New Landlord - Paying out for multiple issues in the first two months

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    New Landlord - Paying out for multiple issues in the first two months

    Hello everyone

    I am very new to the world of private lettings, I recently bought a new house with my partner and rather than sell my old one (tried to on the market for almost a year without a single offer) I decided to rent it out.

    So after borrowing a lump sum from the bank of mum and dad in order to pay the stamp duty now involved with keeping my old house and having tenants ready to move into straight away I set up a budget in order to keep everything ticking over.

    The issue I have is the tenants are continually contacting the agent who is managing the property complaining about one thing or another, I have had calls once or twice a week since they moved in at the end of April.

    The issues include

    1. Downstairs toilet light has gone can not find replacement bulbs that fit.
    2. Shower is leaking into downstairs ceiling (I had this issue fixed on the insurance when I lived there in 2015 so not quite sure what's happened to make it start leaking again)
    3. The agent informed them that there is two showers in the house (my partner and i set up a shower in the bathroom when we were getting the old shower fixed, it was not perfect as it came from the mixer tap and the pressure was rubbish but it did the job while the other shower was getting fixed) the tenant now wants me to pay for a power shower in the bathroom as they feel that they rented out on the understanding that there are two showers. of the French doors dropped and it takes a good push in order to line it up and lock it into place, bear in mind this is not the one that is used the most often.
    5. Boiler is not modern and during the summer a hot water heater is needed for hot water alone.
    6. Pilot light on boiler blows out in servere gales.
    7. Pressure in main shower went as plumber has determined that the theromostat in that shower has gone.

    I have paid out nearly £400 in order to fix the issues listed above, but I am really concerned that these tenants are serial complainers because I am not in a great place financially there are certain things I can not do such as replace the boiler or install a power shower, I am still paying my parents back for the stamp duty (thank you very much George!)

    I want to know if I should just give in, and bite the bullet and pay out for what ever they want, bear in mind it's going to leave me in a bad position financially, or should I just tell the tenants no can do? I fear if I do pay out for what they want, when will it end? If I don't am I in breach of contract as the agent told them that there are two showers, I have asked my partner to take over speaking with the agents as they often contacted me at work and I felt they treated me quite badly if I did not get back to them straight away with a solution.

    Really getting stressed with the situation, I thought this would provide a valuable income in retirement but I am now considering cutting my losses and selling at a rock bottom price once the ast is up, that way I can get some money out of it and claim my stamp duty back. Please help?!

    I think you need to fix 2,5 (possibly, depending what you mean), 6,7

    You probably should have lowered your price and lowered it again and again until it sold - not paid stamp duty on your own home and bought a new one with a mortgage at the peak of the market and with mortgages set to go only one way -- and then ended up as a landlord without capital. I suggest you do salvage the situation by selling.

    Yes, George damaged many normal people doing perfectly normal things with property, and forced people to sell, throw relatives out on the street, and sue their co-owners to force sales. But if Corbyn gets in normal folk like you will be up the creek.

    £400 is peanuts -- it costs thousands to maintain a property unless you are in the down-and-out end of the market.


      I have fixed the shower and I know the issue with the boiler is something that can easily be remidied. What I have paid out so far is £400 it's looking to increase to about £1000 in the next few weeks if I pay for the new shower. Is that standard in the North west on a house worth 100k? Over 8 weeks? I am looking to sell now I know I can probably get at least 90k for it and this will give me enough to cover the mortgage and give me about 15k and reclaim the £6900 I paid in stamp duty :-( just really did not want to have to do that. Is there a way if both the land lord and the tenant agree to it to stop a tenancy agreement before it expires? Or would I have to wait the full 6 months?


        If both you and the tenant agree to end the agreement early, it can be ended early - you would need some kind of deed of surrender.
        However, if only one of you wants to end it, it can't be ended earlier.

        Moreover, as a landlord, you can't end it over a tenant not wanting it to end, without a court order.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


          Don't forget Jennie, all the items your list, are being rented from you.
          Yes, they are renting the down stairs toilet light that does not work, a boiler that may not come on, on a cold winters morning before they go to work.
          The downstairs ceiling may collapse if leak continues, injuring your tenants.
          If you lived there you are legally allowed to kill or maim yourself, but you are not allowed to kill or maim your tenants.

          If you can't afford to maintain your property, or even refuse to, then suggest you sell up and stop being an alleged landlord / lady.


            To be honest Jennie, I've found that the first while after a new tenancy starts are typically more costly as this is the period when the new person finds niggles that someone else has lived with. It is very different from how you deal with repairs in your own house (we dont use my downstairs shower at the minute as it leaks, yet i was resealing a bath yesterday for a tenant). Landlords need to take repairs on the chin (within reason) & be thankful that tenants are reporting things rather than letting the ceiling collapse. Its the only way I can deal with it without going mad!
            If you dont think youre in it for the longterm - when investing in niggles pay off, then after your current tenancy ends sell up.
            Good luck


              I'd agree with the tenants that the work should be done, probably excluding the second shower unless it's included in their AST

              I'm guessing when they viewed the property they were given the opportunity to see the shower themselves. They also have a working other so I would decline the shower on those grounds.

              The rest as a landlord are your responsibility. These people are paying you to live comfortably in the home you have rented them. They won't benefit from any profit it makes you either now or in your retirement and are entitled to get what they pay for.

              Many people rent because it's easier to not be accountable for repairs and as tenants they are entitled to have most done for them. When you chose to become a landlord you took on that choice unfortunately regardless of the cost


                I think you're right. I have arranged for all the repairs to be done, apart from the shower although I am in the process of getting quotes and thanks for your advice for checking the agreement about the second shower!

                The boiler is something that I think is partly due to the weather so I am contacting the plumbers who did a gas safety check and service in March to see if there was a problem with it then, but I'm pretty sure that it's just blowing out when it's servere gales.

                My partner rents his out and we barely hear anything from his tenants their so quiet, I guess we can't get lucky twice!

                I got to a point yesterday where I was sick of the constant problems with it, so needed to vent and get advice, the tenants have assured me that they want to be there long term so going to check the situation when my consent to let mortgage comes to an end in Novemeber and I either decide to sell or stick with it, I have got quite a lot of equity tied up in the property so hoping to use that to pay the stamp duty and create a maintenance fund for the house so I can take these problems more easily it's just really hard when I have just moved house myself and funds are short at the moment.

                From what you have said it sounds like it's common place for there to be teething problems, and as I have always owned property and never rented I have always put up with doors jamming or low water pressure. Hopefully once all this has been sorted I'm hoping for some quiet at least for a few months!


                  I know I was hard on you, but sometimes a slap in the face works better than 20 posts of being too kind.

                  If you can get the place up to par, you may even find your business, YES, it's a business letting property, that you make money from it.
                  As you have seen, you even stated "I have always put up with doors jamming, etc, etc.

                  When you let out a property, it then belongs to the tenants, as you have handed over the property to the tenants, and it's theirs for the length of the A.S.T. and you are not allowed to just walk in unannounced.
                  Everything in and around the property must work efficiently.
                  You rent a car and everything works, it does not leak, the lights work etc etc ( forget they are new cars and normally everything works ).
                  The same applies to property. It's THEIR HOME, they live there, not you. They don't want the hassle of things not working, and as someone else said, they are not making money from the rental property or making thousands when it's sold, you are.
                  If my doors did not close properly, I would fix them, and have.

                  good luck in getting the house fixed, and don't forget, if you ever get troublesome tenants who decide not to pay the rent after month two, do you have 6 months rent spare in the bank to pay the mortgage on it, as it will take you up to 6 months to get them out.
                  E.G. £ 5000 in the bank, left there for such contingencies.

                  Running a business with no money in the bank is not a good idea, and you only have ONE customer.


                    I wonder if a fully managed maintenance solution would work for you, rather than the agents calling you about every little thing?

                    If rent income less mortgage payment less other landlord expenses is around zero then I would get out.

                    On each property, expect a big 1 to 2k bill a year for something, and for incidentals to total high three figures (others may have better estimates they use)


                      When we bought the new place, we worked out that my partner could pay for the mortgage single handed if worse came to worse, it would then be up to me to cover the costs of my rental property, fortunately the tenants do seem to be good payers and have got good references. What we did have saved went to stamp duty, however I did have the option to change mine into a buy to let at that point and release sufficient funds in order to cover this and create an emergency fund as such. However my current mortgage had quite a high ERC and the company had given me consent to let up until the deal runs out in Novemeber, at that point I can put that plan into place, without facing high charges. As you quite rightly said you can't tell tenants to wait for repairs! All the repairs are in the process or have been fixed. My only issues are putting a second shower unit in the property when they already have one in the en suite and potentially paying for a fix on a boiler that probably does not need fixing (pilot light blown out due to wind) :-( again getting quotes for the second shower and contacting the company who last serviced the boiler and did the gas safety less than 4 months ago, so not leaving the tenants high and dry, I would not do that, on all the repairs and problems I have had them fixed and resolved within a week.

                      I do have a managed service from the estate agents and I admit after paying for these repairs and potentially the new shower I am subsidising these extra costs from my income, so I'm hoping after this all gets rectified it should start paying for itself and generating a small profit! I have set the agents a £150 limit for repairs per month if urgent but due to the number of repairs they have been in contact every week without fail about one thing or another! I often tell my self "they have had more issues in the last two months than I had over 4 years?!" I do think it is partly as a owner occupier you over look things but there are things that are annoying such as the leaky shower which I had fixed via the insurance back in 2015 or the en suite shower thermostat burning out, which often has me thinking what the heck are they doing?!

                      I have also been in regular contact with the agent as soon as an issue has come up, but I do seem to get quite a bad reception from them and the tenants if I ask them questions or probe a bit deeper into what's gone wrong or potentially suggest a solution prior to sending out the repair people, I often get the impression of "nope! Not Doing that! Send someone over!" Which I understand it's my responsibility, but where do you draw the line?


                        where do you draw the line? certainly I would draw it at the power shower! Get a proper mixer tap shower and be done with that request at least.


                          It really come down to the agreed rent. I rented my house which indeed needed some updating. Boiler was old but worked well, as did the cooker. The front door let some air in and the kitchen still needed double glazing.

                          However the asking rent reflected this. It meant that a family was able to rent a 3 bed house in a nice area giving access to the best school in the area when they otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford it.

                          The agent was honest from the start about the price reflecting the dated issues but that didn't stop tenants thinking that there entitled to a new door and boiler only a month after they moved in.

                          The demands went on and on and in the end they left and we invested on a full refurbishment. This came with a rent increase of £200 a month and we had the pick of 3 tenants within a couple of days advertising.

                          Yet somehow the previous tenants wanted the same but with no increase in rent!


                            Originally posted by Notyetagain View Post
                            It really come down to the agreed rent. I rented my house which indeed needed some updating. Boiler was old but worked well, as did the cooker. The front door let some air in and the kitchen still needed double glazing.
                            Yes, but the difficulty is that a variety of forces out there make it difficult to rent out properties that need things sorting (not talking about really bad things -- just the usual things that would be accepted by many low-end owner occupiers). As a result people who want these types of properties (and the commensurately low rent) cannot find them. And things are only going to get worse as we drift into Corbyn's utopian gulag, spending all his time laying more wreaths on the graves of brutal fascists.

                            So it's not so much the case of the "agreed rent" but rather what is forced down the throats of both unwilling parties to the contract.


                              People rent properties on the basis of a ten minute visit (maybe twice)*.
                              People just assume that the doors fit, showers work, central heating works, the water is hot, and so on.

                              They might think the rent is lower than other properties, but how often do people get given a list of the 30 reasons it's cheaper - so no one is in any doubt that the place is cheap for a reason?

                              *not a criticism, it's the same for buying.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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