It’s kind of every renters worst nightmare, particularly when you have found your perfect rental to live.
I’ve been renting for…..well since I first moved to London 15 years ago. I’ve actually been very lucky in terms of places I’ve lived / areas and my house mates. The first place me and Tom lived together was a little ropey *but* it was in N1 in London so we took the hit on the size & condition of the flat, but I’ve always left properties on my own terms and never had any real problems with landlords.
We re-located last November to Dorset, to our dream (rental) home. We had a day of back-to-back viewings when Margot was just 6 weeks old and the day before ANOTHER property came up and as soon as I saw the photos, I was like ‘THAT’S THE HOUSE’. We managed to squeeze a viewing in, and the rest is history.
We were made aware that the owners would be selling ‘in a few years’ which was absolutely fine, as our plan was to be in Dorset for just 2 years so this would be no problem. Then 6 months down the line came the dreaded phone call from the estate agent : ‘they are wanting to put the property on the market’.
FOR FUCK’S SAKE THE SOFA WE ORDERED HADN’T EVEN ARRIVED!
I cried. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It was an exhausting and emotional move ; with a newborn in tow, suffering from PTSD and PND and then having to try and unpack an entire house pretty much on my own as Tom started work within days of our arrival. It felt like we had just settled in, got some stability and the rug was literally being pulled from under us. Not to mention the expense….from the removals, buying all the white goods and the furniture we had slowly been buying to fit in our upsized house.
WHAT YOU SHOULD/ CAN DO.
1.) Know your rights and check your contract. We had NO idea there was a 6-month break-clause in the contract, complete stupidity on our part. You still have full rights as paying tenants to enjoy a peaceful home. No landlords or estate agents should be turning up to your home without at least a 24-hour notice AND your agreement. You don’t have to let people into your home EVEN if they have given you 24 hours notice, you can deny entry to estate agents, the landlord or even the police without a court order.
2.) In most cases, they will want you to stay in the property until it sells, unless they are planning works and redevelopment. This will then give a little bit of power back to you, in that if you find another rental before they sell, YOU then give them your notice. In some cases, the new buyers may want to keep tenants within the property.
3.) Keep a good relationship with your landlord. I think this is the most important thing. We felt angry at first, but it wasn’t their intention and we know they are not bad people. It works on both parts to keep a good relationship ; we were accommodating with house viewings and surveyors etc and our landlord is being lenient with our move out dates and also how we leave the house. In our contract, it states we have to have the whole place professionally cleaned, including windows, carpets and fumigation (!) but we don’t have to pay for any of this, we simply have to leave it clean which we our doing ourselves.
4. Keep in touch with the Estate Agents. In all honesty the Estate Agents have been the ones who have made a few things tricky, but again, we are trying to keep conversation open and work with them….we never know if we’ll be in the situation where we will need to rent with this company again so leaving on a bad note isn’t in our best interest.
5.) Suck it up, there’s nothing you can do! I turned from being upset and pissed off to just ‘get on with it, suck it up, these things happen’ pretty quickly. It’s not your fault, it’s out of your hands, don’t dwell.
6.) Look at the positives ; find somewhere EVEN BETTER! Yes, I honestly thought this was my dream home and village and I still really love it and of course we would have stayed here for years….but…there are things about it that aren’t quite right, so maybe we could find somewhere even more perfect?! Sure it’s not going to have the fancy Lacanche yellow cooker *but* perhaps somewhere were there is phone reception, a shop within walking distance and a few people more our age.
7. Get on Amazon and buy loads of brown tape. At least you have time to prepare and pack, right? Get your moving plan in place, get organised and make your move AS EASY as possible. Things that didn’t go smoothly during the initial move? Get it right this time. Start your packing early and use it as an excuse to have a MAJOR DE-CLUTTER. Freecycle, donate, sell.
OUR SITUATION NOW
It ruined it pretty much then and there for us when we found out it was going on the market, it no longer felt like our home and the viewings and having strangers come into your house, feeling like you have to make it presentable (YOU DON’T!) was all a little stressful. We were very eager to get out, find somewhere else or another option.
We immediately started looking at other rentals, but the market in Dorset is VERY different to what we were used to in London where you can literally find about 25 options in a day. I think 2 properties came up in 2 months that looked great but both of them wouldn’t allow pets and one wouldn’t allow children!
I honestly can’t wait until we are out of here now. not because anything horrendous has happened, I just need that feeling of stability back for my family and get the angst and stress of moving out of the way. Please fast forward 4 weeks please and thank you! We will be in our OWN home, no landlords, no estate agents and no worries when the cat’s decide the pluck up the carpets or I put a hole in the wall.