This much we know for sure; where demand for rented homes is high, rents are racing upwards ever upwards. Elsewhere, i.e. the country know as Notlondon, rents do not rise so much.
We also know that the benefit cap and worse still, frozen rates of LHA combine to herd the low/no paid to the bottom of the renting heap.
All this combined means tenants race, frantically and desperately towards the lower end of the market, rushing to rent homes they might actually afford, which perversely perhaps means that demand is high in those cheaper areas.
Yes, some homes to rent are indeed cheaper. But, being naturally suspicious and believing that often, when things are cheap, they’re inexpensive for a reason, I always ask myself this question: why are these rented homes so cheap? Just what is about these places so ‘affordable’? What’s lacking – what’s missing?
The answer is simple. These low rent homes offer something different to those at the high end of the market.
1. Mould. They are full of mould. Plenty of mould, covering all surfaces. What do you mean mould is unhealthy and linked to respiratory illness? Jeesh – some people are waaaay too fussy.
2. Seen with my own eyes – no central heating or even no heating at all. ‘Well - it’s let unfurnished’ offered the letting agent (without laughing, since you ask.)
3. The thrill of knowing the owner plans to sell ASAP and then turf the tenant out. Hopefully with proper notice, but hey – perhaps not. Maybe you can stay a while.
4. The neighbourhood is really dubious, with feral documentary crews scared to enter. But they now insist the street is a dystopian fantasy, a TV set or Dickens theme park. Police vans riding round in convoy. But – yes, you might just afford the rent.
5. The schools are so bad that the UN is in control.
6. There are few transport links: no trams, trains or buses and nobody can afford a car. Buses appear only when the satnav plays tricks. Fares are expensive, which means a trip the supermarket is a costly treat, and outings must be planned like an invasion.
7. The neighbours. They’re interesting. And confrontational. And vocal. They debate with each other. Frequently.
8. The walls are rickety. I’ve seen this. They might actually move – especially the internal partitions, which can be made of cardboard or plaster board. That’s because the owner has added several teeny-tiny extra rooms.
9. The furniture. It’s broken, infested with vermin including fleas, and damp runs in torrents down the walls.
10. Some homes to rent are so cheap you could be forgiven for suspecting they might lack basic amenities. Like floors, for example. I’ve seen this – a low cost flat where the bathroom floor was about to cave in.
11. best of all – tenants here often find they have ‘interesting’ rentiers who are real ‘characters.’ I hate the term rogue landlords, but this lot abuse it. They stack tenants up like fish-fingers in a freezer and refuse even request for minor repairs. They threaten, menace and intimidate. How entertaining.