The rules governing any move to a different city are complex – a strand of theoretical physics where explanations are trippy and weird. In summary: letting-agent time operates in a different zone (or rather, an alternative reality) to time in the tenant’s dimension. Meanwhile landlord and removal-man time are different again.
To maintain order in this continuum, relocating renters must synchronise their plans. It’s very tense. I tried to find a new flat well in advance this time around, but most properties are advertised when they are already vacant, and landlords expect you to move in immediately.
That causes problems with the timing of deposits and notice. My last landlord was kind enough to initiate the Deposit Protection Scheme refund before I left, as having seen the flat he knew it was in good nick. Even so, I still had to wait a few days, a delay which meant someone was sitting on the money I would have placed on my new flat.
There’s also the fact that I was technically homeless (I’ve written before about the problems this causes.) Friends who would have let me stay had a much loved relative in hospital, and a fretful sofa-surfer was not what they needed, so I made arrangements to stay in a cheap accommodation, which ate up money I cannot spare. That ticking clock again, as delay in finding somewhere cost me dear…
So I had to hurry letting-agents, without seeming desperate. Once they scent the blood of homeless woman, they go in for the kill, offering the worst leaking shed, and expecting you to be grateful, thereby wasting more time.
Meanwhile, I kept working without landline or internet access, which for a writer is a nightmare. Mostly though, I coped, until the agency got confused (hmm…) about exactly when I was due to collect the keys.
The ferocious she-lettingagent growled: “Where were you – my time is money. Don’t waste my time.”
I pointed out that she had missed a message rearranging the appointment to suit my equally important and valuable time, to no avail. There was no room at the inn. I called my friends, whose relative had rallied; they are kind, and let me stay.
Another factor warps this continuum, and that’s bills. There’s a five day meter reading delay. The tenants of my new flat had left storage heaters on full blast before I moved in, and I wasn’t going to pay for that. Previous occupants sometimes try and bamboozle their replacements into paying for their final days energy use, which can add up.
To avoid chaos, the moving process must happen in the correct sequence: give notice, have meters read, move out of old flat, collect refunded deposit, find new flat, pay deposit, travel across space to new city, collect keys, find removal firm, move in.
Unfortunately, Rentergirl’s General Theory of Relocation says: whatever you need to happen within a defined time-frame will be screwed up completely. There is an explanatory equation somewhere, but even with a Nobel prize up for grabs, it will remain unsolved. The greatest minds all agree; time in the renting universe defies logic as we understand it.
(NB: In memory of ‘Davey,’ who died a year ago.)