Packing Boxes

Costs … £850 furniture removal … £150 letting agent fee … £1,395 deposit … £95 postal redirection … time spent packing/moving/unpacking …

Some say moving house is second only to a family bereavement when it comes to stress and anxiety, others have put it above divorce for giving us sleepless nights.

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale that was devised in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe is based on a points score with bereavement scoring 100 and a minor legal violation just 11, however moving house doesn’t even figure on their stress scale.

So perhaps it is a myth that has been created by … who precisely? In the same way I can’t find any proof or evidence that it is one of the biggest causes of stress, conversely everyone I speak to rolls out the same statement to support and empathise with my misery.

But then I have moved 15 times over the past 17 years, some by choice but since moving down south, three of them have been because the owners wanted to sell the property we were living in.

And this is the main thrust of this rather self-indulgent post.

Because we rent our house, as we have done for over a decade and more recently I have grown to hate it.

Because private rental derails any kind of secure permanence you hope to achieve for your family; you are at the whim and fancy of someone who has little or no concern for your happiness.

Home ownership is at its lowest level for 25 years and over a third of the 14.3 million home owners are aged 65 years and older. In 2003 owner/occupier was at 71% this fell to 65.2% in 2013.

The number of people living in private rented accommodation rose from 2.2 million in 2003 to 3.9 million in 2013

Combine this with the manner in which the government are penalising the ‘man in the street’ for the fraudulent activities of the financial bigwigs, making it virtually impossible for people to secure a mortgage let alone buy a house, the prices of which have been artificially inflated because of those same greedy bigwigs; then any hope of finding somewhere for the long term with a reasonable rent and realistic tenancy becomes pretty remote.

And it’s not just the uncertainty of how long you will be allowed to stay in the house, there is a regular cruel reminder that your home is nothing more than someone’s investment e.g. no pets, sometimes no children, no nails in walls to hang pictures, no blue tack for posters, frequent property inspections by letting agents, not being able to do anything about the putrid pink paintwork, waiting for permission to replace something that has broken or worn out whilst being blamed for the demise of said item.

The list is endless. So for us, rental is not a lifestyle choice but more a like-it-or-lump-it choice and not for the first time I concluded that it can’t just be us who have this problem, there must be hundreds if not thousands who are in the same boat but because we are not first time buyers, on the local council housing register or OAP’s, we are the forgotten generation left to drift aimlessly, desperately grabbing bits of financial flotsam we occasionally find.

“Private renting was not designed to accommodate so many people, particularly the 1.3 million households with children, whose insecure tenancies mean they have nowhere to call home … investors are encouraged to speculate on houses … people will become stuck in private renting.” Dan Wilson Craw of ‘Priced Out’

The Conservative government manifesto in April 2015 said they were “the party of working people” but they have been too long in their ivory tower and have very little idea what the working masses have to face.

I have been writing once a week to Greg Hands, Chief Secretary to the Treasury requesting he rethink the current strategy, but to date I have been ignored.

For the 45-55 year old demographic, unless you already have a mortgage and tick every box on the intrusive financial questionnaire, you stand no hope of getting a foothold on that property ladder.

No matter you have paid in excess of £100,000 in rent over the last few years; no matter you have not claimed a penny in benefits because you were determined to cope and work even harder, no matter you hold down three or more jobs just to keep your head above water.

The young first time buyers and the elderly are being supported by various schemes but what about the generation of people in between? The people who, for whatever reason did not get a mortgage when they were easily obtainable, the people who have been working for the past 20+ years paying taxes and National Insurance, the people who are faced with little hope of securing a mortgage because the rules were changed to stop the unscrupulous and dishonest deals of the few.

What about them, or rather, us?

PS Here’s the rub, we will be moving house again in less than a year. Why? Because the only suitable house we could find is going to be put on the market in the spring.

Generation Rent

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