We are moving from the flat we have lived in for about fifteen years. We’ve found another place to rent in Streatham or as the marble mouths who want to gentrify the borough insist on calling it, St. Reatham.
Our current landlord has been great but periodically, for one reason or another, floats the idea of selling. The last time was earlier this year. He eventually told us to hold fire but it put the wind up us a little so we kept looking.
At some point he was going to sell. Better for us to jump now rather than wait to be pushed. Finding the right place has taken a while but we think we’ve found somewhere nice but more importantly somewhere that has the potential to be long term.
The idea of finding somewhere quickly is horrible, not least because it puts us at the mercy of that loathsome profession, the letting agent. I hate letting agents! I hate dealing with them. I hate being at their mercy. I find them unnecessarily rude. They have the social graces of an autistic teenager. And worst of all I hate feeling like I’m being ripped off. How they justify charging twice for the same service is beyond me? They charge you for finding the landlord a tenant while charging the landlord for their services. Make no mistake a letting agent works for the landlord. The landlord hires them to look after the property not the inverse.
Thankfully we found our new place through a friend of a friend so we’re being spared the stress and indignity of dealing with an agent. We, like most people, would love to buy somewhere. The relative security of property ownership is attractive but because we rent the prospect of buying is an Everest of a problem. Even if we were pulling down above average earning, which we’re not, there wouldn’t be a lot left to save after you pay ever increasing rents, utility bill, travel and the basics of living. Bottom line, the cost of living in the United Kingdom and London in particular, is too high.
Cost of living high. Prospect of saving low. No savings. No deposit. No deposit. No buy house. Even if we took advantage of the governments new help to buy scheme we’d have to find more than £17000 to place a five percent deposit on the flat we currently live in.
We, like an ever increasing number of people, have to face the idea that we will never own a property of our own. This is a problem on so many levels it would take a book to cover them all.
The immediate political problem is that if there’s a generation who have no choice but to rent, something must be done to help them, improve their rights, make it fairer, more affordable, less vulnerable to the vagaries of the market, more long term, and most of all devoid of autistic teenagers.
2 Replies to “The stress of moving”
Of course, I live in the States, and we do own our home. (Well, no: we’re renting it from the bank for thirty years . . .) But I agree about the problems, which are shared across much of the First World–that is, the wealthy are taking more and more of the value of the labor of the working classes, leaving those in the working classes with less and less money and less able to afford much of what they once afforded. In the States, we can blame Reaganomics for this situation.
Reagan there, Thatcher here, their economic strategies were the same; wealth for the wealthy. Greed is good. Syphon off and consolidate as much wealth as you can. Those who can’t deserve everything they get. All very depressing. Year on year The Times rich list has the wealth of the richest people in the world increase. They pyramid scheme that is capitalism really works for those at the peak. We had an estate agent visit yesterday. He told us the majority of his clients are people with wealthy families who have money in the bank. They’re putting down deposits of 70% because interests rates here are so low investing in property guarantees a better return. They can get 3% for a buy to let property rather than the .5% they might get leaving it in the bank. Average people can’t compete with that. If we had £350k (a 70% deposit for the flat we are about to leave) we’d buy somewhere outright rather than renting. I’m not optimistic for the future. I know we will survive; we have not choice. The question is; will we prosper? The pessimist in me thinks not.