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Renting With Children


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Hi all

We've just been looking at places to rent in Portsmouth and found the perfect house - 3 bedrooms, small garden, nice and clean, just down the road from a local school. We signed all the papers and waited to hear back from the agents. A couple of days later, they phoned us and told us that despite their efforts, the landlady would not be persuaded to accept us because of our two (very lovely) children (twins, aged 20 months if anyone's interested). So the search continues.

Hey ho, so it goes, but I thought I'd check out the legal situation, and it turns out it's illegal to discriminate against children in this way in most "civilised" countries, but not here.

I also found a petition to make it more difficult for landlords to discriminate in this way at petitions.number10.gov.uk/Childlands/, which I've signed and if anyone else would like to that'd be great.

Also if anyone would like to share any experiences of trying to rent with children, while pregnant etc, I'd be interested to hear.

Cheers,

Duncan

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How odd! Id check with them and ask 2 things;

Did they make it clear that the children were 20 MONTHS not 20 years.... (I know, sounds daft but it could have been a communication problem and a house of 4 x adults with 2 x 20 somethings mean loads of cars, girlfreinds, boyfriends, parties when your away etc etc )

and secondly, do ask for the reasoning as to why 2 x 20 month old babies have been rejected. You need to know the precise reason as the council need to know why you are being rejected privately.....! It may just rattle them up enough, not knowing which way you're going with this, to come back with, 'oh its been a misunderstanding'. It would also be interesting to actually know why?! Please do tell us if you find out. AT the end of the day though, like pub landlords, they have the right to refuse to serve anyone they feel like, it is their house and they're not social landlords.

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How odd! Id check with them and ask 2 things;

Did they make it clear that the children were 20 MONTHS not 20 years.... (I know, sounds daft but it could have been a communication problem and a house of 4 x adults with 2 x 20 somethings mean loads of cars, girlfreinds, boyfriends, parties when your away etc etc )

and secondly, do ask for the reasoning as to why 2 x 20 month old babies have been rejected. You need to know the precise reason as the council need to know why you are being rejected privately.....! It may just rattle them up enough, not knowing which way you're going with this, to come back with, 'oh its been a misunderstanding'. It would also be interesting to actually know why?! Please do tell us if you find out. AT the end of the day though, like pub landlords, they have the right to refuse to serve anyone they feel like, it is their house and they're not social landlords.

The letting agent did spend some time talking to the landlady, telling her how nice we were etc. etc., and the landlady was definitely aware of the twins' ages. I think the problem from her point of view is that she felt children would mean more wear and tear to her newly-refurbished house, spllages on carpets, marks on walls, that sort of thing I suppose. Of course, that's what a deposit is for, and there's no guarantee that a "professional couple" (which is what she said she wanted, even though the agent hadn't known) wouldn't be more destructive to the house than 2 small children. Plus we're less likely to be having late night parties, etc.

Obviously we'll keep trying to find somewhere just as nice as this place, but it just annoys me slightly that families these days often seem to get stuck with properties that would be considered too dirty even for students. (No offence to students, just that when I was one, I think my standards were considerably lower than they are now!)

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The letting agent did spend some time talking to the landlady, telling her how nice we were etc. etc., and the landlady was definitely aware of the twins' ages. I think the problem from her point of view is that she felt children would mean more wear and tear to her newly-refurbished house, spllages on carpets, marks on walls, that sort of thing I suppose. Of course, that's what a deposit is for, and there's no guarantee that a "professional couple" (which is what she said she wanted, even though the agent hadn't known) wouldn't be more destructive to the house than 2 small children. Plus we're less likely to be having late night parties, etc.

Obviously we'll keep trying to find somewhere just as nice as this place, but it just annoys me slightly that families these days often seem to get stuck with properties that would be considered too dirty even for students. (No offence to students, just that when I was one, I think my standards were considerably lower than they are now!)

I've had this problem in the past. D*ckhead landlords who think their family home shouldn't be rented out to.....a family :rolleyes:

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I've had this problem in the past. D*ckhead landlords who think their family home shouldn't be rented out to.....a family :rolleyes:

Exactly. I'd have no problem with a landlord rejecting children on the grounds that he's renting out a flat in a retirement block, but the idea that it's perfectly legal in this country to discriminate against families when renting out family homes is quite bizarre. And, as I mentioned above, not legal in other countries like the USA, Canada, New Zealand and probably most of the rest of Europe (although I haven't checked everywhere).

This, combined with the shortage of Council homes, means that many families will stretch themselves considerably in order to buy - and we all know where that leads...

So, just out interest, how did things work out for you in the end? Did you find anywhere nice, or end up having to buy?

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Hi all

We've just been looking at places to rent in Portsmouth and found the perfect house - 3 bedrooms, small garden, nice and clean, just down the road from a local school. We signed all the papers and waited to hear back from the agents. A couple of days later, they phoned us and told us that despite their efforts, the landlady would not be persuaded to accept us because of our two (very lovely) children (twins, aged 20 months if anyone's interested). So the search continues.

Sounds like a silly bitch to me.

After the arrival of our son, the very first card and Mothercare voucher was from our landlord.

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Exactly. I'd have no problem with a landlord rejecting children on the grounds that he's renting out a flat in a retirement block, but the idea that it's perfectly legal in this country to discriminate against families when renting out family homes is quite bizarre. And, as I mentioned above, not legal in other countries like the USA, Canada, New Zealand and probably most of the rest of Europe (although I haven't checked everywhere).

This, combined with the shortage of Council homes, means that many families will stretch themselves considerably in order to buy - and we all know where that leads...

So, just out interest, how did things work out for you in the end? Did you find anywhere nice, or end up having to buy?

Ended up moving into a much nicer place with a much easier to get on with LL (they do exist!). If it's any consolation, if the landlord in your scenario is (quite clearly) as irrational as seems to be, I doubt they'll last very long as landlords.

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We rent with our 2 children (2+4yrs) plus another on the way and 2 cats. We've not had any problems with landlords and children/pets where we currently live they were more concerned that we didn't smoke (we don't). Our previous landlord wanted to get away from students and have a family instead as they got less wear and tear and noise complaints with families. Our current landlord is a vicar and this is their retirement/investment home for the future so maybe that makes them a bit more family orientated.

Must admit our second Son is a bit of an artist and has felt tipped some radiators, paint work etc however what hasn't washed off will be painted over before we leave.

Hope you find a better and more reasonable landlord soon.

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Ended up moving into a much nicer place with a much easier to get on with LL (they do exist!). If it's any consolation, if the landlord in your scenario is (quite clearly) as irrational as seems to be, I doubt they'll last very long as landlords.

Good to hear things worked out for you. I think the landlady has been in business for a while, and used to rent to students. Now she's after the "professional couple" so beloved of BTLers these days. Kinda makes me wonder what an "amateur couple" would be like - "no, we don't make any money from it, we're just a couple for fun, on the weekends"

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We rent with our 2 children (2+4yrs) plus another on the way and 2 cats. We've not had any problems with landlords and children/pets where we currently live they were more concerned that we didn't smoke (we don't). Our previous landlord wanted to get away from students and have a family instead as they got less wear and tear and noise complaints with families. Our current landlord is a vicar and this is their retirement/investment home for the future so maybe that makes them a bit more family orientated.

Must admit our second Son is a bit of an artist and has felt tipped some radiators, paint work etc however what hasn't washed off will be painted over before we leave.

Hope you find a better and more reasonable landlord soon.

Thanks, I hope we do too. The real problem is that the vast majority of family homes for rent in the area we want to live are let to students, so when one comes up that isn't and then the landlandy doesn't want to let to a family, it's a bit gutting. Especially as we've got a 300 mile round trip to do any more viewings! I guess it could take longer than I initially thought, that's all.

Anyway, thanks to anyone that's read this thread and signed the petition.

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Thanks, I hope we do too. The real problem is that the vast majority of family homes for rent in the area we want to live are let to students, so when one comes up that isn't and then the landlandy doesn't want to let to a family, it's a bit gutting. Especially as we've got a 300 mile round trip to do any more viewings! I guess it could take longer than I initially thought, that's all.

Anyway, thanks to anyone that's read this thread and signed the petition.

I rent and I have a family (11 and 20). It's tricky, but it's possible, and it can be very fruitful.

Firstly, don't waste your time on viewings that wont lead anywhere. Try and deal direct with landlords. EAs will ******** you.

Many Ll will prefer a family. Sniff them out. Go for a very long term let, 2 years if possible, that will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It's a slow process, but have patience. Somewhere out there is a good property with landlord who wants the stabilty of a family.

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I rent and I have a family (11 and 20). It's tricky, but it's possible, and it can be very fruitful.

Firstly, don't waste your time on viewings that wont lead anywhere. Try and deal direct with landlords. EAs will ******** you.

Many Ll will prefer a family. Sniff them out. Go for a very long term let, 2 years if possible, that will sort the wheat from the chaff.

It's a slow process, but have patience. Somewhere out there is a good property with landlord who wants the stabilty of a family.

Thanks for your reply - any advice about how to deal directly with landlords, or find them in the first place? There's much more on rightmove and with estate agents that I can ever seem to find advertised privately in the local paper or on Gumtree. It doesn't help of course that we're living 150 miles away at the moment though.

Cheers,

Duncan

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LL's make me laugh at times. It seems 90% of property owners feel young proffessionals are the ideal tenants and then start rejecting what is otherwise.

What they dont realise is they cutting themselves off from chunks of the market.

I think one of the main reasons that LLs have an aversion to letting to people with kids is that it's very hard to evict them (courts won't make minors homeless), even in the event that they decided to stop paying rent for months on end.

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Thanks for your reply - any advice about how to deal directly with landlords, or find them in the first place? There's much more on rightmove and with estate agents that I can ever seem to find advertised privately in the local paper or on Gumtree. It doesn't help of course that we're living 150 miles away at the moment though.

Cheers,

Duncan

Hi Duncan.

I think you said somewhere that you haveto make a 300 mile round trip to make a viewing? This puts you in a bit of a weak position, but all is not lost!

Firstly, don't believe a word of anything a LA says. They will say and do anything to get you to make that viewing and then sign up. They wont care if they tell you that children are welcome for you only to find out that's not the case after you've travelled 150 miles. That's their excuse to show you another property and you are putty in their hands then.

If I was in your position I would consider 2 options:

1. Use gumtree, etc, to contact landlords direct. If you see stuff on rightmove you like then by all means call the LA. Explain the children thing to the LA and that you have been misled before, and insist that before you make the journey the Landlord personally contacts you directly by phone or email to discuss your rental. Treat it as an interview, you want to know they are a suitable landlord as much as they want to know you are a suitable tenant. I have done this twice myself, the first time resulted in a wonderful 5 year tenancy, the second time I smelt a rat and walked away from the deal. LAs may get a bit sniffy about it, but if they are genuine they have nothing to lose and will accommodate what is really a reasonable request. And you have nothing to lose too.

2. Accept that you are too far away to easily secure a good deal. Either get the best place you can as a family for 6 months or one of you live in digs down there for a while. When you are in the local area you will get a better sense of what is going on and will be able to respond quickly when the good places come up. OK, you will have to move twice, but it could be better than a dozen fruitless 300 mile round trips.

Remember there are 3 aspects to negotiating a good tenancy:

1. The property.

2. The Price.

3. The Landlord.

Most people get unstuck because they ignore item 3, the Landlord!

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Hi Duncan.

I think you said somewhere that you haveto make a 300 mile round trip to make a viewing? This puts you in a bit of a weak position, but all is not lost!

Firstly, don't believe a word of anything a LA says. They will say and do anything to get you to make that viewing and then sign up. They wont care if they tell you that children are welcome for you only to find out that's not the case after you've travelled 150 miles. That's their excuse to show you another property and you are putty in their hands then.

If I was in your position I would consider 2 options:

1. Use gumtree, etc, to contact landlords direct. If you see stuff on rightmove you like then by all means call the LA. Explain the children thing to the LA and that you have been misled before, and insist that before you make the journey the Landlord personally contacts you directly by phone or email to discuss your rental. Treat it as an interview, you want to know they are a suitable landlord as much as they want to know you are a suitable tenant. I have done this twice myself, the first time resulted in a wonderful 5 year tenancy, the second time I smelt a rat and walked away from the deal. LAs may get a bit sniffy about it, but if they are genuine they have nothing to lose and will accommodate what is really a reasonable request. And you have nothing to lose too.

2. Accept that you are too far away to easily secure a good deal. Either get the best place you can as a family for 6 months or one of you live in digs down there for a while. When you are in the local area you will get a better sense of what is going on and will be able to respond quickly when the good places come up. OK, you will have to move twice, but it could be better than a dozen fruitless 300 mile round trips.

Remember there are 3 aspects to negotiating a good tenancy:

1. The property.

2. The Price.

3. The Landlord.

Most people get unstuck because they ignore item 3, the Landlord!

Hi lastlaugh

Thanks for the advice. We have now managed to find somewhere at last, and should be moving in a couple of weeks. We spent several days down there this time, and took the kids with us. We made sure we asked several times at the viewings and any second viewings that it was ok we had children (and a cat!). I suppose in the past we've been able to go somewhere and find a place to rent in a day. With children that just isn't possible, so by going there for a few days, and making sure the landlord was happy and all the fees and deposits were paid before we left, we've avoided another fruitless journey.

I was never really worried we wouldn't find anywhere, it's just having to put up with the extra inconvenience caused, and the general annoyance at landlords being able to rent out family homes and discriminate against families while doing so.

Cheers,

Duncan

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