All tenants have a bizarre and tenuous relationship with the people who sleep in our bed. We are serial divan-hoppers, and I have no idea who’s next for my mattress.
Certain situations seem a lot more intimate than they really are, but renting nomads enjoy undeniably close but fleeting contact with people they rarely meet. These enigmatic wraiths loom over us, wielding a disproportionately large level of power, and are able to blight or enhance everything from credit ratings to social lives. It’s all down to the people who move into your new home, or the people who step into life, into your bed (if not your shoes) after you vacate.
The woman who moved into Nice Heights – my old home (sigh – it really was lovely) is a pain, which upsets me because the landlord was excellent, and I suspect she’s stuffing things up for him as well. Relocaters pay the Post Office to forward mail (that’s a laugh – buy a lottery ticket – you’ll have more luck) but usually ask the new occupant to forward anything that still goes astray. Despite leaving a huge SAE and my new details, she never redirected my post. I even toyed with pointing out that: “…interfering with the post is criminal offence, young lady,” no missing letters arrived. I asked the landlord to remind her.
Perhaps she couldn’t be bothered, but her omission caused multiple difficulties, notable a burocratic nightmare with several businesses (including a utility company who wouldn’t/couldn’t grasp that I had moved, no matter what I said or did). I don’t know why she didn’t forward my letters - she simply chose not to. It’s awkward, because I showed her round, and thought at the time that she seemed a bit distant – even cold, but my landlord was convinced she was nice, and who was I to argue?
Sometimes it’s like walking across a grave, hearing eerie echoes of troubled lives. The former occupants of my current home did a runner not just from my flat, but also from credit card and utility companies. I inherited their old number, and was for weeks subjected to automated calls at all hours, demanding that they get in touch. Their mail was persistent, and angry.
Then a real person from one company called, and I “…pointed out their mistake.” But it all seemed so desperate, and the sight of several letters from the DWP indicated that they had really fallen on hard times. I returned all their post to sender, despite the letting agents telling me to throw the correspondence in the bin, even ripping up a letter in my presence. To this day, I still find forlorn, misdirected circulars from catalogues, or charities.
But things needn’t be so difficult. In another flat, the previous occupant left a note wishing me all the best and gave her number in case I needed anything or fancied meeting up (realising I was new in town.) She’s now a good friend.
Incidentally, somebody once found rentergirl by googling: “Should I leave balloons in the flat for the new tenant?” FYI - The answer is …yes.