As the flat hunting odyssey grows urgent, I’ve decided that I should rule the property world. I’d be reasonable and fair. Here are my decrees:
1 Landlords are obliged to submit to the same credit checks and investigations as their tenants. They should also provide references from former tenants, testifying to their suitability, efficiency and professionalism.
2 For tenancy deposit protection to apply to landlords, who will pay an amount equal to that paid by their tenant into an account, withheld if they are naughty.
3 For there to be a requirement that, in any development aimed at the buy-to-let market, or any scheme that ends up dominated by these tenancies by accident or design, or indeed at all, for the relevant management companies to be compelled to treat tenants as the primary occupier, even if they don’t pay the ground rent.
4 For landlords to pay the council tax. They paid the old style rates. Why was it changed?
5 It is presumed that tenants are able to stay for as long as they pay rent, and that two months notice must be given. However, tenants can give one months notice. Oh, stop whining and snivelling, landlords!
6 For tenants to be allowed, within reason *, decoration rights. It used to be the case that on taking up a tenancy, new residents would be granted one weeks rent free to cover the cost of paint (more on production of reasonable receipts.) No more magnolia, no more greige. Hooray!
* Fuchsia gloss on the walls is not reasonable.
7 For there to be an effective fair rent forum, with tenants encouraged to use it. Landlords are legally prevented from giving notice if the rent is deemed too high, and legally and physically restrained from bleating about it.
8 For all landlords to nominate a caretaker and contractors on duty 24/7. Overseas owners must have a local representative. These representatives or caretakers must respond to urgent repairs within one day, or less in cases of water or gas leaks and the potential explosions, obviously.
9 Rogue owners, such as those who let flats as hotel apartments are deemed to have forfeited the lease. And then tarred and feathered.
10 In the event of forfeiture in the above instance, or bankruptcy, or sale, for it to be presumed that the tenant is a ‘sitting’ tenant, and for notice only to be given to them, well never.
11 Landlords who do not control their tenant’s anti-social or illegal behaviour will be entertained at length in their own home by a crack team of Ethel Merman impersonators who shall perform an avant-garde opera based on the life and works of Celine Dion. Loudly.
12 For Newbuilds to be subject to the approval of a nominated panel, rules set by me, who will not (and I’m telling you, they will not) approve: communal post rooms, no storage, poor sound-proofing, dodgy main doors, thin walls, and shelf-like balconies.
13 For architects to be forced to live in anything they design, and builders what they build, and management companies what they manage, and for their children to live there, and their friends to live there as well.
14 For all developments to have lovely gardens. With flowers.
15 Tenants shall be provided with a wet mackerel, for the purpose of slapping landlords and letting agents to emphasise the following point: “This (slap) is a home (slap) and not (slap) a museum (slap, slap, slappety-slap slap!) That (slap) is wear and tear (slap) and not damage (more slapping…)”
16 The moon is to be given to me on stick, wrapped in a delicate pink silk ribbon.