I think it’s fair to say we all like to get value for money; not necessarily a bargain as such, but recognise the money we pay is commensurate with the goods or service we receive.
Which is why I weep at the amount of money we have had to fork out over the years with absolutely no prospect of anything in return.
One of my mother’s warnings (she had many) still rings in my ears.
“Renting is dead money”
We have been renting since we moved down here 12 years ago and during that time we have paid an average of £1,000 in monthly rent, which means we have paid £144,000 dead money.
It makes me scream to think with that money we could have virtually paid off a mortgage by now, but instead it has fuelled the lifestyle of the landlord/lady.
But it’s not just the rent that is dead money; letting agent fees have also run into the thousands because with each move there has been a different agent, each of them charging a different amount and all charging a ‘new tenant’ referencing fee.
At least the government has recognised the sometimes outrageous sums of money being charged and they have said letting fees will be banned in the autumn statement; too late for us and quite frankly, it is nothing more than lip service because all that will happen is the landlord will be charged more by the agent and hey presto, the monthly rent will increase to cover the cost.
So once again the tenant carries the can.
One particular agent charged us £125 every six months when the tenancy renewed despite them taking three weeks to sort out some faulty plumbing and thinking nothing of leaving us with a broken boiler during the winter months.
Another agent charged £288 and for that we moved into a house that still had scum on the bath fittings, no bath panel for the first month and a broken shower. We also had to have the front door lock changed because it was broken, the back door rehung and the garage door lock replaced because they couldn’t find the key.
When I pointed out several other areas that were substandard, their reply was
“Well you knew what it was like before you moved in”
To add insult to injury, just three months after moving in with two ‘property inspections’ already having taken place, we were sent a bill for £96 to renew the tenancy even though there were still three months left to run.
And of course there are the removal fees that have increased over the years; so far we have paid in the region of £6,500 and then there is the upheaval of it all and living for days surrounded by boxes. I would calculate it takes roughly two weeks each time to pack and unpack, so over the last 12 years we have been packing/unpacking for nearly 4 months.
So have we had value for money? It doesn’t even come close; the rent has gone to finance someone else’s nest egg; I was told by an agent:
“This is a business for them and a pension”
and there has been no pleasure living in someone else’s house where we are not allowed to hang pictures on walls, change a hideous colour scheme or have a pet without permission and then there are the ‘inspections’ when a complete stranger comes into the house and walks around checking everything.
No, my mother was right, renting is dead money and for many hoping to get on the property ladder, they come to a dead end and as I encountered face a ‘like it or lump it’ attitude:
“…for once, it would be nice for you to have something beneficial to say rather than complaining. How about giving us some valuable information we can do something with?”
No, for us renting has been a big black hole but I hope the chink of light I can see will be our way out.