Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Little Luck

I’m leaving Dovecot Towers, but am keen to avoid letting agencies, as are many landlords. The best flats are often found through word of mouth.

A little luck is what I need. In the past, informal contacts have led to my happiest rental experiences, namely the flat I pine for: my little nest in Glasgow, which was perfect. I found it when someone knew someone, who knew someone with an empty flat. This usually arises when people move in together and they’re unsure about committing, so one partner lets their flat. It’s also common when relationships break down, and the couple sit out negative equity by renting the conjugal residence. I’m not hoping any of my friends split up, but if a couple with a really nice flat decide on an amicable separation, then here I am. Choose me!

I bumped into S, who has split up with her partner, and even as a homeowner finds herself letting the home she can’t sell in this economic climate, and is consequently renting a flat from a friend in a similar situation. Word of mouth again; it leads to some welcome informality, and no ties, but usually in a good way.

Renting from acquaintances and friends has pros and cons: it’s usually slighter cheaper (no commission) and also much easier; there’s just more give and take. It’s seems less complicated; there’s altogether less pressure on everyone: you don’t mind a little slowness with non urgent repairs, and are more willing to help out, even chipping in or sorting minor snags out yourself.

The cons are insurmountable; it’s hard to be assertive when the owner is your mate, or best buddies with a mutual friend. A in Glasgow was a sweetheart, but had the hoarding habits of a magpie or a more hygienic Mr Trebus, and insisted on storing his finds, like string, bits of various contraptions, spare parts and ‘stuff’ in my flat, which deprived me of the cupboard (and regular readers know how I feel about cupboards; I covet them as much as other women value jewellery.) But it was lovely apart from that one niggle.

There is sometimes a lack of will to formalise arrangements, but tenants, and indeed landlords really do benefit from a legal written agreement, as both have a rare tendency to turn bad. If you are made to feel awkward about needing a proper agreement, or receipts for rent paid, then it’s maybe not a good idea, unless you are house-sitting. It’s harder for the landlord to let go of the property, as they sometimes cling to the comforting notion that they can move back in, if need be.

It’s obvious really. I’m playing for time because I dread flat-hunting and moving, with the accompanying hassles of viewings, credit checks, references, deposits, guarantors and removal companies.
I need a fairy godmother, with a magic pumpkin to turn into my dream flat. Nothing fancy: just a utility room, cupboards and friendly, well-behaved neighbours.
I closed my eyes, clicked my heels and made a wish.
It didn’t work. I’m still here.


Darsalon said...

I've been in the situation of having a house let through a friend of someone at my work. Rent period itself was fine. My landlady then tried to get me for things that were broken after the rental period had finished. Not amicable in the least and could have been potentially uncomfortable with my work colleague. Fortunately wasn't.
So, I've gone back to a letting agency and as I've commented on here before, it's worked out well. Landlady was a bit of a pain to start with but found that I'm not that bad a tenant so has left me alone.
Good luck with the search and hope you find a reasonable place. Although it may mean slightly less to blog about!

Gregling said...

I know exactly what you mean. I seem to always be settling in or thinking about leaving and never just LIVING. I actually love looking at flats I just hate committing. I was looking online just last week and the rents have come down a lot since I moved in May 2007. In fact I could get a 2 bed place for what I pay for my one bed. If I moved back to the burbs I could have a HOUSE! Anyay, I'm really enjoying the blog and I have blogged my own experiences of the housing market here in honour:
And mentioned you as my inspiration! Keep up the good work and best of luck with the hunt.

RenterGirl said...

Thanks for reading and also your good wishes. Prices are coming down aren't they? Thanks for adding me Gregling. Have returned the compliment. I'm really not sure where to head for.

Mark said...

Fantastic blog. I'm really enjoying keeping up with it and wish you the best of luck with the flat hunt and move.

I've lived in town for quite some time now and hear a lot of what you're saying, especially in terms of block "management".

I viewed a flat with a friend of mine over at Ancoats earlier this week - big balcony, big rooms and shock horror, 2 utility cupboards :-) The building looked a bit sad with quite a few empties mind you and I guess it is on the fringe but not bad at all. I may consider it too when my contract is up.

Look forward to reading how it goes.

RenterGirl said...

Thanks for the advice! Any more tips are gratefully received. Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that there are now many, many two bed flats going for the price of a one bed two years ago?