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Opinions from tenants and landlords welcome please!

(53 Posts)
HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 14:39:17

This may turn into a long rant, please bear with me...

We have rented out our house in UK for past 7yrs as we moved abroad for work, so accidental landlords you'd say, we don't have a pension, so kept it, and were not supposed to be away this long. We have a property manager (PM) who manages 100s of properties and is also known to us personally as a friend.

We have not increased the rent in all those 7yrs. Tenant often pays late, we just juggle around a few things to ensure mortgage is paid on time every month and don't hassle them, they catch it up the next month generally. I have asked PM to increase the rent a couple of times before, and he has always said no, things are tight, tenant will leave.

So how often does your rent increase and by what margin? And how much of a % increase would make you leave?

This has come to a head as a few months ago, bathroom need retiling and some other things, we got those fixed. Now without any consultation, apparently taps are all broken, and the bathroom needs completely gutting, and downstairs loo also needs replacing. I got told this week, please send a cheque, here is the quote, work being done next week. No input from us about what we want in it, no warning about it. And totally wasted money on the retiling that was done a couple of mths ago. The type of problem, in my mind, doesn't happen over night. This is something that builds up over a while, so literally 3mths ago, this problem should have been seen and addressed surely!?

This leads me to think that the tenant is not informing PM of issues in a timely manner. I thought this was one of their responsibilities? Any thoughts on that? FIL has been around to have a look and a chat as PM is not computer savvy so will not send pics or email us etc... Bathroom has been leaking into kitchen, and downstairs loo into hallway. I hate to think how long this has been happening, and what other damage is done that will need to be fixed.

Now they're saying the fridge is on the blink, told this to FIL and it's the first we've heard of it.

I've asked PM to put up the rent by 50quid (currently 600), and stagger it so they can budget it, half after bathroom done, and the other half beg of 2016. He is saying don't do it. She'll move out, lots of things to do before another can move in, cost you thousands. Yes, cutting our nose for 50quid, but I'm at the end of my rope (due to lots of other things in our life, and this is just one more thing on the list to grind us down) His other argument being, she's paid x thousands of rent and you've had little maintenance issues (yep, but she's storing up trouble for us IMO, I'd rather pay a few hundred here and there over the months to keep things in good order, than be stuck with thousands, possibly tens of, with zero warning). My argument is they've had a nice, quiet time for 7yrs, no hassle from us, haven't had to move every 6/12mths, and you know, they're paying for a roof over their head. I've checked right move and there is NOTHING for rent in our area at all. The next closest property is in a less nice part of town, is terraced and is on for 700quid/mth.

Not sure what to do or think tbh. Latest is apparently they have been telling PM about issues, but nothing has been done....

Any advice for us before I email PM back?

GaryBaldy Thu 23-Apr-15 14:44:30

I'd say you need a better PM.

I work for an EA and our ASTs say that rent goes up each year by between 3 and 5% IIRC.

PM should also be doing inspections if you are paying for them to manage your property so that they can anticipate these issues before they arise, and should get quotes for you to agree before work is done.

IhavenevermetAnthonyHead Thu 23-Apr-15 14:52:30

Your PM should be doing periodic inspections of the house and sending you a copy of the report. If something has not been reported to you in a timely manner. Also not having a rent increase in 7 years is ridiculous. If your tenant can't manage the increase then he can give notice and you can look for a new tenant. You are being very badly advised/served by your PM here I think.

If you ask this tenant to leave to try for a more realistic rental value you are going to have to have a couple of months void and spend out on sprucing up the house, which needs doing anyway by the sounds of things.

If you negotiate a rise that is still slightly below market value hopefully your existing tenant will take it (versus the alternative which is to leave) and you can do the work bit by bit with him still there, and no need for a void.

IhavenevermetAnthonyHead Thu 23-Apr-15 14:54:47

Sorry, cut off a sentence there. Meant to say if something has not been reported to you in a timely manner or the inspection reports have not been carried out in accordance with your contract with the PM then you have a case to take legal action for breach of contract or to argue that they should bear all or some of the cost of the repairs, I imagine. Difficult if it's a friend though….

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Thu 23-Apr-15 14:55:26

Sounds like you need a better agent. How much are you paying? Going rate is around 10% for full management. Are you sure you have complied with your statutory responsibilities regarding gas and electricity safety? If not, you need to check.
Sounds like the property is run down and needs money spent on it. Can you afford to do this and do you have someone there who can manage the repairs for you?
Bottom line is, if your tenant leaves, and the property is in a poor state, you are likely to have a couple of months void period. So it will be 22 months before you recoup your losses.

Theknacktoflying Thu 23-Apr-15 14:58:45

What is the going rate for rent in the area?
What needs to be done to make the place tenable?
Is the PM working for you and with you?

Quitelikely Thu 23-Apr-15 15:04:35

Claim on your landlord insurance for the leak.

Give the tenant your details so you can chat directly to them.

Your friend has let you down badly.

Quitelikely Thu 23-Apr-15 15:07:07

I do think if keeping a tenant is vital to your finances I.e you would struggle to pay the mortgage without them then £50pcm is not worth the risk of having no tenant.

I expect the house needs updating after seven years too.

WhoNickedMyName Thu 23-Apr-15 15:12:53

your pm sounds absolutely shit.

are you sure your tenant hasn't been reporting issues to the pm and they're not passing it on or dealing with it?

I'd want some itemised quotes for the work on the bathroom, the pm can't just tell you "this needs doing, send me a cheque".

and I'd be wondering if there had been a rent increase that you don't know about and the pm is pocketing the difference.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 15:18:14

Definitely the gas safety checks are being done.

We pay 500/yr for the PM. House in NE, 4 bed detached, conservatory (natch), 2.5 bath, lovely garden. Nothing else on Right move showing up to rent in the area, as I said. First thing I checked. I'll check some comparable areas in the town to see what the rents are like for a comparison.

Actually I lie, found one round the corner from us. EXACT same house, in better decorative order, by the sounds of the current condition ours is in, they've also knocked through kitchen wall for kitchen/diner, whereas ours is still separate, updated kitchen and lovely bathrooms, on for 750/mth! So no I don't think 650 is too much.

A 5bed across town in similar style area is 825/mth. A 4 bed terrace, over 3 floors, so teeny tiny rooms, and teeny garden, new, but in crappy area is on for 700/mth

I think the tenant went to the MAX of their budget and maybe stretched themselves, without any thought of rent increases. I'm not unsympathetic, we've rented ourselves for the last 6yrs out of 7, BUT we made sure we didn't max ourselves out so we could cover the yearly increases.

I will ask FIL to pass our details to tenant. I rather think PM has just too many properties to look after. FIL has offered to do repairs etc himself, along with BIL. BIL recently did up a place and looked amazing, but did take him longer than his schedule. And he OWES us big time. Could do that I guess, and then just use an estate agent to get new tenants when needed.

I have a friend that used to rent from PM, I will ask her what she thought of his maintenance, as I know they had draft issues that were never resolved.

mandy214 Thu 23-Apr-15 15:20:34

I'd want to go through your contract with the PM in detail. As PP has said, normally a PM would be carrying out periodic inspections, there would be a process set out for how repairs should be done (i.e. what expenditure a PM can incur in arranging repairs without your consent).

Have you not been back to the property in 7 years?

You also need to know the terms under which your tenant is occupying. You are not entitled to simply increase the rent because you feel like it, or because all of a sudden you think its appropriate. You need to understand the basis on which the tenant is occupying.

mandy214 Thu 23-Apr-15 15:22:56

I was going to say exactly the same about a rent increase that you don't know about.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 15:23:52

Have checked our budget, (in the middle of a country move, argh! and finding a tenant for the house we're in now, oh yes, nothing like stress to keep you awake) and once we move, yes we can cover the mortgage and expenses ourselves for awhile.

btw, how much is council tax on an empty house? PM keeps banging on about, you only get 1mth no payment, then you'll have to pay that too, that's only another 120/mth I think, unless it's gone up, likely.....

It makes me all so cross, as we're not greedy people, we're not arsehole landlords, I want our tenant to have a nice home to live in and stability. Our mortgage is a third again higher than the rent, we already put extra in. Even the bathroom, it had a crappy handheld shower in the bath, so I said WHOA, why would you put that back in, fgs, get a quote on a proper shower head from the wall, tiling around, and put in a shower screen which will help prevent leaks! And I asked straight away, please put neutral, white tiled walls, and grey floors. Oh we'll try to accommodate your request on colour preference WTF??

I have to admit, it did cross my mind that they have put up the rent without telling us too.

I'm on a roll now!! grin

ElectraCute Thu 23-Apr-15 15:25:51

As a tenant, I can see both sides. The main issue is that, actually, your PM is useless. I live in a property where the rent has only increased by £75 in 6 years and I feel very grateful for that, particularly given that I'm in the South East and the market has gone berserk. We're just about to move though hmm

It almost sounds as if your PM is worried about you finding out the real state of the place... They should be doing regular checks - I would argue that the tenant is not necessarily under obligation to inform the PM, but the PM should certainly be informing you.

You also need to find a tenant who will pay their rent on time, every month, especially if you are relying on it.

I would put the rent up and be done with it, as long as you are sure it's genuinely within market rates.

StrawberryCheese Thu 23-Apr-15 15:26:05

I agree your PM sounds like the problem. I can't imagine any tenant putting up with extensive leaks in their home and not reporting it. They are the ones who have to deal with it day to day. I reported any maintenance issue to our letting agent who would in turn tell the landlord. Unfortunately for us the landlord didn't really give a shit but you clearly do as it is/was your family home. Also, the PM's responsibilities include inspecting the property periodically, they clearly aren't doing this.

As for rent increases, the longest I have lived in one rented place is 5 and a half years and our rent was never increased.

ElectraCute Thu 23-Apr-15 15:28:01

Sorry, crap iPad, cross posts. I think your increase sounds reasonable.

Am now dreaming of what my 1.2k per month might get me up in your neck of the woods!

HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 15:28:09

xpost mandy

No, we live abroad, and when DH is back for family visits, we leave them in peace. FIL has been and he said the flush button on toilet doesn't work, and can't get replacement parts, which then leads to leaks and whole bathrooms being replaced... doesn't add up does it!

We're not putting rent up because we feel like it. It's been 7 years. We're about to fit a new bathroom. Increase amts to 1.15% incr per year. Our contract with PM was a one page, we agree with PM to manage our house. Have not seen tenancy agreement as we had left country before tenant was put in place. I don't think I have anyway, will check my files.

ChunkyPickle Thu 23-Apr-15 15:29:50

Agree that you need a better agent - even my new agents (bought out the old ones) wouldn't have let that happen.

They visit the house every 3-6 months and I get a report of the condition of everything and if anything's needing replacing (including pictures). I've been renting out the house for the past 4 years (similar reasons to you) and the rent has gone up twice in that time (during tenant changes) - each time by about 50 quid. I've had to do a fair bit of maintenance (mainly plumbing related - hard water area and it just ruins things), plus some stuff redone in the kitchen, and I know that the patio doors are coming up too.

I would be worried about the gas safety checks, and if they've done a good inventory and whether the deposit is in the right place. You need to find a new agent I think.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 15:35:03

I'll be interested to see the photo's FIL took tbh, to see the condition. I hope it's not terrible. I would actually feel awful if they have been telling PM and he just hasn't been arsed to pass it along.

And you're right, we need a new agent, it'll be a little more than we pay now, but worth it, if it saves big damage happening due to small issues being left too long without a fix.

I will ask PM for a list of what he thinks needs doing before we can get a different tenant in, and estimates. I can see if FIL/BIL will do the work. Will need painting for sure, carpet and probably fixes in the kitchen I'd imagine. I wonder if FIL can ask the tenant how much they are actually paying in rent.....

GaryBaldy Thu 23-Apr-15 15:52:15

Just checked with our lettings team - they inspect every 3 months and send a photographic report to the owner so even if you haven't set foot inside you would know the condition of the property.

They agree a budget that they can authorise repairs to which can be anything from £0 - i.e. all repairs get landlord approval first to all repairs processed by us and billed to owners.

A good letting agent would be able to find a tenant quickly to minimise your void period, so don't worry about the tenant leaving - our team put a property up for let on Rightmove as soon as the tenant gives notice and we are usually swamped with prospective tenants.

mandy214 Thu 23-Apr-15 15:55:12

What I mean is that you need to see the tenancy agreement. If your tenant has been provided with a new tenancy agreement each year, you cannot increase the rent during the tenancy whether you think its fair or not, unless the agreement says you can. If your tenant’s tenancy has come to an end, and they’re just on a month to month tenancy, you have to give reasonable notice of a rent increase (say 2 months) and the tenant can vacate if they don’t agree to the new rent (usually on a month’s notice if they’re on a month to month contract).

CountingThePennies Thu 23-Apr-15 16:07:16

Im a tenant.

The house does sound in poor condition but i dont think that is your fault. Its poor management and communication on your letting managers part.

I pay £625 a month for a 10 year old 3 bed semi. No garage, conservatory etc.

I ve been here 2 years and the landlady has never been here whilst i ve been here.

She has relatives 3 doors away who she visits once a week but i ve never seen her!

peacoat Thu 23-Apr-15 16:07:32

I'd ask to see evidence of their payments to be honest. I wouldn't be surprised if your PM is taking a cut. I hope I'm being cynical.

I don't think you're out of order to want to increase the rent. But I agree with pp that you need to check what their current agreement is. To be honest your tenants - at least how they are presented via your PM - seem like hard work to me.

I'm renting and no-one's checked my place in the 6 months I've been here. But then there's damp and I'm busting my balls trying to get them to sort it out so they are trying to ignore me.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 23-Apr-15 16:15:49

I see what you mean Mandy. They moved in July/August time, so if on a yearly tenancy, this is when I suggested they put up the first part of rent. I will email PM now for a copy as I can't find in my files, and I will ask him for list of stuff to fix to see if it matches what FIL has seen.

FIL, bless his heart, has sent through 20 photo's and a list of everything that needs doing. I am now sure that we will FIRE the PM and get someone else. IT's disgusting, and I am ashamed that the tenant has put up with all this stuff. For eg... Leaking water marks in kitchen from bathroom upstairs, electics tripping an dlight crackling - DANGER. Kitchen cupboard full of mould from a leak and will need replacing, fridget not working properly, Oven keeps tripping, probably related to water leak, tenants had to buy a microwave to cook with FFS! leaking in ceiling above front door, likely coming from leak in ensuite.

My god, it's a mess. Then some extra dodginess on PM part:
Bathroom that needed retiling back in Jan and new bath panel: Panel installed, but not properly and looks like leaking happening under the bath, also we were told the floor needed retiling. Fine go head, and lo, the floor is fucking wood effect LINO, with very crappy installation.

Patio doors: not long after they moved in, they opened them in a wind storm or something,and they bent out of shape. So we claim on insurance as new doors supposed to be fitted. Only they didn't fit new doors, they just repaired the bent ones.... Although FIL says you can't tell, they did a good job on that at least, but ripped us off on the cost no doubt!

I'm feeling all a little bit numb just now, we've had so much shit happen in our lives, particularly the last 8mths, it's beyond a joke. DH is back from work trip tonight, and I will have him sort out this mess. FIL/BIL can do the repairs, and DH can sort an agent. I've had it!!

WhoNickedMyName Thu 23-Apr-15 16:32:08

given your updated post, I'd most definitely wonder if there has been a rent increase that you don't know about and whether the tenants actually have been late with the rent or whether the pm has been timing rent payment to you to suit himself ans blaming your tenant.

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