So, it would appear I have hit a point.
A really sharp, stab-your-finger sort of point.
I don’t know if it’s lockdown fatigue (and the excitement of being out and about again), or too long in this business.
But the point I’ve reached is: I’m selling, not letting.
And the whole thing kinda took me by surprise. You see, I was getting the properties ready to rent again. I was busy okaying various quotes for various works where various tenants hadn’t (yet again) looked after a nice property. And yet again, here I was replacing carpets that were just two years old.
And it struck me, like a weird idea (although it’s really not): I do not have to put up with this shit any longer.
Out of nowhere this blinding realisation came. And I know it sounds dumb, but you see as a landlord and property investor, you don’t really tend to sell properties you rent. As a landlord, you rent properties, it’s buy-to-let, eh?
Of course, I have sold properties over the years. But something about this time feels different. It’s like I’m actively looking for my exit.
And I’ve surprised even myself, because in the last 10 days I have now listed three properties. Three properties which I was about to list to let and instead have listed to sell.
20 years is how long I’ve owned one of the houses. The other two, are 18 years and 17 years respectively. If they were children, they would’ve finished school and would now be going to university!
So, I’ve pondered to myself what’s driving this (because if any more tenants give notice, I will also sell those). And I’ve realised it’s two key things:
- I’ve been in this business too long and I’m tired of the constant tenant trouble
- The current climate makes landlords too weak
Just to be clear, I’m not against tenants getting protection, there are some asshole landlords about who’ve made life very hard. But, little people like me, we play by the rules and we just continually get stiffed.
I dread reading the updates about what’s happening next in the world of landlording. The ‘breathing space’ regulations are something I have yet to check in detail, purely because I cannot face the prospect of trying to understand for how long can a tenant live without paying rent, while the landlord has to juggle everything to try and make the numbers stack.
And it drives me insane how powerless I am. Currently, we have some non-payers and a particularly anti-social tenant (part 4 needs it be written but I haven’t mustered the words yet). To have to give six months’ notice to gain back a property in these circumstances is not reasonable. And if the tenant doesn’t leave, I only have a long wait for court and bailiffs to look forward to. I can’t even begin to think what damage may be caused by such a delay.
And what I’ve realised is: the constant worry is draining me.
The worry about will a tenant pay the rent, will a tenant look after the house, will the tenant let the gas man in, will the tenant not fight with the neighbours and on and on and on.
And I just don’t think I can do this anymore. There are so many things, more worthwhile things, to worry about.
That’s why I have got to give myself some breathing space. And that is why I am selling.