To be miffed at prospective landlords not accepting children in a rented property

(215 Posts)
MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:19:30

We are looking to rent a larger property. We want to remain in the same location, but just need a bigger house. There's me, my DH, and our 2 DDs, aged 4yo and 11mo.

This is the second time that, when I've called to arrange a viewing, I've been told 'the landlord doesn't accept children' when asked who the property would be for.

Why is this? Surely, if any of us caused damage to the property, that's what the deposit is for?

AIBU to feel miffed and want to question the reason why such landlords are holding onto 3-bed family properties within walking distance of school?

specialsubject Wed 06-Mar-13 16:22:44

the deposit is indeed to solve any damage although it does depend on the checkout clerk actually noticing (been there...)

small kids scribble on walls, bigger kids burn things with hair straighteners and leave blu-tak marks all over walls. It's all part of being a landlord.

oh well, their loss - empty properties lose money big time and a 3-bedder will obviously attract families.

babanouche Wed 06-Mar-13 16:25:59

I found this as well - couldn't believe it. I think it's really short-sighted on the landlord's part. Parents want to keep a roof over their kids heads and are far less likely to cause trouble imo.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:26:43

I guess I just feel marginalised. Not in a position to buy; have specific criteria in terms of house size and location - all the time feeling like we're stuck living in a house that's too small for our needs now.

YABU - annoying as it is, it is their property therefore they can rent it to whom they like.

Wierd though, I am a LL and although I have a no pets policy, I don't have a no kids policy........

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:28:40

Agree bab: my standards are high! I'd no more allow either daughter to damage the house than I would myself! I guess the prospective landlords don't know that, though.

lisad123everybodydancenow Wed 06-Mar-13 16:28:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CooEeeEldridge Wed 06-Mar-13 16:28:51

We have a 4 bed house rented out and our agent advised us not to accept children, due to the damage they cause. But yes, agree, that that's what deposit is for.

ChocolateCoins Wed 06-Mar-13 16:29:02

I don't understand it either. Who else would want a 3 bedroom house but a family with children?

I have never ever had damage to my property which has been caused by children....always the adults!!

I much prefer a family being in my place smile

INeverSaidThat Wed 06-Mar-13 16:30:17

Mmm, I can see that it is irritating but I can certainly see the landlords point of view too. I guess it is up to them.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:31:05

I do understand a 'no pet's policy. That's quite obvious why someone may not want a pet in true property. But with 'no children', it just feels like a huge amount of people are being cut out; couples/professionals only sort of thing.

higgle Wed 06-Mar-13 16:32:32

I suppose they would go to "young professionals" but with them the landlord would be risking damage from partying.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:33:01

'their' not 'true' blush

akaemmafrost Wed 06-Mar-13 16:33:50

Yes it annoys me too. It seems they prefer partying singletons in house shares than stable families hmm.

teatrolley Wed 06-Mar-13 16:37:57

I can understand it having recently helped my friend scour a flat where the child living there had drawn on the doors, walls, paintwork, floors etc. In the end she had to replace two doors and redo the flooring in one room.

QueenMaeve Wed 06-Mar-13 16:38:04

We have 3 houses rented out. We always prefer tennents without dc. I have 5 dc, I know the damage they cause! But I can see how you feel penalised because of it. But it is their asset and their entitled to safeguard it any way they want to

SnowyWellies Wed 06-Mar-13 16:38:27

That is crazy. I am a LL too, and have the policy that as long as you leave the flat in the condition you found it (accounting for fair wear and tear of course!) then you can do anything you damn well please. Children, pets, tear the flipping thing down if you want- just it must be returned to me in the condition I sent it to you.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:38:37

We would like to stay long-term in our next house, too. We love the area and wouldn't be looking to move from this current house were it not too small. Guaranteed income for the landlord and all that.

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 16:39:17

I actually had a couple fail to mention that they had children when they moved into my house. I think I had specified no pets or children as well. I let it go at the time, as you say, it's a 3 bed house near a bunch of schools, what do you expect? However, I am pretty upset at the damage they've caused to the house - baby gate has destroyed the plaster on the walls either side of the stairs (that'll come out of the deposit), kids splashing about in the bath has caused a leak in the ceiling below too (I can't take that out of their deposit but it wouldn't have happened if it was just adults). The deposit actually only covers so much. I've had tenants fail to pay their last months rent so the deposit only covered that and they did hundreds of pounds worth of damage too.

I can understand why you are upset though, you sound like a normal person, however unfortunately landlords get burned by dick heads.

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Mar-13 16:39:31

well, I can see why they do it if they can fill it without families, if you get a houseshare of working people, then for the bulk of the day, no one is in the property. Wear and tear is far less as there's just less use of the property. It's reasonable to hold back deposit for repairs that are due to damage like drawing on walls etc, but not really for what can be classed as acceptable levels of usage - it's just people who are rarely in the house will have at the end of the tenancy far less usage.

There's also the fear that the damage small children can do will be more than the deposit.

It's rubbish, but if they can easily fill it for the price they want, then they get to be picky...

I have let our property two a family that managed to cause more than £20k worth of damage (much of this through spirit markers on all the wall, radiators, on the furniture, and paint and poo and nail varnish on all carpets, etc), which naturally was not covered by insurance and not by the deposit. That was after leaving with no forwarding address, rent arrears and, they were behind with electricity and gas.

The same property was then refurbished, and let to 4 student sharers (who had boyfriends so I imagined quite a bit of wear and tear). All I needed to do when they left was give the house a spring clean! I did change the carpets when they left, but that was because we were going to move in ourselves when they left.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:40:18

SnowyWellies will you please be our new landlord? grin

akaemmafrost Wed 06-Mar-13 16:41:19

Kids splashing about caused a leak? How about ADULTS not supervising the kids properly caused the leak?

abbyfromoz Wed 06-Mar-13 16:41:22

OP- totally understand where you're coming from... We also rent. Had a bit of trouble finding a house for me, DH, DD (almost 2) and 2 cocker spaniels... Do you know what fixed it? 6 months rent in advance... Money talks. If you can afford it i suggest you give that a go.

BlueberryHill Wed 06-Mar-13 16:41:31

It seems bizarre that family houses aren't rented to families, why have that type of house and not rent it out to families.

Having said that our children are much 'heavier' on the house than the cat, the wear and tear just seems so much more than when we had no kids, marks on the wall (not even pens just scuffs) and the woodwork from ride ons. Mind you it is my house and I will just repaint in a couple of years.

KellyElly Wed 06-Mar-13 16:42:49

That seems crazy as you'll end up with sharers instead who would potentially cause as much damage if not more than children. I'm much more mindful in rented property now I have a child than I was when I was house sharing in my early 20's and throwing mad parties

SnowyWellies Wed 06-Mar-13 16:42:59

Lord- granted though I have not had the horror stories some have just written! Worst for me was a tenant who swore blind he did not smoke, so not smoking was taken out of the agreement (stupid mistake number 1) and then did.. So that was a grand cleaning curtains and shampooing carpets and repainting that we could not get back as it was not in the agreement. But that (so far touch wood!) is the only thing. But, if you have a 3 bed property- it is fair to expect you will have families.

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 16:43:20

Well yeah akaemmafrost. They expressed surprise when the plumber told them that was the likely cause hmm.

SnowyWellies Wed 06-Mar-13 16:44:08

Sure Molotov!

(makes a note to kick out current tenant.. smile )

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:44:16

It's interesting to read reasons why LLs might have this policy. It's a shame that people who would make the house their home are put out of the running, but yes, with a higher demand for rentals I guess LLs can affor to be picky.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 16:46:26

<faints at the idea of 6 months rent in advance>

teatrolley Wed 06-Mar-13 16:46:36

Like most things it's about risk. Offering a larger deposit may help to swing things in your favour.

SnowyWellies Wed 06-Mar-13 16:47:09

I do not understand it though. I mean- if you are a LL it is in your interest to allow the tenant to be happy and comfortable in their/your home.

besides- my lovely tenant basically pays my mortgage and as I have no pension, I love them. smile

valiumredhead Wed 06-Mar-13 16:48:02

My mum recently tried to rent a flat, she has 2 well behaved cats and even though she offered DOUBLE the deposit and extra rent she was still turned down!

valium, I think with animals it could be an allergy issue, perhaps?

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 16:50:10

It is strange - after all, who would they expect to let a 3 bedroom house in a good school's catchment area to, other than a family? However, TBH, I find blanket "no pet" policies stranger. I have a parrot (who is litter trained and spends all of her time either in her cage or on her play-stand, is mostly silent and never loud, and will never grow to be as big as a pigeon) and a budgie (who is again either in his cage, on his play-tree, or completing his daily 5 circuits of the room). They present no threat to the house, no inconvenience to neighbours, and I would be happy to pay a higher deposit if it would set the landlord's mind at rest, but lots of lettings agents say that there is no flexibility in the rule.

I'd be grateful if any landlords here could give their views on the matter - if you would prefer not to let your properties to owners of small, quiet, caged, non-breeding, non-dangerous pets, why is this? Are there any suggestions a prospective tenant could make that would cause you to reconsider?

I can understand landlords taking issue with pet rodents as they can escape and chew things, or reptiles because their food (crickets) can escape and breed, or dogs/cats etc due to hair shedding and destruction - but even then, surely a higher deposit and possibly a guarantor should be sufficient in all but the most extreme cases?

LessMissAbs Wed 06-Mar-13 16:50:27

I did once do a 3 week holiday let to a family with children, and had to repaint so many walls, as there were drawings and fingerprints on them. I was really astonished that anyone would let their children do that to someone else's house. They did more damage in a month than the students I usually rent to have ever done. And I wouldn't say they were particularly good.

It can actually be cheaper to keep your property empty for a few months waiting for the right tenant, than pay for repairs caused by the wrong tenant.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 16:52:16

Oh, and I'd cheerfully pay to shampoo carpets, clean curtains etc before moving out if allergies were a concern.

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 16:52:34

Nomdeordinateur (Great name smile) I wouldn't have a problem with your bird or a fish or hamster etc. Cats and dogs yes because they nom the carpet and other damage.

firawla Wed 06-Mar-13 16:53:16

we had this problem too. in areas where they know they can rent to students or other sharers it seems LL prefer that. agents told me that sometimes they can get more as they charge per person rent and it adds up to more?? but i found this problem getting worse over time, few yrs back it was only a few people saying but last year we were renting and trying to get somewhere new we could literally not get anywhere in our area without them asking 6 months rent in advance so ending up moving further and still got a total cow of a landlady altho she was happy to accept children in the property she was a nightmare! so now we've moved even more far out. there seems to be not enough propertys to go round in certain areas these day so landlords just take the pee

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 06-Mar-13 16:54:10

I think in reality it comes down to whether someone has children or is bunch of mates who have loads of parties. It down to if those people respect the property they live in. We have 2 DCs who, admittedly have drawn on the walls blush (DS is not allowed any crayons at all anymore!) and all the damage will rectified before we move out. nothing as been done that cant be fixed IYSWIM. My SIL has recently rented and no doubt had people over to her's but I know she wouldnt trash the flat she was in.

However, I also know people with kids who have their children destroy the house they rented. Burn marks on carpets and curtains (LL's) from hair straighteners from older kids, permanant marker on carpets, walls and windows as well as food and god knows what else smeared everywhere..... But that isnt because they had kids, but because they were that way inclined. Same with people who dont have any kids but the place they rent is fucked by the time they move out. imo anyway.

msrisotto Wed 06-Mar-13 16:54:30

6 months! Wow i've not heard of that before.

In the flat we rent out we can't allow pets because that is in the lease. It is a pain in the arse as I don't have a problem with well behaved pets.

We don't allow children because unfortunately when we have previously the damage caused was extensive. We have had to replace carpets because of stains that we couldn't get out, crayoning all over walls, make up smeared into walls, nail varnish spilled in kids bedroom.

I accept that most of this was down to poor parental supervision and some of the damage could have been caused by the parents and they are blaming the kids but it has put us off. We do, however, tell the agents to call us and discuss if they think the people would be ok / are long term.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 17:00:09

MsRisotto - I'm glad to hear that some landlords are reasonable, I wish there were more landlords like you where we live! (And thanks! smile )

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 17:01:46

We've rented whilst having children for 4 years (longer as students). We have a proavable track record, but it feels like we can't even get that far. It's just 'no'.

SnowyWellies Wed 06-Mar-13 17:03:33

Oh, I never thought about no pets being a leashold condition. We do not have that, thankfully. I have no issues with pets at all (although this has never arisen except for fish) and would just make it clear to new tenants there had been pets in case allergies are an issue. I know someone who had a holiday let and she specified no pets, and people snuck a dog in. That caused huge problems because of insurance (? i think) that specified a no pet clause, precisely because of allergies. (I am hazy on the details though) It caused alot of trouble - for what amounted to a long weekend tenancy.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 17:10:59

Glenthebattleostrich - sorry, I didn't see your reply, didn't meant to imply through omission that you were being unreasonable! What a shame about your lease - I find it amazing that the housing market is such in this country that developers/PM companies can place such restrictions on buyers, despite charging so much. If that's the case for most flats then I'll be saving for my own place for a very long time, as I really couldn't be happy without my birds - especially since the parrot has about 40 years left to live, and we could never give her away sad.

I find it amazing that so many people struggle to find suitable rentals that will accept them - I didn't know before reading this thread that children could be a problem in this respect (although I do sympathise with the landlords' concern about property damage). I suppose it will only get worse as the rental market grows...

I'd no more allow either daughter to damage the house than I would myself

It's not a case of allowing them to do it. Sometimes they just do it.

CashmereHoodlum Wed 06-Mar-13 17:14:06

I know a woman who has holiday letting cottages and accepts pets but not children. She used to accept children but not pets but then found that families with children made the lets uneconomical. She would have to do loads of repairs and replacements within a very short time frame between lets. She says she has never had a problem like this with pets.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 17:15:29

SnowyWellies - your poor friend! I think it's more understandable with holiday lets, since there's so little time between tenants to rectify any problems. I'm really surprised to see that some landlords are fine with pets - I wouldn't have guessed, based on my own experience (although that may be due to the lettings agents as much as the landlords)! Strangely enough, the only person who has waived a no pets clause for us was the owner of a holiday cottage, who kindly allows our budgie to go on holiday with us every year while the parrot stays with my parents - as a result, we now assume we'll be holidaying in the very same cottage every year because we appreciate the owner's kindness and understanding smile.

50BalesOfHay Wed 06-Mar-13 17:16:28

We prefer house sharers to families as we get more rent that way

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 17:24:44

Of course stuff just happens NotaDragon but 1) we would repair any damage caused as if it were our own property and 2) if the LL wasn't happy, they could recall the money from the deposit.

ukatlast Wed 06-Mar-13 17:24:44

YANBU. It is really weird because what happens if the sitting tenant gets pregnant and has a baby? You are infringing the rights of childless tenants to have kids/start a family.
They would have to factor a move into their circumstances (expensive) in the event of deciding to throw away the pill packet.
I can understand 'no pets' but not 'no kids'.

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 17:26:10

Funnily enough uka that thought had occured to me in the last 1/2 hour.

pingu2209 Wed 06-Mar-13 17:27:18

I rented a 3 bed bungalow about 4 years ago when my children were 1, 3 and 5. My 3 year old was sitting on his own in the lounge and I heard a ripping sound, he had stared to rip the lining of the curtains. These were floor to pole curtains for patio doors. I was horrified, he wasn't naughty, but kids do strange things.

Then my 5 year old got a hold of a pen and drew a line about 2 foot long across the carpet in his room. We never allow them to do any arts and crafts or drawing etc anywhere but the dining room.

I am really careful with my children and my possessions etc, but even with all my care, things got damaged specifically because of the children.

Our deposit was £1800 but we lost all of it - the patio curtains alone were hundreds.

I do fully understand why landlords don't want children.

DukeSilver Wed 06-Mar-13 17:27:22

What if you moved in then became pregnant? Would you be thrown out?

I have been renting with my dd since she was born and have luckily never come across the no children rule. The no HB one has bit me on the arse a few times though.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 17:38:54

We found this a lot. This will become an even greater problem as more and more people become unable to buy a home or get repossessed.

RustyBear Wed 06-Mar-13 17:39:28

NomDeOrdinateur - I know someone whose parrot literally ate their wall - chewed the plaster off over an area about 2 feet square near his perch and was making a start on the breeze block underneath. Not sure I'd want a parrot in my house after seeing that - you may know your parrot wouldn't do any damage, but how is a landlord to know?

BeeBopDingALing Wed 06-Mar-13 17:41:42

We rent out our house. I can understand the no pets/no children rule tbh although it's not something we do. We take it on an individual basis.

Our first renters were a young couple and they had an exotic pet, they had references from work and also one from their current landlord saying they were great (only reason they had to move was she was selling up). They were great and we were very relaxed with them. They had people stay with them for periods of time and they let us know and we were fine with it. They left the property in perfect condition.

Our second renter was/is MIL, she has installed baby gates for her grandchild (not our DCs) that will need replastering when she moves out. Has cut a hole in the back door for a cat flap which will need replacing when she moves out. However she did ask us before doing these things and we said ok but as long as she covers the cost of repairing the damage by the babygates and replaces the back door. This is ok because she is MIL and we know she will do this, but theres no way I would trust a renter to stick to this.

I think a lot of properties are rented by property management companies and the rules are set by them to make it easy on themselves.

I suggest looking on gumtree and finding a rental house directly through the landlord rather than a management company. Make sure you have good work references and previous/current landlord references, that will go a long way. You could also ask to have it written in the contract that you will replace/repair any damage caused by your DCs/babygates etc (if needed). I would also offer more of a deposit so that if damage is caused then it will cover it, ime deposits often don't.

Hope you find somewhere soon.

FredFredGeorge Wed 06-Mar-13 17:44:38

While the deposit may be for damage, "fair wear and tear" does take account of the people who are resident - so a family with pets would be expected to cause more wear and tear than a single professional who's only using it at weekends.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 17:46:11

To be fair, Quint, you were warned by many not to take on that tenant, who was a nightmare even before she moved in.

Policies like this and private letting in general is why we will not move out of our HA home, even though we are under-occupying by a bedroom. We do not claim HB so are exempted from the new rules.

Until the rental laws are revised in the UK, which will never happen, then people will do what they can to hang onto a social housing home.

slatternlymother Wed 06-Mar-13 17:46:35

YANBU; but it's the landlord's loss.

FWIW we got turned down years ago, because I was pregnant and the landlord didnt want 'a kid wrecking the house' hmm I was really upset actually!

Well, the joke was on him, because 6 months down the line it was still on the market. He eventually shifted it for a full £250pcm less than we were prepared to pay! So 6 months of him paying council tax and a mortgage on the place. His loss grin

Plus, the rental agent doesn't even inspect our house anymore because they say they don't need to because it's the best kept in their whole portfolio, even though we have toddler DC. So we were good tenants!

<sticks tongue out at snooty landlord>

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 17:48:01

The rental market is getting very tight as fewer are able to buy their own home.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 17:48:05

Rusty - my parrot is (and always will be) smaller than a pigeon, and her beak can't even break skin, so she's not physically capable of causing the kind of damage that a big parrot with a big beak can cause. She might manage it if given several years of unsupervised time to do so (although she's much too lazy even in those circumstances), but that would be picked up in an inspection before any expensive damage was done. In any case, she's not allowed out when I'm not in the room.

I can provide evidence to that effect as well as evidence that I can pay for any damage she does manage to cause (and a guarantor to provide further reassurance), and would be happy to commit to it in the contract.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 17:48:33

It's not as easy to take money from a deposit as you seem to believe, there are a lot of restrictions on what can be claimed back. And even then, what if the tennant doesn't pay the last months rent, which seems to happen a lot, or the damage they cause isn't covered by the rent?

Children are undoubtably going to cause more wear and tear. Wear and tear can't be taken out of the deposit, because its an expected consequence of a home being lived in. But landlords still have to pay for it' so its understandable that they would want to keep their costs as low as possible. Refusing to let to children helps to do that.

slipshodsibyl Wed 06-Mar-13 17:53:47

As novice landlords, letting our house while we worked overseas, I told our agent I would prefer a family to four single tenants. He laughed at me before detailing the difference in likely profit and wear and tear.

True expat, and we possibly would not have taken her on if it was not for the fact that the property had then been empty for nearly 5 months, and our monthly mortgage costs were too heavy on top of all the moving costs. She was the only tenant that had shown any interest in the property.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 18:00:26

So where are families who cannot afford to buy their own home supposed to go?

SolomanDaisy Wed 06-Mar-13 18:18:13

I'd ask the letting agent if they could ask the landlord if they'd consider you. The letting agents basically just have a tick list of will you accept children/pets/HB, but that doesn't mean the individual landlord is definite that they would refuse otherwise good tenants. We had 'no pets' ticked, but when someone asked the letting agent about their specific circumstances we said we'd accept the pet.

NomDeOrdinateur Wed 06-Mar-13 18:25:43

Thanks Soloman, will do! smile

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 18:31:51

Despite my saying that children do cause more wear and tear, if I had a family sized home to rent out, I would rent to a family with children. I'd hope that any extra wear and tear they caused would be offset against the fact that they would be more likely to stay longer in the property, therefore saving the cost and hassle of finding new tenants. If I had concerns, I'd ask them to repair before they left. A friend of mine that rents with dc always offers to repaint at the end of a tenancy.

Grindmygears Wed 06-Mar-13 18:33:35

Isn't it discrimination not accepting children? They wouldn't get away with not accepting pensioners would they? The feckers!

Snog Wed 06-Mar-13 18:38:44

I have every sympathy for the OP
However a landlord will generally try to reduce the risk of damage to their property - which can potentially far, far exceed the deposit.
If there is a shortage of rental properties then I guess it will be particularly hard to find a rental if you have kids and/or pets unless you pay a premium rate for the privilege.

I think we need more good quality HA family homes to be available. This should drive down rental costs and also reduce house values. Not to mention giving families more stability in rentals.

whois Wed 06-Mar-13 18:42:43

Grindmygears you can let your house to whoever you wish, if you have several offers on the table you can take the best one.

Children are a nightmare, even well behaved one with good parents! They touch things, swing on thing, pull things, generally muck about being interested in stuff!

I might let to a family or someone with pets but it would depend what other offers I had, and age of the kids/type of pets. I would defo put v regular inspections into the contract.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 18:44:15

There's all this rhetoric about how there's too much HA housing about, it should only be for people who are homeless and tenancies should be limited, but then you see some of the serious barriers that working families in private renting face, which are becoming more and more of an issue as fewer people are able to buy their own home due to lending restrictions.

Well, something has to give! People, including families, need a place to live and they can't all afford to buy properties here.

"So where are families who cannot afford to buy their own home supposed to go?"

Good question. I spend half my time in shock and amazement that a country can get so totally Effed up in regards to housing and difference between Rich and Poor. Coming from a country where there is a very flat structure and few socio economic differences, and were home ownership is the norm not some diamond in the sky I find it hard to get my head around the whole thing. confused

The question should be (from my perspective)

"How did it happen that a society has been allowed to develop where there is not adequate and affordable housing for all?"

Why did not somebody say "hang on a minute, this is not right, we need to put measures in place to ensure we all have a decent standard of living"?

BeeBopDingALing Wed 06-Mar-13 18:47:30

Grindmygears, what you have to remember is that it is the landords property so they are going to try and safeguard it. Not all landlords are rolling in money and nasty. It's not discrimination, it's doing the best thing they can for their position.

For us we tried and tried to sell but couldn't, but had to move for DH's job which ment the only option for us was to rent our house and then rent ourselves in another part of the country. If we had a tenant in that wrecked our house then financially we would be totally up shit creek, totally without a paddle. A lot of people are in the same position.

elfycat Wed 06-Mar-13 18:55:37

I let out 2 houses, and at one point we let out our house while we moved around with Dh's job. I have always allowed pets and children (2 bed terraces, town center locations). I rented long enough, and I would love to have had a cat in this time. I got pets as soon as I bought.

Luckily at the moment I have longer term tenants who seem to be looking after the places and reporting things I need to know. I fully expect to have to redecorate when they leave and I won't be charging it against their deposit. One house is fully-furnished and I'll need to replace the table and chairs and a few other bits that were getting aged and they asked if they could buy their own and dispose of mine. Again not a charge to them.

I know what kids do to a house (looks at the germolene smear down the cream paint in the hall) and it's fair wear and tear. Some landlords don't want the hassle but I don't get voids and that pays for any mess.

RustyBear Wed 06-Mar-13 20:04:35

It does seem that a lot of landlords would rather let bigger houses to students or groups of friends/ young professionals - when DD was at Exeter University, there were many areas that had a very high proportion of multi-occupancy houses. So much so that the council has now established several areas where no new licences will be granted for multi-occupancy. I think other university towns may go this way too.

jojane Wed 06-Mar-13 20:14:05

When we were last looking to rent we saw a lovely 4 bed detached house right in the country side near the village we wanted to get our children into. Good price and was perfect.
Unfortunately they stated
No children
No pets
No smokers
No dss
No house sharers

So basically they wanted a couple to rent this big 4 bed house! It wasn't I macular either (basically the sort of place good for children as you wouldn't be worried they would fall through the trendy glass bannister and the tiled floors would be easy to wipe mud up when you weren't quick enough about getting wellies off etc.

TheRivieraKid Wed 06-Mar-13 20:43:20

I find it interesting that landlords who have families of their own won't rent out their properties to families 'in case the kids wreck things'. Just seems a bit wrong to me, but then we are a nation of haves and have-nots.

Rustybear is right about university towns, I live in one, and the majority of rental places, especially in the less expensive parts of town, are house shares. This prices out a large section of people needing homes. I own my home, but am currently seriously considering divorce with my husband. The fact that I have a small DD and a cat so will struggle to find suitable housing is one of the major reasons why I'm still flogging this dead horse that is my marriage. And I suspect I'm not alone in being in this situation.

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Mar-13 20:50:59

Another thought is that if the house is in the catchment to a very good school, the landlord might be sick of families renting it for only long enough to get their DCs in the school then moving again - leaving them to go through the hassle of finding new tenants again.

It could be worth contacting the letting agent again and offering to sign a 1 year (or longer) tenancy agreement if they are worried about that...

DontmindifIdo Wed 06-Mar-13 20:54:30

TheRivieraKid - it makes perfect sense, people with DCs of their own have a much better idea of the damage DCs can do even with the best supervision...

quoteunquote Wed 06-Mar-13 21:00:04

Where I live, most the properties are rented on the bid ahead, so anyone suitable to be a tenant, will bid the rent in advance,

So you pay, a deposit, and the months advance rent, minimum six months, usually twenty four months (with a provisos for increase in rent or early eviction) , if you don't renew, six months before the end of the tenancy, it opens for bids again, this is becoming the more popular way of letting.

If you are interested in a particular property, contact the landlord directly and offer a deposit, that will stop them worrying about repairs, often people tick the no pets, or children box, because they go for the easiest option.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 21:02:11

I have a mate who is working in a fairly well-paid job, a lone parent to two older children, about 9 and 11. Her LL is selling up, she found another home to rent, gave notice, packed up. 3 days before she was due to move, the LL of the new place said, 'Sorry, I've let it as a houseshare.'


TheRivieraKid Wed 06-Mar-13 21:05:09

Which takes me back to my point about us being a nation of haves and have-nots, Dontmind - those who rent out the properties have somewhere their own children can grow up, while renters don't.

Anyone of any age can make damage to a property. But I appreciate everything is down to the landlord's decision.

specialsubject Wed 06-Mar-13 21:10:27

this was such a reasonable and interesting thread, until the usual landlord-haters turned up.

I had both sharers and families. More damage from the family with small kids, sadly -wall scribbles and scribbles on the bath (WTF?). That said, it wasn't the small child who left the hair straighteners on the windowsill.

BTW many landlords cannot take DSS tenants due to insurance restrictions. House-shares make more money BUT there are a lot of extra duties on the landlord.

curiousgeorgie Wed 06-Mar-13 21:16:46

I phoned one to rent for six months as our buyer wanted to move into our place and we hadn't found another place yet.

We have a pretty crazy spaniel and (at the time) a 1 year old DD...

They said the landlord was fine about the dog but wanted a couple with no kids.

Now that makes no sense AT ALL.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 21:24:27

People are asking questions, not 'landlord hating'. Where are people supposed to go, honestly? Fewer and fewer people are able to purchase their own home because of lending restrictions. More and more need a place to live. Yet, this OP, who is in a good position, references, good job, deposits, is finding it hard to get a place to live.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 06-Mar-13 21:26:29

I can understand why people prefere not to rent their properties to families. I came across this when I was looming did not think twice about it or them not wanting pets.

I rent out my flat no dss and no pets and preferred to rent it out to a couple who now have a baby on the way they're good tenants so I am happy for them to stay

FreudiansSlipper Wed 06-Mar-13 21:29:28

I prefer no children becau I know what damage ds did to the walls with a box of crayons and to the carpets with playdoh

MolotovCocktail Wed 06-Mar-13 21:58:23

I've been really taken aback by some of the responses this evening, particularly the 'haves and have nots' comment and how, as private tenants, we are currently backed into a very tight corner due to restrictions.

Both very (and sadly) true.

I'd love to buy our own house, but we just can't raise the usual 25%
deposit. I'd love to have space; to put our roots down with the house as well as the location.

I'd like to add that this isn't a "LL hating" thread. We've had some wonderful LLs and I understand that some/most want to preserve their property whilst making maximum profits. That people earning a good wage like us cannot afford to buy, yet cannot get what we need rental-wise is, for us, a result of high-demand for few properties and picky agents/LLs. Not to mention the legacy of previous governments and the actions of the current coalition.


Will give gumtree a go!

chickenfactory Wed 06-Mar-13 22:12:47

We bought our four bed house from couple with no kids, deposit/money issues meant they couldn't buy again, they are renting another four bed house in same area. Go figure.
My uncle is in a four bed with his three kids, 8 identical houses in the same street, the rest are all retired or professional couples. Supply and demand I suppose, if there are plenty of renters with no kids.

blackeyedsusan Wed 06-Mar-13 22:16:34

I was going to say dcs have not caused much damage.... then I remembered the blu tak in the carpet... grin the living room carpet I estimate at £300 to replace (without underlay) or about £400.

considering ds has asd we have got away with damage lightly.

their dad rented the place before we bought it. he let someone rent out the little bedroom. the was a stain/burn in the middle of the carpet about 2 feet coss, black oil on the paintwork and he ruined the cooker top with burrned on food that has never come off. (and I haave tried) ( til I decided that the cooker was so old and decrepit anywy that i would not bother!)

the only reason he did not lose the deposit was that we bought off the landlord and inherited the mess.

ihategeorgeosborne Wed 06-Mar-13 22:17:09

I hear you Cocktail. We rent from a private land lord and we have 3 DC. In fairness he has grandchildren about the same age as our DC and so that has never been a problem for us. We've been here for 6 years and still desperately trying to save for a deposit to buy our own house. The house we rent was never in the best state of decor to start with. I think we've painted it more than they have. I do worry though about what would happen to us if our land lord wanted us out for whatever reason. We still aren't close to a 20% deposit and I didn't realise it might be so hard to rent elsewhere with DC. Something seriously needs to change on the housing front in this country. Maybe once renters start to out number owners, governments might start to do something.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 22:18:46

I don't think it's about haves and have nots at all. It might be easy for some people to see it that way if they feel they have no chance of ever owning, but it's not the truth. There are wealthy landlords, but there are also many many more that are landlords through circumstance, or because they have their own problems because of the state of the housing market, or even just because they are investing in property rather than risking a pension. That doesn't make them rich 'haves' it just makes them people trying to get along like everyone else, not people who are spending their tenants hard earned rent or HB on shoes and sports cars.

ananikifo Wed 06-Mar-13 22:31:34

I don't see how this isn't discrimination. Landlords (influenced by estate agents, from the sound of things) are basically refusing to rent to someone based on the age of some of the residents (the children), or based in their family situation. I've often wondered how these leases would hold up if taken to the human rights court, ie isn't there protection for families, pregnant women, and children?

I'm now pregnant, living in a "no children" rental, and thankfully we are in the process of buying a home so we can put nonsense like this behind us. It's horrible to think that people all around the country are in the horrible situation of being able to afford a rental property for their families but not being able to find one because of this.

I've just come to the end of my 2 years renting (hopefully for good). It has been horrid. I have been a really good tennant with children and dog (thank you LL) and now we're wrestling over deposit return. The LL has SOLD the house and yet we're still negotiating cutting back shrubs and replacing a lost grill pan. WHY??? The new owners have had their offer accepted on the basis of the condition they saw the house in(that was ME that hoovered, showed them round etc...)

I'm aggrieved that they've had over 24k in rent from me. The deposit is loads of money to me, but they've made a considerable sum on rent and house sale. They've had their pound of flesh, let me have my money back please!

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 22:44:48

And yet no one has answered the question, 'Where are tenants like the OP supposed to go?'

This is someone with good wage, good references, good job. It's not like you can just walk out on that job and move because you can't find a place to rent that will take your children. And moving farther and farther out may mean it becomes unaffordable, but in this day and age, you really need to hang onto a good job.

If LL's are allowed to say, 'No children', fair enough, but it doesn't help people in the OPs situation or the growing number of people who find themselves in it.

In the recent past such people would have probably been able to secure a mortgage. Now, they can't.

What is the government going to do about it vis a vis the private rental market, where they ultimately want most people who don't own to be. Fair enough, again, but the system as it stands isn't working for more and more who are in private rent.

We've seen from threads on here and in real life that the private rental market is becoming tighter as fewer and fewer people are able to buy at all.

Yet the only policies we've had are those that worsen things.

Why? Why is it landlord bashing to start talking about these things?

Because it's already happening.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 22:54:26

The only thing the government could to to help would be to build more housing. It wouldn't even matter if it became social housing or private, because if there was more housing then landlords wouldn't be able to pick and choose tenants like they can now.

Whatever the government does, if they do anything, they can't and shouldn't do anything that benefits one group of people while being detrimental to another group of people.

ihategeorgeosborne Wed 06-Mar-13 22:59:05

expat, knowing the government, they'll bribe land lords with tax payers money to 'persuade' them to let to families with children. They certainly won't do anything which might inconvenience those with property or to try and do something really useful for renters like build more houses. I can see it now in the next budget "more tax breaks for landlords". At all costs, they must keep house prices high you see. We mustn't do the sensible thing and make them affordable to the average wage. I simply cannot fathom this government, or the previous one come to that.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 23:03:18

I am a ll and we love families with kids. They stay put because of schools etc, they pay the rent, they treat the house as a home and look after it and generally cause absolutely no ag.

Get a couple of professionals and they buggar off after six months and you still invariably have to paint etc. Rather do a refurb after five/seven years than every six months. And that's without factoring in voids, the hassle of changing bill accounts etc etc.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 23:37:34

They won't, though, Clouds, that's the problem, or if they did it would be crap subcontractors to build crap housing like that where so many died in those floods 60 years ago, oh, what's it, the anniversary was just last month or in January, this freak storm to hit the E. Coast and all these people in thrown up housing died.

We must understand that there will be increasing numbers of families like the OP and my mate, working, reasonably well-paid, good references, with children, who can't get housing even at market rates which they can and are willing to pay.

And they can't get a one-bedroom and cram in because no one will let like that with two children and it's against the laws in many councils. If you lie and get found out you will be evicted.

So where exactly do they go? This mate of mine has had to present as homeless. She is so embarrassed and ashamed, but she literally has no place else to go till she finds another landlord, and she's in a university town. She has no family or friends nearby or that can help and she really can't leave her job, but reasonably-paid as it is, she can't afford to put up in an hotel until she finds a let and it is a university town.

Her children's father cannot fled back to his native Australia a year after their divorce

And this is not someone on welfare, she earns £27k/annum. There's no way to save on that amount when you are supporting 3 people and paying childcare. You are not entitled to anything but child benefit on that. It's little in the Southeast.

She's had to go this route in hopes she'll find a place to live in the month she has in the homeless flat.

But honestly, it's not an uncommon scenario.

I think that's wrong.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 23:43:16

I think it's wrong too expat, I just don't think landlords should be expected to pay the price of fixing it. It's not their fault any more than its the fault of people like your friend.

expatinscotland Wed 06-Mar-13 23:58:22

I agee with you there, Clouds, but there must be some solution, because this situation, even from what you see anectodatally, is getting more common.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Mar-13 00:05:06

There is a solution. Build more housing! But, even if we had a government that was prepared to do that, we would still have problems, and there would still be people that had to live away from where they want to live for families and jobs. Cities and large towns are already crowded, new homes would have to be built further out, along with the infrastructure to go with them.

This is something that should have been done back when we had a strong economy.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 01:39:44

But it hasn't been, Cloud, and now that is water under a bridge. This is now. There is still nothing being done to address this problem. It is growing worse, and will do so, in the new fiscal year.

What will it take?

These people are not even on a low wage. These are working people, in jobs that you can't just give up and move. And also if the new duty on petrol is brought in in April the price of commuting even by public transport will rise.

Let us take those on £26-32K/annum. A wage for the not un-skilled. Such people may well have a family. They are not entitled to anything but Child Benefit. Such people dare not leave their jobs, often enough, and it will be difficult for such people to find similar employment, when they are afar.

This is too little, especially in the Southeast and increasingly in all major cities in the UK, to save much with the cost of food and fuel to heat and to travel rising, not to mention childcare even after-school.

Yes, the solution is to build but this government will not. If they do not stay the increased fuel duty it will be even worse for everyone, as the cost of transport will rise, and also the cost of food.

People who say that food is too cheap do not take into consideration the cost of everything else - rents, travel to work, food, council tax and heat. Those who say the Victorians coped ignore the HUGE rate of infant and child mortality (death before the age of 5) that was present then. It is not so easy as 'just move' when the price of your railcard has increased by 20+% in the space of two years.

You cannot put the cart before the horse.

You reap what you sow.

monsterchild Thu 07-Mar-13 01:57:29

I'm a LL and allow kids and pets. In fact I think that families are a safer bet because they are less likely to move than singletons. The fact that other LL won't makes them almost unable to move. My rental used to be my house and I'd had pets so there isn't much left that can be destroyed.

havingamadmoment Thu 07-Mar-13 02:32:59

I am in the same position OP. when we moved into our current house 3 years ago renting with children was no problem. We need to over again now as our landlord is for whatever reason not paying his mortgage and we are finding it impossible.

We have 5 children we both work, we have good references from previous landlords, we have money in the bank and have offered both 6 months up front and extra deposit. We don't claim housing benefit, smoke or have pets. the houses we are looking at are in the higher price range for our (relatively cheap) area so up to £1250 a month and have at least 5 bedrooms. The last one this week was 7 bedrooms. We have been refused from them all because of our children.

We will be homeless soon despite having tens of thousands in the bank (saved as a deposit to buy - which we were also refused as we are self emto use, decent jobs and a 12 year track

havingamadmoment Thu 07-Mar-13 02:39:15

Oops posted to soon -
12 year track record of renting with no late payments. We went to the hosing association who said that while of course we could put our name down but since we need a larger house (4 beds) and most of their properties are 1 or 2 bedroom flats or retirement flats we would pretty much never get one. So the alternative is that we are going to end up in a bed and breakfast.

We have actually had more luck looking at moving abroad since our business is 100% online we could do that but it would mean the three people who work for us losing their jobs. What choice do we have really though - keep them in a job and have our children homeless or keep a roof over our heads while potentially taking theirs away?

MidniteScribbler Thu 07-Mar-13 03:15:38

Birds are my one absolutely no way, not happening thing with my rental property. I'm horribly allergic to bird lice, and DS seems to be the same, and since I plan on moving back in to that property one day, I'm sorry, but I just won't allow them.

I do have a single mother with two children with ASD and five dogs living in my house though, so I'm not a completely horrible landlord. grin

Just an anecdote, but it fits on this thread. DH and I are looking for a new place and we don't have kids. We looked at some two-bed places because we wanted a spare room so his mum can come stay, so naturally got the questions about whether we had children. A few LL said they'd drop the rent for us because we don't, so obviously there'd be two people not three in the property.

What amused me was that on LL DH rang up asked if we had kids. So DH says no. And the LL says 'and are you planning to? Because if you do I would like to know.' We assumed she was just being immensely nosy, and it didn't really occur to me she might have meant 'because I will not rent to you if so'. It wasn't an issue because we didn't like the house.

But honestly, what would/could they do if you moved in on a twelve-month contract and had a baby? confused

How much damage could a non-mobile baby do anyway? (naive?).

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 09:28:54

LRD a baby can vomit onto the carpets. Also, we had a few poo and pee accidents on the carpets, basically explosive ones that leaked out from the changing mat. Do you get a 12-month contract? I've always only got 6 months and then rolling. I think they'll keep you if they see you are still looking after the property well after you had the baby. It's just they don't want to take the risk with someone they don't know.

From a business POV, professional couples are the best tenants. If there are lots of tenants to choose from, obviously the landlord is going to pick the best. It's just human nature.

Fair enough, I can see that.

I have a 12 month contract with no break clause atm. It's fine for this property - like I said, we didn't end up taking that house because the LL seemed a bit funny in other ways. I just found it a bit bizarre that she thought it was ok to ask if we were planning babies. I found it intrusive, frankly.

I can understand the LL wanting to pick - we've been turned down because I work at home and that will be more wear and tear than if I didn't (though I wouldn't have thought much!). I just thought asking about an as-yet-unconceived baby was, well, funny.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 09:33:19

Don't understand the cases where they won't rent to children in a 5-7 bed house though. Is it a student town? Are there going to be any professional singleton or couple renting that large a house? If it's a shared flat, surely that's worse than a family? No one does any housework in a house share!

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 09:35:06

LRD shocked about the work from home .... That's the first one I've heard. I've heard the no kids or pets before.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 09:36:12

My DH has really worked over the last 12 months (since DD2 was born and It became obvious that we can't comfortably stay where we are) and has secured a job which would enable us to pay an extra £200pcm rent. This theoretically means that we could rent the house we need.

We cant manage to save any more than the usual monies needed to move house - its not feasible with living costs, travel expenses, having
2 young children to care for, etc. We have the deposit. We can afford the amount needed. We're meeting barriers which, from my point of view, are ridiculous, and firmly put us at a disadvantage.

It just feels like everything is there for the LLs benefit. Of course, it is the LLs property, so I understand this need. However, it's not like the LLs are doing us a favour. We pay to live in that property under a
contract. And if I could, I'd like to be paying our own ortgage instead, but it just hasn't happened that way for us. I spent too long at uni thinking that's what I needed to do to get a good job to secure our future, but it hasn't worked out that way. We were ready to buy after the housing bubble had burst. Then we had our children and - saving £££££££s is nigh on impossible hard.

We looked at a property in January (this one with just a no pets policy). I loved it, until the LL said that we could only use 1/2 the garage because they needed somewhere to park their lawnmower (one of those sit-on jobbies). I saw one in November that I absolutely fell in love with, but that LLs daughter live next door and she said we would have to be "considerate with parking because my daughter has lots of visitors".

Both these properties were the best part of £1k pcm.

These points I'm making because I think they further illustrate my point about the pickiness of LLs. To be completely honest, the situation is doing my head in.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 09:40:26

Am shock shock shock at what LRD has retold!

one - to be fair, I think LL have a choice and sometimes just think 'mmm, no!'. I expect if you saw me and DH, and a nice professional couple both with good jobs, you might just think we're a bit less smart-looking. Actually we look after places ridiculously well and have the references from the LL to say so, but you never know how people decide things.

To be honest I always try to steer clear of houses where the LL is setting a lot of conditions, because it's often a sign they view the house as their home (often if they've moved out of it to live elsewhere), and that can be a nightmare because of course it's your home when you move in.

I am shocked about the 5-7 bedroom houses too, though ... would they be looking for holiday lets or something? confused Surely that could be quite hard on wear too?

BlueSkySunnyDay Thu 07-Mar-13 09:42:51

I havent read the whole thread so I apologise.

My husband was asked by a letting agent to quote for work to put right damage done by a tenant and her children, the price ran into thousands. As she was evicted due to non payment of rent there was no "deposit" left to pay for repairs. The photos and work ran to about 6 pages and the only way of getting any money back would be to take her to court.

The children had scribbled on every wall, broken furniture and obviously swung on the kitchen cupboard doors as they were hanging off. A large percentage of carpets had to be replaced as they had stains on plus food and crayons walked into them. I cant believe that anyone would treat another persons property in this way but some people just have no sense of right and wrong.

I appreciate this may sound harsh but a number of landlords are just people who without pensions have invested in a house which needs to pay for itself and eventually (hopefully) be sold for a profit. You may not be the kind of tenant which behaves in this way but is it worth taking the risk if the house can be let to someone who is less of a gamble?

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 09:42:54

Do you want to know the most ironic thing about this?
If it were not for our children because of DD1 (and in a few years DD2) and school, we'd be a lot more flexible as to where we'd be prepared to move to.

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 09:43:30

If there are enough tenants that the house will be full anyway then they can pretty much put whatever restrictions on that they like, even unreasonable ones.

YANBU to be "miffed", that's a reasonable response.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 09:51:07

I feel for LLs in a way; that they might be unwilling to accept families because they've had bad experience(s) previously.

It makes me feel sad/frustrated for us because we - and many like us - are penalised for others bad treatment of the properties. Anywhere I live, I treat like a palace <shakes head> I don't like the idea that some think my kids are gonna fuck up their house, you know, because kids are grubby. It's really insulting.

LRD we've bought our home (well have a mortgage) and there's a covenant on the house that we can't work from home - it's apparently to stop people setting up taxi businesses etc outside their home and causing a nuisance to other neighbours, so the LL may just be passing on pre-existing restrictions on the property.

Saying that, if LLs are loathe to rent to parents with young children, as they're at home all day, I can kind of see the rationale for you not working from home. however, would they also turn away a couple where only one of them worked, as the non working partner would be at home all day as well?

Snowywellies you sound like such a lovely landlord!

OP YANBU. It is incredibly frustrating.

I was kicked out of my flat when my son was 9 months old as the letting agent said it wasn't suitable for children. I had pnd & she was a truly awful agent, so had no energy to fight & just wanted to get away from her. Managed to eventually find the house we are in now. The agent is lovely & doesn't bother us, but the house needs lots doing to it & the landlord is pretty slack & doesn't like to spend money.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 10:04:37

And, whether it's LLs being discerning as to when they choose to let their properties to, I have to admit that it feels like discrimination to me.

We rented our first property in 2001, and other in 2008. We literally walked into them. We had no children then, but we literally said 'we'll take it' and we were in the next month. No choices in terms of competition from others IYSWIM. Been here 2 years and there was more interest, but no 'competition'. Very much first come, first served.

Now our application gets handed to the LL who can pick and choose.

I wouldn't be so bothered, but I've never cared more about where we live than I do now

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 10:08:52

And I care so much because of my girls.

pickled I can't believ you were asked to leave because of that reason. That's awful!

Madmum24 Thu 07-Mar-13 10:13:34

I searched for a rental property for 3 years; total nightmare because I have 4 kids. Everytime I went to apply for the property the estate agent would say "LL prefers max of 2 kids" fair enough. A friend of mine has 8 kids and three rellies but told her landlord she only has four. When he comes to visit the house they have to be hidden in the ensuite!

In the end I offered 5 months rent and deposit upfront and estate agent nearly fell at my feet to sign the contract there and then.

ihategeorgeosborne Thu 07-Mar-13 10:19:48

Listening to others' nightmare stories on here, I'm starting to think our landlord is great!! We started renting here in 2007 and had two DC. We now have 3, but landlord was always cool about the kids. They did give us a proper 'full-on' interview. Wanted to know our income and insisted on previous references which is fair enough. We told them we'd treat the place like our own, which we do. They don't do much to be honest. We do all minor repairs as we don't like to bother them. They did put the rent up though last week, so will ask them to do some jobs which desperately need doing now. Perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to want to move from here based on what everyone else is saying.

Flobbadobs Thu 07-Mar-13 10:25:10

We will soon be LL's and are advertising the house as a good one for families as it has a good layout, biggish bedrooms and a garden. My issue would be pets but only because there are an awful lot of animals already living on the street. It would really depend on the animal and its nature I think.
YANBU to be miffed at all, it seems very short sighted.

Kendodd Thu 07-Mar-13 10:36:03

Sorry haven't read the whole thread.

Somebody I know was actually evicted from her home when she became pregnant, perfectly legally I should add.

I looked into this a lot afterwards. Round here about 35% for suitable housing bans children, this would be illegal discrimination against families in many many other comparable countries. IMO it should be illegal here too. For one it unfairly discriminates against women because single parent families are mostly headed by women. Can you imagine if landlords were allowed (openly) to ban Indians (for example) because they cook curry (I'm sure plenty won't have them anyway, I know the system isn't perfect). We would rightly be outraged and the landlord would (hopefully) be prosecuted.

Children don't choose to be children, they have no choice, they can't just change what they are. They also IMO have as much right as the landlords banning them to walk the earth and that includes fair access to housing. If landlords don't want to want to provide fair access to all the different groups needing housing then they shouldn't be a landlord IMO. Fair enough, ban people have have a choice in what they do/are (smokers for example) but not people who don't.

I think the pendulum has swung to far in the landlords favour giving tenants too few rights, and I say this as a private landlord myself.

Yes Molotov I was pretty shocked too! Was a lucky escape really, she was awful & well known for being an utter nightmare.

I hope you find somewhere soon. The rental market is ridiculous, sky high prices and lots of competition. My mum has just started renting for the first time ever, and was horrified at how hard it was to get a place. The conditions some of the agents have are stupid.

LaQueen Thu 07-Mar-13 10:42:57

Well...our friends used to be landlords. And, rented out a new build 3-bed detached house to a family with toddlers.

They took a £1500K deposit...but, when the family moved out, that didn't even come close to repairing the damage.

All the carpets had to be changed, every wall had to be re-painted. Basically, the parents had let their toddlers trash the house, crayon all over the walls, juice spilled on all the floors.

The parents just shrugged it off, and said 'But, that's what kids do.'

Er, no, not all of them.

I'm probably going to get flamed, but I have a well behaved cat the landlord doesn't know about. She sleeps all day & goes out all night. I know I know, I should have told the letting agent, but after being chucked out of the flat, we were desperate to get somewhere, and throwing a cat into the mix would have meant we were even less likely to get somewhere. I am a great tenant in every other way, honest!

fire - ahh, that's interesting, that must be it.

LessMissAbs Thu 07-Mar-13 10:47:33

Kendodd I think the pendulum has swung to far in the landlords favour giving tenants too few rights, and I say this as a private landlord myself

I think its the opposite myself - landlords are extra wary of risk because rights have swung so far in favour of tenants. Certainly this year I've rented my flats far more easily than in previous years, I've had 6 or 7 different groups of organised tenants after each, and you can take your pick. I think this is because the city which I rent in has such draconian regulations that many landlords have simply sold up, or sit on empty properties as investments.

If a landlord makes a wrong decision and gets in a tenant who trashes a property and/or doesn't pay the rent, it takes months to evict them. And whats the alternative in such a scenario - you could not seriously expect a landlord to simply provide free of charge accommodation to a tenant who was trashing a property.

I think the State is too much wanting private landlords to take on the role of the State in providing accommodation, but thats never going to work, as landlords are generally motivated by profit and investment return, and the State simply has to fulfill a duty from taxpayer's money.

LadyFlumpalot Thu 07-Mar-13 10:52:32

When my partner and I moved out if our last rented property we re-painted the whole lot (got the paint code from a leftover tin in the lift so it matched), rented a carpet cleaner and a steam cleaner and left the place looking a new as when we moved in.

I always thought that was just what tenants were supposed to do?? Are you lot telling me I could have saved 2 weeks worth of rent on two houses, two weeks worth of painting and all those rental costs?!

ihategeorgeosborne Thu 07-Mar-13 10:52:38

I'd much rather be in a position to buy my own house rather than rent. We pay the same rent as a mortgage in any case. DH is a higher rate tax payer, so technically we have a good income. However, getting that 20% deposit together is a bit tricky in this climate with inflation through the roof. House prices are still too high and have further to fall. Whether the government will allow that to happen is another story.

LadyFlumpalot me too! I thought that was what most people did. I've lived in places where I've had to provide proof of carpet cleaning receipts.
I have been royally screwed over by landlords in the past with regards to my deposit. The rent deposit protection scheme thing is fantastic, I feel much more secure now that is a requirement.

SolomanDaisy Thu 07-Mar-13 11:08:46

It might not always be a terrible thing if the landlord just asks about children or even plans for children (as in LRD's post). I asked our tenants to let us know if they have children as I think the spindles are too far apart and will have them replaced as soon as there is a child living there.

I think we need changes in the law to make good tenants more secure while protecting landlords from non-payers. It's difficult to imagine the set of laws we need as they will have a huge impact on a lot of the market e.g. security for tenants will make mortgage companies reluctant to give consent to let.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 11:20:43

ihategeorgeosborne it's one of those myths throwing around that you need 20% deposit. We got our place in the crash in 2009 with less than 15%, so it's a 90% LTV loans. A few at my work took the same opportunity and they don't have 20% either. The only thing I regretted was a 2 year fix. Should have gone for a tracker back then, but no one has a crystal ball, do they?

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 11:21:07

I mean we have somewhere between 10-15%, can't remember exactly.

ananikifo Thu 07-Mar-13 11:40:05

lesmissabs It is not the government's job to provide accommodation to families who can perfectly well afford it privately! The potential tenants we are talking about here are only disadvantaged because landlords discriminate against them (I'm sorry but there's no other word). Why should the government pick up the bill?

The problem I see in this country is that the assumption seems to be that most people will own homes, needy people will get subsidised housing, and private renting is only for students or very young adults, and only for a few years. In reality the private rental market needs to be fair and accessible as more and more people are depending on it, and for much longer. The idea of people being evicted for being pregnant, or refused housing for having children, is not something this country should be proud of. As someone else said, this is not allowed in many other countries.

I would agree though that there needs to be a way to get money back from tenants who cause a lot of damage. Like others, I have shampooed carpets and repaired damage being leaving rentals and I think this is a completely reasonable expectation.

Jammother Thu 07-Mar-13 11:41:47

I have had a terrible experience with one LA. We viewed a house and it was perfect for us because the owners accepted a dog. We agreed to take it and went back to the office to sign the paperwork. They insisted they needed three months of bank statements to prove we could pay the rent. Ok hmm but we wanted the house. They made me print my statements off in the office and then I spent a humiliating half an hour where I was grilled on every transaction – ‘what is Quidco?’ ‘How many credit cards do you have?’ They then took our holding deposit to take it off the market.

They phoned two days later saying we were not a good financial bet and they had let the property to someone else (despite having our holding deposit). I have been renting for ten years and have never missed a rental payment, left outstanding bills behind, damaged a property. I wouldn’t have had to go through that kind of humiliation (‘you have a lot of debt don’t you?) to get credit facilities.

ihategeorgeosborne Thu 07-Mar-13 11:47:58

ToddlerTerror, The difference in repayments is huge though. With a 10% deposit we were quoted about £300 a month more for a mortgage than with a 20%. I worry too that interest rates will go up as they surely have to at some point soon. Wouldn't like to be stuck with a 90% mortgage with an increase in interest. I think we are living in worrying times. It feels like we're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

As others have said, I thought it was normal to thoroughly clean your rented house before moving out. Our old landlord was amazed at how clean the oven was in our old house after I'd cleaned it. He said he'd never seen it so clean. Took me bloody ages though!

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 11:53:26

If I had a 10% deposit, plus the money for fees and solicitors etc, the mortgage repayments on my current house (assuming 5% interest rate, 25 years) would be 30% more than we are currently paying in rent.

ihategeorgeosborne Thu 07-Mar-13 11:57:07

That's what I worry about Trills which is why we rent.

Quenelle Thu 07-Mar-13 11:57:18

It's not always because they think children will cause damage to the house.

My friend rented her house when she moved abroad and had to specify no children because there was no bannister on the staircase. It would have been too easy for a child to fall sideways off the stairs and short of installing a bannister there was no way to make it safe. This was her home that she intended to return to after a few years and she didn't want/couldn't afford to make any major modifications.

As it happened the tenant got pregnant after moving in which put my friend in a potentially difficult position. Fortunately the tenants moved of their own accord before the baby was mobile.

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 07-Mar-13 12:31:33

I think landlords can get more money out of a houseshare- with either students or other young people. I disagree that these people will cause more damage- yes they might be messy but mess is usually as far as it goes, and most of the student house shares I have been in recently are actually kept generally clean and tidy! Some landlords also seem to prefer relatively short term rents, as they can change the rent by a larger amount at the end of the term.

I also think some landlords unfortunately prefer students/first time renters as they may be less aware of their rights re: viewings, inspections, deposits, eviction etc.

Obviously this is not right, and obviously there are other advantages to renting to families. I would suggest looking for private landlords, who you may be able to negotiate with more easily, or going into a lettings agent and asking them what they do have in the area that can be rented to a family with children.

Patchouli Thu 07-Mar-13 12:40:36

I was a LL for a while (never again)
Had the tenant from hell and it came to having to evict him. Really stressful and expensive all round. If there'd been children involved it would have just been awful.
Basically I wouldn't want the responsibility of having children in a property, as evicting or anything if things go wrong could be horrible.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 12:46:38

Slowloris I agree that houseshares pay more. I'm in a university town and most of the large houses have been converted to student flats. However I think they are layout differently from family homes. They tend to have a lot of bedrooms for a start.

DontmindifIdo Thu 07-Mar-13 12:49:32

Patchouli - I hadn't thought about that, you read on threads on here where families are given notice they are told to stay until they are formally evicted in order to get the council to house them, perhaps some LL's have been burned by that and see that it's harder to get families out when you want the flat/house back at the end of the tenancy (I would imagine this is more of a fear for those who are renting out a property they intend to live in again rather than one that's purely a business purchase)

PanickingIdiot Thu 07-Mar-13 12:52:32

It is not the government's job to provide accommodation to families who can perfectly well afford it privately! The potential tenants we are talking about here are only disadvantaged because landlords discriminate against them (I'm sorry but there's no other word). Why should the government pick up the bill?

Who should pick up the bill then?

If the tenants can "perfectly well afford" private accommodation, they should do what other posters suggested: cough up a big enough deposit so they are competitive against more attractive prospective tenants. Landlords don't have an obligation to provide accommodation to anyone, which is why claims of "discrimination" will never get you very far in this context. It's a supply and demand thing, offers that are not competitive get overlooked, that's all.

Patchouli Thu 07-Mar-13 13:01:27

Dontmind I think any tenant is advised to sit tight when given notice to quit - ours was. But feeling responsible for evicting a family with children would be emotionally difficult I think.
I'd rather not enter into a contract involving DCs.

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 13:21:31

I think any tenant is advised to sit tight when given notice to quit - ours was.

Isn't that called "being a dick"? That's a totally unreasonable thing to do. You moved into the house with the understanding that at some point the landlord might want their property back, and signed a contract agreeing what notice should be given if they want you to leave or if you want to leave. If they give you the appropriate notice you should say "fair enough, that's what we agreed" and leave.

(and I say that as someone who has moved 3 times in the last 2 1/2 years as the result of landlords deciding to sell the property I was living in).

eggso Thu 07-Mar-13 13:24:43

Deposit at my house is to cover the last months rent before we move, this has been the case of 2 of the 5 houses we've rented in the last five years (we live moving grin. So if the deposit is for that, the landlord doesn't have much insurance really.

Our current landlord asked for a couple/family because he was sick of dirty students ruining his houses!

Patchouli Thu 07-Mar-13 13:25:32

Yep, I thought he was being a dick.
The advice he got from CAB was to sit tight though. It probably was to do with having the council house him.

ananikifo Thu 07-Mar-13 13:30:05

PanickingIdiot: I support more regulation of the private rental market. I would support landlords being able to recover money for their damages beyond the value of the deposit, as I think these extremely high (5 MONTHS?!) deposits imposed on families are extortionate, and should be capped. The government here doesn't put many restrictions on landlords (compared to other countries) and then pays to house people who could afford to rent privately if they could find a place.

I come from Canada and where I've rented back home there was a limit on how much they could demand as a deposit, and the main criteria they could use to refuse you a lease was if the rent too high compared to your income. This sounds revolutionary here but to me it's just basic fairness.

Booyhoo Thu 07-Mar-13 13:39:04

Interesting thread, im a tenant but i can totally see both sides of the argument. Ive only read the first page but Im wondering if one solution might be for prospective tenants to permit prospective LL/ agent to visit them in their current home as part of the application to see how well they look after it and whether it meets the standards they would expect in their property.

babyfirefly1980 Thu 07-Mar-13 13:42:31

I don't get this either, renting a 3/4 bed house but not allowing children, pets I can understand.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 13:44:25

If it came to putting 5/6 months rent in advance so that we look good over any competition would mean we'd be stuck here for a while yet.

We can "well afford" the monthly rental. We've saved enough for 1-2 months rent in advance for the deposit and moving costs. This doesn't mean that we can "well afford" £5-6k to prove to an agent/LL that we're a safe bet, or something like that. Far from it, actually.

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 13:47:10

FWIW booyhoo I'd be happy for a prospective LL to visit our current property to check it - and us - out.

We actually did this when we rented from a private LL where no agent was involved. We all got a feel for eachother and we had a wry positive relationship with that LL.

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 13:47:14

I think it should be illegal to discriminate based on sex, age, religion, or family situation. The rental market should be subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as other industries

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 13:48:05

'very' not 'wry' blush

specialsubject Thu 07-Mar-13 13:49:32

race and sex discrimination ARE illegal and have been for decades.

landlords are allowed to choose tenants. If they choose the wrong ones, they get lots of trouble. If they are too choosy, they don't get anyone and have no income.

Booyhoo Thu 07-Mar-13 13:58:49

Me too molotov. I know for some people it wouldn't be appropriate ( house shares or staying with family etc) but i wouldn't have a problem with showing a prospective LL that im clean and my pets and dcs are well behaved and cause no damage. Its all well getting a tenant to sign saying they will keep a place clean and in a good state of repair but one persons' 'clean' might be another person's idea of a hovel. And also, well some people lie to secure a tenancy. It would be harder to get away with saying you were a good tenant if you had to prove it. Also, some LL wont give a reference until they have taken possesion of the house again which is too late if you need it to get your next tenancy.

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 14:06:50

Special, in the US you cannot discriminate rental tenants on the basis of their family status.

It is ok to choose tenants based on their creditworthiness, but not whether they are pregnant, have one or 3 children (as long as it is permissible occupancy)

I think the US law is far superior in this regard.

I am a LL myself, I rely on references, income statements and credit checks. The rest is not my business

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 14:11:32

If you have two sets of potential tenants how can the criteria that you use to choose between them be enforced? What if they are identical in all of the criteria that are "supposed" to be used to make this decision?

Llareggub Thu 07-Mar-13 14:13:54

I feel so lucky after reading this thread. I am currently renting after selling my house and moving to a different city. I rented the first house I saw and have moved in with my two children. I am feeling very thankful that our LL isn't bothered, but then as the house had been empty for months perhaps he feels lucky too.

Seems very shortsighted. As my DCs are of school age I won't be looking to move any time soon as he gets a long term tenant and I get to enjoy my sea views and great school. Win win I reckon, walls might get sticky by dirty little hands but that's easily fixed in my opinion.

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 14:16:02

Trills, If they are both equally suitable, whoever pays the deposit first and signs the lease.

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 14:31:04

So it's a race? You say "whoever puts the cash in this box first gets the house"?

PanickingIdiot Thu 07-Mar-13 14:34:00

ananikifo - that's interesting, and I kind of agree with it in principle, but I wonder what's the incentive for people in Canada to become private landlords? If everything is regulated up to the back teeth, how much you can ask for, who you can refuse etc. yet the government relies on private individuals to rent out their houses to people who aren't rich enough to own and aren't poor enough to qualify for social housing, that's a delicate balance.

I know someone who made quite a bit of money from rental property in Canada, and believe you me, she does "discriminate" (mostly along the lines of nationality/country of origin). She can't do it openly, of course, but ultimately she has the final say in who gets to move in to her houses, and she bases what she does on bitter experience, it's not about being malicious for the heck of it. I can't really blame her, and I don't think it's an easy way to make a living (it used to be, perhaps, but not any more), after all, there are other things you can invest in with far less hassle, except who would provide private housing for the rest of us, then?

Kendodd Thu 07-Mar-13 14:36:19

race and sex discrimination ARE illegal and have been for decades.

But discriminating against children IS sex discrimination imo as this would disproportionately affect women because most single parent household are headed by women.

I would really like to know what the rational behind allowing this discrimination to continue is.

If you have two sets of potential tenants how can the criteria that you use to choose between them be enforced? What if they are identical in all of the criteria that are "supposed" to be used to make this decision?

Easy, you choose pick whoever applied first.

DoctorWhoFan Thu 07-Mar-13 14:38:31

I have an elderly and extremely well behaved dog and have had hell's own job finding somewhere to rent. I got lucky and now have a lovely landlady and what appear to be fairly laidback letting agents. The house was a mess when I moved in, and I spent hundreds on paint etc getting it to look like a liveable house. The landlord was aware it was a mess so the rent was lower than most. However, landlord has said we should use the house as our own, no problem if we have a child here, and we're welcome to do what we like to the garden as well as have chickens, so I reckon I got really lucky with my landlady. Also, in the first month of me living here, I suspect she's paid out more than the first month's rent getting the heating fixed as it was FRRRREEEEZING!

I have a 'reference' for my dog from our previous LL!

I feel for the LLs who have had tenants move out and leave the place in a complete mess. My attitude has always been to leave the place as I found it. Obviously I won't do that with this place as it was a shithole and is now starting to look rather lovely, but in the past I have repainted walls and woodwork, had the carpets cleaned etc. It has been my responsibility to do so as far as I was concerned. If I was renting, I would hope that my tenant would do the same, so I treat the house as my own home and if there is damage etc., I fix it.

It does seem wrong to discriminate against someone with children, but I do sort of understand the fear of the house being left in a mess. I think a LL should perhaps discuss the issue with the tenants though and an arrangement reached (and then put in writing). Surely that should cover all bases?

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 14:38:40

So it's a race? You say "whoever puts the cash in this box first gets the house"?

No idea what you mean.

When I put my house for rent, the agent does the viewings.

If someone is interested, they pay a small admin fee and a deposit, subject to income, credit checks and previous references.

If they pass, they get the place. If not, the deposit is returned.

If two people see it simultaneously and like it, the one who provides the deposit and reference details first, gets it, provided they clear the process.

What is so difficult about that confused

Kendodd Thu 07-Mar-13 14:39:45

I know someone who made quite a bit of money from rental property in Canada, and believe you me, she does "discriminate" (mostly along the lines of nationality/country of origin). She can't do it openly, of course, but ultimately she has the final say in who gets to move in to her houses, and she bases what she does on bitter experience, it's not about being malicious for the heck of it

What bitter experience is this then, that's made her take exception to whole countries of people?

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 14:40:23

I'm asking if the landlord or agent make any choices about who gets the house, or if it is simply "first come first served".

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 14:41:54

I have never met my tenants, no desire to know about their family set-up. We don't ask about marital status or number of children. Not my business.

I had not had a bad experience to date (touch-wood)

Trills Thu 07-Mar-13 14:46:10

OK, I was just interested as there definitely seem to be some cases where the landlords actively make a choice between tenants if multiple potential tenants all express an interest within a short timeframe.

MinnesotaNice Thu 07-Mar-13 15:01:30

Trills I'm a LL (own a house in the US) and yes, it's first come-first served. Provided that the credit check is acceptable, my only other restriction is that I will not rent to someone with a "dangerous breed" of dog. There are too many young children who live nearby and I feel that it is my responsibility to mitigate against what I deem a risky breed. We aren't allowed by law (nor would I feel comfortable doing so) to have a no children restriction on our rental. TBH, I was shocked when I began looking at rentals here in the UK that this was legal--I always thought of Europe as being more progressive and the US being more conservative in this type of thing.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 15:31:28

'ananikifo - that's interesting, and I kind of agree with it in principle, but I wonder what's the incentive for people in Canada to become private landlords? If everything is regulated up to the back teeth, how much you can ask for, who you can refuse etc. yet the government relies on private individuals to rent out their houses to people who aren't rich enough to own and aren't poor enough to qualify for social housing, that's a delicate balance.'

I don't know about Canada, but in the US, there is no incentive for people to become private landlords. Instead, it's mostly the opposite, heavy regulation and heavy taxes.

Why? Because having lots of individuals speculate in the commodity that is shelter is very bad for any economy.

The majority of private rentals there are provided by corporations or companies/businesses. The running of the properties is usually hired out to a property management company.

You don't have all these pirate letting agents, either.

On the whole, it's a far more balanced and stable system.

The US had its problem with sub-prime lending to inviduals buying a home. The UK has an even greater one in that there was also huge speculation by many individuals in BTL.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 15:37:34

I was shocked, too, Minnesota. The housing system here is very backwards in many ways. So easy in the US, you need to move, you go into the apartment complex's office and see if they have vacancies. You submit paperwork for your credit check. They ring you back if you pass. You get a move-in date. You go in, pay your deposit and first month's rent, sign your lease, and move in.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 07-Mar-13 15:40:21

Sadly there is no incentive for the government to sort out this problem.

MTBMummy Thu 07-Mar-13 15:59:04

Just to back up the landlords side - and no I am not a landlord, I rent as well and we now had DD who wasn't even a twinkle in DP's eye when we moved in.

But when we moved into our current house the previous tenants, a Mum and her 2 pre teen daughters, had left the house like a tip (Landlord lives abroad, so hadn't been able to check the property and agents were useless - but agreed not to make us have to clean the property when we left due to the state we have to move into it

The carpets in the upstairs bedroom were stained with nail polish and burnt, I imagine from hair straighteners, there was playdough/gum/blutack (hard to tell really) trampled into the carpet, the walls were scribbled on and the wall paper had been torn off in places.

Down stairs there were several large stains from where something had been dropped and obviously just left and not cleaned up, and the entire house was littered in long blonde hair (4 hoovers full)

Every radiator had either kids knickers socks or toys stuck behind it

Most of these had been covered by furniture or general clutter when we viewed the house.

I'm not saying adults/students aren't as messy, but there were some aspects that were very obviously caused by kids.

We ended up having to extend our lease by a few days on the old house (thankfully we had an understanding landlord who was happy to take an extra weeks rent off us) so we could properly clean the new house before we moved in and it did come up clean, but if that's what landlords see why would you rent to families?

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 16:05:28

but if that's what landlords see why would you rent to families?

Because it is the law that you cannot discriminate?

It is not a personal property fiefdom...once you offer a good or service in the market, you are bound by the obligatory non-discrimination rules

Most other European countries, like the US, have strict anti-discrimination laws regarding rentals. UK is the exception. We need strong tenancy protection laws here.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 16:51:53

The difference, particularly in the US, is that you do not have so so so many people doing BTL, particularly in the flats/apartment/townhome market. It's discouraged via regulation and taxes. For very good reason. Because then you end up with what you have here.

PanickingIdiot Thu 07-Mar-13 17:16:03

Expat - if private rentals are discouraged, what happens to people who, like I said, aren't rich enough to buy their own homes but not poor enough to qualify for social housing either? It seems to me that living in rental properties is not as common in the US as it is in Europe, definitely not among people with jobs and families etc., and one of the reasons is because banks used to throw mortgages at all and sundry, regardless of whether or not they were really in the position to afford it, which, in turn, led to...etc.

I, too, like to bash evil buy-to-letters as much as the next person - but I also rely on them to provide me with a roof over my head, and I recognise that if it's no longer a worthy investment/business for them, they can take their money and invest it in something else, in which case where would I sleep next month?

flatbread Thu 07-Mar-13 17:22:24

35% of US households rent.

Nothing against btl, but the tenancy regulation needs a serious overhaul

GoSuckEggs Thu 07-Mar-13 17:39:22

DH and I rent a 5 bedroom house, it is just us two and two dogs. We was looking at 3-5 bedroomed houses, and was quite surprised at how many said "NO DSS, No HB, No children etc"

ModernToss Thu 07-Mar-13 17:51:21

It's a horrible situation the OP is in, and likely only to get worse, I think. There isn't likely to be any easing up on tenants under this government.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 18:24:51

'It seems to me that living in rental properties is not as common in the US as it is in Europe,'

It's very common.

What's done is done here, the system's a mess. Where do people like this OP's family go when they cannot find a private LL to rent to them?

MolotovCocktail Thu 07-Mar-13 18:40:00

I think it's a perfectly reasonable statement to say that we're not rich enough to buy, but not poor enough to qualify for social housing.

LessMissAbs Thu 07-Mar-13 19:26:09

Trills yes I choose between tenants (multiple occupancy). I basically interview them - I meet them in person, to gauge their attitudes to renting and looking after a property, and experience at living away from home. I also gauge whether they are likely to be pains in the neck to rent to. I check their references and do a credit check on them if I'm about to offer the property as well.

I'm not sure discriminating against families in relation to refusing to rent property to them is illegal. (or were you talking about the US Flatbread)The protected characteristics are
gender reassignment;
marriage and civil partnership;
pregnancy and maternity;
religion or belief;
sexual orientation
not the having of children. Neither can I see that it would be indirect discrimination, because both the male and female parent would be discriminated against. In the case of single parents, you might be able to make a case of it being indirect discrimination, in that a larger pool of women are single mothers than male. But until there is judicial precedent on it, I wouldn't say it is law. It wouldn't be marital discrimination, because plenty of families have non-married partners.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Mar-13 19:45:19

Sadly, everyone wants DINKs, a couple, double-income, no kids. So this will become more and more of a problem for those like Molotov.


Mia4 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:08:27

YANBU but to sometimes if it's a flat or maisonette it's more about the neighbours. It's the minority spoiling for the majority.

My first place stipulated no kids because it was upstairs and the last tenants had three kids who would race up and down on roller blades and stamp on the floor for fun causing them no end of stress. Now that was their shittiness, not a general 'kids thing' but it left the neighbours with a bad experience. In the end it was bad enough to have that family was evicted and though the LL knew it's not every family with kids, he didn't want the neighbours on edge just waiting for things to start to go bad. So he stipulated no kids to keep them happy.

MummytoKatie Thu 07-Mar-13 21:32:32

This has really surprised me. I haven't rented for years but I always assumed that families were wanted and it was the house sharers that were top of the pops for problems.

I wonder if the deposit scheme could have some kind of record where the amount of deposit held back is recorded. If a landlord could see that. Family had rented 3 different places in the last 5 years and had never had much deposit withheld then they would be happier to rent to the family.

PurpleStorm Thu 07-Mar-13 22:04:56

I can understand LL's not wanting to rent houses to families with kids if they've had bad experiences with kids damaging their property in the past.

But it does seem kind of crazy to be renting out family (3 or 4 bed homes) homes close to schools and specify no kids, unless maybe the house is a house-share only.

evansthebread Thu 07-Mar-13 22:18:59

I was a LL burned by dickheads. Not only did they cause damage, the mother used her kids against me by telling the police I was threatening them. Long story but I eventually got rid of them. By law I had to give 2 months notice to get them out but had only taken one month's deposit. As soon as they had the eviction notice they refused to pay rent. With the rent loss and the damage I was seriously out of pocket.

If I could find good people, I would accept them - kids, pets, the works. Unfortunately I'm having bad vibes from every family viewing. None of them will give me their current LL details which is ringing bells very loudly for me.

The previous poster has made a good point about paying 6 months in advance but I'm not 100% sure the legality of it. If anyone could clarify it would be helpful just for future reference.

I do believe a tenant register would weed a LOT of problems our for both LL and tenants.

flatbread Fri 08-Mar-13 07:10:19

LessMiss, I am talking about the US.

I am quite surprised how inadequate the tenancy laws are in the UK

MolotovCocktail Fri 08-Mar-13 08:32:40

evans a tenant register is a great idea. Just in our experience, we've been good tenants for 14 years: first as house sharers, then 5 years with two properties with myself and DH on the lease. I think that we only had £30 withheld from our previous property would tell a prospective LL a lot smile

LessMissAbs Fri 08-Mar-13 09:30:18

*Flatbread I am talking about the US.

I am quite surprised how inadequate the tenancy laws are in the UK*

The UK has some of the strictest laws on renting property in the EU. Most of them concentrate on standards of accommodation provided. e.g. I have to provide accommodation with mains smoke alarms in every room, including cupboards, I have to install a sprinkler system should my flat be on two floors, I need fireproof doors to every room with intumescent seals, a fire blanket and fire extinguisher, changed every 3 years, in the kitchen, my cooker needs to be chained to the wall lest it should topple over and injure a tenant, my lease needs to be one approved by my local authority, and I need planning permission and the agreement of my neighbours to even let the flat to unrelated groups in the first place. There is much more - I need to use certain kinds of locks so that my tenants cannot lock themselves in and be unable to find their key in the event of fire, etc, etc..

The US, OTOH, is hardly a shining example of high standards in property. And the notion of a company providing a better standard of accommodation than an individual is naieve at best.

Compared to Germany, certainly, or The Netherlands, due to all this regulation, the standard of rental accommodation in the UK is very high. In Germany, the onus is more on the tenant to do things for themselves (some even bring their own kitchen units and fittings with them!), rental accommodation is very hard to come by and tenants try not to rock the boat with landlords, and the main rule I'm aware of is that central heating systems and windows in rental properties should be replaced every 20 years, though it varies from state to state.

expatinscotland Fri 08-Mar-13 09:56:19

'Compared to Germany, certainly, or The Netherlands, due to all this regulation, the standard of rental accommodation in the UK is very high.'

Haahaahaa! That's why there's thread after thread after thread on here about shite rental properties full of mould and damp and LLs who won't fix the boiler or do other basic repairs.

Private renting is a joke here, and that joke is on the tenant.

Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 11:51:11

Lessmisabs j have rented 3 propwrties in 7 years and none of the things you listed were present in either of the three houses including one new build. The house i am in now is undoubtedly the worst. I have been here 9 months and not 1 urgent repair ( massive hole in the back door due to rot- bathroom floor rotting so much that it has lifted off the conceete) has been carried out despite me constantly ringing the agent. I have researched and i basically can put up with it or continue to nag and risk not getting my tenancy renewed in 2 ish months. And there is nothing to force my LL to carry out these repairs before re- letting the property to someone else. I am have no power whatsover to get my LL to live up to his end of the deal.

MooMooSkit Fri 08-Mar-13 12:08:01

This has really shocked me the way families leave houses :S I would never ever dream of doing that! In my last flat I had to pay a 950 deposit and lived there on my own with my son till he was 15 months old from when he was 2 months old. They only took 50 off my deposit to give the flat a good clean. Even before I left i gave all the rooms a new coat of magnolia to freshen it up and washed the curtains supplied, filled any holes from photos and painted over them. I think that's awful people think that's fine to do that!

Even in this house I have a very good relationship with the landlord, he has never visited once since april 2011 as he trusts us so much (we speak on the phone reguarly) my partner is a bit of a handyman so if anything arises in the house my landlord even sends a cheque for the goods for my oh to do it! Also yes kids do things but i wouldn't even dream of not repairng it :S I remember my little one drew ALL over his walls in his bedroom with a crayon he'd nabbed and i'd painted over it within the week. He also threw one of his toys and shattered one of the porch windows, again, was 8 pounds to replace and done within the week. I really appreciate the fact someone is willing to let me live in their house so think the most you can do is respect and look after their property.

Oh and our house also said no pets but once the landlord got to know us he said he wouldn't mind hs having a small dog. I do think there should be a list for tenants as i'm really shocked families leave rented properties in such a state. Think thats disgusting!

msrisotto Fri 08-Mar-13 16:31:07

MooMooSkit - If ONLY all tenants were like you!

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Fri 08-Mar-13 17:03:41

Rental accommodation hard to come by in Germany? hmm

I have been a tenant in Germany, in various different places, for nearly 13 years and we have never had trouble getting decent places.
People bring their own kitchen fittings etc because renting is the norm - I think it's two-thirds of households who rent overall, higher in some places such as Berlin - and people who expect to stay long-term tend to want to fit the place out themselves. Plus, kitchens etc are often provided - we are about to move to a place with a fitted kitchen, including a new cooker and a Miele dishwasher.

The main thing about being a tenant in Germany is that you are properly protected. The landlord has to have a very good reason to evict you - I'm talking repeated non-payment of rent, being a complete and utter nuisance to your neighbours, wanting to move into the property themselves AND having a reasonable reason to do so - and the minimum notice period is three months, whereas no tenant ever has to give notice of more than three months and can terminate the rental agreement without giving a reason. If something in the property is in disrepair and the landlord won't act, you have a legal right to reduce your rent - by up to 100% (say if your heating breaks down in the middle of winter). There's a huge body of case law you can consult in these sorts of cases.

As for the subject of the thread, no German landlord would dare to turn away tenants with children because they had children.

'Private renting is a joke here, and that joke is on the tenant.' Expat is spot on.

ILikeBirds Fri 08-Mar-13 17:20:18

LessMissAbs All those regulations you list are all related to HMOs. In England, most of that is not required to rent out normal family homes.

LessMissAbs Sat 09-Mar-13 15:46:40

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy glad to hear you didn't struggle. DH and I were looking in or around Munich, and its not easy there. Like any big popular city I would guess.

I agree that lets tend to be much longer term in Germany. Tenants are also expected to be better behaved. Here in the UK, it is still damned hard and takes a long time to get rid of tenants who are a nuisance to their neigbhours, don't pay rent, etc..

In practice, certainly in Munich, there were plenty of things wrong with the flats my friends rented but they didn't rock the boat with their landlords because they wanted to stay put/wanted a good reference if they moved on. For instance, I got a nasty burn off a radiator in my friend's flat in Schwabing - it was so hot on the surface that it burnt you if you touched it while it was on. The controls to turn it down had been broken for years. This was considered normal - my friend was a lawyer!

I always think it ironic that the HMO Regulations apply only to HMOs, and not to council houses, where families with children might be living, and so many fatal fires seem to occur.

Even for non-HMOs, in this country (as opposed to the US, where the poster I was replying to was from), the landlord must be registered with the local authority and prove they are a fit and proper person.

ILikeBirds Sat 09-Mar-13 15:56:18

" the landlord must be registered with the local authority and prove they are a fit and proper person."

Are you talking about Scotland?

This isn't the case across England.

Newham is the first council to introduce it I think and that's only just happened
[ Registration scheme to target rogue landlords begins]]

ILikeBirds Sat 09-Mar-13 15:56:47
magnoliamom Sat 09-Mar-13 16:28:38

Just to add my recent experience, we rent here in the UK because we still own our house back in the US which we want to return to someday. Have v good income, great references from current LL, one child and I am a sahm. Have put in offers on 4 rentals in the last 2 weeks. Was turned down 2x as agent said LLs preferred 2 'professionals' instead of one and 'someone who just stays at home all day', in both cases LL accepted an offer submitted same day as ours for the same amount/terms but from sharers. The attitude of nearly every estate agent I met during this process was patronising and snobby, looking down on my family for renting - even though we are more than able to buy any house we have looked at, we just prefer not to tie up that much cash right now. It was an extremely unpleasant process, v glad to have finally found something.

expatinscotland Sat 09-Mar-13 17:56:28

Hope it lasts, magnolia.

magnoliamom Sat 09-Mar-13 23:47:11

Thanks, I hope so too.

Mutley77 Sun 10-Mar-13 00:02:52

It is a tricky one - I know that the deposit scheme now really protects tenants - my friend and her family did leave a rented house in a bit of a state due to their dogs and children (both were allowed in the property). When they were asked to pay some of the deposit they challenged it and were let off most of it by the independent body who manages deposits, and the landlord therefore had to make good the house out of their own pocket.

As a landlord myself now (because we are temporarily overseas, not through investment choice) I am worried about our lovely house being trashed by the young children living there - not all parents have as high standards as me ;) - or you...

At the end of the day it is a landlord's perrogative who they rent to and if they think they can get the money without the damage its up to them. But I can understand you're annoyed. You could try offering a slightly higher rent to "compensate for any potential damage" (not that I think you would necessarily cause any...).

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