I met my landlord in person a while back. Despite heroic efforts, even Mr Indolent couldn’t avoid the journey this time. I didn’t really want to meet him. I prefer to keep landlords at a healthy distance.
‘William’ my landlord is a relaxed character. I showed him some of the problems in that flat: not whining, just saying that the lack of splashback by the sink, and the poor tiling in the bathroom were affecting the value of his investment. Disarmingly, he agreed, admitting that some fittings in newbuilds were just plain crap. He was pleasant enough, but the problems I have with him became clear: he’s really easy going, not through diffidence, or philosophy, but through an ingrained desire to avoid confrontation. Making a fuss, and doing anything about said fuss would use up valuable energy.
He stood on the balcony and surveyed his kingdom. Noticing my belongings in boxes, he wondered how long I intended to stay. I explained that I had to repack as the building site opposite creates so much dust. I mentioned some noisy neighbours – we both know there’s nothing he can do about that. He considered buying one of the new dovecots being built close by, claiming to know the management company (never seems to get anything done though). His motto seems to be ‘C’est la vie/Que sera sera,’ and other real and imaginary songs by Doris Day.
My brand new washing machine had broken. Rather than repair it, he bought a new one, choosing to deliver and install it himself, as he had messed up the online process. This seemed slightly extravagant, but after six weeks of hand washing bath towels, I wasn’t complaining. I suppose he must get some sort of tax incentive.
For some property owners, the only real power (and fun) they have comes from nit picking their tenants behaviour, acting as masters of their subordinate’s destiny as if they own a museum or a show home, and are charging not rent but an entrance fee. Meeting landlords can be extremely awkward and the suspicion is mutual.
Previous examples have tried to be mates, while others were clear cut enemies from the onset: visiting unannounced (illegal by the way) and striding around their kingdom, barking instructions while evading their own obligations. Others have arrived hopefully with a bottle of booze, and been slightly put out when shunned by what they thought was ready supply of willing and adventurous ladies, denied their imaginary droit de seigneur.
‘William’ is genial, calm, and brandishes his authority gently. I imagine that he is as aware as I am that - due to the growth of buy to let - the balance of power between lessee/lessor is shifting. He keeps quiet about his life outside being my landlord, didn’t ask personal questions (or any questions) and was entirely reasonable throughout his visit. He ignores all my emails, and is happy that I usually sort out repairs. He isn’t evil, just idle.
However we seem to agree on this one thing alone: landlord and tenants should never be buddies. It will only cause problems later on.