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Long-term renting from private landlords - wld like to hear from tenants and landlords

(16 Posts)
LiberalIdleOlogy Sun 04-Jan-09 16:37:20

I'm going through one of my 'I hate this house' phases and could do with some advice. We have rented our current house direct from the landlord for over three years. It was pretty tatty when we moved in and we painted a few rooms ourselves as a low-cost way of brightening the place up. We pay our rent, carry out minor repairs ourselves and only really have contact with the landlord about once a year when the washing machine breaks. He has increased the rent a couple of times but has not stepped foot inside the house since we moved in. This is not really different to any other landlord I've had in the past, except that I have simply moved to a less dilapidated house every 12-18 months so it hasn't mattered. Two children, a school place, and all our own furniture later, I'm less inclined to keep moving! Is it reasonable to expect some degree of redecoration and refurbishment - and if so, how to go about it?

RubyRioja Sun 04-Jan-09 16:39:47

Our tenants give us a list every quarter of what improvements they would like to be done.

I do those that I think are sensible and reasonable and I am happy for them to decorate if they wish.

For me,I would rather spend money to keep good tenants than to have to spend to woo new ones.

I would emphasise the maintenance element

littlerach Sun 04-Jan-09 16:51:40

My friend has rented the same place for 6 yeras and is able to redecorate when she likes.
They had double glazing installed last year by their landlord.
They are able to have the garden as they like, providing they make good if they leave, if needs be.
They have a fixed rent for a certain length of time, and this is reviewed evry 2 years, I think.

lalalonglegs Sun 04-Jan-09 17:00:21

We always redecorate between tenants so they don't really inherit a tatty flat. But my parents have had same tenant for years and when she said she would like to redecorate, they gave her a budget and offered to reimburse.

Jux Sun 04-Jan-09 17:30:41

We redecorate between tenants automatically. This time we'll be putting at least one new carpet in too. The next tenant will be most welcome to redecorate when/if needed and we will happily foot the bill within reason.

We would be happy to pay out for redec/refurb for a good tenant if the alternative was having to find a new one.

I would ask your landlord about redec (sometimes there's a clause in the contract anyway). Have a sensible discussion about what needs to be done and what you would like to be done. He probably won't want to do as much as you want to be done, but you'll find a compromise. Untroublesome tenants who pay the rent with no fuss are worth their weight in gold in my opinion (in the midst of trying to oust a tenant who owes us over £1000 in rent and has never paid regularly).

saramoon Sun 04-Jan-09 18:21:30

I wrote our landlord a letter when I decided that the damp was really too bad to carry on living here. He took his time to reply but eventually called and is in his way to fixing a few things. Supposed to be starting on the main damp wall this coming week but then he said he was fitting a double glazed window in the kitchen before Christmas and we are still waiting.
Put everything down in writing to make it more formal.

LiberalIdleOlogy Sun 04-Jan-09 19:20:40

Thanks - this is very useful, please keep them coming. I'm guessing this place hasn't been touched in at least 10 years (except for the painting we've done), and quite possibly longer.

SameAsYou Sun 04-Jan-09 19:32:54

I hae been in my place for 3 years (rent has never increased). The property is managed through a rental company so any questions are through them.

I can paint as long as neutral. They have never said no to anything but I haven't asked to do anything other than paint. There is sooooo much I would like to ask to be changed but dare not ask i.e. its a pink bathroom suite (but still in great condition and nothing wrong with it so no reason to ask its just personal choice). My main is that the carpet is really cheap and they did the whole house in the same cream colour before i moved in. My DS is now 3 so the carpet has seen some fabulous toddler action but I do get it cleaned every 2 months but now it looks shabby.

It makes me wonder if i should ask after reading what landlords have written above. Its only the living room and to be honest i would prefer flooring opposed to carpet as its straight in from the garden. The landlady has not had to spend anything since i moved in so maybe worth a try. I just get worried that she says no - then serves my notice and I love this little house!

scaryteacher Sun 04-Jan-09 19:40:18

Anything that goes wrong gets fixed as fast as my agent can manage it, which is pretty quickly. I haven't put the rent up this year, as I knew oil was expensive, and it's oil heating. If they're happy to stay, I think that I'll keep the rent as it is, just to have the house lived in.

I go back once a year to view the house and ensure that the tenants are happy, which they seem to be so far.

They haven't asked about redecoration yet, but it was done throughout in 2006, so should be good for a while...considering they are an older couple without any children!

lalalonglegs Sun 04-Jan-09 20:13:45

SameAsYou - she'd have to be bloody touchy to turf you out because you asked for some new flooring. I don't know where you live, but lots of areas in UK are experiencing a rental glut at the moment so she would be mad not to pander to you a little. Ask nicely, explain your reasons and see what she says. I would be hugely shocked if she serves you notice on that (and if she does, I write about property for national papers so promise to publicise your case for you wink).

LiberalIdleOlogy Sun 04-Jan-09 21:53:17

I can identify with that feeling SameAsYou. I think we've always adopted a 'keep your head down' approach in the hope of avoiding notice or rent increases. It's only now ocurring to me that we have been dream tenants all these years (in previous properties too) and with more rental on the market the balance of power is feeling more evenly spread. Carpet a big issue for us too - and mainly for the same reasons, thoroughfare, toddlers, eating area, only space big enough for craft. We had permission to take up the carpet, but when we saw the condition of the parquet realised why it had been laid to begin with. I got estimates and decided it was too expensive for us to have it restored. I don't know why I didn't ask the landlord if he would pay - perhaps this is the time.

LiberalIdleOlogy Mon 05-Jan-09 12:13:28

Any more?

iheartdusty Mon 05-Jan-09 12:38:16

I think it's worth bearing in mind that most home owners don't expect to decorate every year - maybe one room every couple of years at the very most, but IME years drift by before people get round to it.

Now I know it is not the same in a rented place, BUT it makes it hard for a landlord who is not a professional landlord (eg they just have one or two properties) to start thinking that they should treat the rented place differently. The incentive for redecorating comes between tenants, to make the place more attractive at a higher rent.

and the relative 'attractiveness' of parquet versus carpet, for example, probably wouldn't begin to justify the expense of restoring it.

Also, there simply may not be the funds for redecorating. If the landlord has a mortgage, there may be only a couple of hundred ££ left over each month, which goes immediately on landlord's insurance, repairs, etc. A new bathroom suite for example - yes, you can buy one for £500, but the fitting, replastering, retiling, and repainting will take you up to £2,000 minimum. That could represent an entire year's surplus of rent over mortgage - what if the roof needs fixing? and where's the profit?

Of course none of this applies to landlord's repairs, they simply have to be done as soon as they are required, and lack of money is not an excuse.

OhBling Mon 05-Jan-09 12:43:09

I've been toying with asking the landlord about replacing the carpet in the hall and lounge - both were pretty tatty when we moved in and while we've looked after it as well as possible with lots of vacuuming and professional cleaning, it definitely looks a bit old and tired. But I think I might wait until after the new lease is negotiated as it wouldn't surprise me if he wants to put up the rent (in his dreams! We might be London but it's already a good price and I don't see him finding anyone new right now). I figure giving him the fact that the carpet has been replaced as a negotiating tool would be a mistake.

Although having said that, when the agent comes round for her next inspection I might make the point that the carpet is looking a bit tired... just to get the ball rolling! grin

LiberalIdleOlogy Mon 05-Jan-09 13:15:30

Go on Bling - you go first!

OhBling Mon 05-Jan-09 13:48:25

That's right, throw me to the wolves first! grin

I am expecting the agent to email me soon for her quarterly inspection so maybe I will. So there!

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