Wealth update – 31/10/2021

Deposit drama

Things are happening. We first got a letter from the county court confirming the date for the court hearing (early December). The same letter was sent to the estate agent as well.

Shortly after, we received the very first email from the landlord/estate agent making an offer to settle the case out of court. It seems having a confirmed court date is when it got real for them. They may have thought that it will take the court many months to actually get around to dealing with this…

They made a low ball offer + our costs so far to settle, which we rejected. We asked for a larger amount (around + £500) – which is always worth doing as it’s a simple email that could earn you a bit more quite quickly.

They agreed to the bigger amount but said it is inclusive of the fees we’ve already paid to start the claim. We rejected their second offer and are staying firm with what we want i.e. the larger amount + the fees paid so far. I’m waiting for a response now.

I’m quite happy to take this all the way to the court hearing as I think this will be a good life experience as well… I’ve never been to court and the whole thing is somewhat scary. Who knows, this experience may become quite useful and maybe even empowering in the future.

Health

The antibiotics I got for my cough did nothing. So I saw my virtual GP again.

This time the GP gave me a referral to see a respiratory physician, which I sorted via my Bupa membership. Turns out, I am allergic to something – and this is the reason for my cough. I still don’t know what I’m allergic to… but hope to find out soon once my blood test results come back.

Personal

Sadly a very big thing changed in my life. My relationship with my girlfriend has ended and we have broken up. It’s a major downer but I have made my peace with this. I’m very sad we reached this point but that’s life I guess…

We have given our 2-month notice to our flat and are both actively looking for new homes. Neither of us has found something we’re happy with. It’s been a stressful month, to say the least.

Counting my beans

October was a big recovery month. My net worth as of 31/10/2021 has reached a new all-time high of £295,914 – it’s an increase of £41,381 or +16.3% from the end of September 2021. This is after me making a £1,648 GIA top-up and £452 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

Wealth update – 30/09/2021

Deposit drama

Not much progress here. I think we’re now just waiting for a letter to confirm our court date.

Driving license

I finally got my driving license back on the 13th of September. I posted my address renewal application (with my original driving license enclosed) on the 21st of June. Therefore it took almost 3 months. I guess this is good enough for government work.

Health

There’s been very little progress here. My cough is still ongoing. I was prescribed some antibiotics (after a GP consultation) and after 5 days of taking them things didn’t change much.

So, today I had another virtual GP consultation and was referred to a respiratory physician, even though the GP said my cough will probably just go away on its own.

She might be right, but the thing is I’m getting worried. The cough has been lingering on for 7 weeks already… This type of thing is out of character for me as I usually bounce back from a cold etc quite quickly. I’m unable to live my life normally and I just want to put this annoying cough behind me.

I also got my normal flu-jab a week ago.

To top it all off I also went for an eye check at SpecSavers earlier this week. This is because work provides a voucher for this once a year – therefore the eye check was free for me (costs £30 out of pocket).

I didn’t have anything to complain about my eye health but figured it’s been around four years since my previous check. The good news is that my left eye has perfect vision but the right eye was a little bit worse in terms of my vision. However, in summary, my vision is very good and I don’t need glasses. No other problems were identified either. So, that’s all good.

I felt a bit dumb doing the eye check… I mean ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with me. However, I’m glad I did it as it’s good to know that my eye health has not deteriorated in the last four years.

Counting my beans

September was a negative month. My net worth as of 30/09/2021 was £254,532 – it’s a decrease of -£29,278 or -10.3% from the end of August 2021. This is after me making a £1,633 GIA top-up, £452 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution) and £575 top-up to my cash balance.

This drop is the largest I’ve ever had in terms of a monetary amount… however I feel OK with this. It can’t always go up and pullbacks are expected.

Wealth update – 31/08/2021

Another month, another update.

Deposit drama

It seems I posted the court claim and paperwork/evidence to the correct address. Yay!

A few weeks after posting it I was contacted by somebody from the County Court to take payment of £308 to process my claim against my previous landlord. Three weeks later I got something in the post confirming that the case “has been issued under Part 8 of the CPR”. The previous landlord now has 2 weeks to respond (ends next week) and then I suppose I will need to wait until the actual court day.

It’s all taking longer than I thought… but I guess that’s good enough for government work.

Driving license

As I moved house at the beginning of June, I had to renew my driving license – it’s not allowed to have a wrong address on it. I was not able to do the address update online because the identity verification process did not find my brand new UK passport (which I got in April when I became a British citizen).

So, I had to use the paper form and post my original driving license off to Swansea. You may have read in the press about massive delays in processing times at the DVLA. I posted my stuff on the 21st of June and currently – 10 weeks later – they are processing stuff that was received on 18th June.

It may take a few more weeks I suppose…

I got a raise

I had my half-year appraisal and walked out with a £5K raise (9% increase). I didn’t expect a raise and didn’t ask for one. My manager started the meeting with “some good news” and I went along with it. Who am I to argue with a good thing?

They backdated the raise to take effect from 1st July. It’s nice to get paid more. 🙂

Health

This hasn’t been good. We’re both double vaccinated against Covid-19 but we’ve developed flu-like symptoms. Our symptoms are mild and nothing serious. I’ve had two PCR covid tests taken 6 days apart, which came out negative. My girlfriend’s PCR test was also negative. We’re feeling better now but continue to have a cough. We’ve been sick for about 3 weeks already. I think it’s very unlikely that all 3 tests were false negatives…

So, we’re unwell but not with Covid. I guess that’s the glass half full way to look at it.

By the way, it’s now possible to register for the normal flu-jab via Boots, which we’ve done. Our appointments are towards the end of September. I noticed some inflation here, last year the jab cost £13.99, this time it was £14.99 – that’s +7%.

Counting my beans

August was another positive month. My net worth as of 31/08/2021 was £283,810 – it’s an increase of £34,017 or 13.6% from the end of July 2021. This is after me making a £1,620 GIA top-up and £492 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

It’s been a good month.

Wealth update – 31/07/2021

The market has closed for this month and I have counted my beans. Here’s my update for July.

Deposit drama

It seems we are legit taking our previous landlord to court over their failure to protect our tenancy deposit in time. They never responded to our letter before action (other than acknowledging it).

I prepped all the forms and evidence etc and we posted that to the local county court more than a week ago. However, we haven’t heard back. I don’t really know whether we should give the courthouse a chaser? I’d rather avoid that. Let’s wait and see!

Other

The month has been relatively quiet:

  • I’ve been to the office a few times but mostly work from home. I even met a client or two face-to-face.
  • The family (including the puppy) went to Dover and more recently to Broadstairs. Nice little day trips!

Counting my beans

July was a positive month and not too bad. My net worth as of 31/07/2021 was £249,793 (sadly it dipped below £250K) – it’s an increase of £17,203 (more or less my annual expenditure) or 7.4% from the end of June 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up and £411 pension top-up (deducted from salary + employer contribution).

All in all, a decent month!

Wealth update – 30/06/2021

June has been a very good month and I’m very excited to write this post.

Holidays

I took two weeks of annual leave but didn’t go anywhere for my holiday as the puppy makes that quite difficult. So it’s a staycation in London where we make the most of our new home and its garden.

The weather has been mostly summery and I’ve been able to meet up with a few friends face-to-face. That was nice. We’ve also been taking our puppy out to explore the great big new world. His tail never tires from wagging… I hope he never grows up.

Deposit drama

We moved earlier this month to another rental flat. As these things go, we had to do an end-of-tenancy cleaning at the previous flat. I was recommended a cleaner by a trusted friend and to our surprise the end-of-tenancy gig only cost £30.

That sounded very cheap as previously it cost £80 for a small studio flat. This was a one-bedroom flat with two toilets. We didn’t argue with a good thing and agreed to the low-low price.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. We got the end-of-tenancy inventory report, which stated that the flat was cleaned to a professional standard but had a few specific omissions. Several things needed some extra cleaning (e.g. some limescale in sinks and toilets). Well, fair enough, we’re happy to pay for that as that did need further scrubbing.

What came as a surprise was the amount the agency wanted to deduct from our deposit. They came in at a lofty £195 to do the “necessary” cleaning.

Wow! Greedy much?

Almost £200 to scrub limescale off from a few places? I think an end-of-tenancy cleaning for a 1 bedroom flat would cost around £100 (I did a quick Google search) and they wanted to charge us double that to clean a few specific things? No way.

We disagreed with their quote and they magically reduced it to £120. That was still too much as this was a cost of a full end-of-tenancy cleaning, which the flat did not need. We explained that we are happy to pay for a reasonable amount as the flat does in fact need additional cleaning. They then claimed it was their “standard” cost for cleaning – we rejected that justification as well. So they advised us to take it to the deposit dispute resolution service and we responded that we’d be happy to do so.

I looked into the dispute resolution service and among other things found out that:

Many landlords don’t realise that the onus is on them to prove they have a legitimate claim to a share of the deposit, whilst the tenant has no obligation to prove their position. This is because the deposit remains the tenant’s money until the landlord has successfully proven their claim. It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove damage etc

depositprotection.com

We sort of left it there as I never got around to doing the actual dispute stuff. Luckily, a few days later the agency emailed to say they are happy to reduce their cleaning charges to £80, which we accepted. I thought this will bring our cost to £110, which is what the end-of-tenancy cleaning should’ve cost us anyway.

We then got the majority of our deposit back in the next couple of days. So, that was good for our finances.

The above exchange about the cleaning costs was quite unpleasant. It wasn’t so much about the money as we can afford the initial £195 they wanted but it’s the principle that is important. You can’t charge people inflated “standard” rates plucked out of thin air and greed. We were quite angry about this.

Once our deposit was safely in our bank accounts we pounced on the agency with a letter before action due to them failing to protect our deposit within the statutory time limit of 30 days. In part it’s revenge for all the failures and negative experiences we had renting from them but it’s also an opportunity to make some tax free gains 🙂 .

Taxes

I also did my 2020/21 tax return and got £63.40 back – most of it was a refund due to me claiming the £6 p.w. allowance for working from home all of last tax year. I was planning on claiming loss relief on an EIS investment that went to zero but it turns out that the company is still in business… so I will need to try that again in the future.

However, £63.40 for an hour of work ain’t too bad.

Counting my beans

June was my biggest positive month for my portfolio so far. My net worth as of 30/06/2021 was £232,590 – an increase of £41,087 or 21.5% from the end of May 2021. This is after me making a £1,600 GIA top-up, £411 pension top-up, and £175 was added to my emergency cash pot. I also received my £1,000 LISA bonus in June.

June has been a fantastic month. My gains this month were more than my annual net salary. In just a MONTH! I’m now also solidly above the £200K net wealth figure. In fact I’m now above the average wealth of a UK adult (£210,529 or USD 290,724).

I am very happy.