Sunday, 5 January 2014

I Look Down On You Because…

In every city, on every street, across the country, in every building, a quiet battle is taking place, between ‘them’ (who’s ‘them’?) and us (who, exactly, is ‘us’?) The battle lines are fixed, and the adversaries are owner-occupiers, and tenants. Neither is innocent. Neither is blameless, both misbehave.

My experience was of glowering frostiness, then simple simmering fury - an icy chill whenever I saw my neighbour. I had no idea why. Then, by power of thought alone, I worked out what the problem was. This was after she had insulted Landgirl, and just been, well…odd. The problem was that I should have been cleaning the landing floor. I thought it was down to the caretaker, or ‘factor’ as we say in Scotland, but no – the occupants were supposed to mop the floors. The eternally and splendidly useless letting agents had failed to let me know. The grimacing continues.

In certain other buildings, absentee buy-to-let rentiers rent out homes to tenants who embrace the freedom and transience renting offers – short-term at least. In some extreme cases, they hold frequent noisy parties, scream loudly on the way home at night, do not empty the bins, leave litter lying around etc. They even – literally – shit on their own doorstep. But since they could be moved on, or choose to move every six months, so why bother building happy friendships?

I’ve many tales of recent graduated young-professionals, saving to buy, in place for as short a time as possible. Students are sometimes unpopular for similar reasons, but their transience is virtually guaranteed. Nasty for my friends partner, who works shifts as a nurse. But when you might be turfed out in six months time, it’s difficult to summon any enthusiasm for the communal cleaning rota or regimented weeding. But at least you could take out the bins on time.

It’s not always true that tenants don’t care. Some - I’d even venture, most - tenants behave in an exemplary fashion. They smile at neighbours, check on the elderly, bake for the street etc.

Much of this antipathy is caused, I suspect by snobbery, by a variant of the diktat ‘show me someone in rented housing beyond the age of twenty-five and I’ll show you a failure.’ Tenants are viewed as too poor to own, and therefore feckless, with little understanding that even in an HMO, they will be likely to be employed, disastrously paid, and goaded by disrepair, will leave ASAP.

This can result in hatred. One friend was subjected to a campaign of hostility and intimidation. She had moved in to what had previously been home to her unpopular rentier, so neighbours blamed my friend for the floods caused by his refusal to repair. But as a tenant, at least she could move. It was costly, and onerous. But move she did.

If you, the owner occupiers, realised just how much we, the temporary tenants envied you with your security, choice, and safety. This situation will worsen. That’s my prediction for 2014. One of them, at least.


Anonymous said...

Bake for the street !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your having a laugh!

RenterGirl said...

Yep. True.

RenterGirl said...

Anonymous said...
As soon as anyone meets anyone else they make judgements within seconds in all manor of respects ',where you from ' is not an idle enquiry into where you live but a probe into many different social factors that make you who you are .
This is not just a judgement from those who know they have to mop a landing ,this judgement runs both ways and as human beings we tend to cluster with like minded people .
Rentergirl ,you may have made judgements already as I have about you both of us probably misguided.

So my question to you

Fury Boots Comfy?

Simon pld

Simon. Stop the SEO. I remove it.

Emma said...

My partner and I have always tried to get on with our neighbours. In our last but one house, we got on really, really well with our elderly neighbour - he would give me bags of apples from his tree and I'd give him crumbles and cakes, which he loved. We were sad to have to move away. However, it can be difficult, especially when a landlord's lack of repair starts to grate on the neighbours. Even our lovely neighbour's patience wore thin after three weeks with a broken fence. As the tenant, you become the focus for anger about things that really aren't your fault, and that's not nice.

Anonymous said...

What's an SEO ?

RenterGirl said...

So true, Emma. The already narked folk next door need little excuse, so neighbour disputes linger.

SEO is Search Enine Optimisation. Cheekily trying to link to the site, in comments, to boost traffic on your own site.

Anonymous said...

Emma's right. The problem with tenants is that they have landlords. I live in a block of 4 flats, all of which were originally owner occupied. One set of neighbours needed more space due to having a baby, so they moved out into larger rented accommodation elsewhere and rented out their property. The tenants are lovely, and are good friends of mine, but the owners seem to have completely lost interest in the place since they moved out. The upshot of this is that it's the Devil's own job trying to get them to pay for their share of the maintenance costs, which results in essential work being postponed for years.

Anonymous said...

lol renter girl i know just wot you mean when i moved into my sad ,damp squalid studio [the one that costs £1000 a mounth i got nothing but attitude from the smug middle class twat upstaires he deliberately stomped about back and forth across the floor i asked and explained 6 times about his stomping he wasnt a heavey guy so it was deliberate he and his dull girlfriend veiwed me as a chav and a loser its only when i got heavey with him that he stopped i had to apply just the right amount of pressure otherwise he would have run like a crying baby and squealed to my landlord 9yes that landlord just like all the other landlords in the building who wont sort out the riseing damp and leaking roof 9 ocupanseys squeezed into a small house how about that ,lol anyway the couple have sold there flat now and its been bought buy a young ...profetional middle class coupe ...ooh god here we go again...dxx

Anonymous said...

the trouble is renter girl and i dont wont to tar them all ,middle class and upper class people here in the uk have a scense of entitlement esp the middle class profetionals they look down on working class people like myself and others..they do when they move in they seem to think they can behave as they see fit regardless of how it affects the other tennants and its not all renter girl but a lot of middle class people have been brought up spoiled and indulged haveing never been chastised or dissaplined by there parents they live in this bubble where they have been given ..everything...and they assume everything is theres add in the class system of this country and its a recipe for conflict and it often ends in conflict middle class people tend to give out this snot nosed attitude and passive aggressive bullying and push peoples buttons the people retaliate and roar the middle classes become terrified were being bullied ..yeah but you know dont give it out if you cant take it treat people with respect and you will get it back..dxx