The author of a book described as being about “insecure renters haemorrhaging cash” has used her newspaper column to make a blistering attack on a lettings agency.
Chloe Timperley, writing in the regional newspaper Metro, says of the agency: “I was treated like a weirdo by the long-established, big name lettings agency for asking to read through the tenancy agreement before we signed it.”
She continues: “After multiple requests, they grudgingly sent over a ‘sample’ tenancy agreement via email, as if I was getting VIP access to classified information. We didn’t end up signing the real contract, however, until after we’d received the keys.”
Timperley does not reserve her criticism for agents.
She says faults in the property she rents with her boyfriend were numerous.
“The flat was filthy when we moved in. Light sweeping yielded huge dust bunnies, the bath looked like a goalkeeper had used it after a particularly rainy match, and the windows were thick with years of built-up grime. But this was, apparently, invisible to the landlord” she goes on.
And she adds: “We kept quiet about the cleanliness, as we had bigger complaints. The shower could barely muster a light drizzle, and the toilet flush was… unreliable. We didn’t want to give the landlord any reason not to send a plumber round ASAP, so openly challenging his definition of ‘clean’ was out of the question. This turned out to be a smart move; we had a new shower and toilet flush within days.”
Further into the piece Timperley admits about her landlord: “Despite certain annoyances, he doesn’t bother us with intrusive inspections, is generally responsive when something breaks, and the rent is reasonable for the area.”
However, in addition to promoting her book in the piece, Timperley says that “to be a private renter in modern Britain is to be a second-class citizen.”
She then claims there is “nothing substantial” to protect tenants after the end of the eviction ban in England next week.
“Even people who don’t get evicted are at risk of being saddled with life-changing amounts of debt. One landlord told me recently that he is arranging 10-year repayment plans for Covid-19 arrears. This approaches mortgage-length debt, but at the end of the term you have nothing to show for it” Timperley says.
* The original version of this story referred to Chloe Timperley as Chloe Temperley - our apologies.