We never intended to become landlords. When we decided to move from Clackmannanshire in Scotland down to middle England so that we could be closer to family as our children grew up, we thought that we'd just sell the house, buy another one and move. To make the overlap easier to manage, and to allow us to get C started at school at the beginning of the school year, we decided to rent for six months.
As it happened, the house sale never materialised. We're not sure why, as it's a fantastic home in a lovely location, and people who have viewed have generally loved it - it just never translated into a sale. At first the market was stagnant, then it was winter and "sales always slow down at this time of year", then it was the run up to the Scottish Referendum and nobody was buying, then it was winter again. The first estate agents were not impressive, but we are confident the second lot we used were working hard for us... but still no sale.
As the second winter approached and the house started to take on that empty house smell, and we were also paying 200% Council Tax for the privilege of having an empty house, we decided to try renting it out. If it went well, then we'd look at getting a second mortgage to buy down in Herefordshire. If it went very well, maybe the tenants would love the house so much they would want to buy it (I've seen this happen to two other houses in the village already!).
In the meantime, we were (and still are) renting in Herefordshire. The house is fine, but it's not in the location we wanted, and because it was always meant to be a short-term rental, we have never made it home.
We were delighted to get tenants moving into our house in February. Even better, they seemed ideal, a young family with children the same ages as our own who attended the local primary school. And as they had pets, their options for renting would have been fairly limited. Ideal - they would love the house and would be anticipating staying.
Sadly, that's not how it has worked out. For the first couple of months things were great. They called the agency a few times as there were a couple of niggly issues from the house having been empty (dishwasher not working etc), which we promptly had fixed, and they paid the rent. The last time that happened was back in March. They even phoned and asked for permission to film "Couples Come Dine with Me" in the house (which we granted, not sure when it's on, sometime soon I think). But then they stopped paying rent. We have had two communications since then. The first one they came up with some story about the bank freezing their account but they'd pay next week - this didn't happen. The second was when the agency wrote to tell them that we'd be terminating the rental at the end of the six month tenancy - they phoned to ask if we'd reconsider. Hubby was incredulous - "but you haven't paid your rent!?". Nothing has been heard from them since. NO RENT - NOTHING. The agency has phoned and written to them, but they don't respond. The agency has carried out an inspection, but there was nobody home except the dog. I hear that they've had a holiday in Venice since March, and I understand they keep horses - so they must have money from somewhere, but clearly paying their rent is not a priority.
So far I've kept this private. I didn't want to spread their financial issues on social media - but as the time comes nearer for the end of their tenancy, Hubby and I are getting more and more anxious and angry that we have been so taken advantage of. We entered into this rental in good faith and have done everything possible to look after our tenants. They have not extended us the same courtesy and owe us nearly four thousand pounds.
We are just hopeful now that they leave the house without any difficulty, and that they leave it in the same lovely condition that it was in when they moved in. Then we'll put it back on the market and hope against hope that this time somebody comes along, falls in love with it and snaps it up so they can love living there as much as we have done.
Friday, 5 August 2016
Wednesday, 3 August 2016
I lost my wedding ring last week. I was swimming in the sea at Durdle Door in Dorset, where the undertow was strong, the water chilly and the pebbles unforgiving on the feet. In between checking that the kids were okay in the breakers, swimming, and trying to find the dog's ball for her (floating just beneath the surface), I felt the change and looked down at my hand. Cold, weight loss (mine) and moving water had combined, and the ring had just slipped off my finger. I had to stop wearing my engagement ring a year and a half ago when the diamond went missing from it's setting - so now my left hand is naked.
So what do you do when you lose your wedding ring?
So what do you do when you lose your wedding ring?
- Look for it - Search the area. If you are indoors, search methodically EVERYWHERE. These rings can roll and can travel a lot further than you could imagine. If possible, enlist help, the more people looking the better. In fact I've lost a wedding ring before, and had about fifty people combing the activity field at a Scout Campsite - but we did find it! In this case, I dived under the waves numerous times, scanning the gravelly pebbles on the sea-bed for a glint of gold. On a sandy beach you could mark the spot and come back with a metal detector.
- Reassure your 7 year old son that despite not wearing your wedding ring, you are in fact still married to daddy. Check with husband that this is definitely the case. Reassure yourself of same.
- Give up - At some point you need to leave the beach and go home. Accept that the ring is gone.
- Hope - You can still post a plea to social media, tagging the location where you lost it and making your post public. If somebody does come across a gold ring at Durdle Door, they may just scan through the Durdle Door posts to see if anybody has lost one... and they may just find my post... and ...
- Hint - maybe at some point in the future, maybe an anniversary of some type, we can replace the ring... both rings even...and re-pledge our love and all that. He's still putting up with me eight years on, despite me being me... and losing one diamond and one ring, so I reckon he still loves me.
Have you lost something very precious to you? What did you do?