Hi there, I’m Daniela, 45, originally from Germany. I was a tourist in this beautiful and lovable country for almost 30 years before I had the guts to leave my country and live here. I got my NINo quickly and found good work in the 12th week after arrival. Ever since things went downhill - because never in my life I would have assumed that renting or rather trying to rent in the UK would make me feel like a criminal on probation. Like a third class person. Like dirty scum, to be brutally honest.
Coming from Germany, I am used to renting because this is what we do. Owning your house is an exception for doctors or CEOs or something. 80, 85 % of people rent all their lives. Depending on how popular the area is, sometimes people look longer for the right flat or house, others look shorter. I rented two flats in my life, one for nine years, one for eleven years. Both I found through a small advert in a local paper. Both times I went for a viewing and got my yes pretty much the next day. I signed an open end tenancy contract - and that was it. No hassle, no referencing, no demands, no negativity. A contract between grown-up people who want to do business together like grown-up people. In peace and hopefully for a long time.
I assumed it would be here the same way because British people are known to be friendly as well as full of humour.
But oh no, and it comes as a huge shock how tenants are looked at here. The wording in adverts (no DSS!, no children!, no students!, no pets! - I’m actually just waiting for: No blacks!, no Jews!, haven’t seen those ones but wouldn’t be surprised, really), the constant demands (for example, you have to earn such and such monthly salary otherwise you are not worthy to live here, no matter if you think yourself that you can pay the rent), the overall negativity (the tenant can’t do this, the tenant can’t do that, can’t can’t can’t). Sometimes I wonder if landlords are afraid of us measly tenants. They certainly don’t really want us in their house - why rent it out then???
I think I sort of understand now how black people must feel when they are disciminated because of their skin colour. I am discriminated because of my wall colours. I am a fully trained painter/decorator working now as a legal secretary in a big international law firm (Am I trustworthy because of that? Who knows…).Despite my clerical job I consider myself to be a (hobby) artist. A white wall is a canvas for me and I love living in well designed spaces where wall colours, furniture and fabrics create a perfect composition. In Germany that is no problem, as everyone paints their interior the way they like and when they move out, they paint it white again (or whatever colour the landlord likes best). No problem. Over here that doesn’t seem to be an option. Being creative apparently “damages” the walls or even the whole property, because what if I “disappear” (original quote out of an agent’s mouth in my face)? The landlord would be stuck with “these painted walls”! OMG! Wait a moment - where would I “disappear” to? Aliens abducting me? Sorry, that is ridiculous. All I want is to live my life as I want to. That’s all. No hassle, no mistrust, no discrimination because I don’t have enough money to buy.
If a landlord reads this and has a reasonably priced 2 bedroom house with garden or garden flat to offer in Bristol BS1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8, who is cool, relaxed, grown-up and not afraid of a reliable, friendly but creative tenant and who loves the motto “Live and let live”, then please contact me ASAP. I will honour your house and garden as if they were mine. For further info about me and photos of the wall decor in my previous flat (on IG, scroll down to the beginning), please visit Twitter and/or Instagram, I am @cariadferch.
Thank you for your attention to this rant. I had to vent. Or danke schön, as we say in Germany.