Rental Insights

During the last 12 years we have rented a few properties through letting agents, all new builds, and all have been a dream, until something goes wrong. Thankfully nothing major has ever gone wrong for us, although the alarm was once sounding full volume for hours and hours whilst we waited for the company to turn up to fix it. We have always used well-established letting agents who vet landlords and act as a middleman.

Renting is such a ‘norm’ today, but it’s so important to make sure you’re with a reliable company. I hear so many horror stories about landlords not bothering with the upkeep of their properties and occupants being left in life threatening conditions. You really need to research your rights as a renter and source out trustworthy letting agencies who are very transparent.

We always went with well-known letting agents and landlords, and we have not had a bad experience.

As a tenant it is important to know your rights, you have the right to:

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years

But, also as a tenant you have responsibilities too:

  • You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
  • take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
  • pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
  • pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
  • repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
  • only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it

Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.

And don’t forget to get the right insurance that covers you as a tenant!

Leading landlord and tenant insurance providers HomeLet have released the fourth in their series of landlords advice eBooks and it includes some interesting facts and figures from a recent survey which asked tenants exactly how happy they were with their landlord or letting agent.

  • Overall 86% of people were either very happy, quite happy or somewhat happy with their landlord or letting agent
  • 75% of people surveyed claimed to be happy with the response to maintenance requests
  • 43.6% of tenancy agreements do not allow pets
  • 12.5% of people surveyed have had their deposit withheld with 39.1% of these down to cleaning and 19.3% down to re-decorating costs

So, whether you’re considering renting or currently renting, research your rights and your responsibilities, and get the cover you need.

#RentalInsights

The Ultimate Shopping Experience

Is there such a thing as the ultimate shopping experience once you’re a parent? With your kids, no, but without, then yes. Or is this just me being a bit cruel? Ha! My boys hate shopping, unless it is toy shopping of course, but even then it’s usually a traumatic experience. I tend to avoid shopping with my kids and the majority of my shopping is done online nowadays.

Pre-kids I used to love shopping for hours and hours, sometimes a whole twelve hours. Shopping and perusing were some of my most favourite past times. Then my little bundles of joy came along and shopping turned into more of a chore. It was a rushed process, I no longer perused in my own time, I had to be organised and be quick. The joy soon withered away regarding shopping, but the love I have for it is still there, buried but still there, and every so often it gets rekindled and I remember how much I love it.

I do, however, go shopping in a much more organised manner nowadays. My trusty lists help me. I plan which shops I need to go into, this makes it so much easier to not become overwhelmed and to lose the joy of shopping.

Comfortable shoes are also a must! There is nothing worse than going shopping and having to wince at every step you make because you’ve worn heels and your feet feel like balls of lava.

At least one coffee pit-stop is also usually required, sometimes two, and maybe even three if it’s Christmas shopping. I carry a bottle of water too, the changing rooms are often hotter than the Sahara Desert!

I also love going to the beauty counters in department stores too during my shopping trips. Nothing warms my heart more than a few samples of the latest perfumes and make-up products to trial at home. It gives you  little spurt of shopping energy too a little pick-me-up!

One of my favourite shopping centres is The Trafford Centre in Manchester, I’ve been a few times and have always had a great shopping experience there, but my shopping goal for 2017 is to visit Liverpool ONE. Its reviews are amazing (you can see what’s on in Liverpool if you’re interested here).

No matter where I shop I think my favourite time of year to shop has to be Christmas, I love the smells, the lights, the decorations, the coffee specials, and the general atmosphere. What’s your favourite time of year to shop?

Are you an organised shopper? I’d  love to know how you make sure you have the ultimate shopping experience!

#ultimateshoppingexperience

 

The Modern Face Of Marriage

The Modern Face Of Marriage…

Tying the knot is, for most people, a chance to confirm their love and commitment to their partner in front of their family and friends. A chance to celebrate their memories and look to the future. It’s long been a tradition and for some it’s the traditional vows and commitment that make it so appealing. In today’s age, however, there isn’t just one face of marriage. From the ceremony to the commitment, marriage means something different to everyone.

Religious or civil, big or small the type of service you choose can be a reflection of you as a couple. And for some, marriage isn’t even on the agenda. Cohabiting couples and single dwellers are more than common in 2017 with a distinctive lack of pressure to get married compared with previous generations. Multiple marriages are no longer a taboo either, with many people choosing to re-marry if it didn’t quite work out the first time around.

Slater and Gordon, a family law firm in London, recently carried out a survey to find out what the modern face of marriage really is. Here are the results;

  • 69% of people believe the biggest benefit to marriage is the commitment to a relationship…

  • …whilst 42% see increased financial security as the main benefit.

  • 53% of those surveyed believe they would (or did) choose a civil ceremony as opposed to a religious one.

  • Out of all those surveyed, 54% of people have experienced a close family member getting divorced.

  • 23% of people have been divorced themselves.

  • 69% of people believe there is less pressure to get married compared to 10 years ago.

I was 21 when I married my husband, he was 20. I’m now more in love with him than I have ever been, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. But marriage is hard work, even more so once yo become parents, so I make a conscious effort to be a good wife.

When you fall in love you forget the world around you. Your every waking thought is consumed with this exciting, butterflies-in-tummy, love. Your world is a bright place, with kites and bunnies, sunshine and lollipops. You feel madly in love! The reality though is that this is not love, not real love anyway. Real love is not always pretty.

Some days my husband comes home to Mary Poppins; the kids have behaved, the house is clean, the kids are fed and bathed and already in their pyjamas, I have clean hair, my makeup is still intact, dinner is in the slow cooker, and there’s a smile on my face. Other days my husband walks into the lair of Cruella De’ville; the kids have misbehaved since morning, they don’t know how to share, they fight, they cry, they refuse food, they shout, every task has been a battle, there’s been wee on the floor, food on the floor, four million poops, sand all over my kitchen floor, chalk on the walls, paint in their mouths, things have been thrown, things have been smashed, inedible items have entered the digestive system, mommas had no time for breakfast or lunch, everything’s gone wrong, mummy wants to cry, mummy’s mentally packing her suitcase, mummy feels not up to the job, mummy didn’t have time to shower, mummy’s got greasy hair, and there is no food in for dinner. Whatever the mood, my husband gets the brunt of it both good and bad!

Some days I am madly in love, and can’t wait to see my husband, other days I feel so exhausted and just want to go to bed at 7pm to recharge, but this will not help my marriage.

Relationships are hard work. They require maintenance, and without it they end up being scrapped. They die, yet all they needed was a drop of water, something to revive it. I make a point of telling my husband several times a day I love him, I write him little notes to leave in his lunch bag, I send him silly pins on Pinterest. He deserves my best, not just my derailed self first thing in the morning with huge hair and mascara stained eyes, or end of the day stressed-out me. I want him to see me at my greatest even though he loves me regardless.

Being a mummy subconsciously robs you of some of your identity as a wife – not in a negative way, your children become your priority, and makeup etc seem less significant because time is precious and totally used up. This is why you have to consciously make an effort; wear makeup, wash your hair, look good, feel good – YOU still matter!

I’m a nightmare for going to sleep at 6:30 with our boys. Some days are hard, and tiring, and all I want to do is sleep (& sometimes I do), but I force myself to get up and spend some time with my husband, and our relationship gets invested in, and ultimately grows stronger.

When weeks are busy I get so grotty and unbearable, I snap at my husband, even his breathing irritates me, yet I always discover it’s because we’ve not spent any time together for a few days – I’m a weird one! The quote “Leave me alone, I’m lonely” describes me to a tee. Once we spend time together I feel so much better, united, revived, and loved. Even five minutes together makes all the difference.

This is our modern marriage.

Relationships don’t come with a lifetime guarantee, you have to keep renewing it. But I vow to forever.

#themodernmarriage