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    Are private rentals a cancer on society?

    When replying to the other thread about Edinburgh and AirBnB, it got me thinking about the rental sector in general.

    My opinion is that it is a social cancer, perhaps one of the worst ones, because it involves elements of financial and social diminishment. The whole concept is now rotten to the core. For the lack of the initial capital, i.e. a deposit, I rent my house off someone who did (which enabled them to take a loan from the bank to purchase the flat). My rent is the same as, at least, and possibly more than what my mortgage payments might have been had I had the capital to take the loan.

    I've been here 10 years in July, and I've paid comfortably over £100,000 in rent. What i am basically doing is paying my landlord's mortgage off for him. When I have, he gets a flat free and clear. I get nothing (bar the opportunity to then start lining his savings account).

    Add to that - this is my daughter's childhood home. She can't remember anywhere else. Yet each July, I have an anxious few weeks: will he want to sell it? Or will he bump the rent over my red line (which I am already close to).

    Private property ownership is fantastic in principle, but its increasing (before anyone gives it "folk have always rented") treatment as a commodity is a cancer that is ravaging society. The modern idea is, as I said, that landlords essentially expect their mortgages to be paid by tenants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    When replying to the other thread about Edinburgh and AirBnB, it got me thinking about the rental sector in general.

    My opinion is that it is a social cancer, perhaps one of the worst ones, because it involves elements of financial and social diminishment. The whole concept is now rotten to the core. For the lack of the initial capital, i.e. a deposit, I rent my house off someone who did (which enabled them to take a loan from the bank to purchase the flat). My rent is the same as, at least, and possibly more than what my mortgage payments might have been had I had the capital to take the loan.

    I've been here 10 years in July, and I've paid comfortably over £100,000 in rent. What i am basically doing is paying my landlord's mortgage off for him. When I have, he gets a flat free and clear. I get nothing (bar the opportunity to then start lining his savings account).

    Add to that - this is my daughter's childhood home. She can't remember anywhere else. Yet each July, I have an anxious few weeks: will he want to sell it? Or will he bump the rent over my red line (which I am already close to).

    Private property ownership is fantastic in principle, but its increasing (before anyone gives it "folk have always rented") treatment as a commodity is a cancer that is ravaging society. The modern idea is, as I said, that landlords essentially expect their mortgages to be paid by tenants.

    A pension you don't have to pay a penny into? Step right up...
    I've never lived in rented accom at least since I left my parent home or for the couple of years I lived in London [but when I was there I had my flat in Edina]. I never saw the point in doing what you say IE paying someones mortgage and even though I struggled badly at times financially I always made sure my mortgage was paid. That bit n bold isnt a dig at anyone who does rent incidentally Aggie. Plenty people rent for various reasons. One of my mates was paying more in rent than I was paying for my mortgage and couldn't see that he would be better off buying somewhere. He still rents now from a housing association and will doubtless do so forevermore.

    Nowadays it's multiple home owners that are doing the most damage by taking houses off the market that might otherwise be bought by folk actually needing a home. I know two such people [both nice folk who don't fukk their tenants over] one who owns around 50 flats and one who has about 30 flats. It's academic whether they are nice or not. They are still taking houses off the market.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dub View Post
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    I've never lived in rented accom at least since I left my parent home or for the couple of years I lived in London [but when I was there I had my flat in Edina]. I never saw the point in doing what you say IE paying someones mortgage and even though I struggled badly at times financially I always made sure my mortgage was paid. That bit n bold isnt a dig at anyone who does rent incidentally Aggie. Plenty people rent for various reasons. One of my mates was paying more in rent than I was paying for my mortgage and couldn't see that he would be better off buying somewhere. He still rents now from a housing association and will doubtless do so forevermore.

    Nowadays it's multiple home owners that are doing the most damage by taking houses off the market that might otherwise be bought by folk actually needing a home. I know two such people [both nice folk who don't fukk their tenants over] one who owns around 50 flats and one who has about 30 flats. It's academic whether they are nice or not. They are still taking houses off the market.
    That's my point, @Dub - I would buy, but I can't raise the capital required for a deposit - there's no money in my family, and it would take me decades to even get close to saving a deposit, given the outlays I need to make on rent and what that leaves me - it's a vicious circle.

    Whereas your pals have reaped the opposite, the "virtuous circle", as it were - with the initial capital, they can continue to borrow on their assets and build up a portfolio. You and me both know they're not buying those flats with money they've earned/saved themselves. They're essentially buying them with folk like me's money.

    Nice folk or not - they're the problem.
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    Let us not forget that there are way more private landlords nowadays because of council tenants "right to buy".

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    I find the desire- of which I’m a fully paid up member- to own property in the uk to be bizarre. It’s not something that’s massive in Europe I think?

    Social housing, council housing is the obvious way ahead, but we’re so diametrically opposed to it we’ll never rebalance. The biggest most lasting legacy of Thatcherism?

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    That's my point, @Dub - I would buy, but I can't raise the capital required for a deposit - there's no money in my family, and it would take me decades to even get close to saving a deposit, given the outlays I need to make on rent and what that leaves me - it's a vicious circle.

    Whereas your pals have reaped the opposite, the "virtuous circle", as it were - with the initial capital, they can continue to borrow on their assets and build up a portfolio. You and me both know they're not buying those flats with money they've earned/saved themselves. They're essentially buying them with folk like me's money.

    Nice folk or not - they're the problem.
    I suppose I was lucky mate. I bought my first flat in Wheatfield Street [shudders] when I got married and at that time the deposit wasn't as high as is required now [percentage wise]. £7485.00 it cost me for the flat which was a lot at the time but [for a year and a half at least] I had the additional income my mrs was bringing in. When eventually I was flying solo a good percentage of my money went on my mortgage [interest rates were through the roof] and I had a second job at night to help pay for it. Essentially I was working 9 to 5 in my day job and 6 to 10 [monday to friday] in my 2nd job. Even then my mum still had to bring me the occasional food parcel to keep me going.

    If I was a young bloke nowadays there is no way I could afford to buy a flat and I have a lot of sympathy for folk trying to do so now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wannabehibee View Post
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    Let us not forget that there are way more private landlords nowadays because of council tenants "right to buy".
    Which was an absolute scandal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southfieldhibby View Post
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    I find the desire- of which I’m a fully paid up member- to own property in the uk to be bizarre. It’s not something that’s massive in Europe I think?

    Social housing, council housing is the obvious way ahead, but we’re so diametrically opposed to it we’ll never rebalance. The biggest most lasting legacy of Thatcherism?
    Social housing rents are around 50% of the equivalent private rent? There’s just not enough to go round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    When replying to the other thread about Edinburgh and AirBnB, it got me thinking about the rental sector in general.

    My opinion is that it is a social cancer, perhaps one of the worst ones, because it involves elements of financial and social diminishment. The whole concept is now rotten to the core. For the lack of the initial capital, i.e. a deposit, I rent my house off someone who did (which enabled them to take a loan from the bank to purchase the flat). My rent is the same as, at least, and possibly more than what my mortgage payments might have been had I had the capital to take the loan.

    I've been here 10 years in July, and I've paid comfortably over £100,000 in rent. What i am basically doing is paying my landlord's mortgage off for him. When I have, he gets a flat free and clear. I get nothing (bar the opportunity to then start lining his savings account).

    Add to that - this is my daughter's childhood home. She can't remember anywhere else. Yet each July, I have an anxious few weeks: will he want to sell it? Or will he bump the rent over my red line (which I am already close to).

    Private property ownership is fantastic in principle, but its increasing (before anyone gives it "folk have always rented") treatment as a commodity is a cancer that is ravaging society. The modern idea is, as I said, that landlords essentially expect their mortgages to be paid by tenants.

    A pension you don't have to pay a penny into? Step right up...
    That's an awful situation to be in and I think it will become a problem for a lot more people. I don't think buy to let should be allowed, it causes huge problems for people like yourself.
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    Where we are used to be mainly long standing residents, a real community. Over the 22 years we've been in the house the proportion of buy to lets has gone through the roof. The house next door is owned by an Italian man who lives in another country but owns properties in several capital cities. He lives off his portfolio, funded by inheritance. He is an awfully absent landlord in that he isn't even in the UK. We've seen a long line of uni students moved in and out, many bringing disruption, others quieter but all transient with no interest in the community. On two occasions we almost put our home on the market because of it. Thankfully at the moment it's mature German Post Grads next door but it's still not the community we moved in to.

    There are at least 5 Air BnBs in the immediate street. Every weekend the next load of tourists with their cabin trolleys clatter into the street about to enjoy their hen weekend or city break.

    Add to that the ridiculous amount of building going on in an already densely populated area - much of it for students - and the increasing disappearance of the sky as it happens. It's nothing like the Edinburgh most of us grew up in, where one village community merged with another and most folk knew most folk in the street. Now, we all know things change - not unaccepting of that evolution - but it's how it has been managed. Or not.

    Scotland needs population growth but that growth is only centring itself in one place. Economic migration means people migrate to the economic powerhouse of a nation. It's predicted Edinburgh will soon be bigger than Glasgow and will be heading to a population of 600,000. It's a demographic change juggernaut. It's unlikely our Council have the werewithal to manage it.
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    I've been renting a market value property from a housing association since I split from my Mrs and hit a brick wall 7 years ago. I've paid around 60K in rent. I do hate that that money has gone. If I owned the property I know the money would not have gone. It would pretty much have been banked for future which would benefit my son. Ultimately because of my mistakes my son will pay a price. By the time he's looking for a home of his own I've no idea how he will get a deposit. And it'll be much worse in the housing market than it is today. If I could I'd buy multiple properties as they'd be a great investment. However, it's immoral really and it needs radical government intervention. And sadly that's just not on anyone's agenda in party politics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southfieldhibby View Post
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    I find the desire- of which I’m a fully paid up member- to own property in the uk to be bizarre. It’s not something that’s massive in Europe I think?

    Social housing, council housing is the obvious way ahead, but we’re so diametrically opposed to it we’ll never rebalance. The biggest most lasting legacy of Thatcherism?
    The lack of social housing is presumably a big factor in the desire to own a property. Coupled with the likelihood many will live independently well into their 80s and things like housing benefits and state pensions are likely to be close to non existent then the idea of having zero rent / mortgage payments from say age 60 is very attractive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple & Green View Post
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    Social housing rents are around 50% of the equivalent private rent? There’s just not enough to go round.
    Totally. 1000 flats being built in Portobello just now, instead of a fair % of them being social housing/council owned, the developers prefer to pay the financial amount instead to the council, who then churn the money into a 'less desirable' area to live in. By less desirable, I mean less central. All that stuff out at Shawfair being a prime example. I'm sure the houses are great there, but hardly the same as living in a well established community like Abbeyhill or Portobello or Leith.

    Local/national government need a much better- and more radical- approach to what they allow builders to do and what they do themselves. Land banking shouldn't be allowed. I know that Teague and Cala have been sitting on huge swathes of land in Leith for whats now decades, waiting for it to become profitable to build. There should be a constraint, a 5 year limit from when a plot is built to when building starts and finishes. Not started, compulsory purchased at the fee they paid and job tendered out for 100% council/social housing. Make use of this new National Bank the government announced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    When replying to the other thread about Edinburgh and AirBnB, it got me thinking about the rental sector in general.

    My opinion is that it is a social cancer, perhaps one of the worst ones, because it involves elements of financial and social diminishment. The whole concept is now rotten to the core. For the lack of the initial capital, i.e. a deposit, I rent my house off someone who did (which enabled them to take a loan from the bank to purchase the flat). My rent is the same as, at least, and possibly more than what my mortgage payments might have been had I had the capital to take the loan.

    I've been here 10 years in July, and I've paid comfortably over £100,000 in rent. What i am basically doing is paying my landlord's mortgage off for him. When I have, he gets a flat free and clear. I get nothing (bar the opportunity to then start lining his savings account).

    Add to that - this is my daughter's childhood home. She can't remember anywhere else. Yet each July, I have an anxious few weeks: will he want to sell it? Or will he bump the rent over my red line (which I am already close to).

    Private property ownership is fantastic in principle, but its increasing (before anyone gives it "folk have always rented") treatment as a commodity is a cancer that is ravaging society. The modern idea is, as I said, that landlords essentially expect their mortgages to be paid by tenants.

    A pension you don't have to pay a penny into? Step right up...
    I don't think the rental sector per se is 'social cancer'. How would you relocate for a job or education for a short spell if you had to buy a place each time? Renting can be a good option (see Germany and France) if set against the right social structure. But I think you're absolutely right that something has to change change.

    As far as I'm aware the issue is that asset prices have skyrocketed while wages have stayed low, meaning that access to house ownership has diminished, exacerbated by cheap money for those who already have assets. So they've bought more. Every year a six figure numbers of dwellings move into the buy-to-let market and out of owner-occupation. And every year choked supply means house prices rise.

    I could write a book about how much some of the 60+ generation annoy me with their self congratulation at having worked so hard during a period of zero war, increasing prosperity, inflating commodity prices, unfettered consumerism, things they've basically just watched happen. They happily call anyone under 40 a snowflake when stuff like this is mentioned, then sh!t themselves and vote brexit when they hear a Polish accent on the bus.

    And breathe...

    This is untenable, but I don't think the answer is to destroy rentals altogether. It's to build more good houses and flats and provide access to reasonable rental or ownership without inflating house values. I'm open to other ideas though.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by southfieldhibby View Post
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    Totally. 1000 flats being built in Portobello just now, instead of a fair % of them being social housing/council owned, the developers prefer to pay the financial amount instead to the council, who then churn the money into a 'less desirable' area to live in. By less desirable, I mean less central. All that stuff out at Shawfair being a prime example. I'm sure the houses are great there, but hardly the same as living in a well established community like Abbeyhill or Portobello or Leith.

    Local/national government need a much better- and more radical- approach to what they allow builders to do and what they do themselves. Land banking shouldn't be allowed. I know that Teague and Cala have been sitting on huge swathes of land in Leith for whats now decades, waiting for it to become profitable to build. There should be a constraint, a 5 year limit from when a plot is built to when building starts and finishes. Not started, compulsory purchased at the fee they paid and job tendered out for 100% council/social housing. Make use of this new National Bank the government announced.
    The difficulty, I think, is that forcing developers to do things that impact their profits often conflicts with the goal of getting houses built. It's a logical connection but not one that is often that well understood.

    For example if you threatened developers with the penalties you suggest then I fear the supply of houses built by private developers would massively tighten up. Land would surely be parcelled into tiny amounts and building would proceed incredibly slowly on small plots for fear of losing all profit. Developers would be unable to justify upfront costs of site promotion in case they lost out, and therefore large and complex 250+ schemes would be a thing of the past. You'd definitely lower housing supply that way.

    In broad terms though I totally agree with you. There needs to be a more muscular approach to awarding planning permission and then getting building underway. I also thin it needs to be thought about from the land supply side though - at the moment too much power is given to vested interests (many of them homeowners) who simply don't want to see housing built. This has the double effect of constricting supply and ensuring that what housing does get built is put in less desirable areas.
    so what do I know

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLB View Post
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    The difficulty, I think, is that forcing developers to do things that impact their profits often conflicts with the goal of getting houses built. It's a logical connection but not one that is often that well understood.

    For example if you threatened developers with the penalties you suggest then I fear the supply of houses built by private developers would massively tighten up. Land would surely be parcelled into tiny amounts and building would proceed incredibly slowly on small plots for fear of losing all profit. Developers would be unable to justify upfront costs of site promotion in case they lost out, and therefore large and complex 250+ schemes would be a thing of the past. You'd definitely lower housing supply that way.

    In broad terms though I totally agree with you. There needs to be a more muscular approach to awarding planning permission and then getting building underway. I also thin it needs to be thought about from the land supply side though - at the moment too much power is given to vested interests (many of them homeowners) who simply don't want to see housing built. This has the double effect of constricting supply and ensuring that what housing does get built is put in less desirable areas.
    I guess that's where a 'corporation' builder comes in, or Leith Housing or similar. If the Scottish government want to back up their credentials as both a civic minded government, and give teeth to this much heralded national bank, house building and clamping down on private rents/airbnb is a starting point.

    There's an unused Standard Life complex right behind my house, they've sold it and the builder ( Barrett I think) have been trying to get planning for a few years. Out rolls the local community with petitions and knock on my door. Along with my neighbour, I'm the most affected local resident. When I decline to sign their petition,confusion mixed with frustration pours out.500 homes built and a commitment that 25% are affordable. Dunno precisely what that means, but it seems a fair step in the right direction. We need housing built on brown field sites and fast.

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    To describe rental properties as a problem is far too sweeping a statement.

    I’ve owned my flat in Leith for years, I rented it out when I went to Australia and moved back in when I returned. I now work in London and my employer rents an apartment for me, but I still have my flat in Leith to come home to at the weekend. Without a rental market that wouldn’t be possible.

    I think a massive issue is non-local investors buying up property in cheaper markets than where they live, therefore denying local people looking to get on the property ladder a fair chance at them as it drives up the price due to inflated demand. Now it’s not for the property developer to control, they’re a business who need to sell the properties, but the government and/or local council need to do something to favour local buyers - probably some sort of tax or application to prove you live in the area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by southfieldhibby View Post
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    I guess that's where a 'corporation' builder comes in, or Leith Housing or similar. If the Scottish government want to back up their credentials as both a civic minded government, and give teeth to this much heralded national bank, house building and clamping down on private rents/airbnb is a starting point.
    I'd love to see something like that, and with real muscle. I don't understand why it can't add up - we need more houses and they are a good asset to own or sell so why can't the government or local authorities create the financing situation and planning environment to maximise them?

    I agree hitting buy-to-let is a priority. This has of course already been started with B2L mortgage tax breaks done away with.

    There's an unused Standard Life complex right behind my house, they've sold it and the builder ( Barrett I think) have been trying to get planning for a few years. Out rolls the local community with petitions and knock on my door. Along with my neighbour, I'm the most affected local resident. When I decline to sign their petition,confusion mixed with frustration pours out.500 homes built and a commitment that 25% are affordable. Dunno precisely what that means, but it seems a fair step in the right direction. We need housing built on brown field sites and fast.
    Where I live the councillors are essentially elected to oppose development while the council in theory has to deliver housing supply. It creates mad scenarios. For example, my village's church and (disused) schoolhouse are technically outside the carefully drawn 'settlement boundary' and therefore the historic village centre is effectively out of bounds for development. It is, to all intents and purposes, not actually in the village!

    This is because the people who live in the 'village' (actually a new suburban development to the north) want to be able to drive through a twee local bit with church and old-fashioned school building and not have to look at houses. They want the feel of living in the country without actually living there. Any building outside the artificial 'settlement boundary' is effectively impossible unless undertaken by a big developer ready to sink big costs into it and... well you get the picture. It doesn't add up to joined up housing provision.
    so what do I know

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    Give tenants more rights (rent control areas, guaranteed minimum leases etc. as you get overseas) and regulate the short-term rental market more (essentially making it less profitable and leveling the paying field for BnBs, guesthouses etc.) and you go a long way to solving a lot of the problems above.
    "Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn't invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that."

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    One of the things I loathe about private renting is the sheer profiteering involved. Some letting agents were fine, just left me to get on with it and only rang when the annual gas safety inspection was due.

    The current lot I deal with are worse than useless, and complete $#@!s to boot. One of the conditions of the lease was that we would be set up (against our will) with a certain utility company - a completely unknown entity outwith the big six, which a bit of internet research showed they were amateurs. I was also pestered by a company who tried to set me up with telephone line and broadband, again they got my details from the letting agent, a gross breach of the data protection act by selling my details on for kick backs from these intermediary companies.

    I agree that longer tenancies would make renting a bit less of a ballache; again the firm l deal with insist on 6 month tenancies (no more no less) so they get a £114 admin fee to print the same document with a different date on it every six months, robbing $#@!s. Admittedly these are small fry problems compared to the exploited souls who have no option by to stay in borderline uninhabitable places that you see on telly occasionally. If I could afford the deposit on my own house, I’d be out of there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadamson2704 View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    One of the things I loathe about private renting is the sheer profiteering involved. Some letting agents were fine, just left me to get on with it and only rang when the annual gas safety inspection was due.The current lot I deal with are worse than useless, and complete $#@!s to boot. One of the conditions of the lease was that we would be set up (against our will) with a certain utility company - a completely unknown entity outwith the big six, which a bit of internet research showed they were amateurs. I was also pestered by a company who tried to set me up with telephone line and broadband, again they got my details from the letting agent, a gross breach of the data protection act by selling my details on for kick backs from these intermediary companies.I agree that longer tenancies would make renting a bit less of a ballache; again the firm l deal with insist on 6 month tenancies (no more no less) so they get a £114 admin fee to print the same document with a different date on it every six months, robbing $#@!s. Admittedly these are small fry problems compared to the exploited souls who have no option by to stay in borderline uninhabitable places that you see on telly occasionally. If I could afford the deposit on my own house, I’d be out of there.
    You have to pay for your renewed lease every 6 months? I've never had to do that. Is that even legal? Its just a bit of paper saying your lease is being renewed with the dates on it, not a full blown new lease?

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    Normally with a short assures tenancy agreement in Scotland, that’s how it works. Six or twelve month tenancy period, then if neither party does anything, it moves to a rolling monthly agreement. Any rental agreements I had in Edinburgh worked that way without a problem, maybe I was just fortunate.

    I live in Nottinghamshire now, previously Cambridgeshire for 2.5 years, and letting agencies in both areas are very adept at exploiting the lesser known clauses in tenancy agreements such as the one you picked up on, and which every tenant is entitled to ask for. After the original six months I asked my current letting agent if they would move over to a periodic tenancy agreement (the aforementioned monthly rolling basis in English law words) but they declined, citing the landlord’s wish to have guaranteed income for the fixed period - which I thought was bull$#@!. They just didn’t want to wave goodbye to their lucrative fees. In Scotland, tenancy admin fees have been scrapped altogether, this hasn’t happened in England yet but it is apparently on the cards, and not a moment too soon.

    - - - Updated - - -

    PS - paying to renew a lease is commonplace here, continuity to a perpetual agreement is not done because the agencies miss out on easy income.

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    Ah, you're renting in England. Different kettle of fish as you say. I'm pretty sure if i don't give notice i roll onto another 6 month contract, not a month to month rolling contract. Certainly worked like that in my last place but landlord always gave me addendum to initial lease. Had nout from landlord i have now. Intetesting though, I'm away to check my lease coz i thought i could only get out every 6 months.

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    That’s how it should be written, with the rolling basis at the end of the term. I don’t know if it’s mandatory to have that or if the landlord is entitled to insist on a new agreement every six/twelve months rather than let it go to rolling monthly. Depends on the mindset of the landlord/agency. There should still be a clause for you to terminate mid way through the agreement with provision of a notice period specified in the agreement, but if the landlord/agency are nasty the agreement might state that in the event of early termination, you still have to cough up the full term’s rent before you go - if so, it will be specified within the agreement. If in doubt, get someone at your nearest council housing office or citizens advice to look through it with you.

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    Thanks for info, I'm not looking to terminate contract, happy where i am, just interested in what you've said. I've never rented through an agency, too much hassle.

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