Over the past few years I’ve spent a large portion of my blogging time discussing the perks of being a landlord, and subsequently managed to neglect discussing the skid-marks of the profession. While I think being a Landlord is an awesome long-term investment, I’m still very much in touch with how God AWFUL the experience can be.
There are a lot of factors I despise about being a Landlord, and the list increases by the day. But I guess every job has its armpit.
Versatile Financial Market
There’s nothing more frustrating than relying on a significant factor of our business model that we have virtually no control over. The economy is that factor.
The financial market is constantly changing, and that can have a severe impact on the livelihood of landlords when things starts to point in the wrong direction. For example, an increase in interest rates could mean higher mortgage payments at the end of the month. A few consecutive jumps in rates and landlords could find themselves struggling. It’s not unusual for “for sale” signs to start popping up after a short-lived battle.
A volatile financial market can be worrying, but it is the nature of the buy-to-let beast. Many Landlords forget to take that into consideration, hence repossession from the lender.
Relying on tenants
Every landlord is at the mercy of their tenant, and that’s the sad reality. It can be a fucking nightmare of a situation. I usually hate relying on people at the best of the times, but unfortunately I have no choice but to put all my hopes and dreams in the hands of my tenants. I’m relying on them to:
- make rental payments on time
- keep the property in acceptable condition
- not piss off the neighbours
Sounds like a small, simple list of duties that a premature monkey could manage, right? Experience has taught me that it’s not all that easy for some people.
I hate having to chase rent, but a lot of the times it comes with the territory. Since becoming a Landlord, “professional debt collector” has been added to my CV.
Only in an ideal world will every tenant make rental payment on time every month. Unfortunately, I don’t live in Disney World and I don’t have hot sex with Jessica Rabit every night.
Being on call 24/7
I’m a self-managed landlord, so that means I don’t use Letting agents to manage my properties. If there’s a problem with one of my properties, my phone is the first to start buzzing, even if it means interrupting my much-needed beauty sleep at an ungodly hour.
Burst pipe at 4am? My responsibility. Hole in the roof on Christmas day? My responsibility. It’s ALWAYS the Landlord’s responsibility. Or at least, it should be.
Yup, that was a swipe at the bullshit slumlords out there, festering the industry.
Finding decent tenants is probably the most important step a landlord needs to make, and that’s why it’s such a pain in the royal ass. It requires precision. The margin for error when it comes to tenant selection is huge, and the penalty can be life ruining.
Bottom of the barrel tenants have enough power to cause bankruptcy. Seriously! All it takes is a shit-faced tenant to refuse payment for a few months to ruin a Landlord’s life.
The main problem is, it’s difficult to distinguish between a good and bad tenant, despite how much thorough referencing is conducted. Even when you think you’ve got the best tenant on the planet, one small change in their circumstance can change everything, reducing them into tenants from hell.
Losing good tenants
I haven’t had many tenants over the years because I’m still new in the game, but I’ve had a healthy mix of the good and the ugly. I’ve recently lost a really good tenant, and it genuinely made me recognise the importance of quality tenants. It’s tough to find decent tenants, but it’s even tougher when you’re trying to replace an excellent tenant because you already have high expectations.
The thing with the buy-to-let game is that it’s a business based on people… and people are idiots.
Dealing with bullshit tenants
Depending on the calibre of tenant, a Landlord needs the patience of an angel to stand any chance of remaining sane.
If I didn’t have some level of patience, I would have ripped my hair and bollocks out by now due to incompetent, selfish, rude tenants. I’ve had to deal with unbelievably scummy tenants, that literally haven’t an ounce of human decency! Even expressing the simple gesture of “please” was beyond them.
The law sucks
Tenants in England & Wales have way too much legal protection, and it’s truly mortifying. For example, Landlords have to wait 2 months before they can even begin the eviction process when a tenant is in arrears, and once the process begins, it can take several months to actually get them out. Sigh.
I don’t have a problem following the rules, especially if they create a safer and fairer environment. But that’s the problem, many of the legislation baffles me, because they literally make very little sense for existing.
Replacing Broken Shit
Having to pay out on repairs is HORRIBLE; whether it be to replace a fridge freezer or repair a broken door-hinge! Granted, it comes with the territory of being a landlord, but it’s still annoying, especially when the cause is incompetence and/or carelessness of the tenant. It’s like owning a car- we know we have to pay for petrol and maintenance, but NO ONE likes paying for the shit.
Are you a Landlord? If so, which aspects do you despise?