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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?

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...).

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

Thanks, I hope so too.

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

Hope it lasts, magnolia.

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.

ILikeBirds Sat 09-Mar-13 15:56:47

Registration scheme to target rogue landlords begins

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]]

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 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.

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.

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

MooMooSkit - If ONLY all tenants were like you!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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?

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.

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