Applying to rent a house in England is shocking, and here’s why

“Please sir, can I give you money to live in one of your many houses?”

“No, scumbag! Come back when you have a job.”

“But sir, I have been offered a job! That’s why I’d like to rent your house. I was employed full time since, forever. I just worked my 3 months notice on my last job so that I was free to move 270 miles to your town to take up this job. I would like to start the job next week, I just need sort out somewhere for me and my partner to live.”

“No scumbag! To rent my property you have to have worked in your current job for more than 3 months or your living working parents own their own house and promise to pay the rent when you die of exhaustion or get fired. Oh, and 12 months rent in advance.”

“My dad expired four years ago and my mother is long retired. I’ve rented houses for 20 consecutive years, and I can give references for all of them (apart from the one I took to court because they fleeced me for the deposit). I’ve never needed a guarantor before. What’s changed?”

“You’ve changed, scumbag. Scumbags like you stopped paying rent in 2020 as soon as you had the opportunity. It’s too risky for me to have you living in my house if you can’t guarantee my income. Anyway, what was that about being in court? What did you do wrong? What’s on your criminal record? You’ll now need 18 months rent in advance.”

“I didn’t stop paying rent! And I don’t have a criminal record. I took my landlord to small claims court, and I won. He got the CCJ, not me. He was a scumbag. I paid all my rent for the last 20 years, on time, every time. I have a 100% record for on time rent payments, which I can prove via my bank statements going back to 2016.”

“Scumbag. Young people these days don’t know they’re born.”

“But sir, I’m 44 years old. I’ve a long history of being in full time employment in a profession that is much in demand (teaching mathematics) and I haven’t had more than two weeks break in employment in 20 years. I have good references and in the spectacularly unlikely event I don’t pass my probation in 6 month’s time, I can pretty much guarantee I would be gainfully employed as a substitute teacher within one week of getting my P45!”

“What was that scumbag? You haven’t even passed your probation yet? In that case you’ll need 24 months rent in advance, a guarantor and consent to having a torch regularly shined up your backside for the next 10 years.”

“But sir, how would I pass my probation if I haven’t started work yet? How can I start work at all if you won’t agree to rent me a house in the area that I work?”

“Scumbag, you are just poor. Face it, you’re just too poor so you don’t deserve to live anywhere. Here’s a cardboard box, live in that, stop drinking oat milk lattes and cancel your Netflix.”

“But sir, I’m not poor, but I don’t have a guarantor and I don’t already live in your local area. I’ve been paying my current rent (which is TWICE your property’s rent) on my own for more than a year and they never asked me for a guarantor. Why do you need a guarantor?”

“Well, scumbag, you mean you can afford twice the rent? In that case, my rent will be £2000pcm, with £2500 deposit and 12 months rent in advance.”

“But sir, that’s… (counts on fingers) £26,500 up front! I’ve got savings, but who has that much just sitting around?

“Well scumbag, sounds like you can’t afford it”.

“But sir, it sounds like you can’t afford to be a landlord if you can’t afford to risk losing even one month’s rent.”

“Well yes, scumbag but I’m providing a public service. I really don’t know why I do it. It’s altruism, I’m just one of the good guys.”

“But sir, you’re not. You’re saying you won’t rent to me unless somebody else takes all the risk. That’s not public service, it’s self-service. It’s because you feel entitled to profit from your investment in housing stock. That’s not how other financial investments work – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But you’re saying you can’t afford to lose, ever. If you stay in the market long enough, your tenants pay for an entire house that you then get to keep! That sounds like an insane profit to me. How is that even allowed?”

“Scumbag, you’re talking like a god-damned commie right now. Why can’t you just accept that some people own houses, and some people don’t. “

“Well that’s fine. I have never felt that desire to own a house, to be honest. I just want to rent a place, be left alone for quiet enjoyment, and to have the opportunity available to move around the country and experience new people, new areas, new ideas whenever I want to. Otherwise I would have settled down long ago…”

“Who doesn’t want to own their own house? Scumbags, that’s who. You want to move out already? You’re going to need to pay 10 years rent in advance, to stop you moving out before you’ve paid up the rest of my mortgage. You fly-by-nights, you don’t know where you’ll be next week, let alone next year.”

“Yes sir. Sorry sir. I had no idea I’d be this close to bein homeless despite doing everything the right way. I had no idea I’d get rinsed. Breaking Bad doesn’t seem like such an outlandish concept – I’ll sell narcotics and count up the pennies from down the back of the sofa and see if I’ve got enough.”

“Scumbag, I only accept folding money. Or your blood. Ah, yes, of course! I’ll accept actual blood, as long as it’s yours or that of your close relatives. 40 litres a month. In advance.”

(Sound of an IV line being inserted)

“Ouch, sir, it hurts! I’m being…. draiiiiiiiined…. ” *thud*

“What did you expect, scumbag? Get up, you’ve got rent to pay. Get back to work. Also, move out, here’s an eviction notice. My son’s moving in next week.”

This account was based on several true accounts of renting in England. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. The landlord was Mr Parsimonious of Parsimonius & Acquisitive Tax Accountancy.

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