Landlords and landladies. They’re a funny breed. In my time spent in this industry, I have come to find there there are two types of landlord; those who care about their tenants and those who don’t. It is those who don’t that concern me the most. In my 8 years selling to the general public I have seen some truly shocking conditions that should never have been.
Mold On The Frames, Carpet And Tables
One of the worst occasions of Landlord neglect was around 3 years ago. I was called out to go see a lovely Polish lady about replacing her old aluminium patio doors in timber frames, with a white PVC slider. When I knocked on the door and told her where I was from, she welcomed me in, although without much excitement.
She led me though to the bedroom which required the new slider – it was a bungalow, hence the bedroom being downstairs. It was also a bedroom in which her two year old was sleeping in. She pointed over to the old door which needed to be removed, and boy, did it need to be removed!
The timber frame the door was sat in was absolutely covered in mold from top to bottom on the left hand side. Rot was starting to set in and the frames was way beyond repair. But what was worse is that the mold was allowed to spread from the timber frame and down into the carpet. It was quite frankly disgusting. But it gets worse. That same mold had managed to spread in an organised line from the carpet and up into anything timber that was on the floor at the time. It was truly awful.
Once I had measured the door, she began to tell me the plight she has gone through over two years just to try and get this door changed. Quite angry and frustrated, she explained that I was yet another company to add to a long list of companies she had had out over 24 months to try and get her landlord to change the doors. She explained that the doors were in poor shape when she moved into the house and that she was worried about what effects it might have on her young child.
Careful not to upset her, I didn’t pry too much after that. But it was clear that she wasn’t able to afford new doors, carpet and furniture herself and that she was very much relying on her landlord to look after the house and herself. Assuming that she is to be believed, and I saw no reason not to, this situation is downright deplorable.
More Than Just A One Off
The sad thing is, this isn’t the only case of a poorly looked after home that tenants are forced to live in. I must also say at this point that I have also been inside some immaculate rented properties. Not all landlords are the same. But there are some properties which should quite simply not be allowed to deteriorate to such a low standard.
Can something not be done to make sure landlords are not allowed to leave properties to fall to such a grotty low? I am not an expert in the rental market, so maybe there is some law out there that I’m not aware of. But to my own knowledge I do not know of any concrete law which makes landlords carry out adequate and regular repairs to ensure a decent standard of living for tenants.
Maybe education is the problem? Perhaps the importance of quality windows and doors to a home is lost on landlords? Maybe we should be doing more to promote the use of good windows and doors in rental properties? I understand the argument that because it is a rented property and not their home, landlords are not likely to spend the sort of money on new windows and doors as they would on their own home. But if it was me, and I was renting out a property, I would want my tenants to live well, in a decent, secure, warm environment. Especially if it was a young family with children to look after. Maybe that is just me being naive.
For me, if there isn’t the framework there to protect vulnerable tenants, then there should be. I know that there are also some trouble tenants that don’t deserve to live in quality rented homes, but after seeing such awful conditions such as the one mentioned above, there absolutely has to be better protection for tenants who need help in arranging/enforcing home improvements.