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NOW CLOSED: Is it still a home if you don't own it? Make your voice heard and discuss this topic with Barclays - £150 John Lewis voucher up for grabs

(298 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Nov-12 16:54:16

Hello - you may have seen that this week Barclays have a big campaign to get people talking about home buying and money topics.

Yesterday we discussed "When are you too old to ask your parents for financial help?".

As stated before - the team at Barclays say "We want to know what Mumsnetters think about home buying and money dilemmas.

So our second question is "Is it still a home if you don't own it?""

Please share your thoughts on this thread - there are no right or wrong answers and the question will mean different things to different MNers.

Add your thoughts below and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one winner will get a £150 John Lewis voucher.

Look out for one final thread on Thursday where we'll be asking one more question.

Thanks MNHQ

PS Please note your comments along with your MN name may be used on the Barclays pages on Mumsnet and elsewhere.

hackneyzoo Tue 04-Dec-12 09:05:50

A sense of 'home' is not about ownership , it's about creating a space to live and function in.

CurlyKiwiControl Tue 04-Dec-12 09:11:06

Yes its my home, but its someone elses house so ultimately I don't feel that secure feeling that I would if I was able to buy my own.

Home isn't so much about how much time or money has gone into a place, or whether you have a financial stake in it. It's about how welcome you feel when you shut the door. Home is "my place", where I feel most secure, whether I have rented or owned. My parents home is rented, they have been in it for 15 years and redecorated several times to their taste.
I own my home, and have been here 5 years so far, plan to still be here when the mortgage is all paid off.
Odd question though, as home is different things to different people.

When we were renting in the private sector, our house never felt like a home, no.
Because of short assured tenancies, knowing that you could be given two months notice at any time was quite stressful.
We were given notice last December after me being made redundant in November, with only one wage coming in we couldn't afford the exorbitant private rents in our area.
We were given a council house in February and it very much feels like home, still rented but you have to be some kind of social deviant (which we are not) to be asked to leave a council house.

Firawla Tue 04-Dec-12 09:23:11

Yes it is still a home but there is a big difference how we feel now, we are in our 1st home that we've bought after shifting around from rented flat to rented flat. as mentioned by others you do have a sense of insecurity because you know its not permanant and that you cant do what you like to the place.
I think up north rented houses can feel more home as you can get long term contracts and landlords allow you to decorate etc (i have relatives landlords back in my home town and they said its like this) but we were renting in london and they kick you out after a year as they always want to sell or whatever else, so you never feel you will be in long enough to decorate or anything as wont be worth the money doing anything to the place

JugglingWithPossibilities Tue 04-Dec-12 09:24:38

I feel more secure and very fortunate that we own our home. But of course your home is simply where you live. People who rent their homes (as I have often done) should be better protected legally so that they can feel more secure in their homes. We treat all our neighbours just the same in our mixed road of home owners and tenants. The children especially all enjoy playing out together.
In fact I feel children turn your house into a home more than any piece of paper ! We were still renting when we had DD and she made it feel especially like home smile

Dontbesodramatic Tue 04-Dec-12 09:31:14

I rent our flat but its mine and DD's home.
I resembles our personalities and we've been told it smells like us... like vanillagrin

I wish we were able to make more of a mark on it but the shell of our flat belongs to the landlordhmm

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 04-Dec-12 09:35:58

Home is wherever you make it, and the technical details of who owns it don't matter to me.

I can't bear the attitude that renting is inferior, and comments like 'Do you own your place or are you just renting?'.

MadBusLady Tue 04-Dec-12 09:40:31

I've owned and rented and there's no contest. Renting is horrible. You can be moved on at any time, you can't decorate or put up bookshelves, but the worst thing is that you have to put up with whatever shitty old fixtures are in place so long as they are still vaguely functional.

We have threadbare carpet that is so deep-clogged with dust I'm sure it made my asthma worse for the first few weeks we were here, a boiler that cuts out at random moments on cold days when someone is in the shower, an oven that you have to practically gas yourself to light (because the ignition is "not designed to be mended" apparently hmm), a raggedy old kitchen full of rodent-sized holes. And we have one of the nicer rented flats I've known, and letting agents who are basically decent (in that they actually did regrout the tiles when I asked etc).

If this place was ours we'd be saving every penny to fix those problems, because they're horrible to live with. I cannot wait to buy again.

MrsMushroom Tue 04-Dec-12 09:42:09

We rent our home...and it is a home. It's the only home my 4 year old has ever known and it's very much ours.

We know that the landlord owns the bricks and mortar and that effectively he could ask us to leave at any time, but we own the feeling inside it...the atmosphere and the furnishings and wherever we go, those things and feelings will be coming with us.

The height chart that's drawn on the door-frame is ours...the memories are ours.

It is not owning a house which makes it a home. I could live in a mansion...own it...and it could feel like the least home-like place in the world if there was no love in there. Equally....if all we had was a tent, then that would be home too.

MrsMushroom Tue 04-Dec-12 09:43:58

I should add...we are allowed to decorate and put up shelves whenever we want....the landlord is rather special and trusts our judgement. He allowed us to build a deck in the garden and he paid for the materials because he said he was glad the house was being loved.

BrittaPerry Tue 04-Dec-12 09:50:17

Dd1 is 5 and has lived in four houses.

First one it kept raining ON HER COT and coming through the light fittings and the landlord wouldn't repair it. The washing machine completely broke and e refused to buy a new one, so we bought our own. When we took it with s he took the value from our deposit.

Second landlord was much better, we decided to move near to family.

Third landlord refused to mend the oven, took days to mend the condemned gas supply (with two foot deep snow outside and newborn dd2 inside) and eventually chucked us out with two months notice as he wanted his daughter to move in.

Fourth landlord seems ok, but at first they used a letting agent, who sent a little teenager to inpect and tell us off for having unpacked boxes in the spare room. The landlords mum let slip that they are looking at schools in this area.

It is our home, but that makes it even worse that landlords seem to have more rights than tenants.

If a landlord was offering a five year lease, where we could decorate, have pets, make minor improvements and so on, I would bite their hand off.

We actually have a deposit (ILs are vv kind) and mortgage would be cheaper than rent (in fact, when we were claiming full HB, we had to top it up by more than a mortgage would be on the house) but no dice as our jobs are part time, temp or self employed (we each have three jobs)

I've rented privately and owned houses. Actually, scratch that, I've rented from people who were paying rent to the bank, and I'm currently paying rent to the bank. It does feel nice to own more of my home than the bank does though!

I guess answers will depend on what "home" means*. My private rented accommodation was a definite stop-gap whilst I gathered my faculties, resources and sanity together after leaving an unhappy marriage. It was never meant to be somewhere to live. My current house (owned) is still not a "home" as I know we want to move fairly shortly.

Hopefully we will find that needle in a haysack, fantastic home within our meagre budget. I've done it once before and I hope the Gods of Home Moving will smile kindly on me once again when we start looking seriously.

A home is somewhere that is your sanctuary from the world. My home is out there somewhere waiting for me.

*When I was a small girl, we went on holiday and I got very homesick. Mum told me that "Home is wherever mummy is."

Willemdefoeismine Tue 04-Dec-12 09:55:58

Well they say home is where the heart is so I guess it is. But I would say that for me it would depend on how long I'd lived there and what good memories I had of it. I think if you lived in rented accommodation (and or even inherited the tenancy so the house/flat was entwined in your family heritage) and had raised a family there (possibly even giving birth at home) then it would have all the attributes of a family home. On the other hand if you were a renting singleton and basically used your house/flat as a B&B, then no I'm not sure it would ever truly feel like home!

noidles Tue 04-Dec-12 10:02:27

I think someone up the thread made the interesting point - even with a mortgage a house isn't technically yours. Technically, it's the bank's if you have a mortgage. So I think that makes the idea that renting is inferior to home owning a bit silly.

Also, a few people have said they find the question offensive, I don't agree - maybe it's deliberately provocative, but isn't that the point? To get people talking? So often I hear people say things like 'Do you own your place or are you just renting?' or people who say that renting is like 'throwing money down the toilet'.

I think it's not a straightforward answer - I've rented for over 8 years and have live in a number of places, some felt like home, some didn't.

The place I most felt at 'home' was actually in a house share with 3 other girls I worked with - the flat was huge and in a nice area and was decorated the way we would have wanted to decorate it. The landlord was really friendly and quick to fix anything that went wrong. We had a lot of space to invite people round for dinner and often had dinner parties, film nights, or drink parties. I loved it. It was sad when we went our separate ways - a couple bought a place, and myself and one of the other girls rented separate places.

I moved in with my DP into a rented house that ended up being a complete nightmare! We had to live for a long time with no shower, and when things went wrong the landlord just wouldn't answer his phone and would eventually get back to us to to say how busy he was, and that he'd rather we left him alone! We were allowed to decorate some rooms, but honestly it was like polishing a turd! So much work was needed on the house.

Eventually we got burgled and the landlord tried to make us pay for the repairs to the house, so we moved. We're now in a really nice flat that is decorated exactly as we'd like it, so it feels more homely. Especially at Christmas with our own decorations up.

One of my old housemates who bought a flat has a flat that is the exact same size as the flat I now live in, but she's paying about half the amount I do in rent each month on her mortgage. BUT she also has to pay when the boiler breaks, etc.

I can't wait to have a home that I own so I know where I'll be for the next few years, and I won't have the insecurity of not knowing if I can stay in my house for another year when the contract comes up for renewal. I want to settle down in a house that I'll own for absolutely years, but I don't look forward to having to pay out when something goes wrong!

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Tue 04-Dec-12 10:15:44

You know, I hate that attitude, that you can't decorate or put up bookshelves just because you're renting.

Of course you can. You just have reset it all when you move out.

I have bookshelves up everywhere and pictures hung and all sorts of decorating done as well in my rented home. It's my home.

Of course, I also have a 2 year lease and no one can move me until it's over.

Stop accepting short leases. Take the chance to ask for a longer one. The landlord just might say yes. And if they say no, you're no worse off than you were if you didn't ask.

preety18 Tue 04-Dec-12 10:19:45

I think it's hard for first buyers to buy a house nowadays with the economic situation and if they haven't got any savings behind them therefore it's hard to get on the propeerty ladder.

of course it's still a home.

we are renting and are saving up to buy, and we could rent a cheaper property and save more but chose to pay a little more rent for somewhere that we would enjoy coming home to.

there are always things that remind you that you don't own it, however (to what degree varies from landlord to landlord, and most are reasonable i think). we have quarterly inspections from the letting agents, which personally i think is excessive, especially after the first year. as others have said, decorating is not always an option. also, we aren't allowed to put in new picture hooks without permission (regardless of whether the hooks are put in neatly or not - it's in the contract).

on the other hand, we can call the agents if we have a problem and they do all the chasing of plumbers/heating engineers etc, so there are definite upsides (provided you have a good landlord or agent, and I'm aware that we are lucky in this respect)

so whilst it is definitely a home, there are always reminders that someone else makes the decisions about the space you live in

Wallison Tue 04-Dec-12 10:32:47

A lot of landlords specify no decorating/pictures/hooks/shelves etc in the tenancy agreement though.

And I'd be wary of taking on a two-year lease without a break clause in it. Such leases in the UK are different from the ones they have on the continent because they don't allow the tenant to give notice, so you might end up substantially worse off. Of course, if there is a break clause, then that's fine.

noidles Tue 04-Dec-12 10:35:28

Tee - it's not always the case that you can decorate or put up bookshelves, etc, at all. If you go through an estate agent they periodically inspect the property and ask for the removal of any shelving, etc. Some landlords do let you decorate, but I'd say that most don't.

Most the places I've been at haven't allowed a longer lease. So you have the choice - you risk losing a house that you love because you can't get a long lease. I think in London particularly landlords don't need to give long leases.

But, I think if I was still renting when I have kids I would make a point to get a long lease - ideally 3 or 4 years in length. I'd sacrifice having a house that I really loved for a bit more security.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Tue 04-Dec-12 10:36:36

Why? I know, for a fact, baring extreme catastrophe, that I will not want to move for 2 years. And I can't live my life worrying about extreme catastrophe.

So why would I need a break clause?

And I ignore things like that in agreements. They are silly. And I've never gotten in trouble for it.

Live a little. Break the rules! grin

DorisIsWaiting Tue 04-Dec-12 10:38:01

It depends on the tennacy.

In LA and some HA you can decorate to your taste and make yourself at home.

With most private landlords there are limits to your decor, even as far as no blu tack on the walls. In that kind of environment it is very difficult to truly feel at home.

The potential for being asked to move on is also significant, so for those with more risky leases (private landlords again!) there is less security in the long term which can ultimately be at the back of the mind.

ouryve Tue 04-Dec-12 10:40:06

Of course it is. Though you don't have the same opportunities to personalise it as you would if you owned your house. Fat lot of chance many people have to do anything about that, though.

How are Barclays planning to use our answers to these questions, anyhow?

Is it still a home if you don't own it?

Yes it is.

I rent in the private sector with a landlord happy to do long term tenancies. It may not be my house but it is definitely my home. smile

Wallison Tue 04-Dec-12 10:40:48

I would never get a long lease of the kind you get in the UK without a break clause. What if you needed to move for work? What if your parents got sick and needed you nearer them? What if you had another child, or twins even, and needed a bigger place? It's not like if you own a house and can sell it when you want (and I appreciate that there are so-called 'accidental landlords' who say they can't sell their houses when they move but really what they mean is that they just can't get as much money as they would like for it).

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