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Shouldn't we all be campaigning for better rental terms and conditions seeing as so many of us ARE and WILL be renting?

8 replies

teslagirl · 15/07/2008 17:46

Just a thought. I always smile at those Sunday newspaper articles where they say 'Consider renting! Let someone else carry the worry of a house price crash!' YES, but, with renting, unless you're a public tenant (remember those?) you have precisely 60 days security of tenure. That's all. 60 days to rehome your family. To move all your kit. To find the new deposit (as you can bet your sweet fanny your old deposit won't be released within that time!). 60 days to get your kids into a new school.

What if all longer term private renters lobbied their MP to get a better deal? It would have a several benefits: For tenants, some security and an increased likelihood of local community involvement, and perhaps, with a longer term 'interest' in the property, a bit more care and willingness to undertake minor repairs, perhaps? Also, there'd be far fewer amateur landlords (the WORST) crowding the opportunistic market if buy-to-let were no longer seen as a get-rich-quick scheme.

For landlords, you'd have much less void time, the area would possibly 'come up' because the local tenants would invest in their community to a greater degree, and there could well be a longer notice period for tenants, too, thus less emergency find-a-tenanting!

Two experiences: the European one where tenants often live in a property for DECADES and actually get structural changes made to their rental!

And mine where I don't even dare move my DCs to the local school in case we get 'moved on'. My entire life is based on the nearby town purely because if we do have to leave here, our chances of finding a suitable replacement rental lie in the town, not this village.

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OverMyDeadBody · 15/07/2008 17:52

Well, I've always rented.

I was given notice last week. I have till the end of august to find a new home for DS and I .

teslagirl · 15/07/2008 20:47


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scaryteacher · 16/07/2008 11:41

It depends on what you are renting out. For me, I am renting out my family home whilst abroad with the Armed Forces, and will be wanting it back when we return to the UK. I will give the tenants as much notice as the Armed Forces gives us, but I need the property to live in when I'm back. At the moment they have it until summer 2010 at least, and maybe longer if they want to stay; but I don't know what will happen beyond then.

The problem is that although one needs to make long term plans, the landlords can't always fall in with that as they have plans too. If you want the Belgian model for instance, you have to rent for either 3 or 9 years, and you have to be very careful when you give notice as otherwise you end up liable for rent for the whole period.

There are instances of long term lets in the UK. My gran lived in the same house from 1939 to the late 80s and her landlord was happy for her to stay there.

As for repairs or improvements, I pay for those in agreement with my managing agent. I don't want anyone unqualified fannying around with the fabric of my house. If something is broken it gets fixed, but I want it done to my standards not anyone else's as I will be moving back in.

zippitippitoes · 16/07/2008 11:44

before short tenancies it was really hard to rent an ywhere there were just no properties available

teslagirl · 16/07/2008 14:50

Yes- but as the market stands RIGHT NOW there are many, many rentals out there because of all those folk who used the stupendous equity in their homes to buy-to-let. It isn't 1939 any more.. and it isn't a question of 'a landlord happy for someone to stay...'- it's the reality that most of us have precisely 60 days security of tenure, however 'happy' our owner is right now! I am not suggesting every rental should be long term by any means but the norm SHOULDN'T be 60 days notice! The point is, renting out a property is a managed risk where you balance income (someone else paying the mortgage!) and your need to draw on the equity you hold in that property in a hurry. Right now I feel the tenants are getting the sticky end of the stick. And the communities where those rental properties are.

When I suggest undertaking minor repairs, you've obviously never been billed 40 quid to replace a leaky washer, like we were once! Hardly fannying around with the fabric. As well as being a tenant here, I also own a property abroad which is tenanted. Note I have to pay all their council tax as well as my own here! And my tenant's deposit is held by an independent authority that will arbitrate in the event of a dispute as the original condition report is lodged with them. The interest on that money pays for the service. Which imho, is fair and just. And my tenants have a year's security of tenure, and they're folk in exactly the same position as we are- except they're looking to buy thus don't want to be tied sown by longer leases, which is fair enough.

No, it's my belief that our rental system in the UK needs to get with it rather more- and it most certainly will, sooner or later as yet more and more people higher and higher up the financial 'food chain' are forced to rent because they can't afford to buy OR can't get a mortgage.

But right now, crossing the 'renting' box on a school's application form, for instance, STILL a measure of 'disadvantage', like free school meals.

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scaryteacher · 16/07/2008 16:46

I'm renting in Belgium albeit through the MOD. If I was renting privately, I suspect from what I read that my security of tenure would be what the landlord wanted. I don't have any security of tenure here, if the MOD wanted me to live elsewhere I don't think I'd get 60 days notice.

Yes, I know repair bills can be high, but I'd rather it was done by someone who knows what they're doing. As dh was abroad for two years until I moved out here to join him, I'd have been paying in any case, as I didn't have the know how to do any repairs myself, or the time, and so I got someone else to do it for me. My brother had a nightmare with his tenants when he was posted abroad, as did my mum. I'd rather pay and have some come back if said repair didn't work, rather than things not being done properly and causing more grief.

As for deposits, my tenants deposit is held under the new scheme, so neither my managing agent or I have it.

I don't use the rent to pay the mortgage, that's covered by salary, so the rent is ploughed back into improving the house. The difference with us is that it is not a buy to let, it's a keep the house we will reoccupy warm and dry and maintained whilst we're away. I'm not in it to make a profit but to keep the house going.

I have to disagree with you about the 'renting' on a school application form - loads of people out here rent as it's a transient population, and the International schools are used to it. In the UK it doesn't matter either - the teachers have no idea who rents or who doesn't, as we're concerned with educating the kids, not where they live.

hanaflowerisnothana · 16/07/2008 16:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

teslagirl · 16/07/2008 17:54

Scary, I wouldn't for a moment suggest a teacher would discriminate against a child who came from a rental! But it IS a measure of the social strata which comprises the school, and lots of renters implies a higher likelihood of the issues associated with low-income! (And perhaps MORE cash for the school as a result?) They wouldn't ask- like the Q about one's racial background- if it didn't have some funding implications!

Now, tbf, you and I could horse trade for hours about our personal circumstances that inform our landlord/tenant situations. But the fact remains, a tenant really doesn't give a toss- what they want to know is the likelihood of being made homeless. If they've had a choice of a short term tenancy, then 60 days would suit all around. BUT if they intend staying put, settling in a given place, they want to see periods of years. Unfortunately in the UK, the former is absolutely ubiquitous, the latter, in private rental land, is practically unheard of.

Perhaps there should be a 'Eventually returning owner, not in it for a profit but wanting the place kept warm and dry' contract??! At least everyone would know where they stood!

We had the wool well and truly pulled over our eyes 1st time around, newly arrived from abroad and innocently believing the rental system was as water tight here as in the country from which we came, 'safe' in the belief that the UK system gave as far as is reasonable, consideration to the owner AND the tenant's needs and rights..but..! We were wondering a bit when we were being hassled every 3 months by a pimply youth 'inspecting' the house, but, regarding our owner's intentions, fortunately a kind neighbour actually told us what was really going on so we were able to make alternative plans. He did nothing 'illegal' under the current system (apart from nearly collapsing the contract by having another neighbour spy on us!) but we would have been out on our ears in 10 months.

Yes, bad tenants can be nightmares. There are laws to protect against them (and the new deposit scheme in place is there for the protection of the landlord too, remember!). But I'd bet the vast majority of people renting, like you and I are reasonable humans who just want to left in peace - and security!

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