As the landlady, I have found that handing over the keys to a new tenant has often been an emotional occasion for me.
Let me clarify, I do not break down in tears in front of my new tenants, nor do I suggest cracking open a bottle and celebrating the handover together right there and then!
It is more that there are always three phases to any tenant change:
- The Build-up
Varying in duration and emotional intensity, the build up is the time between tenants.
A clearing away of the old, and readying both oneself and the property for something new.
It’s like the pressing ‘Reset’ button, but more exhausting, as the house doesn’t simply revert back to how it was at the start. It can be a high energy and exhausting time, from assessing any damage to deciding how far to go in the quest to ensure perfection is restored.
For me, the emotion chain often goes something like this:
Shock – Your existing tenants are leaving. Cr*p, that means there is lots of work coming up.
Sadness – depending on whether you bonded with the outgoing tenants.
Relief – the property is yours again temporarily, so you are beholden to nobody and can relax on the ‘landlady’ front, for as long as it takes to re-let. You are once more a property owner / developer.
Frustration – Hmm, old tenants didn’t leave the property quite how you would’ve hoped.
Fear – Will anyone ever want to rent this place again, and will they pay the asking rent?
Resolve – When you realise there is work to be done, and you must get on with it, because you like having rent come in more then you like spending money on renovations!
Compromise – How far are you going to go to restore the property to its ‘best-self’? What actually needs doing, and what is just vanity and window dressing.
Motivation – New tenant found and accepted. There is now a deadline for the above activity!
Discipline – Much like when handing in a piece of school work or an assignment; is the work you do going to be paced? Or, is it going to be one massive ball of stress as you edge toward the due date and find that it is going to be a last minute scramble to get the jobs done? If you go with the latter, there could be long days and late nights ahead, fuelled by coffee and Diet Coke.
- The Moment of Transfer
In my last post I compared my houses to babies. That was probably pretty inappropriate – Obviously, I would not hand over or rent out a child of mine!
The handover is more like handing in an essay at uni, or assignment at work that you have put blood, sweat, tears, and a little piece of your soul into.
When the keys are given, there is nothing more you can do – certainly in terms of establishing the first footing with the tenant. It’s basically judgement day.
‘Will they think I’ve done enough?’
‘Do I think I’ve done enough?’
‘Is there anything I forgot to do?’
None of the above matters, there is nothing you can do now! So relax, if you can.
Tip: It is much easier if the answer to the second question is an assured ‘Yes, you have‘.
- The (somewhat unknown) Aftermath
There is not too much to say about what happens after the handover, it is basically the future.
Will the new tenants be good?
Will there be any ‘snags’ to sort out? (*gulp – I hate snags)
What type of tenants will they be – Attentive, Laid back, Demanding?
How long will they stay? Etc
The answer to all of the above is ‘Who knows’? One just has to hope for a bit of luck really.
The Landlords Prayer
Dear Agent, who art in office.
Thank you this day for my brand new tenant.
May they be happy with the house,
And quite as a mouse.
May they keep the house clean,
As though fit for a queen.
May they call me with questions,
But not too often,
And may they pay their rent on time,
By direct debit,
For ever and ever,
Anyway, things seem to be going okay so far.
(the Grateful Landlady)