Here’s a top tip for aspiring landlords: don't choose a tenant by their looks. Okay, you're probably thinking "as if" - but one day a handsome face and a winning smile might make you forget that just because someone is cute, they aren't necessarily a good tenant.
Last month I let a room to a guy who didn't have a job or references, but I fell for his charm and his good looks so decided to trust him when he said he could afford the rent. Also, he said he had come to London from Seville to seek his fortune as an opera singer and I so wanted to help someone on the road to fame and fortune.
He said he hoped to find work as a barman while taking singing lessons and he promised that he already had enough money saved to cover six months' rent. But when I called to remind him that his second month's payment was due, he told me he had no cash.
Fortunately there was no need for me to send in the heavies (joke), because we agreed that I would take the second month's rent of £515 out of the £600 deposit he paid upfront (thank God I at least got that much out of him), and that he would leave towards the end of this month. I'm kicking myself, though, for having been seduced by his big brown Spanish eyes. "Sorry for all the trouble I've occasionated [sic] you" he texted me later. Yeah, save it, handsome.
It's a pain to have to advertise the room yet again, but I'm optimistic it will be snapped up. It's the best room in the flat and there are lots of tenants looking to share right now. As the room will be vacant a day or two before the royal wedding, I'm tempted to delay getting a permanent tenant and cash in on William and Kate's big day by letting it at a premium over the bank holiday weekend.
I quite like the idea. It would give me an excuse to deck out the flat with royal wedding tat that I could never get away with at home. I could hang Wills and Kate bunting and stick up balloons with their faces on. I might even buy some commemorative mugs and a tea towel or two.
Letting the room to overnight guests is more hassle than taking a long-term tenant - and I'd have to provide bedlinen and make sure the flat was cleaned - but it's worth thinking about.
I've checked out crashpadder.com, a website where homeowners can earn extra cash by renting out anything from an empty futon to a spare room for just one night or several weeks. There are quite a few rooms advertised close to my rental flat south of the river, where it seems that the going rate for the wedding weekend is about £30 to £35 a night for a double room with a shared bathroom. That's not bad, even after you deduct crashpadder's 10 per commission, so I might stick up an ad and see if I get any interest.
Now, where can I buy those William and Kate flags?#
Find homes to rent at www.homesandproperty.co.uk/lettings