The perils of private renting

The perils of private renting

My husband and I have recently moved back to the UK from Spain where we have been living and working for the last 12 years.

We are both over retirement age in the UK – although not in Spain and, due to recent ill health, the time was right to move home.

Unable to sell our house in Spain quickly we decided on renting a property.  Should be easy I thought.

We both have a pension and some savings and the possibility of some part time work.

Our first problem was the price.  Anything that was of interest and had the required criteria, two bedrooms, a garage, a garden and preferably not a flat, was way out of our price range.

On a brief visit to “reccy” the chosen area we were shocked and disappointed to view tiny houses squashed in housing estates with barely room to put a fridge freezer in the kitchen.

None of our Spanish furniture would fit into the modern UK home.  However we lowered out sights and looked outside the area close to where we wanted to be.

The next problem was availability.  Whenever we found somewhere vaguely suitable on the internet, by the time I had telephoned to make an appointment the property had already been let.

The only way to get instant access was to be based in the area already.  So we camped with a relative who very kindly tolerated our incursion.

Then it was a case of suitability: not the property but us!  When we rang to arrange a viewing we were asked very personal and searching questions, mainly about our finances.

Whilst I understand that agents are acting on behalf of landlords, it is unnerving to be interrogated before you can even book a visit.

Because we were moving back from overseas and had no references from a previous landlord or a credit rating, we were turned away without consideration.  I could understand if it was the 1960s and we were ‘black’ or ‘Irish’ way back when.

The British emphasis on a credit rating is verging on an “ism”. Now it is an anathema to be a smoker, be on benefits or have a pet!

In a previous career I have been an accredited Letting Agent and so understand the stringent requirements of landlords, but maybe they are missing out on a safe secure sector of their market by refusing to accept highly suitable tenants on the grounds of ignorance.

There are so many other caveats that it almost seems that landlords do not want tenants.  In this age of political correctness this appears to be a bastion of discrimination.