Being a renter is tough. And 2018 could be the worst year since the era of feudal landlords – where tenant were forced to work the land for their landlords, go to war on their behalf, and in many cases, were technically viewed as property.
Not content with jacking up rents at inflation-busting rates, forcing up house prices, creating unsustainable economic bubbles, and turfing families onto the street, landlords today are going one step further by forcing their tenants into debt by keeping hold of deposits far, far longer than they need to.
How long does it take a landlord to check whether a property is in good order before handing back the security deposit to renters? Ten minutes? An hour? A day? Surely that’s the limit. Even if the landlord wants to carry out a full top-to-bottom nuts and bolts inspection, checking every door knob is properly greased, and every dado rail dust-free. It can’t take more than a day, surely.
A week would be taking the Mick. A fortnight would be cruelty.
One in six renters have to wait more than four weeks to have their security deposit returned.
Outrageous. Especially since every single one of those tenants will need to pay another deposit before they can move into their next new “home.”
Most renters don’t have savings. Hell, most renters don’t even have enough spare cash for a pension plan. The fact that they’re renting means that they’re paying through the nose to the tune of an extra £1.1 million on average during a lifetime.
Where, exactly, do these greedy landlords and cretinous letting agents expect their tenants to find an extra month’s rent?
The answer is that they don’t. They don’t know, and they don’t care. The question never even crosses their minds.
But the fact that they are too lazy, too laissez faire, or to idle to do a property inspection or have the money ready on time means that renters without savings are having to turn to other sources for the deposit on their next property. Using a credit card to pay is expensive. Using one of the many short term loan services is worse.
If you clicked on that last link, you’ll see that a short term £1000 loan can cost almost £500. But desperate people will do desperate things – especially if they’ve just received a section 21 notice out of the blue.
And for what? For a landlord’s laziness. For a letting agent to stretch it out as long as possible so that they can quibble over the carpets, the cleanliness of the oven, the curry smell in the curtains – knowing full well that they have the money, the tenant is desperate, and less likely to argue over deductions for cleaning an already clean flat, or repairs to things which were already broken.
It’s wrong and it sucks. But if you’re a tenant, it’s not like you have a choice. Just hold onto your ankles and think of England.