I was having some kind of episode. In quite a tizzy, I was collecting boxes and packing. Something had shifted. Any spare possessions, like more than two plates or cups, unseasonal clothing, superfluous kitchen utensils, books, etc. has been stacked in boxes and ready to go for months now.
Yesterday, I crossed the foyer where, alongside two sorely vexed community police officers, two besuited men were assessing the building. I introduced myself to the crime prevention officer and a representative of the management company from hell, i.e. the people who rule the kingdom of Dovecot Towers.
They wondered if I might have something to contribute; any suggestions, perhaps?
I recounted the numerous problems I’ve documented here (the local police were already appraised since they mop-up the consequences.) As I spoke, the crime prevention officer was astonished, to put it mildly, most notably by the ‘secret’ entry code being posted up next to a broken main door story (and my, how we laughed about the car park CCTV being stolen.) Disturbingly, when I asked for information about the incident which seems to have been a murder (tenants are still unsure) they wondered which one I meant, since there are several to choose from.
They were taken aback by my rising fury. The management fall-guy tacitly admitted that this place has been mismanaged. He’d only just taken over, and on inspecting the grand designs of Dovecot Towers was more than shocked. Even so, he still tried to blame the inmates/tenants, who keep on breaking the door. I said that a door shouldn’t break so easily. He claimed that dealing with tenants directly was forbidden; he was obliged to inform owners of changes etc. I said: many landlords live abroad, so why not update tenants simultaneously via a note under the door? The police agreed. They must be consulted when buildings are planned, but there is no legal requirement for their suggestions to be enforced.
I asked about the prevalence of communal post-rooms. Apparently, they save someone having to walk along the corridors. I said: why not conserve even more postal shoe leather by deploying them at the end of suburban streets. I think they got my point. Plans for updating the scary shut-off post-room of doom are ingenious. Really. Many great minds have toiled to invent a brilliant, innovative solution. No new post-boxes, no lock on the door, not even letterboxes on the flat’s own front door. Their cure is marvellous.
They’re only going to take the bloody door off.
The manager knows about the many empty flats and has witnessed the consequences: rents are plummeting, while landlords and tenants alike are rebelling. I said that inexperienced landlords, and the management, failed to grasp that Dovecot Towers sits between scally-central and the city centre. Mr. Management agreed, suggesting, perhaps correctly, that owners do not appreciate the responsibility of owning and maintaining property. He seemed suitably and convincingly chastened. Somewhat shame-faced, he promised a new regime: CCTV, a new (secure) main-door, bells, whistles and champagne on tap.
All these high-fallutin’ improvements are much too late for me. My landlord is going bankrupt, and so I must leave. Somehow, he’s accumulated twelve buy-to-let mortgages, you see, and nine are in negative equity.
Good job I packed, really.