I truly appreciate readers who generously share their own stories (even anonymously – I understand why.) I’ve always requested that anyone offloading their woes should please tell me the ending (which will hopefully be happy.) Some of your stories are really upsetting, and so I hate it when I don’t know what happened next.
Recently, somebody did remember to contact me with a positive tail end to their tale. She’d been living as a lodger, and as is befitting the lack of rights these benighted creatures endure, had been given summary notice. What would she do? Where would she go?
I ended the post ‘The poor lodger who emailed me seemed really distressed. I hope her landlord changes his mind about clicking his fingers and throwing her out.’
Recently she got back in touch and shared her news. That I consider this a positive outcome is grim testimony to the complex, endless hoops through which we renters must jump, the indignities we suffer, and also – how the financial crisis hurts ‘little people.’
Facing eviction, jobless and unlikely to find anywhere else easily, she looked online, and was lucky (or so it seems for now.) She is illicitly subletting a bedroom in a employee flat (the official occupant moved to the living room). If the authorities discover her, they’ll both be thrown out, but for now, it’s a welcome, much needed sanctuary while she looks for a new job, and then a new home.
The landlord of her former home, where she was a lodger, didn’t like the fact that she beat him at his own game and left before he wanted her to go, as she had found somewhere else:
‘My landlord kept calling me - number withheld - and threatened me with solicitors, for daring to leave him without notice. My plan had gone perfectly, and he was left with an empty room for the whole of March. I never heard from no solicitor. Well, he'd struggle without a forwarding address. The greedy little IDIOT.’
Well he did try and get her out to suit his own timetable; she left first and he still has the audacity to feel aggrieved. She continues: ‘I read those other stories on your blog, and I think: What IS this country coming to?!’
Reading about tenants huddled in sheds, freezers and garages, or even surreptitiously subletting a bedroom while the landlord/co-tenant sleeps in what should be the living room, as their own rent is unsustainably high and otherwise they’d be forced to move out themselves, makes me wonder what kind of nightmare we are sleepwalking towards.
With Labour craven and still on their seemingly endless policy review, and while their best alternative to the looming ever present condem hatchet is mirroring and shadowing ie more of same but with caring face, here’s an idea: cap all rents. Regulate the private rented sector. Fight retaliatory evictions. Empower tenants – enforce their rights, foster long-term renting. Seriously: it’s a vote winner.
Many correspondents have nowhere else to turn in what are harsh times for renters, so please see advice sites on side-panel if you are in trouble and don’t know where to go for help with housing.