Here is my tribute to ‘You Are The Ref’ a popular cartoon strip in Shoot magazine, I think, where a dilemma about the national obsession with the professional game involving twenty-two overpaid grown men kicking a plastic globe around on some grass is discussed and resolved.
So, let’s play ‘You Are The Rentier’ (my campaign to render landlady/lord obsolete continues.) Pretend you own property (pretend? Dream…) and wish to rent it out. Now let’s try and resolve some recurring and topical issues with the tolerance, wisdom and practicality you wish was used by real life rentiers.
Some decisions are easy for me. Prospective tenants are smokers? Sorry, but no. I hate smoking: it stinks and the place will need redecorating far sooner than for non-smoking occupants. Do you trust people to smoke outside, all the time? So that’s a no.
Next, some excellent tenants have asked if it’s okay for them to have a pet. Here, I am torn: I’m thinking yes, albeit it with a proviso making tenants responsible for repairing, or paying for the inevitable puppy/kitten door scratching. And while I would expect to do post occupancy clean, I’d want the carpets cleaned (I love puppies and kittens, but they can be ‘messy.’) I would ban those poor hairless hand-bag dogettes, just because I hate them. See – power corrupts.
Children? No problem. Children to be actively welcomed and encouraged: in a house it’s also reasonable for the tenant to fit safety gates and other child-protection type things. And yes, they might scribble on the walls, but it’s paint isn’t it.
Would I house an unemployed renter? Yes. Some of this is about ability to pay, and there is a whole LHA minefield, but yes. I know, some mortgage providers ban claimants including the publicly owned RBS. Expect a court challenge on that – moves are afoot.
Tenants with bad credit rating? CR checks are next to useless for assessing the potential reliability of tenants, or their ability to pay. As the wise Sir Ben Reeves Lewis has said, Siralan ‘You’re Fired’ Sugar is a rehabilitated multiple bankrupt. There are many reasons why a tenant might even not have paid a former landlord, so I’d want more information, but that’s another yes.
I wouldn’t ask for a massive deposit: what’s the point? In the event of a default, a huge, albeit protected deposit just delays the inevitable. And if tenants want to decorate, I’d discuss this prior to them moving in, but a coat of emulsion would be fine – horrible wallpaper a no-no. I’d place some hooks on the wall, and like my own Landgirl, and allow personalisation of what is the place they are paying to call home.
Life is messy and people are complicated. I once interviewed an award-winning landlady who was proud of her record with arrears: she had never evicted anyone, having elected insted to stay in contact with errant tenants, made no threats and never tried to kick down a door or employ heavies to menace renters. She always got her money in the end.
Finally: that was never an offside free penalty tackle kick. Or something. Was it?