I’ve noticed growing numbers of an unsettling new phenomenon: increasing desperate, repeated pleas for homes, shared on social networking sites. A friend reposted this request:
3/4 bedroom house needed for a very well house trained lot.. We are a family of 5 and a dog who are currently living in a 2 bed house. You do the maths!!!! We have great references, we lived in our last house for 9 years and have been stuck in this temporary stop for 18 months and seem unable to get out of it through no fault of our own. We had a great house to move into next week but someone came along and bought it at the last minute. We are sleeping on a sofa bed which is so detrimental to our well being and we have had enough!! It seems like every other road in ????? has empty student housing at the moment. ???? Rd is a perfect example, 12 student houses to let but NOT to families!!!!! Please help, pass this on to people you know..... If you have a house, know of a house, someone with a house we would be great tenants. We ARE great tenants.... The deal: you, your friend, an acquaintance get a lovely family a new home and a warm fuzzy feeling of helping us back from the brink of total despair and stop us dealing with the white sharks in sharp suits also known as ESTATE AGENTS!!!! Oh and rent, yep rent. We pay rent, look after the house on a long term basis and you get peace of mind knowing that your house is in great, capable hands. We are self employed which somehow means we are untouchable in the land of estate agents without a £5/6000 deposit and a guarantor who earns over £32,000 a year...... The deal: let's talk... SOON!!
They sound great, don’t they? Lovely people, by the sound of it.
Except… Work these days is frequently low paid, casualised, part time and temporary. The unemployed are being directed into self-employment, no matter how unsuited their skills or capabilities. Before they let to the self-employed, rentiers request five years audited accounts, which ignores an economic crisis, where tenants might be recent graduates, or that modern work is precarious and transient, with portfolio careers, ‘flexibility’ and – newsflash – thinking on your feet to make money after redundancy.
What about people who know they are already way down on any owner’s wish-list: working claimants, given notice to leave through no fault of their own and now looking for a new place to live, scared as potential home-providers are claimant averse? What if they live in cities where students whose stay is finite are preferred over families who want to stay long term, perhaps indefinitely?
Prospective tenants must be like Goldilocks’ porridge: just right – precisely and exactly right, not too old, or too young, too rich (they’ll leave asap) or too poor. Childless but in secure families (go figure.) Working but not too many hours as this will disturb the neighbours. It's impossible.
Who will ever find a home these days? Who?