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families in private, rented homes

(89 Posts)

following several threads this week on "am I being unreasonable" regarding disputes between tenants and landlords please could Mumsnet HQ consider a campaign to protect the interests of families in the "squeezed middle" who are renting long-term in the private sector?
I'd particularly like to see some regulation of agents fees, the availability of long term contracts, (indefinate, with a minimum of 2 years where tenants should feel at liberty to decorate (but not make structural changes) with a three month notice period. A reasonable shedule of landlord inspections... Personally I'd be quite happy for landlords to have more powers to swiftly evict tenants that do not pay rent promptly...anyone like to suggest additions?

I'd also love to see the shared ownership scheme extended to enable tenants to purchase a fraction of their home from a private Landlord. Highly unlikely the property is going to end up back on the open market if it was intended as a buy-to-let. Why not give the landlords a tax break for helping folk onto the property ladder?

amybelle1990 Sun 05-Aug-12 13:19:15

strugglingwiththepreteenbit- that sounds rather sensible. Wish I could add to your suggestion but I'm a dunce with this sort of stuff.

It is really clear that it's not easy enough for the people between council houses and being super rich to ever settle down in their own house and tackling it from the 'private, renting' sector would be a great place to start. People from council houses make far too much of an issue with leaving their house if their house is no longer suitable for them (e.g. children have left) as do retired folk who enjoyed the 'boom days' when they could easily afford a house. All of my retired relatives have bought a smaller house to allow new families to enjoy their previous family home as much as they did and I think it would be better if this POV was encouraged instead of people putting so much value on the 'home' that they no longer need.

IfElephantsWoreTrousers Sun 05-Aug-12 13:28:25

struggling I thing that's a great idea. There must be a way to make a system like that work. There would have to be an agreement that if the tenant owns 10% of the house and the roof needs repairing then the tenant is liable for 10% of the repair costs. There would also have to be some alternative enforcable sanction (other than eviction) if a tenant who had bought 10% of the house suddenly stopped paying the rent on the rented 90%. I hope this idea can be made workable though!

lizbee156 Sun 05-Aug-12 13:36:39

My DH & I are having a similar conversation now.
We think our landlord is going to give us notice soon because they want to sell.
This is the 6th house we've rented in 7 years.
We've had to fight to get our deposit back every single time, we are good tenants, we always pay our rent on time, keep the house clean, the garden tidy, always allow inspections etc.
Although we are on the housing list we have no hope of getting a place.

I could go on about our situation and the shocking things that have happened.

Instead I will just say I agree with the OP and the following posts.
A campaign is a brilliant idea.

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 13:41:31

I'd like to see stronger penalties for landlords who don't maintain their properties. It's 2012 and there's still families living with damp. There needs to be more regulation regarding how rents are increased. I've seen threads on here where the landlords have increased rents by stupid amounts in order to drive the tenants out. Any increase needs to be capped.

OddBoots Sun 05-Aug-12 13:46:56

I don't know the ins and outs of it but I know things are better in other parts of Europe, there must be things this government could look into if they wanted to but so many of them either make money form renting themselves or have close family or friends who do so there is no incentive to change things.

boohoohooshouldhavewongold Sun 05-Aug-12 14:03:43

I think that this would have major legal implications, I cannot see any LL handing over 10% of a house to a tenant at the end of the day the LL is responsible for the mortgage buildings insurance etc what would be in it for the LL? Not all LL are money grabbing, many look after the houses well, keep tenants long term accept HB etc.

I do agree something needs to be done, and absolutely for bad LLs, I totally agree that having unsafe buildings being rented out for tenants is discrageful. I am an accidental LL but have been a tenant as well, so I can see both sides.

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 16:01:58

bump

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 16:09:26

what does "squeezed middle" mean?

Acumens100 Sun 05-Aug-12 16:19:07

It means naice but poor, not like those ghastly poors with the accents. grin

<hoists chip on shoulder and juggles northern vowels>

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 16:22:06

'Squeezed' middle referrers to those families who are middle class, but broke. I'm sure all families who rent need just as much protection though.

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 17:16:13

middle class but broke?????L.M.A.O That is the funniest thing ive ever heard - thats ME that is!! I speak well and don't own either any burberry or a staffordshire bull terrier. In fact i own two jack russels that seem to be the dog of choice of the middle classes these days. So thats me - squeezed middle!

preteens as i have now had this explained to me, i dont get why you would only want your campaign to be to help the "squeezed middle" why not families that are in hardship too? We might lose our house, my nightmare is falling foul to an inscrupulous landlord because we will probably have to rely, to a certain degree on housing benefits and wont be able to afford to top up. Do we not fall into the category of people that need protecting? or is it that you think that Mnet would only be interested in helping, nice but poor middle class families?

usualsuspect Sun 05-Aug-12 17:18:25

Do only the squeezed middle deserve protection then?

usualsuspect Sun 05-Aug-12 17:20:39

I would support a campaign that gave all private renters long term contracts etc.

Not just the 'squeezed middle'

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 17:22:57

All tenants need extra protection, but I think that the eviction process for bad tenants needs speeding up.

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 17:37:11

We could be bad tennants though lady - my DP is self employed, his pay is erratic, i can't get a job to counter this but im trying my best. This means we sometimes pay our mortgage nearly a month late. I imagine a landlord would be none to pleased about that and we would be considered a bad tennant - and we would be out on the streets. I can't imagine we would qualify for social housing either. Im not blaming the LLs for this, id be mightily peeved if soemone didnt make regular payments but this is one of the only reasons we are clinging on to a house with mortgage payments we struggle to make as we would have NO security as tennants. sad That and we would probably have to find an extra 2-300 a month to rent a two bedroom house/flat in this area than we pay for our mortgage.

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 17:40:29

I mean the ones who make their neighbours lives hell and the ones which trash the properties. Your circumstances don't make you a bad tenant. Have you applied for housing benefit??

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 17:45:24

We own our house Lady, am hoping that i will get a job soon and it wont become an issue, but could easily see how we would be very vulnerable tennats. I can't imagine a LL would be very sympathetic to payments that are constantly late - we do make them eventually but its pretty erratic, the bank are understanding (ish) becaues they get their money in the end, but that would actually be quite big ask to expect a landlord (who probaly has a mortgage to pay) to accept that. It keeps me awake at night, id love to sell up and pay our debts, rent somewhere reasonable, but i know that it would be even more stressful than trying to keep hold of this house - it keeps me awake at night sad

oh dear, my apologies. I was using the term to mean anyone who falls neither into the security of home ownership, or those whose need is sufficient to qualify for the relative security of council/housing association home. Nothing to do with accents or designer labels, just pinching the phrase from our politicians.

I think there always will be people who need short-term tenancies to suit landlords with short term investment plans or those who need to let their own home out temporarily. I hope that a professional landlord would be tempted by an exemption from capital gains tax if they sold a portion of the property to their tenant. They would also enjoy the security of a long term tenant with their own interest in the property. I quite agree that the liabiliy for repairs would also need to be divided in proportion to the share of the home owned. It would require a contract where either party could force the sale of the property under certain conditions. (e.g. Non-payment of rent)
Keep going with the comments, this needs a Sunday night thrashing out! Come on, if this is relevant to enough people I want our politicians disturbed on their summer holidays!

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 17:48:42

sad You sound so stressed, Lucy. I'm self employed. I have periods where all is well, and times when I earn nothing. I try to keep my costs as low as possible so I can still afford the rent if I have little coming in if that makes sense.

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 17:56:56

We mostly manage to do this Lady, but we are pretty much in a position where we can't do that - its v stressful and hand to mouth - we were on target this month, but a client is playing silly buggars re payment and we are stuffed sad We will sort it out im sure, but i hate it. I just have to remain positive that i will find a job soon - that is the frustration, we simply cannot exist on one wage so we woudl be struggling even if the money wasn't erratic. I need to get a job, end of. One day my boat will come in.......

preteen i think if we were to lose the house, or have to sell, it probably wont happen to be honest, we would be just in that boat actually as im sure we woudlnt qualify for social housing.

Lucy, if you do not enjoy the peace of mind of a secure home I absolutely do mean you! I sincerely hope you find work soon.

Lucyellensmum99 Sun 05-Aug-12 17:58:28

Thanks struggling - i appreciate it x

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 05-Aug-12 18:01:35

Fingers crossed for you, Lucy x

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