We’ve been renting for almost six years now. It’s not always been easy – in fact, we’ve had some pretty bad experiences. We’ve moved six times now, and the bungalow that we live in now is the first place that we’ve really felt at home in. We’ve had landlords who have decided to sell up, leaving us on the brink of homelessness twice. We’ve had landlords who haven’t bothered to maintain the house to a safe living standard – one landlord didn’t keep up with his boiler servicing and maintenance. One morning, at 8 months pregnant with two toddlers, I woke up to find water pouring out of our boiler. It took the landlord three weeks to get someone to come out and sort it because ‘he had no money’, whilst we had no hot water or heating. That was a fun experience, especially as we had started potty training Harrison!
All that said, there are some benefits to renting. I guess Graham and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that we are unlikely to ever own our own home, so we have had to look on the bright side and find the positives!
No maintenance costs
If we owned the house when the boiler packed up, we would have had to find an awful lot of money to repair it. Even though we had to wait, our landlord was the one who was liable for the costs. Our cooker in our bungalow is on the blink now, and when it goes, our landlord will be buying us a new one. That would have been a huge expense for us if we owned our own home!
Whilst the flexibility of renting hasn’t exactly worked for us – we would quite happily have stayed in our first home for a few years rather than the 10 months we were there – it is something that for some people is a benefit. If you decide you want to move, you don’t have the hassle of trying to sell your property, which can take a long time. You just wait until your tenancy agreement runs out or give the appropriate notice, and you can move within a few weeks!
Help with Rent
If you’re unlucky enough to lose your job – a situation we found ourselves in a couple of years ago – you are entitled to some help from your local council towards your rent. When you’re paying a mortgage, you’re on your own.
No Massive Upfront Costs
When you’re moving home when you’re a tenant, you often have to find a deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, and a month’s rent upfront. It isn’t great, but it’s better than the several thousands you have to put down as a deposit when you’re purchasing a home.