Dear Fellow Fools,I post this with some hesitation as I am not a regular poster on this board (although I am something of a regular poster to the “Dealing with Debt” [DwD] one) and what I am going to write may be considered a bit 'off topic' here but it does relate to the landlord/tenant relationship, which I assume is of at least some interest to the regulars here, so I'll take my chances and won't be in the slightest bit offended if this post is pulled, or if I am 'flamed' in any way – I'm used to it on DwD anyway!By way of a bit of background I am 44 years old and have lived in rented accommodation since I was 25, so that's nearly two decades of being a tenant or a 'lodger'. I've lived in shared houses, flats, flatshares, bedsits, family homes and currently reside in a loft conversion in a house that is the principal private residence of the couple who own it (they also own other properties) so I like to think I have been around the block a few times when it comes to being a tenant. In total I have lived in eight 'digs' in those nineteen years, and my observations are as follows. All totally subjective of course.Despite the use of the word “sharks” that came up especially in a recent thread I have found that most landlords are perfectly decent people who provide a valuable service. Some of them have been pains in the posterior at times but in my experience if you pay the rent on time and don't trash the place or play death metal music into the wee small hours of the morning they view you as a valued 'customer' and they leave you alone. If I am viewed by a landlord as a 'cash cow' then I have no problem with that. He or she is providing a service and I have chosen to pay for that service. I believe it is called business.My main gripe with landlords (or ladies) comes when it is time to move on. All landlords require a deposit when the tenancy is taken up, and quite rightly so, but they are in many cases in my experience not so keen on paying it back when the room is vacated. I am, I'd like to think, a good tenant but there all too often seems to be some excuse why it shouldn't be refunded. My favourite one was “the walls are damp”. Yes, I know they are, I told you that there was a ventilation problem, and that's why I'm getting out of here as I don't want to get tuberculosis!When I was I child my father had a charming expression that he would use whenever he would have to excuse himself to go to the toilet: “Better an empty house than a bad tenant” he'd say, and I would agree with that totally. However, being a 'good tenant' does have its advantages. If you pay the rent on time, don't cause any trouble, keep the room spic and span, then in most cases most landlords will let you be and not screw you with extortionate rent increases. But I suppose you lot know that anyway of course. :-)I have lived in rooms owned by landlords that I have respected immensely and have counted as friends – my previous one and I used to lend each other CDs on a regular basis and I am still grateful to him for introducing me to the joys of Ultravox's “Ha! Ha! Ha!” - and others that I have 'tolerated', just as they have tolerated me. Again, business is business.I am something of a Bob Dylan fan, and typing this post has reminded me of a song of his (albeit a not very good one – God, he's recorded some shite in his time!) called “Dear Landlord”. It includes the lines:“And if you don't underestimate me, I won't underestimate you”That's how I come have to view my own relationships with my landlords, and it seems to work (mostly). I have lived in my current loft conversion for just over two years, and looking regularly at the adverts – or at least the ones that I can read and understand – in the local letting agent's widows I would say that I am paying a bit under the market average for it. There are many more adverts in the local newsagent's windows that I assume are offering other accommodation, perhaps even cheaper, but since I don't speak a word of Polish I really can't be sure.I have absolutely no desire to own property, not on an owner-occupier basis, and given some of the scumbags that I have shared houses with, most definitely not on a BTL basis. Given the choice I'd love to rent a nice studio flat closer to central London – in Paddington or Bayswater say – but that's out of my league so I'll just have to live with a converted loft in somebody else's house in one of the less pleasant parts of Middlesex, Zone 4.Life could be a lot better but it could be a lot worse as well, and if my landlord is making money out of me, which of course he is or he wouldn't be doing it, then fair play to him. He knows he could do a lot worse than have a middle aged, scruffy haired, regularly paid decent and polite office worker who pays the rent on time, every time, living in his loft, so he doesn't give me any trouble. Perhaps that's why I'm paying slightly less than the local average for my accommodation.In conclusion, I am sure that there are landlords who are “sharks”, and I am sure that there are tenants who are “tenants from hell”. I have met both. Nevertheless, even after 19 years as a tenant I still believe that the landlord/tenant relationship can be a mutually beneficial one if both parties are decent and honest people.With kindest regards,Gostevie
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