Hands up anyone who has never rented a house! If you haven't raised your hand it means that, like me, you had to pay a visit to places they dare to call "houses" in order to find a new home. On the other hand, you may have finally found a home that deserves that name and therefore a landlord to whom transferring the rent and all the other troubles - the most classic are leaking pipes and exploding boilers.
I visited about fifty houses during my exhausting thirteen days of looking for a home - Since I still got my sociological attitude I started clustering the landlords into categories, creating five ideal types of landlords you could potentially stumble upon. Beyond the traditional difference between live-in/live-out landlords, here's what I created*.
Type 1: the Hosteller. Basically, the Hosteller's flats are dormitories. I like calling them hostels, it sounds sweeter. The Hosteller belongs to the small group of the couple friendly landlords. The rooms he's renting out could be spacious. If you get lucky, the kitchen features a table with some chairs where you could sit to have your meals. The average population of a Hosteller's house is about 7/9 individuals, plus guests. If you get lucky (again) there will be two toilets in the flat. No space where to hang the laundry, apart from your room's radiator.
Type 2: the Negotiator. The Negotiator generally offers quite spacious rooms and flats, with flexible options to fulfil any type of tenant's need. However, the Negotiator's tenants have often no basic hygiene knowledge: they walk barefoot where you wouldn't even walk in your boots, they urinate into holes where the end is hard to spot, they store food where you wouldn't dare to open the cupboard door. When you make the Negotiator notice that, he replies that the rubbish is due to the "old" tenants' departure. When you make him notice that it's not, he halves the rent. Probably it's to help you put aside a few quid for your health care fund.
Type 3: the Unsure. Since you're aware that you can stumble upon a Hosteller landlord (see Type 1), you have by now learnt to ask some questions about a potential property before arranging a viewing. The Unsure doesn't know how many rooms is renting out - maybe three or four, but perhaps he's planning to build an en-suite inside one of them, however he doesn't know when he will do that... Anyway the important thing is to come and take a look, he says. The Unsure's weak point comes out (apart from his lack of clear answers to any questions, fees included) as soon as you show yourself very interested in the property. The Unsure lets himself go, barriers come down and you discover that there's a crocodile living in the basement and that a train runs below your balcony everyday at 4.15 am.
Type 4: the AWOL. Whatever you will do towards an AWOL's property, it will be happening without the presence of the landlord. The AWOL is kind of a mystic entity: you always interact with an agency or the live-in tenants. Everybody says the AWOL "is so sweet", but they often say that because they're leaving and/or are "selling" you the property, therefore they're "selling out" also the AWOL's idea. It's all about marketing, baby. Maybe, one day, you will be lucky enough to see the AWOL's face and that day will be stuck into your memory forever.
Type 5: the Landlord. I've had the pleasure to interact with a Landlord a few times in my life - I got lucky. It's the one with the capital "L": friendly, precise, helpful, discreet, renting out liveable spacious flats at reasonable fees. The Landlord offers properties which become "your place" soon, because you feel like treating them as if they were your own home. Whatever happens or anything you need, the Landlord will be there. He will be with you fighting supreme evil. Ask and it will be given to you, but only if you cooperate with him of course ;)
Well, did I miss someone?
*Methodological note: the landlord categories do not follow any qualitative classification. The research has got no statistical basis and does not want to offend the glorious landlord class. Actually, thank you, dear landlords, for renting out your properties worldwide!