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)

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)