Renting, on both sides of the property divide, has been a lot on my mind lately. Why you may ask?

Well, after five years of boomeranging sons (I am not even sure that this is a proper verb but I mean that they moved in back with us multiple times) they are finally in a position to rent their own place. As Lady Luck would have it, they found a lovely two bedroom house – clean, warm and just big enough. To top it all, the house is close enough to ours so they can come for Sunday lunch but far enough to take advantage of us on a more regular basis. Given that it is near the best and most expensive part of Manchester (though not in it) the rent is acceptable and they can afford it.

This event, welcomed by all, put renting and costs it involves – before one has even paid the rent – at the top of our minds and to the bottom of our bank account.

On the one hand, we are suddenly finding ourselves with too much house – going down from five to three people living here is possibly an indicator. What really convinced me is that now we have one more bathrooms than people living in the house. Told you – too much house! And too much mortgage, too much bills too much…well, too much equity as well but some decisions have to be made. I am not becoming a slave to a house!

So we are thinking of two options: staying in the house and renting out a room or two, or selling this house and buying a smaller one to live in and an apartment to rent out. In any case we have been checking out the expenses including the additional insurance against the elements, maintenance and management costs, and insurance against human silliness and folly also known as landlords insurance. A decision is yet to be made but looking at the costs of having a rental property it may be more prudent at the moment to stay put and have a ‘Monday to Friday’ person.

Let’s move to the other side – the costs of renting. Naturally, our sons will have to organise and pay for their content insurance, electricity and gas bills, internet, telephone and cable, and generally the things we have come to see as absolute necessities for civilised existence – it is a different matter whether they really are. But before we get to this John and I had to put down a truck load of money (over £1,100/$1,768 ) and a mountain of hustle. We had to:

Pay for background checks

This is to check that our sons are not criminals wanted by the law, they are not perverts of any kind and that their credit score is half decent. In principle, not a bad thing – if there were any rented houses around us I would probably want to know what kind of person is moving in; this does raise the small issue of what do people who have been to prison do – sleep rough? No wonder so many re-offend!

What I found really objectionable is that these checks cost £420/$682!

Pay the deposit

This is pretty standard but still – we did pay £700/$1,137 as a deposit. Good news is that the regulations in the UK changed and now the deposit is kept in a separate account rather than being sent to the landlord.

Guarantee  the rent

Apparently, one son working for less than an year and the other fresh out of university and looking for a job doesn’t make them reliable rent paying material. So I had to guarantee the rent – which on its own is not a problem. I know my sons will pay their own rent; and they know that they better do because if I have to step in they are straight out of my will!

What I can’t figure out is where is the trust gone? I still remember the time when we will give our post code, may be asked about our income and given a document to sign. Not anymore! This time, the agent wrote to the HR officer at the university where I work (at Faculty level and this is rather large); than the HR officer coyly asked me whether I would allow them to disclose the information; than the agent approached me again; and after that my signature had to be witnessed. Mad and time consuming – HR officers are busy people and don’t need to justify their pay!

So as you can see, renting is expensive any odd way you look at it! And this is even before you have started paying your rent.