With one property refurbishment almost complete and another awaiting planning approval, Liam Gallagher is enjoying the management side of simply being a landlord.
“While our third and fourth HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) undergo refurbishment and planning, our first two properties (16 tenants) have been fully occupied for the past nine or so months, and we’ve had no major dramas.
There have been a couple of tenant changeovers but they’ve been really quick and straightforward. When we receive notice, we advertise the rooms straight away and usually fill them within a week. We’ve always had the next tenant lined up before the previous tenant leaves so we haven’t had any voids to speak of really. This strategy seems to be working at the moment.
In terms of property maintenance and management issues, we’ve had very few problems. At one point, we had a run on locks – a couple of them failed or tenants lost keys, but nothing major. It has been pretty much as we expected.
In addition, we took on the lettings management of another PPP Partner’s portfolio (2 x 7-beds) in Liverpool at the beginning of October. As such, we have been managing a total of 30 tenants.
As our third and fourth HMOs are also in Liverpool and located very nearby, the lettings management has given us a real insight and better understanding of the Liverpool market in advance us of advertising our own properties. Even though Liverpool and Warrington are geographically very close, there is no question that the markets are very different.
When we started there was one room empty in each house, but we were able to get both of those filled within a week. However, we were then hit by a perfect storm at the end of November.
As the properties are very close to Liverpool docks, there a number of contractor tenants – two of which gave notice, on the same day, due to their work contracts completing. The following day two tenants, who had moved in as single individuals, decided to leave as a couple and move into their own flat – who are we to stand in the way of true love?
Therefore, we went from 100% occupancy to having four rooms become available for check-in just before Christmas! Whilst SpareRoom statistics may show that Easter is actually quieter than Christmas, most people in December are interested in shopping and socialising and not moving.
Not surprisingly, the month of December was very quiet, but the rooms did start to fill one by one in January. It does go to show how bad the impact of a void can be if you manage single-tenancy buy-to-let properties.
We are enjoying our current primarily role of being landlords and do look forward to when we can take a pause from our property development activities after the completion of our fourth HMO. The 30 rooms that we are now managing is halfway to our initial goal of 60 rooms. That said, we’re not sure whether we would continue to do the day-to-day management. Of course we could do it, but would we want to? We might want to pay someone else, take a step back and enjoy the fruits of our labour!”