Furious doesn’t even cut it.
How could my letting agent get the rental amount so terribly wrong that it obliterates my cashflow?! The worst part is I could have avoided this by doing one simple thing.
…I’ve just returned from an anger run (spontaneously going for a run to pound out the anger). It didn’t work. I am still angry. Or more accurately, I am still frustrated at myself for letting this happen.
The tragic tale
A nicely renovated rental property should have been let for £1175 per month. Instead, a letting agent let it for £775 per month. A painful £400 per month loss. It hurts me thinking about it. The amount doesn’t even cover the cost of the bedroom furniture.
Despite my repeated explanations of how much each room costs, it clearly wasn’t heard by this letting agent.
Now the letting agent and I have this disagreement. Neither of us have proof of what was said and agreed. I just my agreement with them and the rental amount was left blank. Therefore no one can point any blame fingers. We just have to accept the situation, and accept it sucks.
Today I learned how crucial it is to immediately email across all details of verbal agreements: always leave paper trails.
You are doing this to cover your backside. Do not assume people have heard what you have said. Do not assume you are being overly anal by following up important conversations with an email.
How to avoid this tragedy
Following up conversations with an email confirming the details is a simple, logical thing to do. In fact I bet everyone reading this does it. I feel like an absolute plonker for failing. Truth be told, another reason for failing to do this is sheer laziness.
After all my verbal agreements with this letting agent I had to rush somewhere else in the car. Obviously I can’t email and drive so here’s some practical advice to myself and everyone else who has every been in this situation:
- Explain I have to rush somewhere and ask them to confirm what we discussed VIA email. Then put a reminder on my phone to email them that evening in case they forgot.
- Email them straight away from my car, even if it means potentially being late to my next appointment. It is worth it in the long term.
I thought I could save time by cutting this corner and not leaving a written trial.
I have caused more hassle for myself and need to spend even more time correcting my mistake; not to mention cope with the reduction of income. I never want to be in this position again and hope you avoid it too.
I don’t care how well I get on with an agent or how much verbal reassurance they have given me, I am leaving a written trial of what we discussed!
With one agent I had had a previous issue with (they didn’t pay my rent on time), I sat in his office and got him to send me an email there and then confirming the rental payment will be made within 7 days of the tenant moving in. He even fought this a little and said “It’s all good I will send it later.” I said “No. Give me peace of mind and send it now.”
And he did.
At the beginning of my journey I would never speak to anyone like this, it feels too pushy. Having been burned more times then I care to remember I do not give a monkeys how it comes across. I need to protect myself. This is my business. My livelihood.
To conclude: Leave paper trails and emails to avoid tragic tales.
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