… the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr. I don’t think that the eminent American theologian, ethicist and public intellectual was possibly contemplating the whims of a capricious tenant when he said this; but I have on occasion recently had to find the mental fortitude not to either a. allow my blood pressure to ricochet off the scale or b. put myself in the frame for an attempted murder charge as I bash someone over the head with a bundle containing the latest figures from Rightmove, a Section 21 notice, an EPC and a FENSA certificate (there’s a prize if you can identify the acronym). For whatever reason, tenants do, having just moved into a rented property, (that they have viewed seventeen times; with mum/partner/aunt/nail technician/probation officer to name just a few), decide that they can’t/won’t live there and they want to move now (or yesterday, if it could be arranged). All parties have signed a six month contract in, “upmost good faith”, but that has absolutely no relevance or import in the mind or thought process of the tenant. Okey dokey, the landlord/agent says through gritted teeth; here’s what we will do.
Option 1. Nothing. As a tenant, the individual has signed an agreement for 6 months and that is what they will pay for. Whether they choose to actually live there is wholly irrelevant as long as the money keeps coming in. This is totally within a landlord’s legal rights. Nasty landlord.
Option 2. The landlord states that they will put the property back on the rental market and as soon as a new tenant is found, the current tenant will be released from the contract. Nice landlord.
Option 3. The landlords states that they will take one month’s notice from the day the tenant moved in (all of a day ago). Because the landlord has turned away other tenants and has incurred expenses, they do not wish to be out of pocket if they release the tenant from the contract straight away. Again, nice landlord.
As an agent who has heard all manner of reasons as to why a tenant cannot possible stay in a chosen location one minute longer, “Oh, you don’t like the tree? What that f+&^ off big thing that was standing there on all the occasions that you came to view the house…?”, I always tell tenants that they are not in a position to negotiate. It rests wholly with the benign and accommodating nature of the landlord/agent. And if the latter has just had his car pinched, Wales got hammered in the Six Nations or his wife has been withholding all favours because he forgot her birthday, then unlucky, learn to live with the tree. As always, the advice that I offer before any contract is proffered, is to make sure that it is the property that you really, really want before you sign the tenancy agreement. After all, if you had just bought the property, would you stomp indignantly back to the Halifax and say that you don’t like it, can we cancel the mortgage?
Speaking of change, my mate Mark (Carney), head honcho at The Bank of England, this morning stated that The BOE was powerless to stop the soaring prices of the prime property market in London. Firstly, note the use of the word, “prime”. This is the market that only the uber wealthy can afford and the majority of those wielding the chequebook are foreign investors who have the cash ready, burning a hole in their Dior. As Mr Carney said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, “We as the central bank can’t influence that. We change underwriting standards – it doesn’t matter. there’s not a mortgage” [sic] A point that many of the more wild-eyed commentators forget to acknowledge; Mr Niebuhr obviously don’t feature on their bedtime reading list.