Because our house move is only intended to be temporary we are now renting a property for the first time in almost 30 years. It's brought home to me the difference between being a tenant and an owner. Although buying a house can be fraught with difficulty, as long as you can afford the price you do at least feel equal to the vendor in the battle of wits that constitutes housing transactions in England and at a time when houses are difficult to sell it's easy to feel that as a buyer you have the upper hand. I know what we felt that way towards our buyers when selling Starcross Towers and we went out of our way not to upset them.
Renting is different: you may "offer" to buy, but you "apply" to rent, with all that that implies. There are endless forms to fill in, credit checks to be undertaken, employment and personal references to be taken up, bank references to be obtained, "application fees" to pay (which as far as I can see represent 100% profit for the agent) and at the end of it the landlord reserves the right not to rent to you if he doesn't feel like it! Not to mention the fact that you can be made homeless after six months on the landlord's whim.
Even after your application has been accepted there are security deposits and advance rents to pay and, as a final indignity, regular visits from the agent to check up on how you are looking after your home! It's not even cheap: we are paying far more in rent than I've ever paid for a mortgage even when interest rates were 15% and over.
We don't intend to be renting for long - just long enough to find a property "up north" that we won't have at "apply" to buy!
I can see why people live on boats!