The Ups and Downs of owning a Furnished Holiday Let

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I was weeping over the latest problems in this fucking house when I thought there might be some merit / learning / amusement in recording what's happened since purchasing the property in Aviemore in October 2017.

Those of you that have laughed at my DIY misfortunes will know some of it, but if you've ever thought about taking on an FHL, pay attention!

Aviemore in the Cairngorms, a lovely village with an amazing array of activities in the local and outlying areas. Well serviced for those with an outdoor bent or for those who just like having somewhere quiet to come, it's not a bad wee place. It's had it's up and downs over the last few decades with a boom during the 80's followed by a bit of an arse over tit crash in the 90's as it basically turned into a shit hole.

Back then it was relying on the skiing, which in Scotland has got decidedly worse with every passing year. Thankfully into the mid 90's and beyond it started to diversify and now has a huge range of activities other than the white pistes to draw people in.

I've been coming to Aviemore for years, and in 2017 I was up for the Cairngorms Adventure Triathalon again. Had a great time, didn't do too badly in the placings, and myself and MrsB returned back home to Glasgow at the end of it. An idle chat on the Sunday made us look at Rightmove.com to see what properties were available in Aviemore, and lo, a new listing had come on that day!

A detached, two bedroom bungalow in what used to be known as the Silverglades estate. It belonged to a company called Silverglades who in their hey-day, were the largest holiday let company in Aviemore, with the majority of the Silverglades estate under their belt.
The owners had decided that in their 70's, enough was enough and it was time to shut down and sell up; so they'd began to release chunks of property as they wound the company down.

This property was one of what had been their premium properties. Big garden, backed onto the steam railway and quiet. What wasn't to love? Built in the early 1990's as the final stage of the original development by Barratt, it wasn't in that sense, particularly old although it was acknowledged that the houses were put up quickly.

Having read about it on the Sunday, got the Home Report on the Monday (In Scotland a property for sale must have an HR with it, don't know if it's the same in England), drove up on the Tuesday to view it and by the Thursday had an offer in which was accepted by the Friday.

Rash? Possibly you might say, but the HR had no issues and houses in Aviemore don't stay on for long, so you've got to be quick.

At this point, the intent wasn't for it to be an FHL, but we knew we wanted to try and generate some income from it. We did the maths, and to keep the house just for us and empty would cost around £6k per year in mortgage, council tax, heating, etc, so we decided to go down the FHL route.

The plan was simple:

- Let the house out
- House earns money
- Put money back into house
- End up with a better house

What could possibly go wrong?

Aye, well....

We agree a price for contents (or should I say, we game the system with the agent because the SNP are cunts) and so we end up with an FHL which is fully furnished and ready to start earning money. Silverglades were making about £30k a year from the property, but we had no idea what we'd get as we had far greater overheads (they had in-house staff for cleaning, etc).

First bit of investment was a new fence between us and the neighbours to the east, as it was still a Silverglades FHL, so that was £1400 gone.
We also decided to make the house more attractive, so in goes a Serenity NS7 hot tub, another £5500 down.

The rest of the house could carry on normal jogging for a bit.

We identified a local booking agent who managed a number of properties in the Aviemore area, and went with them, as well as a local cleaning / maintenance company.

Our first guests came in at the end of October - our friends. They helped us smooth out some creases and got us ready for the real guests who were due in directly behind them.

Four bookings in, and all was going well with lovely feedback left. This of course was setting me up for a fall and gave me a false sense of security.

I went up after the first four to do a damage check and make sure everything was still in good order - the next guests were our penultimate guests before the Christmas booking, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay. Turns out I made a few mistakes.

There was a switch in the kitchen which I wasn't quite familiar with, but which I was pretty sure had to do with the hot water. I turned it off to save on the bills, thinking that it could be turned on by the property team prior to guest arrival. I also checked that the storage heaters were working and job jobbed, left.

The guest booked in, and in came the first complaint. Apparently, the house was freezing cold and there was no hot water. The boiler had never been turned back on and the storage heaters had been set too low. Fuck a duck. Property team go round with a bottle of wine and put the right settings on.

Then the internet stops working. I'd instructed the telco to block outgoing calls. They being biff cunts, had blocked everything, including the internet. In comes another complaint.
Spend hours on phone to telco in Indistan trying to sort this out. A small hamper sent round.

Then it just starts getting fucking silly. Complaint after complaint after complaint. Culminating in the potato peeler not being good enough. By this time, I've had about an hour in telephone calls with the guest who's all nice on the phone then a cunt to my agent and property team. So I send the girls round with four peelers for him to pick from. Another complaint about lack of roasting trays, apparently one isn't enough. Round they go again with another tin.

Then extractor fan stops working in bathroom, and another complaint, so round goes electrician.

Eventually guest holiday comes to an end and they leave.

In comes the email for compensation and a threat of small claims court for a ruined holiday.

What the utter fuck? Nothing was ruined, the above all happened within two days of a seven day break and everything was resolved. I tell my agent to tell him to jog on, and he stands firm on a small claims court. I read the details of a small claim and it seems it can be made in any part of the country for anywhere else and that I would have to attend that court to present a defence. Confident I'd win, but still incur costs regardless, I pay out £200 to shut them the fuck up and they without knowing it, get blacklisted from a huge number of properties in the Aviemore area.

So, the cold hard reality of FHL has hit home. You can do everything in your power to make it a nice house with nice stuff, but if things go wrong, or if the guest's a cunt, you're fucked.

Thankfully the big spends of my Christmas and New Year guests all have a lovely time. Huge, ridiculous welcome hampers help detract from any issues that may exist.

Bookings are coming in thick and fast, with an occupancy of 87% for the 2017/2018 period.

During that, I get the patio door upgraded - the old aluminium frame one is burst and fucked. There's quite a high level of humidity in the house too, though we're not sure why.

The storage heaters continue to cause problems because they're shit, and the electricity bill sits at about £3500 per year - because it's storage and guests are fucking retards, you've got to leave them on overnight to charge up, and the guests inevitably empty the fuckers by 3pm. I start researching alternative power sources, all of which prove to be absolute no-go's for a variety of reasons such as cost, sustainability, etc.

I also started to have issues with my property team, as they're fucking up various things (wrong filter in hot tub so water doesn't get cleaned) and the cleaning isn't to the standard it should be. I have words with the boss and things get back on track for a bit, but there's still issues.

Everything ticks a long for a bit, no major issues but a couple of complaints about dog hairs. The property is pet friendly and for some reason, fucking idiots who have dog allergies book to stay, find a hair and complain that they could've died.

I find it hard trying to reason out the fact they're morons for picking a pet friendly place to stay. I also have two other complaints which are all small, niggly things. I adopt the trick of offering £100 off a return stay (where the complaint really is just a niggly one) which the three complaints I had for 2017-2018 cuntychops excluded, all take up the offer of. Which means ha, I win as I get more money from them.

My booking agent begs me to stop doing this. Apparently it's bad business, but I don't give a shit, I'm fighting to keep a decent reputation as the first review left on the Google Business listing for the property is from the pre-Christmas cuntychops and has words like "awful" in it.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Bouncing forward to August 2018, and everything has actually been going okay. I've had the carpets in the bedrooms replaced which is nice and I'm thinking of some other upgrades. I'd had to sand down the underside of the kitchen door that day, it must've sunk slightly on it's hinges as it wouldn't open without getting stuck on the floor.

Weird.

It's good though - August, warm weather and house is surprisingly warm underfoot. I laugh at one point as it feels like I have underfloor heating.

So I'm sitting late at night, musing about the house when I hear it....

drip.....drip.....drip.....drip

Huh.... I check taps. I check taps again. I check under kitchen sink. I check behind dishwasher. I get glass, I lie on floor and move around the house listening until I get halfway up the living room in line with the boiler.

DRIP...DRIP....DRIP....

............ You're fucking kidding me.

I lift hatch at door, water meter slowly climbing. I listen to boiler, slowly refilling. I turn hot water off, dripping eventually stops. I rush to kitchen door, lie flat and look at the floor. It's swelling up.

Phonecall to a mate, arrives next morning. Cuts an inspection hatch under the bath, hand underneath, soaking. Turn on hot water again, drip now becomes a torrent of pissing water somewhere under the house.

Mate: "You've got a burst pipe. I think it's bad."

Phonecall to insurers, and we start trying to trace this burst pipe.

Eventually, up comes hallway floor, living room floor and kitchen floor. The entire underside of the house is absolutely fucking soaked with hot water having been dripping for so long, it's actually eroded through the hard sub surface. All the hot water has of course risen and every inch of the house underfloor is soaked, as well as up into the attic where insulation is soaked.

That results in new flooring in those three areas and new piping to a total of around £5k.

Two theories abound in Aviemore:

1. A bulk load of cheap and dodgy copper in the 90's was used everywhere, and there are large numbers of burst pipes with the green pinholes where water has broken down the copper and punched through

2. When Scottish Water built the new water plant and changed the makeup of the water, this 'new' water started to erode all the pipework in the area.

Insurers pay out, and new flooring throughout, but had to shut the property for three weeks to get it all done.

Once that emergency is over, I decide to upgrade the windows throughout. Get a local tradesman, expensive but apparently very good. Agree a price and level of works. I shut off the house for a month to accommodate him as he's struggling with availability but can do it over a prolonged period.

Email, text, voicemail, FB messages, and eventually he gets back about two weeks into the month to say he can't do it anymore.

Call my mate again, and he sorts it all out far cheaper with the same Sash windows. My mate now drives up from Glasgow to do work for me in Aviemore because they're cunts around here.

So the house has new floors, new piping in parts, new windows, and a new coat of paint. It's all looking quite nice.

Another fucking dog hair complaint for someone with allergies. You've got to be kidding me. Deal with it in the usual fashion.

Another complaint comes in. Someone 'broke into' the garden at night, stole a guests kid's ball and broke the fence. They reported it to the police who found someone in the garden. Apparently.

I ask them to provide me with the Crime Report number. They refuse. I challenge this, they say if I want it that badly I need to get it myself. I tell them that's not how it works (I don't let on I know how it works because it's my job) but they refuse to give me the number. I ask them if it's because it was their kid who broke my fucking fence. Things deteriorate from there.

Things settle down again, and I upgrade all the heating. I throw out the storage and convectors and replace them with German smart electric radiators. I can control them from home, they're efficient and smart. I start to watch the house temperature and radiator settings on a minute by minute basis, controlling it when guests decide they want 30 degrees centigrade. I start to finally save money.

Family B goes up in December and MrB Jnr who is only a few weeks old is put down on his play mat on top of the rug for some tummy time, and comes up covered in dog hairs. I go on the fucking warpath and go absolutely fucking berserk with my property team - the ones who clean and 'maintain' it. A long, one sided conversation is had with me on permanent send. Matters are brought to a close with a warning over standards.

2018 comes to an end and our 2018 Christmas and New Year guests have a lovely time - New Year guests leave on the 5th of January and immediately rebook for New Year 2019. We now have some returning guests as well, yay!

I celebrate by sacking my property team because they failed to improve on the warning given and I found various parts uncleaned that I had demanded be cleaned. I hire new team, it all goes well.

Then another complaint. This time it's the health and safety aspect of the toilet as it's a 'bit wobbly', and that the house isn't what they thought it would be, and that it's too small, and that it's not modern, and that blah blah fucking blah. This cunt decides to break into the owners cupboard to use more linen, breaks glasses, leaves marks on the walls and treats the place like a fucking dump. He has so many complaints and they're all fucking nonsense. He immediately, whilst still in the house, starts to talk about compensation. He also refuses access to trades to rectify the wobbly toilet.

I am on the verge of taking a big chunk of his bond but I decide that if I do, it'll end worse for me, so bite my tongue and suck it up.

Then I get a call from my new property team. They alert me to a water issue in the en-suite. There appears to be significant damp rot. They spotted it because they're doing what they're paid to do unlike the last lot. Two tiles in the shower if pushed, sank into the wall and sprung back.

I go up, we take up some tiles, put in some holes, and everything is fucking wrecked behind the tiling.

Out comes entire en-suite, back to outer walls. Floor beams are rotten, wall joists are rotten. The shower it turns out, was only balancing on what was left of a rotten beam, and was on the verge of snapping through the floor. The first orgy in there would've ended in significant damage and injury.

So everything stripped back, fully re-furbished and that was completed last week, which came to just under £10,000. Insurers at this point in time, not paying out.

I get an electrician in to do some wiring in the place. Convert down lights so they can take GU10 LED's, install hard-wired smoke detectors and take off some blanking plates, strip out old wiring and my painter patches and paints over.

He finished those jobs yesterday and having tried to turn on some lights, it's all gone a bit mental. I've now discovered that any pressure on the consumer unit causes all the lights in the house to go off and then flicker like fucking crazy.

I've left him urgent messages to get in here tomorrow at 9am and sort it.

I've also terminated with our booking agent and I'm looking at going with Cottages.com instead for various reasons, but mainly because I wasn't happy with their branding. They brand as luxury, and we're not, so it stressed me out even more as I had to really fight to keep the house up to scratch.

So, to summarise:

Recorded loses with HMRC on property since October 2017 after deductions from income stands at around £38k
Guest occupancy is 87%
Complaints: 8
Insurance claims: 2
Stress: 100%
Sleepless nights: Several

What lessons have I taken away from this that I can share with other would-be FHL owners?

Well, the one major lesson isn't really practicable - We wanted this house. It was the only house on sale in the whole of Aviemore. You can't fuck around with things like in-depth reports, you've got to take the provided HR and go with it. Otherwise I'd say, get your own full report done on the house prior to putting in an offer.

Instead I'd say:

1. Once purchased, inspect as much of the structure and sub floor space of the house as you can - by either inspection holes, cameras, or by simply taking a section up or out. We didn't have the money at the time, but ideally with all the problems we're having now, we would've stripped the house back to shell and started from scratch.

2. If you take on a property cleaning / maintenance company, be hard on them. You're paying them, don't get too friendly with them. I became very friendly with them and it made it harder for me to grip them, because that line of client and friend had blurred. Have a backup in mind if you need to sack them in a hurry.

3. You cannot please everyone. It doesn't matter how hard you try, someone will complain. Roll with it, keep detached from it and seek critical feedback from the complaint.

4. Expect to lose money. We never expected to make much, but we also never expected to make large sustained losses. The house will eat up every penny you have if you want to keep it up to scratch. If for example a guest makes a bit of a mess of a wall (say next to the bin), it's bad form to charge them for it, but you'll either need to come up to repaint it or pay for someone to do it for you.

5. Keep a good welcome pack. I have a very informative house book, and guests on arrival get local beer, fudge, milk, bread, cereal and wood, plus sufficient cleaning stock for the kitchen, etc. It detracts from small faults if they're going 'Oooooh' to a nice basket.

6. Splash out big on your big guests. If your guest is paying £1200 to stay over Christmas, spend big on a hamper for them, they'll love you for it. My New Year guest, who's booked again - entire family is Gluten free so I painstakingly hand sourced a full GF basket for their New Year stay and the mother was absolutely ecstatic about such attention.

7. Get a list of reliable trades or learn to do it yourself. Tradesmen make a fortune out of me - mainly because I'm remote and can't be there to DIY (I hear some of you laugh). Keep on top of your trades if you're remote. The finish to some of the jobs I've tasked out have been fucking awful, but by the time I find out several weeks later when I'm next up, it's too fucking late. Like the electrics. Had I been here, I'd have spotted it and he wouldn't have got out the house.

8. Pets - think very fucking carefully about this. If you allow pets, you're allowing dog hair, piss and shit into your home. We allowed it to start with, but quite frankly, fuck it. It's not worth it for the few inconsiderate owners who just do not give a fuck about what you want. They'll let their dogs sleep on your sofas or beds even though you provide very fucking nice dog beds and blankets and they'll leave shit in the garden and just not give a fuck. As of September 15th 2019 we're no longer allowing dogs because quite frankly, it's not worth the hassle.

9. Treat it as a business. If you treat an FHL as your home you will hate every second of it. Because you'll come in and go, "WHY THE FUCK HAVE THEY DONE THAT?!" or "LOOK AT THE FUCKING STATE OF IT!" and you'll really struggle with the fact that a guest can do pretty much what they want in your home (within limits).

10. Remember why you're doing it and try to keep in love with the place. During the last burst pipe, I was really in a bad place and had started to hate this house. I'd climbed into the hot tub at the end of the night, clear sky, stars overhead, beer in hand, and stared at the house almost in tears because of all the grief it was giving me. I've managed to pull it back from that now, even with the fucking fire hazard electrics, but still, remember why you bought it.

We bought it for adventures in Aviemore and family memories. I don't care if the odd person doesn't like it, fuck them. The majority do, and that's all I need to remember. However at the end of the day, once they fuck off back to their polluted city, I'll still have my home in Aviemore, which for me is priceless.


Eeeeeeeh. I feel much better now I've had a wee rant about it all.

Beer.png
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
P.s - pm me if you'd like to book..... :D
 
It's almost as if you don't GAF about the Euro elections! :D


(Commiserations by the way...)
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
I was freezing when I stayed and the dogs caught fleas. The bed bugs were the size of rats and room service terrible.
I didn’t expect snow in winter and I got dry lips with the wind.
I found a hamper on arrival like a tramps tombola.
The hot tub had a good review by a guest from Hull and the filter though was full of grey pubic hair and semen.
I won’t be back.
 
I was freezing when I stayed and the dogs caught fleas. The bed bugs were the size of rats and room service terrible.
I didn’t expect snow in winter and I got dry lips with the wind.
I found a hamper on arrival like a tramps tombola.
The hot tub had a good review by a guest from Hull and the filter though was full of grey pubic hair and semen.
I won’t be back.
My God, I thought you’d died! Welcome back, you’re my favourite homo! :thumleft:
 
P.s - pm me if you'd like to book..... :D
.........and this is why I fix 'em up and shift 'em on and don't fanny around renting them out.
 
Bouncing forward to August 2018, and everything has actually been going okay. I've had the carpets in the bedrooms replaced which is nice and I'm thinking of some other upgrades. I'd had to sand down the underside of the kitchen door that day, it must've sunk slightly on it's hinges as it wouldn't open without getting stuck on the floor.

Weird.

It's good though - August, warm weather and house is surprisingly warm underfoot. I laugh at one point as it feels like I have underfloor heating.

So I'm sitting late at night, musing about the house when I hear it....

drip.....drip.....drip.....drip

Huh.... I check taps. I check taps again. I check under kitchen sink. I check behind dishwasher. I get glass, I lie on floor and move around the house listening until I get halfway up the living room in line with the boiler.

DRIP...DRIP....DRIP....

............ You're ******* kidding me.

I lift hatch at door, water meter slowly climbing. I listen to boiler, slowly refilling. I turn hot water off, dripping eventually stops. I rush to kitchen door, lie flat and look at the floor. It's swelling up.

Phonecall to a mate, arrives next morning. Cuts an inspection hatch under the bath, hand underneath, soaking. Turn on hot water again, drip now becomes a torrent of pissing water somewhere under the house.

Mate: "You've got a burst pipe. I think it's bad."

Phonecall to insurers, and we start trying to trace this burst pipe.

Eventually, up comes hallway floor, living room floor and kitchen floor. The entire underside of the house is absolutely ******* soaked with hot water having been dripping for so long, it's actually eroded through the hard sub surface. All the hot water has of course risen and every inch of the house underfloor is soaked, as well as up into the attic where insulation is soaked.

That results in new flooring in those three areas and new piping to a total of around £5k.

Two theories abound in Aviemore:

1. A bulk load of cheap and dodgy copper in the 90's was used everywhere, and there are large numbers of burst pipes with the green pinholes where water has broken down the copper and punched through

2. When Scottish Water built the new water plant and changed the makeup of the water, this 'new' water started to erode all the pipework in the area.

Insurers pay out, and new flooring throughout, but had to shut the property for three weeks to get it all done.

Once that emergency is over, I decide to upgrade the windows throughout. Get a local tradesman, expensive but apparently very good. Agree a price and level of works. I shut off the house for a month to accommodate him as he's struggling with availability but can do it over a prolonged period.

Email, text, voicemail, FB messages, and eventually he gets back about two weeks into the month to say he can't do it anymore.

Call my mate again, and he sorts it all out far cheaper with the same Sash windows. My mate now drives up from Glasgow to do work for me in Aviemore because they're cnuts around here.

So the house has new floors, new piping in parts, new windows, and a new coat of paint. It's all looking quite nice.

Another ******* dog hair complaint for someone with allergies. You've got to be kidding me. Deal with it in the usual fashion.

Another complaint comes in. Someone 'broke into' the garden at night, stole a guests kid's ball and broke the fence. They reported it to the police who found someone in the garden. Apparently.

I ask them to provide me with the Crime Report number. They refuse. I challenge this, they say if I want it that badly I need to get it myself. I tell them that's not how it works (I don't let on I know how it works because it's my job) but they refuse to give me the number. I ask them if it's because it was their kid who broke my ******* fence. Things deteriorate from there.

Things settle down again, and I upgrade all the heating. I throw out the storage and convectors and replace them with German smart electric radiators. I can control them from home, they're efficient and smart. I start to watch the house temperature and radiator settings on a minute by minute basis, controlling it when guests decide they want 30 degrees centigrade. I start to finally save money.

Family B goes up in December and MrB Jnr who is only a few weeks old is put down on his play mat on top of the rug for some tummy time, and comes up covered in dog hairs. I go on the ******* warpath and go absolutely ******* berserk with my property team - the ones who clean and 'maintain' it. A long, one sided conversation is had with me on permanent send. Matters are brought to a close with a warning over standards.

2018 comes to an end and our 2018 Christmas and New Year guests have a lovely time - New Year guests leave on the 5th of January and immediately rebook for New Year 2019. We now have some returning guests as well, yay!

I celebrate by sacking my property team because they failed to improve on the warning given and I found various parts uncleaned that I had demanded be cleaned. I hire new team, it all goes well.

Then another complaint. This time it's the health and safety aspect of the toilet as it's a 'bit wobbly', and that the house isn't what they thought it would be, and that it's too small, and that it's not modern, and that blah blah ******* blah. This **** decides to break into the owners cupboard to use more linen, breaks glasses, leaves marks on the walls and treats the place like a ******* dump. He has so many complaints and they're all ******* nonsense. He immediately, whilst still in the house, starts to talk about compensation. He also refuses access to trades to rectify the wobbly toilet.

I am on the verge of taking a big chunk of his bond but I decide that if I do, it'll end worse for me, so bite my tongue and suck it up.

Then I get a call from my new property team. They alert me to a water issue in the en-suite. There appears to be significant damp rot. They spotted it because they're doing what they're paid to do unlike the last lot. Two tiles in the shower if pushed, sank into the wall and sprung back.

I go up, we take up some tiles, put in some holes, and everything is ******* wrecked behind the tiling.

Out comes entire en-suite, back to outer walls. Floor beams are rotten, wall joists are rotten. The shower it turns out, was only balancing on what was left of a rotten beam, and was on the verge of snapping through the floor. The first orgy in there would've ended in significant damage and injury.

So everything stripped back, fully re-furbished and that was completed last week, which came to just under £10,000. Insurers at this point in time, not paying out.

I get an electrician in to do some wiring in the place. Convert down lights so they can take GU10 LED's, install hard-wired smoke detectors and take off some blanking plates, strip out old wiring and my painter patches and paints over.

He finished those jobs yesterday and having tried to turn on some lights, it's all gone a bit mental. I've now discovered that any pressure on the consumer unit causes all the lights in the house to go off and then flicker like ******* crazy.

I've left him urgent messages to get in here tomorrow at 9am and sort it.

I've also terminated with our booking agent and I'm looking at going with Cottages.com instead for various reasons, but mainly because I wasn't happy with their branding. They brand as luxury, and we're not, so it stressed me out even more as I had to really fight to keep the house up to scratch.

So, to summarise:

Recorded loses with HMRC on property since October 2017 after deductions from income stands at around £38k
Guest occupancy is 87%
Complaints: 8
Insurance claims: 2
Stress: 100%
Sleepless nights: Several

What lessons have I taken away from this that I can share with other would-be FHL owners?

Well, the one major lesson isn't really practicable - We wanted this house. It was the only house on sale in the whole of Aviemore. You can't **** around with things like in-depth reports, you've got to take the provided HR and go with it. Otherwise I'd say, get your own full report done on the house prior to putting in an offer.

Instead I'd say:

1. Once purchased, inspect as much of the structure and sub floor space of the house as you can - by either inspection holes, cameras, or by simply taking a section up or out. We didn't have the money at the time, but ideally with all the problems we're having now, we would've stripped the house back to shell and started from scratch.

2. If you take on a property cleaning / maintenance company, be hard on them. You're paying them, don't get too friendly with them. I became very friendly with them and it made it harder for me to grip them, because that line of client and friend had blurred. Have a backup in mind if you need to sack them in a hurry.

3. You cannot please everyone. It doesn't matter how hard you try, someone will complain. Roll with it, keep detached from it and seek critical feedback from the complaint.

4. Expect to lose money. We never expected to make much, but we also never expected to make large sustained losses. The house will eat up every penny you have if you want to keep it up to scratch. If for example a guest makes a bit of a mess of a wall (say next to the bin), it's bad form to charge them for it, but you'll either need to come up to repaint it or pay for someone to do it for you.

5. Keep a good welcome pack. I have a very informative house book, and guests on arrival get local beer, fudge, milk, bread, cereal and wood, plus sufficient cleaning stock for the kitchen, etc. It detracts from small faults if they're going 'Oooooh' to a nice basket.

6. Splash out big on your big guests. If your guest is paying £1200 to stay over Christmas, spend big on a hamper for them, they'll love you for it. My New Year guest, who's booked again - entire family is Gluten free so I painstakingly hand sourced a full GF basket for their New Year stay and the mother was absolutely ecstatic about such attention.

7. Get a list of reliable trades or learn to do it yourself. Tradesmen make a fortune out of me - mainly because I'm remote and can't be there to DIY (I hear some of you laugh). Keep on top of your trades if you're remote. The finish to some of the jobs I've tasked out have been ******* awful, but by the time I find out several weeks later when I'm next up, it's too ******* late. Like the electrics. Had I been here, I'd have spotted it and he wouldn't have got out the house.

8. Pets - think very ******* carefully about this. If you allow pets, you're allowing dog hair, piss and shit into your home. We allowed it to start with, but quite frankly, **** it. It's not worth it for the few inconsiderate owners who just do not give a **** about what you want. They'll let their dogs sleep on your sofas or beds even though you provide very ******* nice dog beds and blankets and they'll leave shit in the garden and just not give a ****. As of September 15th 2019 we're no longer allowing dogs because quite frankly, it's not worth the hassle.

9. Treat it as a business. If you treat an FHL as your home you will hate every second of it. Because you'll come in and go, "WHY THE **** HAVE THEY DONE THAT?!" or "LOOK AT THE ******* STATE OF IT!" and you'll really struggle with the fact that a guest can do pretty much what they want in your home (within limits).

10. Remember why you're doing it and try to keep in love with the place. During the last burst pipe, I was really in a bad place and had started to hate this house. I'd climbed into the hot tub at the end of the night, clear sky, stars overhead, beer in hand, and stared at the house almost in tears because of all the grief it was giving me. I've managed to pull it back from that now, even with the ******* fire hazard electrics, but still, remember why you bought it.

We bought it for adventures in Aviemore and family memories. I don't care if the odd person doesn't like it, **** them. The majority do, and that's all I need to remember. However at the end of the day, once they **** off back to their polluted city, I'll still have my home in Aviemore, which for me is priceless.


Eeeeeeeh. I feel much better now I've had a wee rant about it all.
So is all of that how you got the middle name “Lucky”?
 
I almost died due to the cold. I’d to bypass his heating timer, my foreskin had dropped off and my balls were blue.

Thanks to ARRSE*, I'm aware that there are certain, erm... 'acts' that you sort of chaps like to do, which would be somewhat difficult without the aforementioned part. Take him (ooh-err) for everything you can!



* No, really. Thank you ARRSE. Thank you so much. :puker:
 
Burn it down. Start fresh.

You may as well just put young local lodgers/tenants in. Less stress, house looked after, you can keep the rent low and feel like you are a good Land Lord

Living in a seaside resort confirms to me that the British public on holiday are a bunch of absolute zoomers, Not worth the bother
 
Mr B remind me where do you work?

How can you not be aware that people are arseholes?

Not just a few, all of them. The most polite version of that I heard was a good few years back when a legendary old timer turned to me and said 'You know, everyone is weird in their way' - shortly after this he called over an unsuspecting (and somewhat nonplussed) couple to point out the litter strewn around the floor of a wine bar we were stood outside with 'Look at that mess. People made that, it's terrible innit?'
 

TamtamPWRR

War Hero
On the bright side, think of all the seat sniffing you can do. When the fat fucker family and their brood, including the morbidly obese daughter called Karen with her diarrhea enhanced sweaty cracks check out, it's just you and all those unwashed and fragrantly ripe seat covers, you lucky bastard.
 
I don't envy you. I absolutely detest the typical British holiday maker. Never in the history of entitlement has there been such a large sense of entitlement as that of a British person on holiday. You can bend over backwards for them and they'll still find something to whinge about if they think it'll get them money back.
The missus and I usually try and holiday where there's not many brits. It's just another reason on the long list of why I detest the majority of my own country's population.
 
On the bright side, think of all the seat sniffing you can do. When the fat ****** family and their brood, including the morbidly obese daughter called Karen with her diarrhea enhanced sweaty cracks check out, it's just you and all those unwashed and fragrantly ripe seat covers, you lucky bastard.
Get help
 
I read this then went outside, looked down to the woods where the holiday cabin is located in the trees ( occupied ) and thought how fugging lucky we have been (so far ) as we are on site and have total control over letting and servicing.
As funny as your DIY posts have been , they have been a sad story of bad luck and poor support from the people you had trusted.
One thing we have taken from this is the change of insurance to include disaster recovery , giving us a better recovery rate should the worst happen .
Guests can be cnuts we are pet freindly and have furnished appropriately but still get the occasional moan.
The most frequent complaint is the noise of the wildlife, ffs the place is in the middle of mature woodland.
Guests can be a funny lot , even permanent Secretarys that peel the bark ( unwrap) the firewood.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
We've been letting our house in the Lake District for almost 9 years. It is our family home and most of the refurbishment I did myself. So, when we decided to FHL it whilst on a series of overseas postings, we thought it would give us the flexibility to use it when we wanted to. Because we had lived in it for four years, we hoped that most of the teething problems had been resolved.

It's a big house over four floors - five bedrooms, two en-suite double rooms, two other bathrooms, two large sitting rooms with open fire, huge kitchen and dining room, utility room, garden and parking for three cars. The house is furnished with antiques and nice artwork; we had the dilemma that we couldn't afford to refurnish it when we let it, so apart from one or two precious items, the furniture has remained, and has survived. Decoration-wise, we've stuck with variations of BMW - Beige, magnolia and white. We also keep a detailed list of what paints we have used where - the busy parts of the house (hallway and stair case - 7 flights of stairs) we've used Farrow and Ball on the walls because of its coverage, finish and resilience. A winter job for me is to do the gloss-work in the house.

We use one of the largest FHL companies in the Lake District, who seem to have the greatest market penetration and they gave us very good advice on preparation - plus access to their buying power for crockery, linen etc. We agonised about pets - most people going to the Lakes take a dog so we didn't want to exclude a significant part of the market, but the company advised against it for all the reasons that you've mentioned. And, as you've pointed out, not everyone is a responsible owner. In spite of it being a no dog property, when I deep clean the carpets on a 6 monthly cycle, a huge amount of dog hair emerges...and we had a complaint recently about it after our dog - a golden retriever - had stayed with us as we did some work on the house. We had been meticulous about cleaning (did it ourselves to save the £150 turn around) but some hairs had been found. We offered them a 10% discount on the next booking.

But we've had very few guest problems. Typically we get a vertical family: grand-parents, parents and children, or two families - often to commemorate a wedding anniversary or somesuch. We have regulars from the Netherlands and the US. However, we banned one group who smoked in the property, disconnected a smoke detector and brought muddy bikes into the house. Just over a year ago , the wash-hand basin in one of the shower rooms was inexplicably broken, and a glass top protecting a chest of draws was also smashed. We had one guest complain about the feather duvets so we replaced all with synthetic ones, and the pillows. That was a big expense: 16 duvets, 16 pillows.

As far as I am aware, we've not had anything stolen and our library seems to accumulate a good selection of novels (to supplement my military history, intelligence and international relations titles...). We accumulate specs, CD/DVDs, cutlery, chargers, torches and walking equipment - a very nice day sack, hiking first aid kit and several walking poles. We advise the agent but they are rarely claimed! Recently, we decamped our collection of DVDs up to the house and I am pleased to say that they seem to be used, even though we have good broad band coverage now.

One of the smartest decisions we made was to replace the 87 (yes, 87) bulbs and halogens around the house with LEDs. Previously, the halogens in the kitchen would fail on a regular basis; the candle bulbs in the chandeliers would go etc. Since I have not needed to replace a single LED and our electricity bill plummeted. The garden security lights were a problem due to an intermittent cable fault so I have replaced those with solar powered PIR LEDs - very effective. I've also replaced the smoke and CO detectors with an integrated wifi system. Not cheap, but it means that if one sounds, they all sound; if you silence one, the only one still sounding is at the source of the trouble. Previously, if the kitchen one sounded, it couldn't be heard in the attic rooms.

We lost quite a bit of income two years ago when we tackled a roof leak in a 20 year old extension. As is so often the case, the problem was much bigger. The extension hadn't been properly tied to the house and had rotated slightly, causing leaks. It became a major (and expensive) job to sort it out, but in the process we upgraded the balcony and replaced all the rainwater goods at the rear of the house (4 stories) and tidied them up.

Most of our bookings are repeats and it's interesting to read the guest book comments: 'This time we used the AGA - it was brill!' or 'Don't stop what you are doing with the house, we love it'. Unfortunately we have also become addicted to the cash-flow, however I've just done the accounts for the last FY and our taxable income from the property is just 4.5% of turnover (but we do attribute every conceivable cost to the property). Overheads are high: utilities, (water is about £1000 pa), insurance, turnarounds, booking fees, replacements, re-decs, upgrades, rubbish collections (as it is regarded as a commercial property), maintenance contracts with British Gas, statutory testing... Luckily, now that I am back in the UK and have a bit of time on my hands, I can do most of the redecoration and maintenance myself.

One problem we are trying to tackle is grounds maintenance. My in-laws - keen gardeners - happily mowed the lawn and maintained the beds, the pots and window boxes. Now they are both a bit frail so we are seeking other ways of maintaining the garden. The quotes we've received are eye-watering. Our property manager who supervises the cleaning and is the key-holder, has just told us she's retiring through ill-health (and, coincidentally, has offered to sell her thriving business to us). Good property managers and cleaners are essential and they are also as scarce as hen's teeth in the Lake District. We've got until September to source a replacement cleaning contract that we can rely on.

PS: There are several weeks free in September and October. 20% discount to Arrsers...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mr Bane - as I have said previously, the great unwashed will complain about anything. With the rapid increase in Social Medja and the requirement to get 'good reviews' it has all got really, REALLY silly. We have not rented for some time now due in part to the ridiculous complaints. One guest would leave us a bottle of fizz to say thank you, the next never off the phone complaining - it is too hot - oh really? Southern Spain in August? What did you think it was going to be like??


I could go on, but it is Mr B's tale of woe!
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top