Is it better to be a landlord or a tenant?

Trials and tribulations of rental properties …..

We have been living aboard our yacht Fandancer since July 2010. We keep the yacht in Greece over the winter, and we return to the UK we have to rent a property as we do not have our own house to live in. Well, this is not strictly true, as I do own a property in Romsey, Hampshire, but up to now it has been rented out to tenants, although I did actually live in it for 16 months in 2006. Moving house isn’t a big deal to me, I’ve done it so many times. Read my post about this here.

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So I’ve been both a tenant, and a landlady. I’ve had about five different lots of tenants in my Romsey house over the last six years, and most of them have been lovely. Especially the very first lady who moved in, who was a keen gardener, and also the last couple, who are sadly moving out this week. There was only one rogue couple, but I blame the trouble I had with them on the Lettings agent, who let them get away with things, as I was out of the country. Things like not paying via a bank standing order, but letting them pay the rent in cash, which got later and later each month, and needed constant chasing up. The agents also appeared to let the rogue tenants get away with not paying the full deposit before they moved in, and I only found this out when these bad people did a runner and left without paying the last months’ rent, leaving the place in a mess……. Still, the less said about these horrible people, the better.

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When we’ve rented properties ourselves, I’m always terrified that we won’t get our full deposit back at the end, and keep everything spotless and tidy, even more so than if it was my own house. The first year we rented an out of season holiday cottage on the lovely Isle of Wight. The owners met us beforehand and couldn’t have been more kind and helpful. That was the best property we’ve rented, but unfortunately the stretch of sea between us and the mainland meant that spontaneous visits to friends and family were impossible, and the ferry charges were very high.

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The next year we rented another holiday property in Hampshire which was part of a converted barn. It was immaculately furnished, and they didn’t mind that Artemis our boat cat stayed there too. Unfortunately things went a bit wrong, as the last month of our agreement entered the beginning of the holiday season proper, around Easter, and they wanted to charge us three times the rent for the last few weeks. I think we knew this when we took it on, but when the time came, we decided it was going to prove far too expensive, so we left a few weeks early. The upshot of this was that the landlady claimed she would now lose money as it was too late to advertise for proper short term holiday makers, and kept some of our deposit to cover her loss, although I don’t think she was really entitled to. Not wishing to make a fuss, we just left.

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The most bizarre landlady was the owner of the property we vacated in May this year. She never wanted to meet us face to face, and was extremely cross when I managed to get a neighbour to forward a letter from me to her, to ask her something without going through the letting agents. She also refused to let us keep Artemis at the property, but later relented, but only after we had gone to a huge amount of trouble and vast expense to find Artemis a temporary home with some relatives hundreds of miles away.

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This week we have heard she is going to deduct some of our deposit for cleaning and gardening! Admittedly we did rent the property for a year, but moved out after ten months, although we paid the rent right up to the end when the property was empty. Of course we cleaned it and left it exactly how we found it, but crazy landlady said we had hung a picture in the wrong place, and the house had got dusty. Also the garden had grown since we left, and she wanted to charge us for these violations. I wrote a letter to the crazy woman, via the agent, and offered to go round and do some gardening for her when I get back. So this I am going to do. Coincidentally, she is going to be away that day, she just can’t face meeting me! Let’s hope she will be happy and lets me have all my deposit back!

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12 thoughts on “Is it better to be a landlord or a tenant?

  1. We have been tenants and landlords and absolutely hated both experiences. in South Australia, the landlord is legally bound to lodge the bond with the government and has to go to court to make any claims on it. Judges reject the dusty rooms, regrowth in the garden arguments.

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  2. I’ve been on both sides, too. Don’t know which one I prefer. That last landlady sounds like she is trying to hide from others, and it makes me wonder if she ‘s afraid that she can’t be objective if she meets the person…. that thought makes me suspect she’s had one or more super manipulative tenants.

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  3. When I was young and living in Malaysia with my family, we rented out our house in Finland. All the tenants were awful! One family’s wife walked around in high heels all day and spoilt the parquet flooring (in Finland we take off our shoes when we enter a home). Then the other family stole our washing machine!! I would hesitate quite a bit before renting out our home which we will soon move into, it would be such a terrible feeling to see it destroyed…

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  4. Either way it’s far from ideal. To paraphrase the Bard “Neither a tenant nor a landlord be”… Like you, Georgie, I’ve been both and I think it’s actually worse being a landlord if you are letting out your own home. It only takes one set of rogue tenants to destroy the “homely” feeling. I found I could never repair the damage done – it was as much psychological as material. And lettings agencies are generally as expensive as they are hopeless, in my experience.

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