Before venturing down south for my first "proper" job, I thought I was fairly savvy when it came to the important "adult" stuff such as budgeting, bills and of course, renting.
But for someone who is used to living in Newcastle and Sheffield, it is safe to say that London's housing market is an endless and murky abyss rather than a small and secure garden pond.
I knew the task of renting a place which was actually livable and didn't cost a fortune was going to be tricky but I wasn't prepare to be homeless for almost two weeks after escaping a flat which had no central heating at the steep cost of £500 per month WITHOUT bills.
And that wasn't even the beginning.
I have lived in south west London for less than one year and believe I have experienced my fair share of the capital's notorious landlords.
So this isn't the worst landlord you can come across and the ghost will nicely ease you into the chaotic life of a London tenant.
The ghost is the absent landlord who hasn't visited the property for years but also fails to understand the concept of wear and tear - this can land you in some sticky situations.
My first rented property was in Tooting Bec and belonged to a double ghost landlord (yes, they exist).
It was the family home to an elderly Irish couple who had passed on the responsibility to their begrudging daughter, who inevitably had no time or money to maintain the house.
However, this did mean befriending the nice yet useless "cowboys", who attempted to mend the collapsing bathroom ceiling with wooden sticks (yes, really), cut off the pipe to the boiler which inevitably caused a leak, and took nearly three months to fix a light (shamefully, showering with a torch became the norm during this time).
But this is all to be expected in London, right?
The shady landlord
While the ghost is frustrating but harmless, the shady landlord is most certainly one of the worst types you will meet.
In a nutshell, these are the notorious landlords who take advantage of desperate tenants and charge them a small fortune to live in unsavoury properties.
While I don't claim to have had the worst experience, my first and hopefully last dealing with a shady landlord was in Wimbledon, where I narrowly escaped wasting hundreds of pounds a month for a dirty flat with no central heating.
While his tenants shivered around the one and only plug-in radiator during winter, the landlord was spending his time and money on a plush tour of South East Asia with his family - how lovely.
The only reason I avoided paying this man £500 was thanks to my friend, who helped me escape his clutches by offering me her sofa until I found a new pad.
(And for the record the lack of heating was kept secret until I moved in.)
The control freak
This type of landlord is harder to come by and while they are well, overbearing, I promise you it is worth the empty smiles, nods and odd white lie to keep them sweet.
Three references, one copy of my bank statement (amended to remove any minus figures of course), one telephone interview and a temporary stint of coach surfing later, Southfields became my third home.
While the finicky landlord can be irritating, it tends to mean a well maintained, clean and fairly new property - what more could you want?
After ticking various boxes and assuring my landlord that I do not take drugs, smoke or have loud parties every night, I was lucky enough to find a flat for a not-so-high price (it is London, after all).
The control freak is 100% the landlord you should strive to have but just make sure they aren't checking your post...
The uninspiring agent
When looking to rent in London, I can assure you every prospective tenant will come across the uninspiring agent.
While the small, neat looking yet similarly boring flats look pretty clean and maybe even worth the hundreds of pounds per month, the problem with renting from an agency is not the landlords but the flatmates.
If you are a work-and-sleep-with-nothing-much-in-between kind of person then this may suit you, but my dealings with agents suggest they don't filter flatmates and instead club together anyone who can simply pay the rent.
This is because when you rent from private landlords, it tends to be the current tenants who pick the newbie which means you can meet (and judge) your potential flatmates.
While this opens an entirely different can of worms when it comes to deposits (if you rent in London you will know what I mean), you do tend to live with people of a similar age and with similar interests rather than people 20 years your senior and who you have nothing in common with.
But of course, it is all down to preferences.
While this has been my mixed experience, I hope to live in this fabulous city for the foreseeable future and finally meet the NICE landlords hiding among London's flats and houses.
If you want to share your landlord experiences or you are a landlord who wants to overturn London's stereotypes, leave your story in the comments section below.
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