Some people are so astonishingly, blisteringly, face-meltingly stupid, they make me want to cut off my own head with a blunt penknife, as maybe that would hurt less than reading the cretinous comments they make when rounding up their three remaining brain cells (or mustering the one charged with rational thought) to understand the challenge caused by newbuilds.
My personal favourite came recently from somebody I refuse to dignify by naming. This particular lump of wood with porridge swirling in his cranium actually, genuinely, really, said: “…if the flat’s so bad, why did you move in?”
It’s such a stupid thing to say, that seeing it again made my finger nails ache. Really; it’s up there with “Is Africa a country?”
I’m trying to remain calm. I’m counting to ten, I’m stretched like an elastic band in a yoga pose conducive to tolerance and I’m taking all the tablets. Here it goes; here’s my answer.
Dovecot Towers was brand new. I was the flat’s first accursed occupant. It should have been perfect. I was innocent then, and full of joy. Why the hell would it have occurred to me to interrupt the dismissive, contemptuous, abrupt and intermittently oleaginous letting-agent to ask if the building is falling down? Or is the management company utterly inept? And is design so shamefully impractical and standards of construction so abysmal that thieves force the door and enter at will?
Prospective home-owners have the right to ask vendors about nuisance neighbours, and are permitted, indeed obliged, to have the building surveyed for major structural faults, and problems like damp. Prospective tenants, however, lack the opportunity, the money and (disgracefully) are denied the legal entitlement to ensure that property they pay to live in reaches even minimum standards in sound-proofing or building quality before signing a contract.
Having said that, I learned the hard way about the importance of googling an address to check it’s not listed under the ‘young and funky, party-no-problem’ section on some dubious hotel-apartment agency website, which would never have occurred to me before. I also know to check the post-room is sufficiently secure, but, hey - guess what? All post rooms are virtually the same, so pre-emptive research is pointless. As I wrote recently, brave tenants who ask about the ratio of owner-occupiers during their hasty ‘viewing’ will be misled or lied to.
Should I demand to know if my seemingly sturdy front door is actually so flimsy that my gran could kick it down? Or (you’ll love this: my latest best discovery) were the locks fitted the wrong way round? Perhaps I should dispatch the agent upstairs to piss in the en-suite bathroom, to see if I can hear?
I can’t. I want to. I wish I could; I wish I did. But I can’t.
(NB: The lift has been broken for weeks now. The new caretaker told me that ‘someone’ dismantled the machinery and piled vital components quite neatly on the steps outside. Should I have predicted that as well?)