The following example shows both sides of the coin. Moore’s uncle had impregnated the widow Finlow, and given her a house in return ( not a bad deal for the time), and her other son Richard had subsequently inherited the lease, though it was now costing fourteen shillings a year ( ‘old rent’ is yearly rent as in today’s market, the new style rent was an upfront large ‘fine’ or fee, and a lower annual amount of shillings, chickens and shearing, aka day’s service to the landowner).
By building a new street ( Fenwick Street) Moore was increasing his holdings and wealth, and to do it, he claimed back land already leased to make the road and new buildings. Richard Finlow had agreed, but only if his current lease terms were extended at the same cost for additional years ( so that his brother and sister got the same deal if they outlived him), and to drop the chickens, days labour and two shillings off the rent as well. It might seem a fairly steep ask until Moore admits at the end, once their lease is done he’ll be able to re-let the property for fifty pounds up front, and a pound a year thereafter! Given the fact he’ll be making similar profits on each of his new property leases on the street he’s creating, it doesn’t seem too bad a deal after all. Though Moore still complains they’re taking advantage of his ‘good nature’.
His old rent was fourteen shillings a year; this is only a house and a good back side ; I had only a small fine for it. In regard, my uncle Robert More got his mother with child, he procured me to give her this house for nothing. This Richard is her son, a very honest fellow : but when I made the Fenwick street, I took a little piece of his back side from him, which now lies to Robert Worrell's house; and he made me give him a life or two, I know not whether, into this house, for nothing, and likewise to abate him seven shillings of his old rent, and to abate him two days' shearing ; and all this was for a little piece of his back side, the which I know he could not have set for five shillings a year ; yet you may see what you must expect from your tenants, if they find your necessities require their help. Therefore serve God, and look honestly to your own ; for there is not a foot I have had from any one of them, but they have made me pay ten times the worth of it… This house will be worth fifty pounds fine, and to raise the rent to one pound a year. Lives in it are: him, the said Richard, John his brother, and Ann his sister ; three rent hens at Easter ; one day's shearing.
From Moore's Rental