In olden times it used to be all fields around here and all the soldiers on the front had the bananas but we never ate real eggs until we were 83.
Ah the good old days. When things were better than good - so good in fact they were perfect. Except they weren’t perfect, but in some ways there were better. If you see what I mean.
Can you imagine the past as far off country where things are done differently? Such as buying TV licenses. Yep – when landlords rented furnished homes, they provided a television, and would buy and pay for the licence. I know! They did though. Really. It seems unbelievable but this happened.
They also used to pay the council tax – or rates as they were called. Rates were viewed, it seems, as a tax on the property, which landlords should cover. There could be problems if they didn’t stump up mind, and tenants were occasionally faced with bailiffs who could execute the aptly named ‘distress warrants’ or ‘levy distress’ that is, enter homes and seize personal possessions.
They also used to give rent free time if tenants decorated – nothing special, just a coat of emulsion. It was expected, that tenants painted and in return got a weeks rent free, but rents were cheaper – or at least, around or even under 25% of your income. Ah – memories…
Being a rentier changed radically somewhere along the line. Tenants had previously security of tenure, and stayed longer. Rentiers complain that the market was ‘stagnant’ – but I disagree, and suspect that rentiers wanted the freedom to turf people out on a whim. They got their wish.
Tenants meanwhile tip toe around home and daily life on egg-shells instead of benefiting from safety, rights, TV licenses and having their council tax paid. Today’s ‘council-charge,’ like the old rates covers bin collection and sewage etc. It’s an bill cost - not exactly a utility, but it does relate to the property.
The problem is that it’s levied on the property’s value, and tenants have no control over that. If their rentier owns a highly valued building – tenants must pay higher council tax.
Landlord’s used to behave as if their tenants were customers, not eradicate them as you would vermin or as idiot servants paying for the pension rentiers ‘deserve’.
Nowadays rentiers have new habits, like leaving their broken crockery in situ for us to treasure. I am a realist, not being pointlessly nostalgic and nor do I have any misplaced yearning for how things were. The past was never perfect, and Rachman walked amongst us. We did have a sense that we paid for a service, while rentiers covered their own costs and did not foist charges onto tenants. After ll they owned the house that rates were based upon.
We didn’t pay council tax. We didn’t have to scrub the place before and after occupation, we had rent books, tellies, TV licenses and we could stay for ages. The days of wine, roses and rent books. Heady times. Heady times, indeed.