Karl and I have been living at our current address for 12 months, as of the end of February. Looking through our tenancy agreement a couple of weeks ago, I found a clause. This clause was staring right at me, and I can’t believe that I hadn’t noticed — or had decided to deal with it later and forgot all about — it previously. Without getting off my arse to go and get the thing to quote you word for word, I can tell you that it effectively says if you stay on longer than 12 months, your rent goes up year on year.
So there we were, with an impending rent rise on a property that maxs out our “comfort zone” as it is (i.e. we could afford to pay more but would prefer not to) and 2 weeks in to the 2 month notice period we’d have to give to our landlord if we wanted to move. (Too long, can’t be arsed to read? Skip from here…)
Quite by chance, I’d found a nice looking first floor flat on a local estate agent’s website prior to me finding the tenancy agreement clause. Not needing/wanting to move, I’d ignored it. When I checked again after finding the clause, I was surprised to see the flat was still there. Knowing full well we’d need to provide 2 months notice (or 1 month as of Feb 22nd) I did nothing, assuming that it would be gone by the time we needed to move.
I don’t know why, it was a random spur of the moment decision, but last Thursday I sent the estate agent an e-mail enquiring about that said same property. We have a few requirements… pets must be allowed, it must have a shower, and it has to have some sort of off-street parking. All three of these things were in our favour and so I arranged a quick viewing just for a nose. Basically, I wanted to know what was available for the money at the moment given that the housing market — and as such, the rental market — is about as stable as jelly at the moment.
The estate agent took us to two properties. The first was an absolute dive… never seen anything that scummy up for rent before. Dodgy, cramped kitchen with no space for white goods. Dirty, cramped and dark. Didn’t like it before I’d even got through the front door, so that was an absolute no. The second flat we went to see — the one I’d spotted on the website — was the total opposite. Spacious, clean, and much bigger… for about Â£100 less than the first place. Absolute bargain, and no apparent reason for the massive difference in rent.
Anyway, Karl and I slept on it and decided that we’d like to try for the second flat. Cue a minor heart attack when the estate agent’s wife tells us that another viewer had already offered for the property and the landlady had accepted on the condition that they could agree to a 12 month contract. Fortunately for us, they didn’t have the job security in the area, and we were able to offer a 12 month contract and a slight rise on the asking price for the rent, which (assuming we could get out of the existing tenancy) secured us the flat.
Thankfully, our landlord is a total gent and he agreed to forget the 2 extra weeks notice we should have provided, on the condition that we ring him up next month to remind him that we’re moving out.
(Too long, skipped a section? Start reading here…) The application paperwork was handed in Monday evening, and we received the all clear on credit checks/etc at 4pm-ish today. We have to go and sign the agreements tomorrow evening, and we pick up the keys on Friday 13th February. Good thing we’re not superstitious.