When I last updated you on my endeavours as a landlord, I was positively oozing smugness at how swimmingly it was going. Friends, I am smug no more...
Six months ago, my two rental properties, both let directly to the tenants with no agent, were going swimmingly with minimal involvement from me. Not even the distant worry of an EPC F-rated flat could have spoiled my day. But as we all know, when it rains, it pees cats and dogs.
First up, the 3-bedroom house…
For those of you who are new to my saga, this was formerly my home – before I moved in with my partner.
My lovely tenant (who happens to be a good friend of mine) has decided to buy somewhere, so she is moving out in the summer. Whilst I may give the air of someone who swans around writing blogs and reaping the benefit of rental income, I actually have a family and a demanding job, so time (as it is for so many of us) comes at a real premium for me. The thought of finding a new tenant, and then managing the property with strangers in fills me with dread, so I have opted to go down the letting agent route.
Having done a bit of research, I found two firms who the locals rated highly (both from a landlord and a tenant perspective). There were three options for me in terms of their services which, in very short terms, were:
- The basic - we find you a tenant and then you are on your own
- The all singing and dancing - we practically come and do the tenants washing for them every day.
- Somewhere in between – you get the picture
The full service option appealed to me no end, as I simply don’t have the time (read inclination) to deal with the day to day stuff that goes with this. The agent is quoting 15% of the rent per month... Is this good? I have no idea, but that’s what I am going with! So let’s see how this pans out.
The other property, the large carbon footprint stomping 1-bed flat…
This has also gone into a bit of a meltdown situation. Last weekend, I popped round to chat to the tenant about this EPC business. Essentially the flat is currently rated F and I had thought I have until 2020 to bring it up to at least an E rating.
Turns out the tenant’s girlfriend is pregnant so it looks like they will be moving out at some point in the not too distant future. Well sooner than 2020 anyway which means I will have to bring the property up to standard sooner rather than later. I inherited this tenant with the property so I will be using an agent for the new let on this as well - this is all starting to feel a bit expensive. Anyway, that’s for another day, the more pressing issue with this blinking EPC. (BTW, you can check out your properties’ EPC ratings here)
To recap, this is a flat in a period conversion. I can’t change the construction (single stone walls), nor can I get up in the roof to improve the insulation, as this is not something, as a leaseholder, that is in my gift.
Having looked around I think what I can do is get new windows (currently single glazed), put energy efficient lightbulbs in, and install a new immersion heater.
My plan is to send the original EPC report to an energy assessor together with my planned works to see whether this will be sufficient to get me up to the level I need. If it won’t, then I will need to apply for an exemption, as there is simply nothing else I can do to improve things. I think! I’ll let you know when I’ve heard back from the assessor...
So, you see, my smugness is gone. I am starting to feel like a real landlord now!
Diary of a Buy to Let Purchase
Follow Jeni as she recounts her experiences of becoming a buy to let investor for the first time.
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