The land­lord game: worth the has­sle or time to get out of it?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

GET­TING a call from your ten­ants about a leaky lean-to roof is the last thing you want when your sick tod­dler’s tem­per­a­ture has spiked to al­most 40 de­grees Cel­sius and you’re rush­ing panic-stricken to Care­doc. So too is a call to re­place a fridge freezer — when you’ve al­ready re­placed the fridge for the same ten­ants four times in the space of two months but for some bizarre rea­son, their brand new fridges keep break­ing down.

These are ex­actly the kind of calls I dealt with when I rented out a prop­erty for four years. My hus­band and I de­cided to rent out our first home af­ter we moved house dur­ing the re­ces­sion. The prop­erty mar­ket was in a down­turn at a time, so rather than sell that prop­erty at a loss, we fig­ured it would be bet­ter to rent it out — un­til the mar­ket re­cov­ered. The four years that we rented out that prop­erty co­in­cided with some of the busiest years of our lives. We had very young chil­dren — one of whom was reg­u­larly sick, a new home which was turn­ing into a con­stant ren­o­va­tion project, jobs to hold down, and a daily com­mute which we had un­der­es­ti­mated.

Our ten­ants were re­li­able, al­ways paid their rent on time and never dam­aged the prop­erty. We did the best job that we could as land­lords and al­ways dealt with any prob­lems which our ten­ants brought up.

How­ever we had enough on our plate with­out man­ag­ing ten­ants and the up­keep of a sec­ond prop­erty, so we sold that prop­erty as soon as prices re­cov­ered — and it was a huge per­sonal, as well as, fi­nan­cial re­lief. We never made any money as land­lords. In fact, we made a loss: al­though the rent cov­ered the mort­gage re­pay­ments, it didn’t cover the cost of the prop­erty up­keep and rental in­come tax bill.

The only ad­van­tage of rent­ing out our first prop­erty was that do­ing so al­lowed us to sell that prop­erty when the mar­ket re­cov­ered.

The Gov­ern­ment’s plans for tougher sanc­tions on land­lords — in­clud­ing fines of up to €15,000 plus le­gal costs — make me even more re­lieved to be out of the land­lord game.

I was never a ‘rogue’ land­lord and while I agree that ac­tion should be taken against un­scrupu­lous land­lords, I also un­der­stand how small-time land­lords might un­wit­tingly break the rules around rent­ing. Land­lords al­ready could have to pay up to €20,000 in dam­ages for breach­ing their obli­ga­tions. Had I been hit with such a bill, I would not have had a chance in hell of pay­ing it — I don’t have that kind of spare cash and nei­ther do many small-time land­lords.

“The prob­lem for all land­lords is the com­plex­ity of the leg­is­la­tion [around rent­ing out prop­erty] — it is con­fus­ing, in­tri­cate and dif­fi­cult for pro­fes­sion­als who abide by it on a daily ba­sis, so it is ab­so­lutely hor­ren­dous for the 92pc of land­lords who own less than three prop­er­ties,” said Stephen Faugh­nan, chair­man of the Ir­ish Prop­erty Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (IPOA), which rep­re­sents land­lords.

Of course, the soar­ing rents of the last few years means it is pos­si­ble to make a lot of money from rent­ing out prop­erty. So when does it make sense to stay in the land­lord game — and when does it not?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.