Rental Raters Blog

2nd September 2014

The 5 types of landlord

Written by
Lucy Sweet
Lucy Sweet
Follow author @lucytweet1

Lucy Sweet writes for many internet and real life publications, like the Big Issue, Bitterwallet, Lifetime, Bluffers, the Mirror and Glamour. She's also the author of two novels and a cartoon anthology about her squalid youth. She lives with her husband and son in Glasgow, perilously close to a pub and a kebab shop.

The 5 types of landlord

From the sharp-suited shark to the seemingly benign old lady downstairs (who would stab you in the eye with her crochet hook if you didn’t pay on time), landlords come in all shapes and sizes. But underneath their different guises, there are only really five distinct types of private landlord, and all but one have something in common – they want your MONEY. So which type have you got?

1. The absent landlord

By far the most common type of landlord is the one who is never bleedin’ there. Occasionally, you may see their inept minions, masquerading as a “repair team”. (They’re the people who paint a coat of emulsion over the mould and fix the sink with a bit of Polyfilla then f*** off, never to be seen again.) Who is this landlord? Is he (or she) a unicorn? Why do they have an address in the Seychelles? And more to the point, why do they never answer their phone when water is pishing through the ceiling? It is a conundrum not even the late, great Richard Whiteley could work out, but it might have something to do with not giving a flying one.

2. The not-so-absent landlord

This kind of landlord makes you yearn for Mr Absentio. The not-so-absent landlord is one who is either a) your flatmate, b) your friend who needed someone to rent their flat while they moved somewhere better with their boyfriend, or c) some random person who can’t quite let go of their former gaff/investment and is always popping in to “see how things are” (ie, they’re convinced that you’re going to write your name on the wall in your own faeces). Renting off someone who won’t leave you alone is a major minefield. It’s their house, their rules. Don’t even try to face off with them about the faulty boiler or that puce accent wall – it will end in tears, homelessness and possibly lawsuits.

3. The nice but useless landlord

Aw, that landlord is LOVELY, you thought, as the charming swine showed you around that cool compact flat with the “quirky” features. What a great human being. They’re not a greedy, lazy, money-grabber at all! Except one day you realise that the cool, compact flat is actually a freezing, damp broom cupboard with a toilet, and nothing works. But they’ll fix it, won’t they, because they’re LOVELY, right? “Sure,” they say. “Of course! Leave it with me.” So you leave it. And you leave it. And you’re found six months later with hypothermia, clutching a frozen block of chicken-and-mushroom Cup-a-Soup.

4. The controlling letting agent

Beware the controlling letting agent. You can’t even put on the kettle without a stern warning about condensation. They prowl around with a clipboard every six months, making an inventory of your pan cupboard. “Don’t hang wet towels on the radiator – they will encourage MOULD! [Sniffs the air.] Do you have a CAT? It is strictly forbidden, under Section 118B of the Boring Agreement.” It’s all don’t do this, don’t do that, sign this, sign that. And for God’s sake don’t tell them about the meth lab you’ve got going on in the cupboard under the sink.

5. The loosey-goosey, easy-oasy landlord (very rare)

The loosey-goosey, easy-oasy landlord is not to be confused with the nice but useless landlord. This one is as rare as a golden egg laid by a hen with laser-whitened teeth. They’re not just some Dorset Cereals-eating capitalist with a camper van – this landlord is a bona fide trust fund baby who doesn’t care whether you pay the rent or not. Can’t make it this month? That’s OK. They’re going to Patagonia to find themselves anyway, and what are possessions but distractions from the really important stuff in life? Meanwhile, you can languish in that brilliant houseboat/bijou city centre pad/1,600 sq ft loft without worrying about rent. One day, all landlords will be like this. One day…