Letting a house in UK - need advice please

If we knew that letting our house will create all these problems I think we would think twice. When we had to leave Scotland to live in Montpellier because of my work, we decided not to rent out our house in Scotland but then after a few months we changed our mind and we decided to let it so we can have some money to pay the mortgage. We chose Let It as we’d been advised that it was a good estate agent. Since we start the procedure of letting the house the bills started before we even have a tenant (fees, fees, fees) so once they informed us that they’d found a tenant we were a bit relieved because we thought that at least we can have some our money back. How wrong we were!!!

The bills kept coming, the agency informed us that the electricity was faulty and needed upgraded. We agreed and it cost us not far off £300. We couldn’t check what the electrician had done because obviously we’re not there and our family can’t check everything. Not long after this they said that they need an annual check on the boiler. The boiler was only one year old and still under warranty but they come up with a kind of certificate we should provide and because again we weren’t there we could not argue so we agreed to pay another £75 for it. After another few weeks, the agency called again. This time the boiler broke down just after midnight at the weekend (of course it couldn’t be earlier) so the agency paid for an emergency call and the bill came to £253 to repair it!!!! And here was not even matter of we agree or not... it was just taking from the rent. Now after 5 weeks of peace it was time for the oven to break!!! Yes, yes the oven... the glass in the oven door has broken. A double-glazed oven door has broken!!!! And how? They do not know.

The agency called and asked for £140 to repair the oven door. I, of course, was mad but we decided we’d take the opportunity to get a new oven as the one we had in the house was a bit old and we’d inherited it when we moved in with the intention of getting a new one. Plus we’d have cover if the agent tell us that the oven door broke on it. Also, I would not pay 140 pounds for the glass on an oven door. We bought a new cooker online from Currys the next day; we paid for the cooker and installation (mind you it was a painful £450). We informed the agency that it will be delivered 29th as it was the soonest we could get even with express delivery. And guess what guys? I got an email just a few hours ago from the agency saying that the tenant is very unhappy and want us to pay compensation for them as they won’t be able to have roast turkey for Christmas because of us!!!!!!! I am seriously getting depressed, we have been renting the house for about 8 months more that 60% of the total rent has been paid for bills the agency or tenant come up with. The problem is that we can’t check what’s right and what’s wrong. If they say that the electricity is not working there is no way for us to know if it was the tenant who broke something. The house was in perfect condition when we left Scotland. Does anyone have any ideas what can I do...?

The agency apart from sending us the bill and telling us about the break down in the house, they do absolutely nothing. We asked for example for photos of the broken oven... the answer we got is “the tenant will take pictures when they can, otherwise you can call them directly”

I seriously don’t know what to do? Does anyone else experience such problems in the UK? How do you deal with it? We are really desperate

Hi Doha,

In answer to your last question; the lease I have is very specific. I expect my tenants to also take care of their own insurance. e.g. against their own accidental damage to property. I admit it is a grey area and therefore you do have to just grin and bear it sometimes. It was all much better when I was in Scotland and could do repairs etc myself. It's not good at the moment and I guess that's much the same for most people. We can't sell our properties because of the dropped values. So we are stuck with them in the hope that the climate changes for the better. No guarantees. So it's all a bit of a drag at the moment. I think we small landlords do have to try and weather the storm. I have learned not to worry about the properties because the problems we have had, have been cleared up one way or another without too much trouble or expense. For me just now, it's the lesser of two evils --- but only just. I am now about to rent out my own house so as to be able to spend even more time in France. This will be a new experience for me that I'm not looking forward to either.

I hope it gets better for you soon.

Happy New year


Thank you very much Barbara and Ley. Its very intresting what you're both saying and added light on many points

Barbara, Such is life. We find ourselves with similar views to yourself. What initially seemed like a fairly straightforward project has given us many headaches. One of the main things we hadn't counted on was how much time we have to spend thinking and dealing with our house which obviously isn't ideal considering that we're in France. We didn't think it would be out of sight, out of mind of course but I can appreciate how vital it is to have a good agent to manage on a landlord's behalf, especially if, as in our case, we're out of the country,

Ley, We're in Paisley which is where the estate agent is too. They say people from Paisley and Dundee are similar. Anyway, this was the main reason we chose them. They weren't bad at first. They found a tenant very quickly and followed up on everything but now they seem to forward us whatever problems the tenant has and try and take themselves out of the equation. This is so frustrating. We did all the checks etc before we left and thought we had it all under control as we had the certificates/reports. They're always quick at sending bills of course. I might be wrong but our feeling with the cooker is that they never bothered to check the extent of the damage to confirm what had happened. Instead they seemed to prefer to forward us the tenant's email.

Ley, In your case how do you know that the breakdown is accidental or done by the tenant? Do you just shrug your shoulders and pay the bills or check everything vigourously? Can you tell by experience depending on what the problem is if they're at it?

Thanks, you made us feel already better

Hi, I rent a few apartments in Scotland and live most of my time in France. All your problems are very familiar to me unfortunately. In my experience you really need a good Letting Agent. I don't know where your property is in Scotland but if near Glasgow I can recommend a company in Dennistoun called 'OneStop Property Services' in Duke Street. I have always found them very good and find suitable tenants very fast. My experience in Dundee has been much less favourable and I am still searching for a good agent.

Your gas installation and, now, your electricity installation must be checked annually by a competent person and you must retain the certificates. And, if you rent more than two rooms to people who are not related, then you must also have a Licence for a Home of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and that is a whole other nightmare!!!

You could search for a 'Landlord Insurance' company who may offer a repair and/or replacement policy. It might help spread the costs.

With regard to breakages etc, all that should be clearly laid out in the lease offered to potential tenants and a suitable deposit charged.

It's not easy being a landlord at the moment and from my experience, I can say that I barely cover costs and every now and again I am out of pocket over the year.

Remember all the costs are tax-deductable (if you pay tax in the UK).

Good luck.

Ley Thompson

oohps the good, the bad and the ugly.

Renting seems easy but it is not.

The boiler mut be checked every year as part of health and safety and when

renting it is expected to offer resonably new equipment.

We replaced a dish washer the same day here in France.

The clients ewpect and we have to deliver.

We have to concider everything before we rent....EVEN then things go wrong...SADLY