Tuesday, 6 January 2009

If I Ruled The World

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.



Anonymous said...

Amen to 1,4,8,12 and especially 13.make the b@star@s live there.

RenterGirl said...

Hello to you reaper. But what about 16?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand 16 as it may be
1 an arty staement
2 genuinely delusional
3 analogous of something that I have just completely missed.to comment would be evidence of my ignorance,ergo,I won't...........

sounds quite romantic really.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more - you'd make a good benevolent dictator!

I don't understand why there isn't more of a campaign for changes to the UK (apologies if Scotland is different) laws on renting. I had too much to add for a comment, so have posted my thoughts on my blog, Uncharted Territory (link to post from my name, above).

RenterGirl said...

Thanks Tim. I do think the tide is about to turn here, with more people aware of renting. I'd also add that when landlords misbehave, they have the key to our home. I will now be writing a monthly column in The Guardian Society section(starting next Wed.) I hope you are happy where you are, and settled, and in a nice place!(NB do people disagree about my mackeral idea? I thought it would work.)

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the tide does turn - the place I'm renting would be great if it weren't for a number of fundamental problems that in principle could easily be resolved, but never are, due, in my opinion, to the root cause of poorly thought-out legislation. I'll be sure not to miss your Guardian column.

I wasn't sure about the wet mackerel idea - I use a haddock. But maybe that's been my mistake, as it hasn't worked that well so far!

Anonymous said...

What's not to love about the mackerel idea? Of course, it should be very large, very wet and not particularly fresh. Walloping a useless letting agent and/or landlord with one of those would be massively satisfying, and would be fantastic for my blood pressure :)

And I completely agree with your other points - and yours too Tim. Renting in this country is like participating in a not-particularly-nice game of pass the parcel, as you sit for months in poor-quality accommodation watching your landlord, your letting agent and and eventually the council repeatedly pass the blame (and responsibility) to each other. As a tenant you rarely, if ever, get the prize ...

RenterGirl said...

I can see a new government online petition in the offing..."We, the undersigned, agree that mackerel shall be provided and lawfully used etc etc."
When renting goes to plan, it's okay. When it goes wrong it's horrible, and (apart from vandalism and doing a runner) it's the tenant that suffers.

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand why landlords treat tenants poorly, or vice versa: They both need each other.
Having been on both sides of the rent / let fence I prefer to be a landlord ( with lovely tenants! ) but my preference couldn't work without renters. So hooray for renters manifesto, though, as a vegetarian if I have to be slapped can you use a dandelion instead of a fish?
I especially like the idea of landlord vetting and testimonials from satisfied tenants. Vet me any time.

RenterGirl said...

A sunflower then?

Anonymous said...

"14 For all developments to have lovely gardens. With flowers."

This one i especially agree with, at my old flat i had a great garden, i could just sit out there for hours in the sun on the grass....went away on holiday for a week came back and the landlord had tarmaced it saying it was too expensive to maintain!! I did all the maintainence damn it!!

RenterGirl said...

It's one of the things that initially sounds flippant, and I was being light-hearted, but is actually important, even from a peaceable enjoyment perspective. I would try and negotiate a reduction in rent; the standard and comfort of the place has been lessened. Deeds like that are so annoying? What would happen if you had done the same? (Or you could get some flower pots...)

bleh said...

Loved the article in the Guardian! Totally agree! Will be following your blog... have just left a horrendous landlord behind, hoping for a better one this time around!

RenterGirl said...

Thanks Scar. As a follower, your mackerel will be arriving shortly. Use it wisely. Hope you're happy and comfortable and settled now. What was wrong with your last landlord?

soph said...

Oh my, could you post me a big, juicy, two headed mackerel asap? I'm moving away from a horrible landlord and thanks to you I'll be able to giggle slightly as I imagine hitting him with a wet fish (while he steals all our money!!!) - hooray!

RenterGirl said...

That's one mackerel for every tenant, mind you. Wouldn't it be nice...