Dodgy landlords, even dodgier furniture, and learning how to cheat the dreaded inventory check. Welcome to the world of renting!
1. The rental contract, which is usually about 50 pages long, will be written in such complicated legal jargon that you just go straight to the last page and sign. Yes, you could be signing your granny away, but finding somewhere you can afford these days is rarer than hen’s teeth, so you’re willing to take the chance (sorry Nan!)
2. Having to come up with a month’s rent in advance, as well as the same amount for a deposit, is practically impossible! Who has that kind of money lying around?
3. And don’t get us started on the exorbitant ‘processing fee’ you’ll be charged by rental agencies for basically photocopying your tenancy agreement. £100? You’re having a giraffe!
4. You think that’s bad? Enter the inventory! Yes, that hideous document that lists every scratch, stain or scuff on every item in the flat. And we mean, every item. That microscopic chip on some crappy old egg cup the landlord bought back from Torremolinos in 1972 – duly noted! Which begs the question, if the chip in the Torremolinos egg cup gets any bigger, just how much are they planning to take from your deposit?!
5. Also listed on the inventory will be a wealth of naff pictures, ornaments, and other decorative tutt that the landlord doesn’t like enough to keep in their own house but for some reason refuses to chuck away, and so stores at your gaff instead. If you’re lucky there’ll be space in a cupboard/behind a sofa to hide the horrors away until it’s time to move.
6. But it’s not as simple as just hanging up your own pictures. You have to ask your landlord’s permission before you can even knock a nail in the wall to put one up. If they’re a real swine they’ll say no (but you’ll do it anyway, filling the hole with chewing gum and Tippex and hoping the inventory company don’t notice on check-out!)
7. All landlords furnish their houses from Ikea or Argos (if you’re lucky). Which is handy ‘cos if you break something you know where to go!
8. And break things you certainly will! We can guarantee the bottom of your bedside drawers will collapse under the weight of all those bras and socks. Why? Because they’re held together with Sellotape, applied by the last tenants who didn’t want to lose money from their deposit. And so the cycle continues…!
9. Even though you’ve signed a ‘no smoking’ agreement, you’ve had loads of crafty fags out the front window, then panicked when you remembered your landlady commenting about her in-laws living just a few doors down.
10. For this reason your house is laden with joss sticks and air fresheners in case the landlady makes an illicit surprise visit. You’re dead chuffed when you accidentally discover burnt toast covers the smell of practically anything, and so have a handy crust lined up in the toaster at all times!
11. On the bright side, if your washing machine or fridge breaks, you don’t have to pay for it to be replaced. Your landlord however will use this as a chance to poke round your flat, insisting: ‘Don’t take a day off work, I’m happy to wait in for the fridge to be delivered!’
12. NEVER agree to this! Apart from the constant smell of burnt toast, what if they notice the dodgy spag bol stain on the settee (you’re hoping simply turning the cushion over will get you through the inventory check-out!), the fact the bathroom grouting is covered in hair dye (Domestos should sort that before check-out), oh yeah, and the fact your Auntie Rita has been sleeping on a camp bed in the front room for the past month. Well, she found out Uncle Kev was bonking the barmaid at the local Legion, so what could you do?
13. Your ancient, falling down flat with draughty windows develops damp, which the landlord then blames you for even though you’ve only been living there a month.
14. If you’re female and sharing with a male partner, your landlord will always email or phone your boyfriend about things rather than talk to you.
15. When you’re renting over 40 you get the distinct feeling people are looking down their noses at you. As a result you find yourself saying airily, ‘Everyone on the Continent rents, you know.’
16. Every year without fail your rent goes up, and if an agency is involved you get yet another ‘handling fee’ for the privilege.
17. This means you end up moving house every couple of years to try to find somewhere cheaper, then wish you hadn’t because all the rents have gone up and you’ll end up paying more!
18. Everyone who rents has had at least one dodgy landlord – the pervy one who makes sleazy comments, the sneaky one who lets themselves into the flat when you’re not there even though it’s illegal, or the one who doesn’t pay his mortgage and you only find out when the bailiffs arrive.
19. You are constantly terrified of leaving your straighteners on and burning the landlord’s house down.
20. At the dreaded inventory check on moving out day we guarantee there will be a massive stain/rip/hair straighteners burn on the sofa/curtains/carpet that you’ve strategically placed something over that you’ll be praying isn’t noticed!
21. Although it feels you’ll only ever be able to afford to buy your own place if you win the lottery, you can’t help but daydream anyway!