To me, this is a no-brainer, but apparently it’s not so obvious to some people. The message is simple- whenever you’re going to be out of contact in any shape or form for more than 48 hours, inform your tenant. You get me? Inform your tenant!!!
I just spoke to one of my more casual landlord friend’s, and he informed me about the ultimate landlord disaster he’s been experiencing. But to be honest, it’s his fault, and the only reason I feel a little sympathy for the dipshit is because he is one of my buddies. Basically, he went away on holiday for 2 weeks, meaning he wouldn’t be contactable by his tenant, or anyone else for that matter. It goes without saying that the pillock failed to inform his tenant of his planned absence. And of course, sod’s law is that his tenant desperately needed him during his travels.
So what happened? A water pipe had burst, which caused the ceiling above the kitchen to collapse like a wet paper bag. So yeah, it was a pretty serious disaster. It’s not like a hinge fell off the kitchen door or anything. The tenant tried to call the landlord continuously, but was redirected to his answer machine. In the mean time, the tenant was helpless. She didn’t want to start calling in the professionals to start fixing shit because she’d have to pay out of her own pocket, and she wasn’t sure whether she’d get reimbursed.
One week later and my dumbass friend returned to endless amounts of missed calls and voice messages from a very angry tenant, all while looking like an unhealthy tangerine from all the sunbathing. I heard a few of the messages, and believe me, they weren’t pleasant. I don’t blame her. If I was in her situation I would be cursing him out for a good few hours. After this little stunt, I don’t think she’ll renew her tenancy agreement, which is really bad news for my mate, because she’s a really good tenant in terms of payment and hygiene (two factors I rank highly).
His excuse to me was that he had never had any problems with his tenant; they rarely ever talk. In fact, he’s only spoken to her once, and that was when she initially moved in- that was 9 months ago. So I guess in those circumstances it’s easy to fall into the trap of even forgetting you’re a landlord with landlord responsibilities. I always call my tenants every 3 months, just to make sure everything is ok. I think 3 months is a long enough period to avoid becoming overbearing; the last thing a landlord should do is make a tenant feel smothered. Also, the regular contact keeps me in check and reminds me that I’m actually a landlord.
I’m actually going away on Holiday in 2 weeks time. I’ve called my tenants up and informed them about my get away, and I’ve also provided them with a “if shit happens number”, which happens to lead directly to my mother. When I’m away, she’ll handle all my landlord affairs and any problems that may occur.
For those of you who deal with parasite letting agents, you should definitely inform them when you’ll be out of contact, and also provide them with a trusty contact of emergency. In general, if a letting agent can’t get in touch with a landlord, they’ll take the situation into their own hands and use all their own contracted tradesmen to roll in like the police and make any necessary amendments. That can be a very costly experience because letting agents aren’t exactly known for using the most cost-effective solutions. Don’t quote me, but I think it’s standard practice for letting agents to take a cut from every lead they provide to a tradesmen, which gives the tradesmen incentive to whack up their prices, consequently you end up returning to a very big, fat, hairy bill.