Diary of a HMO Landlord: Noise, Leaks, Squeaks & Rubbish

After my initial Diary of a HMO Landlord post all was calm and foolishly thought to myself I’m not going to have much to write about this week, but how things change!

So what’s been happening?

I have had the electricians in at one house rewiring each room so they are on their own circuit and meters fitted so I comply with The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 and this also ensures tenants are accountable for their usage in their own rooms, all went well until a phone call the next morning about the central heating making a “gurgling” noise. Turns out one of the water pipes had fractured when the wires were being pulled through, which resulted in a lovely water feature in one of the down stairs rooms. On a positive note double boarded ceilings are still intact so it was just mopping up water, drying out carpets and getting the plumber around to solder the damaged pipe.

New tenants moved into a property, former residents of the Salvation Army homeless hostel who are very happy to have a clean and safe environment to live in and have put up with living on the streets but couldn’t put up with the squeaky fire hinges on their new door, so I treated them to a squirt of WD40.

As mentioned the new tenants love the free broadband access, but in other houses it can prove to be a pain in the arse. We all know broadband is a must especially for students and professional working tenants, but there is only so much a landlord can do as I DO NOT provide the service. One house has had intermittent service due to engineering works being carried out by the ISP but still tenants moan on at me and it came to a head when I get calls at 10PM moaning about the service Virgin Media supplies, as you can imagine I wasn’t best pleased especially when my phone ringing woke our baby!

Had the usual calls from Cardiff Council Housing Options Team enquiring what property I have available this week, also chasing “top up” from tenants that have Overpayment Recovery taken from their Housing Benefit Award, the latest tenant having a deduction of £6.50 per week from their Housing Benefit award to pay back about £5000 in overpayments.

At the other end of the spectrum, chasing professional tenants for their rent, the ones who never set up a standing order so the usual text each month to remind them to pay their rent on time and set up the standing order for next month, which they never do.

Rubbish is always a common theme encountered by HMO Landlords up and down the country, tenants don’t seem to like recycling and if they do manage to put rubbish in large black wheelie bins provided by Cardiff Council they don’t like to wheel them out onto the pavement for fortnightly collection so we soon get a build-up of black bags, I don’t know what is going to happen when Cardiff Council half the size of their black bins, be rubbish everywhere!

Finally my favourite aspect of being a HMO Landlord the legalities of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and tenants serving “Notice to Quit” when they are on a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (SPT), affectionately known as a “month rolling”, or not serving as the case may be. All tenants love it when their fixed term comes to an end and they have the flexibility of a SPT but none of them seem to like the fact that the tenancy runs from one rent day to the next and they have to serve their “Notice to Quit” in writing, giving at least one months’ notice and ending on a rent day. This important point is highlighted when the tenant first signs the AST, also it is on the notice board and once again pointed out once their tenancy moves from a fixed term to a SPT, do they play by the rules, no way!

The latest one believes it is ok to text me on Saturday evening of a Bank Holiday weekend asking if they serve notice this evening, will they still have to pay their next rent payment, then continue to barrage me with text messages and emails up until 7AM today saying they are not paying rent whatever happens because they have found a new place. A phone call this morning has cleared up the situation.

And finally this afternoon I receive a call from the next door neighbour of a property I own. There seems to be an issue with noise, the neighbours words were “it sounds as if they are kicking a football against the party wall all night long”. Next on my “To Do List” find out what or who is creating the continual thudding! I will let you know how I get on.

Feel free to ask any questions via my blog or complete the form below if there are any specific HMO topics you would like me to discuss.

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