How to be a Young Landlord

Though you may be a lessor, you are not lesser.

It’s not easy being in the green. Hiding your property-owning status from embittered renters at dinner parties. Hastily archiving emails from the Landlord Accreditation Scheme. As a young landlord, you may find that all the filthy lucre you extract from your tenants is a poor substitute for good old fashioned self-respect.

But don’t worry, things are looking up (and not just the nationwide rental averages). While seeing your tenants’ money materialise in your account might make you a little ideologically queasy, you need to recognise that what you’re experiencing is a sad case of internalised mislandry.

The alternative? No landlords?? No houses for anyone to live in! To help you celebrate your identity and love yourself inside and out, I’ve put together a spiritual guide for you, the young landlord. Feel free to share this with your tenant(s) by nailing a copy to each of their bedroom doors (with 24 hours notice of course), encouraging them to try a little harder to understand what it’s like to be you. And if they don’t, evict them! Hehe. Kidding, of course. Unless…

1. reject the landlord/tenant binary

One of the greatest wounds to a person’s ego is being forced to adopt an identity that doesn’t reflect how they truly see themselves. Remember always that you have a lot in common with your tenants. You are, after all, both hosts. You, in the ‘welcoming them into your home’ sense, they in the ‘having their wealth parasi­tically extracted by their landlord’ sense. And let’s unpack the title ‘landlord’ in the first place. No wonder you feel repelled by this term, it simply (probably) does not represent you. You are (probably) not aristocratic, you (probably) do not have a large and sprawling garden. You are not lording your land over others, you are simply leasing it out to somebody in order to generate an income from them.

Now let’s unpack ‘tenants’. Ten ants. Ugh. Industrious, yes, but miserable and small. It’s 2024, can we please replace these reductive labels with something a little more dignified? Agent and Client. Caretaker and Consumer. Perm and Temp. Or how about we do one better, and simply say human being and human being*.

2. make your tenant comfortable

If you live alongside your tenant, it may be the case that, on occasion, you feel a little uncomfortable due to the alleged power balance. A simple way to counter this discomfort is to act as though there is another greater landlord who you, too, must submit to – fostering a sense of solidarity in your home. You may choose to actively present this as fact (‘pay the rent to me and I’ll pay it on’) or just adopt the mentality.

To do this convincingly, try as much as possible to reflect the behaviour of a reckless tenant: do not make any repairs, complain generally about the state of the property, smoke in your bedroom and try to ensure some level of regular noise disturbance. Soon enough they’ll feel right at home.

3. engage in a sexual relationship with your tenant

I don’t know why more homeowners don’t think of this. A wonderful, mutually rewarding way to shift any uncomfortable dynamic between you and your lessee is to layer the significance of another relationship over the top of the existing one.

Whether you live together or not, becoming romantically involved with your tenant means a sense of shared gain every time they pay you rent – this money could ultimately come back to benefit them on birthdays, Christmas or holidays. Is this 40% of their wage disappearing into a large black void marked ‘your mortgage’, or is it a down payment on a charming three-star hotel break to Plymouth, replete with tickets to Devonport Naval Heritage Centre?

It also means you can covertly pop the property on Airbnb whenever they sleep over at yours. Win win.

4. celebrate your tenant on rent day!

Finally, I ask you to spend some time empathising with your tenant. Try to recognise potential stressors and any issues they may feel they have with the logical system of paying money to live somewhere. Once you’ve meditated on their path, invite gratitude and abundance into both of your lives by choosing to celebrate them. Organise a treat for them every month on rent day, to say 🙂 thank you! :). This could be as indulgent as surprising them with home-cooked breakfast in bed or as simple as a big balloon. Whatever it is, deliver it with firm eye contact.

So there you have it, I hope these humble ideas help. And above all try to remember, being a young landlord is not the job you chose.

*It is important to note that these terms are purely theoretical, do not update your AST to reflect them as it will violate the contract and may remove your rights to raise rent, challenge deposit, etc.

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