The Ups and Downs of owning a Furnished Holiday Let

MrBane

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Mr B - Have you got access to an older, reliable couple near the cottage, who would be happy to look after the place, get it ready etc for punters, sort the laundry etc for a regular donation in a brown envelope? Ideally the chap would also be handy at DIY - able to fix small stuff without you having to worry.

Seems to work here ;)

You could also try the Air BnB route if you had a reliable nearby 'manager'.
My Spidey sense is telling me there's a subtle hint being made here. :D
 
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
Our property manager of 8 years who oversees the house and cleaning etc is selling her business in September. At the moment she hasn’t got a buyer so we are (rapidly) trying to find another reliable cleaner and key holder. We had a few issues with her but the property has always been turned around and she has a good rapport with the guests.

The letting company can provide a full management service but we then would pay VAT and very quickly the yield falls. They insist they provide their own linen for all beds (which we would have to hire) and they would provide a welcome basket at £35 each week - something we don’t do.

Holiday letting is no road to riches because of the overheads. As mentioned in earlier posts, my PinL did the gardening but now they are a bit frail and the cost of getting a reliable garden service that will come in during the turnaround is very steep. Additionally, the council won’t take garden waste from ‘commercial’ properties so we’ve had to hire another bin at £270/quarter.

Insurance costs continue to climb (even though we’ve had no claims for about 10 years); renewals for a boiler Maintenance contract have similarly climbed (doubled in the last 6 years). and we are looking at the bottom line and increasingly it’s less attractive to let. This winter the staircase needs repainting and the carpet renewed- that’s 7 flights of stairs. Ordinarily I’d have done the gloss work but no longer have the energy to do so. The quotes back are eye-watering as all the hotels and B&Bs want similar work done at the same time.

Looking at our stats for the last 4 years, we’ve let the property for exactly the same number of weeks but bookings for next year are slim at the moment - seems to be the same across the market. Whether it’s Brexit or something else, we don’t know.

If we don’t let it, the house would stay empty for long periods; normal assured tenancy letting would produce a much lower rent and not give us the flexibility to use the place for our (working) holidays. There’s the possibility that I could undertake my consultancy work from home and travel to clients - almost all in London, but my partner has an excellent job near London in a specialist hospital and doesn’t want to give that up - just yet - and return to the Lakes and limited employment opportunities.

So some deep navel gazing. We thought we’d jump at the opportunity to live back in the house with its library, drawing room, open fire and kitchen to die for, set in the middle of the National Park. But no 1 son is now at university and our daughter wants to join the army at 18; it’s an expensive piece of nostalgia to hold on to for Christmases and birthdays.
 

Robme

LE
We had a tenant who ‘dabbled’ (his words) in the other side of the law (the wacky backy tenant). Being virgins we had no idea what he meant, and assumed everything he dabbled in was away from the property. When he left quickly followed by Plod, we then started to get feedback from neighbours about his money lending, his quick fix on noisy neighbours and his car repair business utilising the Kitchen and of course ‘customers’ looking for a Friday night high.
When he left the damage was horrendous walls removed (well busted open, to form 1 large room, no support joists supplied of course), and the electrics :eek:.
Now as I understand it a lot of the fees required to ensure the tenant left the place shipshape etc, are deemed illegal. So trashing the place isn’t illegal, but having a security deposit is.
My Sister kept one of the properties which she has too this day, as the tenant is 86, naturally she will have a whole different picture to paint.
 
We had a tenant who ‘dabbled’ (his words) in the other side of the law (the wacky backy tenant). Being virgins we had no idea what he meant, and assumed everything he dabbled in was away from the property. When he left quickly followed by Plod, we then started to get feedback from neighbours about his money lending, his quick fix on noisy neighbours and his car repair business utilising the Kitchen and of course ‘customers’ looking for a Friday night high.
When he left the damage was horrendous walls removed (well busted open, to form 1 large room, no support joists supplied of course), and the electrics :eek:.
Now as I understand it a lot of the fees required to ensure the tenant left the place shipshape etc, are deemed illegal. So trashing the place isn’t illegal, but having a security deposit is.
My Sister kept one of the properties which she has too this day, as the tenant is 86, naturally she will have a whole different picture to paint.
Security deposits are not illegal, however, I can't imagine you would hold one large enough to cover replacing supporting walls.
 
It definitely sounds like a honking pile of bother:mrgreen:

I bought a four bedder by the sea and found two excellent house sharers.

I have the big ensuite annexe. I’m away half the year so they keep the burglars at bay and pay the mortgage.
I come home and they are excellent company when I see them but mainly house is my own as they work all hours and surf/socialise

Works for me. House by sea for free, no utter arseholes I don’t know smashing my shit up every week.

Got a friend in her first year of pimping out a painstakingly renovated seaside cottage out. Apparently she didn’t realise what turbo cunts all holiday makers are, no matter how hard you screen them.
 
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
It definitely sounds like a honking pile of bother:mrgreen:

I bought a four bedder by the sea and found two excellent house sharers.

I have the big ensuite annexe. I’m away half the year so they keep the burglars at bay and pay the mortgage.
I come home and they are excellent company when I see them but mainly house is my own as they work all hours and surf/socialise

Works for me. House by sea for free, no utter ********* I don’t know smashing my shit up every week.

Got a friend in her first year of pimping out a painstakingly renovated seaside cottage out. Apparently she didn’t realise what turbo cnuts all holiday makers are, no matter how hard you screen them.
With over 300 individual lets, we have only banned one group (who were moved mid hire from another property that ad a boiler failure) and no malicious or deliberate damage.

Clearly, we attract a better class of cleintele (and a very good booking agency who filters out the dross).
 

MrBane

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Our property manager of 8 years who oversees the house and cleaning etc is selling her business in September. At the moment she hasn’t got a buyer so we are (rapidly) trying to find another reliable cleaner and key holder. We had a few issues with her but the property has always been turned around and she has a good rapport with the guests.

The letting company can provide a full management service but we then would pay VAT and very quickly the yield falls. They insist they provide their own linen for all beds (which we would have to hire) and they would provide a welcome basket at £35 each week - something we don’t do.

Holiday letting is no road to riches because of the overheads. As mentioned in earlier posts, my PinL did the gardening but now they are a bit frail and the cost of getting a reliable garden service that will come in during the turnaround is very steep. Additionally, the council won’t take garden waste from ‘commercial’ properties so we’ve had to hire another bin at £270/quarter.

Insurance costs continue to climb (even though we’ve had no claims for about 10 years); renewals for a boiler Maintenance contract have similarly climbed (doubled in the last 6 years). and we are looking at the bottom line and increasingly it’s less attractive to let. This winter the staircase needs repainting and the carpet renewed- that’s 7 flights of stairs. Ordinarily I’d have done the gloss work but no longer have the energy to do so. The quotes back are eye-watering as all the hotels and B&Bs want similar work done at the same time.

Looking at our stats for the last 4 years, we’ve let the property for exactly the same number of weeks but bookings for next year are slim at the moment - seems to be the same across the market. Whether it’s Brexit or something else, we don’t know.

If we don’t let it, the house would stay empty for long periods; normal assured tenancy letting would produce a much lower rent and not give us the flexibility to use the place for our (working) holidays. There’s the possibility that I could undertake my consultancy work from home and travel to clients - almost all in London, but my partner has an excellent job near London in a specialist hospital and doesn’t want to give that up - just yet - and return to the Lakes and limited employment opportunities.

So some deep navel gazing. We thought we’d jump at the opportunity to live back in the house with its library, drawing room, open fire and kitchen to die for, set in the middle of the National Park. But no 1 son is now at university and our daughter wants to join the army at 18; it’s an expensive piece of nostalgia to hold on to for Christmases and birthdays.
I'd offer to buy your business out but quite frankly, one is enough!

Have you tried looking at private waste contractors? We use one rather than council:

1. On demand, saving money. I can notify them of empty weeks and they don't come, I don't get charged unlike council who come regardless.

2. Will go and get bins, they don't need to be roadside

I save a good chunk compared to council collections. Maybe worth a look?

The cleaner leaving / retiring / dying is a nightmare scenario. Thankfully up here there's no shortage of the buggers but it's about developing that trust with them.

£35 a week for a basket? Wtf is in it?? The linen hire is cheeky too.

It's definitely a lot of work, not for the faint hearted. We never bought this place to run as an FHL but rather to get a property in Aviemore, which is like hen's teeth. This is just a side effect of it. We'll give it another year or two and decide if we want to make it a permanent thing.

If it's all getting a bit much, why not look at selling it as a business concern? You can show them your occupancy etc. They won't know about alllll the other costs until it's too late!
 
Just remember that if your mates are into hill walking, avoid the Chalamain Gap, (just off of the Lairig Ghru path), like the Black Death. The longest year of my life was the hour or so I spent climbing up that thing.

Braeriach via the Chalamain Gap - Cairngorm Highland - Walk 2421 - a walk description from Walking Britain.

The piccies above do not convey the full extent of the horror therein.
Went that way 3/4(?) years ago. Didn't find it too much of a problem. I was a bit late in leaving, and it became a bit misty before I reached the top of Braeriach, putting me further behind regarding daylight left for my return. Consequently it was dark when I reached the Gap ready to negotiate it. Although I had my head torch, I decided not to use it. My reasoning was as my night vision is pretty good, if I stumbled and my torch was broken I'd really be in the shit. I just took my time, made the most of what little light there was, and felt my way through. On reaching the far side, head torch on and an easy walk to the car park. Not that I'd recommend doing it like that. I only did so because I'm quite happy with my night vision, and I'm used to walking on my own in the middle of nowhere.
 

MrBane

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Time for another update of woe.

As mentioned, I'd ditched my original booking agent - a local mob, to a bigger player, Cottages.com.

Well wasn't that a fucking mistake?

I've never encountered such bad customer service before. The property listing was wrong, they never consulted me on it, they never confirmed details, they failed to respond to emails, they kept losing information, they updated the wrong stuff, and then finally to cap it all, they marked the house as free pets, which led to a booking with two dogs at a heavily discounted rate during a holiday week.

From opening initial discussions with Cottages three months ago, two Regional Area Managers have quit - the owners direct on the ground link, and I've got a new guy based in Skye trying to sort the problems I've been having.

So after three odd months of heartache with them, I've told them to fuck off too, and I'm going back to my original firm.

On the upside, finally decided on a direction for the house in terms of style. Going to get new curtains, new cushions, upholstery, etc, in the Voyage Berridale red style and as mentioned somewhere else, handmade curtain poles using branches and off cuts. The family bathroom will get refurbished in the next six months with Rearo wall panels as like the en-suite, but not sure if to go for same panels or a different style to mix it up.

Always fucking headaches.
 
Haven't you burned the bl**dy thing down and claimed the insurance yet?
 

Fang_Farrier

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FB_IMG_1565639529031.jpg


Saw this sign and for some reason thought of @MrBane
 
We wen on the annual holiday to California recently and had to find somewhere else to stay as the bloke who owns the usual house we rent has sold up.

Mrs Effendi told me to find a nice place and that meant expensive as nice is usually linked to expensive. So I found a few and made a choice, I even spoke with the owner on the phone. I was given loadsa BS about quality place discerning tenants, well looked after, kept spotless, etc.



The browny, yellowy patina on the kettle was indicative of all the cookware in the place. The kettle was just covered in grease and fat and looked like it had been used as a chip pan. I got some Mr Muscle, gave it a spray, quick scrub and it came up good as new............BUT I SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TOO.

The inside of the oven was leaping too.



Then I gave a cupboard a wipe out before storing any of the snacks, nibbles and condiments we had bought.



And yes, I did fcuking complain to the owner - typical American response of stick your head in the sand, avoid conflict and hope the nasty man goes away.

The reason for my complaint was:

a. It was dirty,
b. They charge a $350 cleaning fee...........which obviously is not used for cleaning.
 

MrBane

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b. They charge a $350 cleaning fee...........which obviously is not used for cleaning.
Fucking whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat????

Shit the bed man. I'd be getting my monies worth of mess for that.
 
******* whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat????

Shit the bed man. I'd be getting my monies worth of mess for that.
Sorry, I lied, $250.

The pisser is I now know they employ a Mexican woman who trundles up with her school age daughter, spends 2 to 3 hours cleaning, washing and ironing and probably gets paid $20 (if she is lucky) an hour for her time.

They have a habit here of bolstering their income by charging an "admin fee" and then overcharging on the cleaning element.
 
Possibly why it's $350
Ooooh no, the T&C's require it to be in a clean and tidy condition on departure, or you will not see your security deposit back either...........due to extra cleaning costs.

That is why I had a go at the self righteous bitch, nothing sweary, just calmly having a pop at her for not meeting her own advertised standards. She was that insulted she refused to deal with me and had her brother who is the joint owner contact me........she was speechless on the end of the phone, trying to do a managing silence, so I said to her, "no one has ever spoken to you like this before have they and pointed out that your little world is not all fluffy and does not smell of roses".

When her brother contacted me all blustery I texted him the photos. He shut up and started to apologise, lots. I got the impression he was going to have a word with his sister who was supposed to be managing the property we were in and the one next door.
 
I have a fairly good property experience in the emerald toilet. Being a blatant squaddie I’m not visiting the estates where they are. However they are relatively close to the town. Anyone being a dick has to move further away from the town, which is enforced by the witches covern of letting agents. Tenants can be stupid mind.
 

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