Thursday, November 09, 2006


When we bought huge house for huge family with huge mortgage we always knew that there would be some letting potential there. Part of the building was an old Doctor's surgery, and so after much discussion, many paint pots, many more thousands of pounds and four years we finally got a tenant in there. Well we actually got two tenants in there, but in doing so had to give up the part of the house that included the downstairs loo, much to the disgust of six year old who tells us daily the inconvenience that she is suffering as a result.

We found the tenants because one of our friends was moving away from the area and needed somewhere for her eighteen year old son to stay. Eighteen year old boy barely had enough money to pay for his cigarette and alcohol habit, let alone food and rent. He therefore asked if he could bring in other eighteen year old boy into the flat too to help pay for the rent. No problem we said, and prepared to move the office, forego aforementioned downstairs loo and soon enough we had another suitable room to incorporate into "the flat" as it became known.

Not having had a great deal of experience with tenants we then had a great learning curve to climb. We drew up a contract with all the things that we thought needed mentioning, but forgot to put in as one of the clauses that one of the rules was not to totally ignore the contract at all times.

A friend recently asked how it was going. Fine, I said. "Do they pay on time?" Mostly, I said. We've had a couple of problems. "Do they keep it clean?" Well, not very I said, but they are young boys. They do smoke in there though, and we did ask them not to, I said. "So", she said, "apart from the fact that they don't pay their rent on time and don't keep to the contract, its fine!" Yes, I said, meekly.

Of course I do accept that I have the word "MUG" written all over my forehead, and I can be taken for granted very easily. Somebody pointed out to me that I am not always clear in what I say, and as such people don't necessarily get the full message of what it is that I am unhappy with.

Until this morning that is, and then it all changed.

I walked past "the flat" and saw that despite it being rubbish day they hadn't put it out. Feeling benevolent, and knowing that they are young boys working hard, getting up early etc etc I thought that I would do it for them. Apart from anything else I didn't really want the rubbish hanging around for another week. So I moved a rubbish bag into the street. Then I moved another rubbish bag. Then another, and so it went on. I got down to the bits that had fallen out of the bags. The moudly yoghurt pots, the food smeared cardboard and paper, and then the "recycling". They hadn't quite cottoned on to the fact that nice people throw away or finish the contents of the bottles and tins prior to putting them into the recycling, and preferably give everything a rinse too. Instead it looked like the average pub bin must look like after a heavy night's drinking with the (hundreds of) fag ends dropped into the not quite empty alcohol containers.

It took me half an hour to clear the mess and clean the area, and unfortunately, the planet didn't get a look in. It isn't recycling week, so I had no intention of also rinsing out and recycling the recyclables and leaving it there for another week. Instead I found several large black plastic bags and threw everything. When I finally got to the bottom of the container that was posing as the recycling box (I recognised it only by its vague similarity on the outside to our own) I scrubbed it out and liberally used bleach (sorry planet, again) to give it some sort of hygienic smell, before using rest of bleach to clean out area where rubbish had been.

It then took me a further hour to compose very stroppy letter, which after phoning hubby to discuss, before taking round to tenants, I had to seriously modify as he quite sensibly suggested that we did need the rent money, and so a little more tolerance was perhaps required on my part.

In the letter I had mentioned that the flat always smelt of smoke, as when went in last week to allow them to have (big and expensive) speakers that they had ordered delivered, it did smell heavily of smoke. But on taking the letter round, found that they had had the window open and amazingly, this time, it didn't smell. There was another rubbish bag sitting in the flat though, full, but too late now as rubbish had already been collected. Tenants clearly weren't in, as had banged on door several times while cleaning bin area (very cross bang) , so knew could not possibly have slept though the racket. Checked bedrooms to see if they smelt of smoke. First one didn't. Opened second door. Horrified to see teenage boy asleep in bed. Closed door VERY quickly and ran.

Came back in, modified letter again and went round again. This time, banged on door. No reply, so opened door. Placed letter in hall and left, again, very quickly, as did not want to be perceived as some sort of forty something Mrs. Robinson type character with fetish for cleaning. Oh help!!!


Sally Lomax said...

Oh so quiet.........
I read today that blogging should not be a one way conversation. Too true. so please say waht you think..........


Anonymous said...

I'm still reading! Didn't know about your tenants - sound awful!

ChrisB said...

I really enjoyed this post and had a good chuckle as it sooo reminded me of students I have had had (over a long period)in a flat at the back of my house. I have many similar and worse stories which are too long to relate here. Result the flat has been empty for over 2 years and I am wondering if I have the energy for the constant redecorating and refurbishing after nearly every lease.

Sally Lomax said...

Thank you Chris!

You made me feel MUCH better! I know now that I am not going mad!

We'll stick with it for as long as possible, because we need the rent, but OHHH ........