I am being quieter than Little Miss Q Quiet of the Quietland Quiets (who has a GCSE in Being Really Quiet.) I do not make a sound. I am in hiding. I remain deathly pale so as to blend in with the brilliant paint on my walls. The fact is, I am playing a game of cat and mouse with my letting agents, and do not wish to draw attention to myself. Yes, it’s tenancy agreement renewal time, and I’m sort of hoping that my letting agents have forgotten that I live there.
I would like to stay where I am, but only if the rent remains the same. Given the low interest rates, a rent rise would be cheeky, but remember that my letting agents are cheeky bunch of …monkeys and I’m not sure where I stand. By the time you read this, I doubt I will have been given any notice to quit, or informed of any intended rent rise, for the simple reason that I suspect they’ve forgotten me. While sitting in the office under many baleful glances, I asked for a six month agreement – not their standard nine months, which was greeted with bafflement. I was feeling insecure when I met them, and having the endured the experiences I’ve written about previously hereabouts, I wanted any escape route to be within easy reach.
Mercifully, they usually leave me alone, but the downside means that this ‘solitude’ leaves me communing with all the things they’ve failed to do, like putting shelves in the bathroom, resealing the lounge window, apologising for allowing repair men to walk whenever they fancy a look etc, but on the whole, it’s the best I can expect (I suppose.)
It’s always the way with rental agreements – you never know what’s coming next, and tenants have very little control over their lives, but here’s a new twist: as pointed out by a commentator on this blog recently, Scotland enjoys a rule which means that if neither party contacts each other before the legal agreement ends, then the original agreement is repeated, and identical terms are applied. I hope this happens. I really do, and I’m worried that it won’t.
I still think that the best of all worlds would be an assumption that tenancies last for as long the tenant chooses, with a minimum of two years. There should be no eviction process started unless the landlord gives a genuine reason. ‘I felt like turfing that loser out because their mum dresses them funny’ is not a good reason. Neither is the strange urge landlords sometimes have to nurture and house their dear old mum, which sadly means they must give notice to their blameless tenants.
I shouldn’t have to worry every six months whether or not I can stay safely in my home. I want some security. If things remain as they are, I could genuinely be forced to move every six months - for various reasons it’s been that way for the past seven years (only once has the move been my own choice.) I resent feeling utterly and obviously powerless. It’s just that I’ve been here so many times before, and I’ve had enough – I really have.