The accidental landlord

Victoria Whitlock discovers the difficulties of finding tenants who want to share with the teetotal Mormon sisters
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Having had to take the drastic step of giving two tenants their marching orders, even though they were two very sweet sisters who always paid their rent on time and kept the flat in tiptop shape, I know it sounds as though I have lost the plot. The problem with these two is that though they seemed perfect to me, no one else wants to live with them and they are driving other tenants away.

In the past three months alone this pair, who rent two of the bedrooms in a four-bedroom flat, have seen off four flatmates. The first to flee from the sisters were a couple of Aussies who I was sorry to lose as they’d also been good tenants. The next tenant lasted just a month and a fourth hot-footed it out of there after two months. Each time someone leaves they blame these girls, saying they are impossible to live with. I’m not sure why.

The sisters are Mormons so they don’t have parties, roll in drunk in the early hours, play loud music or smoke drugs in the living room - hmmm, now I think about it, maybe this is the problem? Not wanting to be the bad guy and kick them out, I suggested they found friends to take the two other rooms, but they didn’t appear to have any. Which explained a lot.

Also, neither of them was willing to show prospective tenants around the flat, even though they would have to live with them, which made things awkward for me when trying to flog the rooms. Would-be tenants are obviously less interested in the flat than in who they’ll be sharing with and, understandably, usually don’t want to commit until they’ve met their future flatmates.

I feel like a big meanie, but I’ve decided that it’ll be easier to empty the flat and start again with four new tenants, which means these girls have got to go. It’ll mean I’ll have to re-market all the rooms, which is a pain, but hopefully it will be worthwhile. Also, rents do seem to have risen in the past few months so I’ll be able to charge a bit more for the rooms, which would be good as last time I grossly underestimated the energy bills, which I included in the rent. I’ll stick free ads on, and Gumtree, and see how I get on.

It would be less aggro if I let the flat to a single group or family, but renting the rooms individually brings in more money and is the only way I can cover the mortgage. I had been toying with the idea of getting rid of the flat when Chancellor George Osborne was rumoured to be planning big increases in Capital Gains Tax (CGT). No point in all this hassle if ultimately the Government is going to take a huge chunk out of any future profits, I thought. But now there’s no point.

The CGT rise announced in the recent Budget from a flat rate of 18 per cent to a maximum of 28 per cent doesn’t seem too onerous - especially when Mr Osborne pointed out that the previous rate of tax meant millionaires (himself included, presumably?) were paying less tax than their cleaners - and anyway, it was brought in with immediate effect so there was no chance of me avoiding the rise, even if I’d wanted to. Nice one Georgie.

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