Useful You-Tube!

You-tube, as a Landlady – I love you, and here is why:

Nobody can be good at everything.

I count myself as someone who isn’t an expert at anything (apart from maybe Harry Potter book knowledge), but I’m okay at quite a few things, including DIY.

I can use a drill, saw, sand, hammer, paint, etc.
But there are a lot of gaps in my skills.

My 2 biggest issues with a New Rental :

When someone moves in, there are lots of things that need to go smoothly, and lots of potential for teething problems.
In my 4 tenancies so far… there have been consistent problems with 2 things:
Heating & Hot Water – how it works!?
How do you get furniture into the Front room?

Heating & Hot Water
My plumbing knowledge leaves a lot to be desired, partly as I have very little natural interest in the subject. The view I would like to have is ‘As long as it works, I do not care or need to know how‘. However, as a Landlady/Landlord, there is not a lot more embarrassing than not being able to describe how to operate the heating & hot water on, in your own house. I have been in that situation, it’s not fun, and it is really important to tenants that these things work. Of course.
My heating system is quite complicated – In the past I have even called a plumber out simply to explain the system to me again, having forgotten since the last time I had to explain it.
I didn’t want to do that this time – so I put in some in some extra research and basically, in a nutshell, You-Tube came to the rescue.

The offending controller
Annoying instructions
Lovely and clear video-tutorial.

Not only does a You-Tube video jolt my memory, but a link to it is simply the only thing I have to provide to my tenant when she had a query about the time settings for hot water and how to reprogram them. AMAZING!

Furniture into the Front room.

Every time someone moves in / or out, there is the same issue. It is physically impossible to get a normal sofa into the living room, without removing the sash window. This is due to a combination of a small hallway, and a ‘quaint’ but wildly impractical door choice by a former owner.
The window isn’t large either but it does just about get a sofa through, thank god!

Tiny Gothic Door.
The middle window needs to come out.

Removing a sash window is not for the faint hearted. Not only does it contain a lot of breakable glass, but they are heavy things, hung on strings/cords, and parts of the woodwork also need to be unscrewed or levered off and re-caulked back in.
I cannot do this. I can’t even explain to someone how its done.
But this man can!…. My gratitude to him is without bounds (or cords).

Again, all I had to do is provide the link, and now my tenant has her sofa set in the front room, and her boyfriend thinks he is the master of DIY and sash window removal!
Everyone is happy, moving in is successful, and I somehow come off like I know what I’m doing.

Thanks to You-tube for existing to enable these DIY heroes… and a never ending supply of funny cat videos!

T.G.L

(the Grateful Landlady)

Gratitude is a Garden

The more time you spend in it, working on it and enjoying it, the more abundant & beautiful your garden will become. Similarly, the more you practice feeling gratitude, the more it will grow and spring naturally from within you.
Well that’s the hope anyway, I find it really difficult sometimes!

In the time of Covid19, what with staying at home being enforced by government, an outside space is a very real blessing. Whether it’s a balcony, roof terrace, courtyard, or garden; all give the opportunity to commune with nature and also be creative and nurturing!

I am fortunate, I have a small garden (and a shed – which is a great place to escape the house).
However, the lengthy period of depression has not done my garden any favours whatsoever. It needs ‘intensive care‘.

Earlier this week I began my rescue mission, with some cutting back of dead branches.
The council is temporarily not collecting garden waste, which was the perfect excuse to have a bonfire, and burn some other random bits of wood from various DIY jobs too!
The smell of a bonfire is something I love. Reminds me of childhood, and helping my dad do garden work.

I also started what will be a long process of working on my bench, which is looking very sad. Firstly, washing down with bleach. I’ll do this a few times. Next, I will lightly sand the bench, before treating it with a protective oil.
I’ll need to do the same process on my garden table too (just visible in the lower right corner of the picture below).

Lutyens Bench
(Renovation required!)

I trimmed my ‘Red Robin’ hedge out front, and cut my sorry excuse for a lawn. The lawn will take a lot more work to recover, if indeed possible without completely relaying.

Straggly hedge, and mossy lawn.
Needs work. Nice tulips though!

So, all this before even adding any plants or flowers. I have planted some seeds though, so there will be flowers in due course.
Nasturtiums in the small pots and Ornamental Gourds in the large (below). All should grow into quite large trailing plants which will need to be up-potted. I have some ideas of where they may go, but some will have to be given away to neighbours – if they are all successful seedlings! My garden just isn’t big enough for them all.

All of this was not only energetic but very satisfying and I can truly say that for me, pottering in the garden is definitely The Good Life.

Thanks for reading… I hope your own gardening efforts are bringing equal success & happiness, or if no garden – at least a pot plant to care for. Let me know in the comments!

T.G.L

(the Grateful Landlady)

Its a Moving Process

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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,

T.G.L.

Anyway, things seem to be going okay so far.

T.G.L

(the Grateful Landlady)