I moved into a new flat. Gimlet-eyed, I inspected before accepting. Years of experience (much of it detailed hereabouts, if you recall) mean that I know what to look for. Despite being in a hurry (previous landlords having returned from abroad and now want their home back) after looking around, I signed a new agreement. I felt uneasy. Something was wrong.
I asked if I could attach the shower-spray to the wall. The Letting Agent (smiley, smiley! chatty chatty!) said yes while admitting that the water pressure is a ‘a bit weak.’ That’s like saying The Niagara Falls are known to roar slightly.
Having dutifully cleaned the previous place in a haze of bleach fumes until it gleamed and germs retreated in fear, I moved in and prepared for some light, preparatory dusting. And now…only now after several days of anger and despair, am I able to describe the horror, the horror.
The previous occupant had left freshly-cut clumps of thick black hair in all the sinks: bath, bathroom, kitchen etc. That’s normal right? Thought not - another new item for the checklist: inspect plugholes for alopecia-related detritus. Oh and the bathroom door and window do not shut, let alone lock. Also, when I first looked around, the weather outside was so hot my teeth began to itch. Now, in June, the bathroom is so cold, I fear it might be haunted.
The place was filthy: nothing had been cleaned, and my sight problems led to a vision of filth hitting me quite unexpectedly. The oven was rank, and the light fittings are frankly, furry. The agreement states I must have the place ‘professionally cleaned’ on vacating. Ha. Never going to happen, which I’ve pointed out to the chatty-happy-martinet she-agent (who boasted about having a power shower at her home).
And dimmer switches are so romantic aren’t they? Just not when they are ancient, and attached to low energy light bulbs. When this happens, they are hazardous.
But back to the water pressure. After nearly ending up in Stoke Mandeville following the contortions required to reach the bathroom mixer-tap, and observing the sad, pitifully slow trickle of water from the bathroom sink, I scalded myself under the kitchen tap. The letting agent’s response took several days. There’s a long history of investigations; in fact an entire creation myth with fluid-deities, mythical pipe workmen and phantom plumbing engineers explaining why the water pressure is so weak. After observing me signing on the dotted line, that damned she-agent wrote: ‘The owners tolerated it when they lived there, and so you just have to accept it too.’
I shall yodel from beyond the grave: ‘Yeah but the owners eventually get to OWN the bloody house!’ Yep: amateur landlords again, trapped (or forced) amateur landlords, with property in negative equity which must be rented out, resentful sulky landlords who can’t/won’t pay for repairs, treating maintenance requests as an affront to their human rights. And another thing: this didn’t emerge in the survey?
I’ve asked for a meeting with that heinous she-agent, who breezily chats over and deftly ignores me, batting off all complaints. I shall keep you posted.