL makes me physically sick” (there’s a chance I may have skipped my meds that morning, so I may have been overly dramatic).

However, I did make a couple of exceptions, one of them being if I stumbled across an absolute bargain.

Like most, I suspected this pandemic would negatively shatter house prices. I mean, who wouldn’t think that?

Naturally, I browsed the market, expecting to bump into bargain after bargain.

Conclusion: the market seems to be in good bloody health. What-the-actual-F?

The property market has proven to be one resilient cockroach during these times. Prices in my area are still INSAAAAAAAAYNE!

I don’t know if there’s a lag, but right now, I’m still definitely out.

On a side note, I’m sure it will go down well with society that I, a landlord, was potentially looking to take advantage of a pandemic and tumbling house prices.

Optimised savings accounts

Guilty.

I’m one of those Money Saving Numpties that constantly shifts money around to benefit from the best interest rates, even if it’s marginally better. Of course, I’m a total loser either way, because I’m playing a game I cannot win; the current piss-poor interest rates can’t compete with the rate of inflation, so all I’m really doing is prolonging the obliteration of my net worth.

But fight we must.

My rainy day/emergency fund may as well work as hard as possible, even if that’s very little.

I very recently transferred most of my funds into the government backed NS&I Income Bonds, which offers a less than inspiring 1.16% return. However, even that won’t last for much longer, because it was announced earlier this week, that they’re going to take a rusty hacksaw to their rates in November, reducing it to a comical rate of 0.01%. *slaps forehead*

Yes, that’s 0.01%! What’s the fucking point? Just put me out of my misery and make it 0%, for Fuck’s sake!!

If I don’t laugh, I’ll chop my arm off.

So now I’ve opened a savings account with Coventry Building Society, which is offering 1.20%, but it comes with the restriction of a max limit of two withdrawals per year. Suits me just fine. I’ll be shipping my funds in there shortly.

No doubt, a week later, they’ll slash their rates to -20%.

Tossed more money down the crapper into shares

Bit of a punt, but I figured, why the hell not?

Actually, I certainly know why not. Gambling is a mugs game, but evidently so is saving right now.

I poured a very conservative amount of money into my Nutmeg mutual funds account, which is the investment app I discussed last year.

Let the chips fall where they may. Unless fate drags me into the negative.

Started a new online business

I’ve spent the past few months working on an eCommerce business with one of my best friends. I thought I’d try being productive during the lockdown. It’s doing alright, ya’ know?

Without wanting to come across as a slime-ball motivational speaker, I can only encourage people to get their side-hustle on, especially if spare time is available and money is a concern. It’s never been easier to start a business online; it takes time and effort, but the barrier to entry has never been lower. Believe!

Oh look, mission failed, I sound exactly like one of those motivational rat weasels. I apologise.

Personal / lifestyle

Caffeine!

I’m not a coffee snob per’se, but I am one of those futile donkeys that struggles to function without my morning hit of caffeine. I’m a waste of space otherwise. WHO’S WITH ME?

While the primary objective is to get caffeine flowing through my veins as quickly as humanly possible from the moment I wake up – at whatever cost – I have developed a taste for freshly ground beans. The instant stuff will get me through the day, but the ‘proper stuff’ makes the high enjoyable.

So when the lockdown forced all local coffee shops to shut shop, the panic quickly set in, because without my supplier, I feared I was going to lose my bloody mind. I’m sure there’s an entire army of addicts out there that can relate.

I wasn’t about to go down like that.

Long story short, I went down a wildly absurd rabbit hole, where I consumed hours of how-to YouTube videos on how to make barista-quality coffee at home. As a result, I now own a ludicrously expensive burr coffee grinder (bear in mind, I initially thought a £20 pepper grinder would suffice!), an espresso machine, and routinely purchase fresh coffee beans bi-weekly.

Remarkably, I now prefer the taste of my own concoctions over the slop I’m offered by the large coffee chains we’re all familiar with (which, pre-lockdown, tasted like heaven). Plus, it’s saving me a fortune. Or at least, it will, eventually.

My morning routine now includes a 10 minute ritual of making freshly brewed coffee. Funny how life changes.

Home workouts

For as long as I can remember I have exercised 3-5 times per week, so it’s an instinctive habit for me. Much like my dependency on coffee, if I don’t meet the quota my body is accustomed to, I’m grossly insufficient.

The closure of gyms wasn’t ideal, least of all was purchasing home gym equipment that I’d make little use of once they reopened.

Working out at home is pretty horrible, but somehow I adapted, and unlike many of my friends, I managed to avoid the transition of declining into a hippo during the lockdown.

BTW, did anyone else have a nightmare ordering in gym equipment? I literally had to wait 4 weeks for all of the equipment to arrive due to the surge in demand, which meant during the interim, I had to make use of some pretty hilarious makeshift solutions. I was literally using cases of bottled mineral water as weights. I looked ridiculous.

Online gym equipment retailers are one of the few sectors which clearly thrived during the lockdown.

Increased daily steps / walking

I think the lockdown may have triggered an irrational fear of being “trapped”, because I’ve found myself walking to places I ordinarily would have driven to. My step-count has gone off the charts.

I’m not complaining, I like it. I’m just saying.

Dwindling faith in humanity

Ahh yes, the rapid decline in my faith in humanity.

I’m at a loss for words.

Actually, I’m not.

I’m not completely oblivious, I know the world is full of wonderful souls and selfish assholes. But the optimistic side of me was hopeful that during a pandemic we’d make a concerted effort to rally together and provoke the best in humanity to surface. I didn’t expect serial killers to suddenly start volunteering at puppy shelters or anything like that, but I expected them to wear face masks to help reduce infection rates.

In hindsight, I’m the asshole for being so optimistic and thinking life is a Disney production. Lesson learned.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people say – be it politicians, pundits, or some other oblivious douche-bag – that “The British people are doing a terrific job.”

ARE WE? REALLY? Or are you just blowing smoke up my arse, mate?

My day-to-day experiences make it crystal clear that even a pandemic cannot curb incompetence. If anything, it only increases the potency.

In fact, I’m sure it’s the same people that are patting themselves on the back for their contribution towards the nation’s brilliant efforts that are also doing this…

Pavement assholes!

Social distancing failure

“LOOK DOWN, ASSHOLE!!”

Follow the directions

The two examples I highlighted are the ones that stick out the most because they require almost zero brain-cells to comply with, yet every single [unbearable] day I encounter multiple breaches, from every type of person.

I honestly can’t workout what is wrong with these people, and it’s worrying how many of them there are. They mostly look normal, but they’re clearly mentally deranged.

I know, I know, I’m having a slight hissy-fit, but I just had to get that off my tits. I was about to implode.

Just to clarify, I don’t want to take the shine away from those that are doing their part, especially those on the frontline. I see you, and I appreciate you. My only point is, there are more incompetent and selfish dickheads roaming amongst us than I ever imagined possible.

On a more positive note, I’m done. Happy Friday :)

So, how are you getting on? Grab the mic and share! xoxo

Coronavirus: what you need to do!

55 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 5 - 55 comments (out of 55)
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Vanda 25th September, 2020 @ 12:03

Helpful advice as always (in amongst the rants)!
Thank you.

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Jackie V 25th September, 2020 @ 12:13

Made me laugh. When I thought it was just me wanting for prices to fall ( sad but honest at least ) and at the same time wanting to strangle ignorant people who cannot be bothered. If you don't want to protect yourself that's fine but don't put all of us in danger. Don't keep us all in this mess any longer than we have to just because you don't like wearing a face mask. Not talking about medical conditions just those who can not be bothered. House prices my us are some of the highest I have ever seen. Since when did painting a wall white and putting a grey carpet in mean that you can charge 50k extra. Mad!!!!!

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Glyn Alexander Wild 25th September, 2020 @ 12:26

Thanks for all the news and advice. I too am a landlord and thankfully have had no problems with any of my tenants (last one being there for 4+ years). Kepp up the good work - I enjoy your comments.

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paul 25th September, 2020 @ 12:30

brilliant,blog, as usual, i too have gone down the coffee rabbit hole.cafetiere and pre ground beans,but after a few days the grounds start to stink like the underside of a camels hernia support,i too thought of beans but the expense mmmmmm..we shall see ??

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Jay 25th September, 2020 @ 12:35

I share your toothgrinding frustration with people who insist on taking up the whole pavement when temporary-single-file is obviously the only sensible way forward. It's for their benefit as well as mine that we do the friggin' pavement-dance, so the least they could do is join in. Which is why, after the fifth time in one day that someone decided their shoulder belonged in my face, I chose to break into a sudden bout of uncontrollable coughing at the moment of closest approach (carefully jamming my nose in the crook of my elbow as per advice, naturally) I did feel briefly sorry for them as they broke and ran away to put their heads in bin-liners. But only briefly. I am a bad person.

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Maureen McMahon 25th September, 2020 @ 13:19

Hi there Landlord!

I am not a landlady and don't think I will ever become one. I came upon your blog when I was being evicted after 25-year tenancy and looking for some info. I just think you are a hilarious guy. Your turn of phrase and humor get me laughing a LOT. I am turning into an abstract painter artist during lockdown and it is people like you who make me laugh that I appreciate the most. The ideas keep getting bigger in my head but I don't have a space big enough to create HUGE Jackson Pollock sized works. Oh well! Still starting with 80 x 60cm is not bad. Art world here I come!

Check this guy out for some fun! South African satirist
youtube.com/watch?v=6pCgE4Gocbo&list=PLqWxGh_2yxf_O4z6D3aw4beVYGm-K-9Cd&index=5&ab_channel=TheKiffness

thanks for the laughs!
Maureen

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Shaun 25th September, 2020 @ 13:21

Good rant!
Yep, took a serious hit in the pocket when one of my tenants, lovely couple who had been with me for over 4 years and kept the place better than I did, upped and left just as the lockdown began! I thought it was hugely selfish of him to get cancer and want to move near his children for his remaining time!! (alright I am joking, actually feel very sorry for them, they were nice people). So unable to get anything done for months, and when it opened up took far longer and far harder than normal as unable to do things in person.
Unlike you have not had a problem with waiting for gym equipment, I didn't order any. I just walk the dog for miles across the fields instead of swimming on a regular basis. Funny haven't had any problems with pavement hogs either, just the odd horse!

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Steve 25th September, 2020 @ 13:22

I couldn't agree more with your Dwindling faith in humanity rant! Good move on the half price rent and keeping a good tenant.

Btw the rate on the Coventry account already seems to have dropped from 1.2 to 1.1. Which probably means it's on track to hit zero by the start of October and negative thereafter!

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Mrs Wilson 25th September, 2020 @ 13:51

Really amusing.
Do you recommend your bean grinder? The one we use is too noisy and the finest setting isn't fine enough for the espresso machine. We have a "cuisinart". It is hard to know what's good until you get it home.
Many thanks x

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Anna 25th September, 2020 @ 13:55

Your blog posts always brighten up my day-so thank you

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Jane 25th September, 2020 @ 14:09

Had to have the new electricity certificate done. It was cheaper via Open Rent, about £180 and the electrician talked me through the recommendations (none had to be done). So not too painful.

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Theo 25th September, 2020 @ 14:11

Laughed my ass off.... I will never pay a measly 1% or 3.75 % interest rate like you.

My apartments completed during Lockdown and all I could achieve was 11.5% interest rate with a bridging finance company. Best of all... Although my income substantiates the loan I apparently have to hire a solicitor to verify my source of funds.

And the Mortgage broker overcharged me with 825 pounds.
This is fun.

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Nathan 25th September, 2020 @ 14:19

I wanted to thank you for your emails & blog posts too, as a landlord they're hugely interesting and helpful. Best regards

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Tracy 25th September, 2020 @ 14:22

Just the laugh I needed today, thank you 😂

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Tony edwards 25th September, 2020 @ 15:23

Enjoyed your venting :-) I have a registered hmo which I live in would not risk any other type of property rental business, if I say they go they go no court order requirements etc. Just read with amusement the Wellesley plan to buy back their own company blaming the virus, they were in serious trouble way before that; I voted no. Chocolate at least 85% cacao is better than coffee for a lift . Exercise, I use two 4k dumbbells on an vibration plate 20 minutes then 5 minutes on an inversion table again with the weights compensates for the compacting effect of the vibration plate machine; concentrated exercise works for me at 77, as has a vegan diet has for fifty years. The Chinese wish for us that we live in interesting times, guess that is oriental irony :-)

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Fiona 25th September, 2020 @ 16:00

Love the blogs, a no nonsense, say it as it is style.
Smart move helping a good tenant along the way, done it myself too.

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Maggie 25th September, 2020 @ 19:38

Your blogs always bring a smile to my face - much needed as having lost a daughter to the swine flu pandemic that never was,Covid has been a constant reminder. One of our tenants immediately wanted a payment holiday, her, her children and dog are destructive, we've never given anyone notice before but that day is coming soon. Thank you for all your useful advice.

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Pete 25th September, 2020 @ 21:07

I remember your first comments years ago and liked the way you 'tell it like it is' and still do! I've let out for years but now pulling out due to 'selective licensing' coming in with £30,000 - unlimited fines if you get the slightest thing wrong!!! I don't want to sell up but not worth the worry/stress for £85 a week! The property is empty and has a sale going through at below market price. Does anyone know if a licence is required for an empty property and is there still a council tax discount as maybe best to just hang on to it???

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Paul Barrett 25th September, 2020 @ 21:54

@tge landlord

I suggest that if possible you remortgage with about the 4 lenders that oofer offset BTL mortgages.

Admittedly most of them are on a maximum of 50% LTV IO.

But if you can qualify for one of these offset mortgages pay every single penny you have into the offset mortgage.

You are able to withdraw the funds you deposit over the monthly payment.

Using this offset strategy you will reduce your fictitious S24 income.

Not sure but I think Coventy might offer one of these offset mortgages.

The only majir warning I would give about the undoubted brilliant efficacy of offset mortgages is that the lender could reduce the borrow back facility and reduce the outsatnding mortgage debt.

This happened during the CC when Santander did what I have quoted.
This left many Santander mortgage customers with a reduced mortgage balance but no ability to withdraw overpaid funds which was the whole point of the offset mortgage.
As is always the case banks can't be trusted so the offset mortgage whilst a brilliant concept might be a bit too risky to trust all your funds with.

Now we come to tenanta etc.
What has been evidenced is that most tenants are fecklesd.
They all seem to adopt a just in time lifestyle.

The concept of savings or having insurance to cover for sudden income loss seems to be a concept lost on most tenants.

Instead they are poncing off LL who are forced to provide free accommodation.

The pandemic has proven how fe kless most people are.
Even your long standing tenant could have by now saved at least a year of rent payments.
She hasn't because she is feckless.
I bet she has bern on holidays and engaged in substantial social spending.
Pity she didn't consider what would hapoen in the event of sudden income loss.
Now because of her fecklessness she is poncing off you.
Fortunate she is indeed that you have been rather more parsimonious with your funds to put you in a position where you are able to subsidise her feckless lifestyle.

This whole pandemic issue has proven to me that tenants are so feckless that they don't bother making themselves financially resilient.

The reason they don't bother is they know the repossession process is 100% in their favour.

Belueve if the repossession process was as in Australia tenants would bery rapidly take steps to ensure they could cope with sudden income losd.

In Oz a tenant has 14 days to resolve rent arrears.
If not the LL is allowed to remove the tenant with Police assistance if the tenant refuses to leave.
As a a consequence there are very few rent defaulting tenants that are still in occupation when the Police come along to assist the LL to remove that tenant......................funny that!!!

It is the completely dysfunctional repossession and civil recovery processes which facilitate tenants being feckless.
This then results in feckless tenants poncing off LL.

Hardly fair and that is ecen if LL are able to suppiet the property with other income or their own savings.

The pandemic has just proven how nasty most tenants are.
Theu pince off LL knowing little can ve done against them.
Govt by it's ridiculous eviction ban has made tbings even mire critical for LL.
Consequently I refuse to have tenants.
All my occupants are now lodgers.
My properties are now officially registered as 2nd homes which I live at at leadt once per month.
All bills are in my name.
I only take unrelated occupants or a couple.
No families.
Getting rid of a lodger is easy.

The AST business model has become a bankrupt one.

Tenants are feckless.
Lodgers don't have chance to be so as they can ve got rid of after 1 month notice with their depisit to cover defaulted rent.
This how tenant evictions should work then at least then there would be a properly functioning PRS.

Currently there isn't one and I and many other LL are selling up.
No longer are we prepared to have feckless tenants poncing off us.

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Lou Conway 26th September, 2020 @ 08:33

Thanks for the blog. I am trying to sell my house but the tenant will not leave. I served 3 months notice 5 months ago and due to the eviction ban I’ve not been able to do anything about it.

Hes a good tenant and we get on well but the advice given to him is to stay put as I cannot evict him. So infuriating and the house sale may fall through as we cannot exchange contracts until there is vacant possession.

Anyone else face a similar situation?

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Rainbow girl 26th September, 2020 @ 08:59

This is my favourite blog of yours😁 Reading in bed while waking up with a morning coffee from my new coffee machine. I have too finally decided to do something to improve my coffee experience and moved from a pod machine to a sleek and shiny bean to cup machine. Worth every penny! I found out that sewing machines and outdoor tables for table tennis were on the must have list of many, and consequently on the out of stock list. I also became a fan of online exercise classes.
We have miraculously managed to get away unscathed (so far) in the property letting department, long may it last. All our tenants are very long term which probably helped. In the savings department however, I want to bang my head against the brick wall! I admire you for having the patience to move money around for 0.05% difference. If you have any other good advice how to invest in shares (apps, websites, books, etc) please let me know. I haven't been brave enough to make a start yet and feel very guilty about it given my background.
What does your e-commerce do? Just curious.
Thank you for starting my day on a high!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 09:33

Thanks for all the wonderful and positive comments, people! Appreciate it as always!!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 09:40

@dr mabel blades

From my experience, that's pretty standard. You should always inform the broker/insurer of any changes, especially changes to your tenants circumstances. Most BTL policies include some form legal cover and/or rent loss coverage, so it's important for them to know the current status of your tenants so they can assess the risk. Moreover, I guess a tenant can theoretically be seen as more vulnerable if they're out of work, and consequently pose higher risks.

Insurers love discrepancies in information, because it gives them a reason not to pay-out!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 09:46

@Jackie V
That's exactly how I feel - people are just being totally ignorant and selfish! Spot on.

Yeah, the house price situation is just totally unexpected!

I think people are in a mad scramble at the moment because of the temporary stamp duty relief, but also, I've been told there are a lot of foreign investors buying everything up (I'm not sure how much of that is true, but a few agents have said that to me now).

However, as said, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a lag! Time will tell.

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 09:54

@paul

Haha @ stink like the underside of a camels hernia!

YUMMY!

In regards to the expense, I was spending anywhere between £3.50 - £7 per day on coffee from local cafes. I'm making that saving every day now, so it won't take long before I recoup what I spent on coffee equipment.

But if you mostly make coffee at home, you obviously won't be making that saving, and your outlay will be purely for the quality of coffee you consume. I guess it boils down to how much you value better tasting coffee.

All I can say is, the difference in taste between freshly ground beans and pre ground beans is night and day!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:00

@Jay
Hahah, that's pure evil, but brilliant!! I don't know if I have the balls to pull that manoeuvre off.

Honestly, I can't workout if it's down to a major lack of common sense, or whether people genuinely don't care.

It's bizarre either way.

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:07

@Maureen
Don't blame you one bit! I Honestly see both sides of the coin when it comes to being a landlord, so I can support both the the pros and cons.

The lockdown has definitely provided an amazing opportunity for people to pursue passions and hobbies, so that's amazing you took advantage! It's sad that so many people's mental health has deteriorated during this period (some say that's a bigger crisis than the virus itself), and I believe if more people took advantage of the time in a positive way, it could have helped.

Haha, that YouTube clip is brilliant, I was laughing all the way through it. Thanks for the share!!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:10

@Steve
Holy moly, Coventry Building Society literally lowered the rate on the day I published this blog post, haha.

My account still shows a 1.2% rate, but I'm presuming I'll get a letter through the post, informing me it will be lowered to 1.1% next month (literally two days after I opened the account!!).

Un-blood-believable!

To be fair, it's still one of the better rates available.

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:21

@Mrs Wilson

I so hear you about not knowing what's good until you actually use it.

Before I fell down the coffee rabbit hole, I had no idea how important the quality of the grinder is to achieve good tasting coffee. Apparently the grinder is more important than the espresso machine itself. WHO KNEW?

I actually spent most of my time researching grinders - I was a bit out of my depth, to be honest. But I ended up going with the Niche - I spent way more than I ever dreamed of spending on a machine that's essentially a fancy pepper grinder (I can hear every coffee enthusiast gasp in disgust), but that was also before I realised how crucial they are to the process.

The Niche has received a tonne of great reviews on YouTube from the "experts", and I don't regret my purchase :)

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:24

@Maggie
Gosh, really sorry to hear that, my condolences. That's awful!

In regards to your destructive tenant, my only advice is not to delay - too many landlords wait too long to remove bad tenants, and it's crippling.

Best of luck!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:26

@Pete
Each borough has it's own rules when it comes to licensing and council tax, there is no national standard. So the best thing to do is contact your local council to find out the details.

It's highly unlikely you'll need a license for an empty property, though!

Best of luck with the sale!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 10:35

@Lou Conway
Common problem, and I've been through a similar problem (although, not exactly the same).

Years ago, my rent-dodging tenant was advised to remain in the property by the council until they received an eviction notice. Very infuriating!!

But it sounds like your tenant has been advised to remain in the property until they are actually evicted. Urgh.

Unfortunately, while the courts have reopened and are starting process cases again, there is a massive backlog of cases, so it could take several months to get an actual court order.

Landlords have been unfairly screwed in so many ways during this period.

I don't think there is a quick or easy solution, but the situation is changing every day. I would personally get in touch with LegalforLandlords - they'll be on top of the latest information, so they should be able to assess your situation and provide you with your best options.

Best of luck!

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The Landlord 26th September, 2020 @ 11:11

@Rainbow girl
Hah, sounds like we've had similar lockdown experiences.

There really is no substitute for a 'bean to cup' taste, and it makes you realise how artificial the coffee pods taste. Wait, am I actually a coffee snob? I'm starting to sound like one!

Not surprised by sewing machines at all, but table tennis tables is a little surprising.

Yeah, online exercise classes have become insanely popular - although, that's not surprising.

Have you seen the advertisements for the Peloton bikes - where you can have live virtual spinning classes? They've also become very popular, although they cost a small fortune.

I feel your pain about the piss-poor saving rates. And as said, I actually see it getting worse, because talk of negative interest rates is growing, and seems like a very likely scenario.

I don't really have any useful advice, I'm pretty low-risk. But what I can say is that, I've always been told that mutual funds is the safest type of investment, because your money is spread across different global assets, so they're much more stable and safer than investing in traditional single stocks. There are plenty of investment apps these days, which make it easy to invest.

Here's a video on investment apps by a YouTube channel called "PensionCraft": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jOFdVOkuAc&t=934s

Actually, I've been watching a few of their videos - it's a good place to start.

At the moment, I know saving is a good way of subjecting cash to an excruciatingly slow death. So that's why I've cleared debt, and even considered buying another property (but definitely not with the current house prices!). I'm also *probably* going to open a one year fixed bond, and put some money in there before rates get any lower.

The eComm shop sells outdoor garden furniture, which is another sector which boomed during the lockdown as more people were spending time at home.

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Angela 26th September, 2020 @ 12:09

Hi. Just a delight to receive your news. Certainly appreciated, thank you!

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Huw 27th September, 2020 @ 14:15

Just one small detail: the new rate on NS&I Income bonds isn't even 0.1%.
It's 0.01%.
Yep, one tenth as much.
If you have £1000 invested, you'll make 10p a year.
Or, put another way, you'll need to have £25,000 invested to make enough for one cup of coffee every year.
Wild or what??

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Helen 27th September, 2020 @ 14:17

Thanks Landlord. I just love your sense of humour.
As a letting agent I was surprised at how little rent loss we have experienced so far. The only defaulters are the ones who were a pain before covid. We operate in a rural market town, which probably helps.
Obviously we suffered a big loss of income during the lockdown, when no one could move, but with furlough and grants we stumbled on. We paid our employees 100% of their salaries and stopped taking our own salaries, as we had savings. Now the market seems back to normal.
I kept busy during lockdown by working on the house I am building. Couldn't get any contractors in, but there was still loads to do. It seems to me that is an answer to both lockdown blues and the 'what to invest in' question. Keep busy and invest in a nice property for yourself. I can't see myself investing in another rental when it is clear that the government wants to get rid of private landlords. I am too chicken to invest a decent sum in shares and savings rates are, as you said, pathetic, so what is left? I only know about property, so I bought a plot of land and built a house( with a bit of help from a builder!). It is nearly finished and I can't wait to move in.
I'll probably do it all again soon. It would be a shame to waste all the new knowledge I' gained.

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The Landlord 28th September, 2020 @ 10:27

@Angela Thank you, appreciate it :)

@Huw
Ahhhh, yes, thanks for pointing out that mistake. I have updated the rate.

0.1% looked bad enough, but 0.01% - hahah, it's so ridiculous.

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The Landlord 28th September, 2020 @ 10:35

@Helen
Great to hear you haven't lost much rent, and that you managed to survive. I wonder how many agents won't be reopening their doors?

I envy you! I would love to buy a plot and build. I actually thought about it, but I know so little about the process that I would feel completely out of my depth. I even thought about buying a small plot and just sitting on it, because that's probably a better investment that saving right now, and a lot less stressful than developing on it.

Damnit, you've inspired me to take another look into purchasing a small plot (and possibly developing)! :)

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Helen 28th September, 2020 @ 13:17

I was way outside my comfort zone building from scratch. I had done renovations before but never a new build. I read books and subscribed to Homebuilding and Renovating magazine which gave the basics. I accepted that I would make mistakes and I did, but nothing too drastic.
The main lesson I learned was to get an offer accepted on a plot, before anyone else grabbed it, then find out how much it will cost to get the utilities to the site (that can be a deal breaker) and get the ground surveys done.
I got a builder to put up the shell, then I dealt with everything else, floors, windows, doors, room dividers, plastering ect. The builder was really helpful with contacts for sub contractors and I am doing most of the finishing jobs myself.
I am also thinking of buying a plot and sitting on it. Just need to dig a few foundations before the planning permission runs out.
Good luck if you go ahead

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The Landlord 28th September, 2020 @ 14:51

Amazing, thanks Helen. Very useful advice which I'm definitely going to refer to!

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GriffMG 30th September, 2020 @ 13:46

Hi

Great article, thank you.

Re. coffee. I was doing a minor repair for a tenant and he had a strange gizmo in the kitchen, a beautiful shiny metal thing with levers and knobs and stuff. I asked him and he said it was a hand lever espresso maker by La Pavoni. There started my midlife crisis. I had to have one. I got one (20 years old - over 200 quid) and then got a grinder (a conical burr grinder) and then wooden knobs, and a dosing funnel... the opportunities for gifts from my B-I-L and others is amazing. I tried ground coffee from the supermarkets and then beans, when I got the grinder, but the taste was weak at best. Then I started buying recently roasted beans from a guy in a shed on a farmers little industrial estate nearby and finally got what they call a 'God-Shot'. He gave up roasting after a while and I was bereft of local good beans.

My B-I-L bought me a popcorn maker for Xmas and with a little glass chimney on it (the plastic one melts) - from an old oil lamp, with carefully wound string around the top so you can pick it off when hot. I now roast my own green beans, which are good for about 30 days (never last that long) and taste amazing... takes about 14 minutes to get past the 2nd crack.

The green beans keep forever (pretty much in the dark or in the fridge)
and I roast 140g at a time. Ah, I forgot, I had to get some really good scales as well - read to 0.01 of a gramme.

You should try it.

If you want more info let me know.

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alex 30th September, 2020 @ 22:21

thank you for your article. i think you need to write an article now about the
Green Homes Grant Scheme
which has just gone live
https://green-homes-grant.service.gov.uk/homeowner-and-landlord-application
and wheres the big catch, (something like you have to invest in a useless primary measure)
and how to perhaps get around/avoid the catch... i am sure you will have some useful info
thanks

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The Landlord 1st October, 2020 @ 11:46

@GriffMG,

Haha, sounds like we fell down the same rabbit hole (although, it sounds like you've gone deeper!). I also find myself browsing through coffee accessories and gadgets. I'm actually looking for a new set of scales. I just can't believe how expensive they can be!

Pre-ground coffee is not an option for me anymore. I've started ordering from coffeebeanshop.co.uk - they do next day delivery on beans that were roasted on the same day. Can't beat fresh beans.

'God-shot', literally never heard that term before, but I love it!

We sound absolutely bonkers and ridiculous.

However, I think you've gone way further than I ever imagine myself going; I can't imagine I'll ever start roasting my own beans. But then again, I never imagined myself 'dialing in' espresso and pulling my own shots.

I don't even recognise the person I see in the mirror anymore, and I'm scared to where all this can lead to.

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The Landlord 1st October, 2020 @ 11:48

@alex
Thanks, appreciate it.

I was actually briefly looking through the details of Green Homes Grant Scheme earlier today. Hopefully I'll cover it soon once I've had a chance to look deeper into the details.

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GriffMG 2nd October, 2020 @ 08:27

Good scales proved tricky, I bought three different ones and returned them, they kept losing weight while I looked at them - finally went to a little electronics shop and found a pocket scale and tested it in the shop with a pound coin, if it could keep the same number until it 'auto offed' that was good enough.
20 quid I think.

A 'God Shot', you will know it when you have done it - fills you with warmth when you drink the espresso.
Don't for all the 'DTS' ones that go before it - Down The Sink!

http://www.myespresso.co.uk/product/la-pavoni-europiccola-lusso-lever-espresso-machine-chromewood/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMImIz_lr6V7AIVA7DtCh1kmQa5EAQYASABEgKirfD_BwE

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KJM 2nd October, 2020 @ 14:08

You used to write in an especially acerbic and filthy manner, and I have to say were alot funnier. What has happened? I gather a new ghost writer holding themselves out in a not so convincing way to be you?

Such a shame... :(

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The Landlord 2nd October, 2020 @ 14:51

@KJM
No ghost writer I'm afraid! My blog posts can vary depending on my mood at the time of typing, which can impact my creativity, my thoughts, my tone etc. Plus, the sensitive nature of COVID-19 may have subconsciously dulled my senses.

But I'm glad you called me out on my weak shit. Next time, I'll try and tackle a blog post when I'm feeling particularly filthy, because I'd hate to alienate the twisted PIP subscribers that joined for the filth. Maybe I'll write my next post shortly after my better half has finished using her favourite anal beads on me.

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The Secret Landlord 13th October, 2020 @ 15:13

My God, isn't it a shit-show and who knows much how longer we're going to be in this festival of crap for!

With the ending of furlough this month, I have no idea how many of my tenants will pay the rent next month - it's a bloody precarious place to be.

I'm with you on being cautious with the bigger spends...but sadly it's not working out like this for me so I've ended up with a pocketful of change I'd be glad to get 10p on!

Great blog post as ever, thank you for brightening my day (if not filling my bank account :)

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Scott 16th October, 2020 @ 22:00

"Before she said too much and offered to cover her short-fall with sexual favours" You just come across as the most steroptypical slimey landlord.

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The Landlord 16th October, 2020 @ 22:05

@Scott, I am a landlord.

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The Landlord 16th October, 2020 @ 22:31

@The Secret Landlord
Thanks, appreciate it :)

In regards to fearing rent arrears as the pandemic continues, I'm with you, and I'm sure many other landlords are too!

With local lockdowns in force and the looming prospect of a national lockdown, I suspect this is going to be painful for many landlords and tenants. Fortunately, my area(s) haven't been hit by a local lockdown [yet], so my tenants are still able to work. But I wouldn't be surprised if that changes soon.

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