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Swallows

  Mon 26th August 2013

I've had the girls all weekend while Kirsty's away. Last night I popped back to my house to put the recycling bins out, to find the lodger--who hasn't paid me any rent at all for a fortnight, and only some of it for the two weeks previous--merrily entertaining a friend in the kitchen.

I opened the front door and he sprang needlessly to attention. "What ho!" he ejaculated, like some matey Enid Blyton character. "I'm just having dinner with a friend." Yes, a dinner cooked with gas that I am paying for, and washed up with hot water I am paying for. It irritated me a great deal. I would expect a freeloader to show greater humility and circumspection.

Last Wednesday, he broke the kettle. Like most people, he fills the kettle to its capacity, leaving the unused rest to increase my electricity bills and ruin the habitat of rare Madagascan frogs. This time, he filled it so high that it toppled over in its boiling, pouring everywhere, fusing the element.

I returned to the girls' house; I carefully worded a polite but unequivocal email, setting out the amounts he owes, and saying that he's got until Friday to cough up, or move out. I pointed out that a Notice to Quit does not excuse him his liability for the rent. I've acquired his parents' phone number from my itemised phone bills and I'll lean on them to get them to stump up the £229 which is now due.

Living here is cheap. It's a long way short of a Direct Debit showhome of white-painted floorboards, glass bowls filled with grey speckled pebbles, tea plates and a fork next to a broken-crumbed homemade dainty suitable for an internet photograph, with the words "wonderful", "delightful" and "lovely" applied indifferently to one's friends or a cake. But don't abuse it.

13 comments

Comment from: furtheron [Visitor]

Threaten to dish the dirt on him on this hugely popular blog site thus rendering him the laughing stock of all England… Either that or just buy a new baseball bat ;-)

Tue 27th August 2013 @ 09:13
Comment from: [Member]

What hugely popular site? I’ve seen my stats you know :)

It is a bit unfortunate–he’s lost his job through no fault of his own–but they don’t reduce the bills because your lodger’s out of work.

Tue 27th August 2013 @ 10:19

Where do you find these idiot roommates? Seems to be an endless parade of half-wits. Wasn’t there a girl who stiffed you on the rent not long ago? You’d do right to contact mummy and daddy if things aren’t set right.

Tue 27th August 2013 @ 11:56
Comment from: [Member]

Yes–that was Gail, who lived here for a month, paying precisely £0.

This one was better, and while he had a job he was a good payer and kept out of my hair. You can’t plan for companies going under I suppose.

It’s just very difficult for me now. I have no savings or financial cushion at all to draw on when something like this happens.

Tue 27th August 2013 @ 12:21
Comment from: Chef Files [Visitor]

I rent various properties, some commercial, some private dwellings, in and around Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Middlesborough and Carlisle and have done for some time. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Now, after being stiffed a couple of times, I have a hard and fast rule. You pay my man on time, unless by prior arrangement, every time without fail. I have a few collectors who call monthly and combine their visit with a check of the property to ensure ‘my’ standards are met.

I am very fair, I set out my terms at the beginning of the let, always stipulating the rules and penalty of non payment. Miss once, you make contact with me. Miss twice and we make the contact. It’s very difficult picking up your fingers when they are already laying at your feet.

Tue 27th August 2013 @ 20:14
Comment from: isabelle [Visitor]

When I read your blog I’m often reminded of the sentiment behind the essay by Bertrand Russell, ‘In Praise of Idleness’. You’ve probably read it, but if you haven’t, I reckon you’d like it, it’s only short and it’s a great read.

I hope you manage to find something you like doing and get paid for it. If I won the lottery (if I did the lottery) I’d send you over a big wad of cash and hope for an invite to the party.

Wed 28th August 2013 @ 21:58
Comment from: [Member]

CF: I somehow can’t imagine many people looking forward to that “visit". I’m rather pathetic at anything approaching intimidation, being a lanky 9st arts graduate.

You inspect the properties once a month? That seems a bit much.

Isabelle: That’s very sweet of you and were that miraculous thing ever to happen we would have the finest party ever to take place on either side of the Pennines.

I’m sure I’ve read Russell’s essay in the distant past but that’s a great suggestion, thanks.

Kitty last year gave me a collection of essays by Scott called “An Apology for Idlers".

Thu 29th August 2013 @ 10:36
Comment from: Chef Files [Visitor]

Once a month… My remedial repair costs for the entire portfolio last year amounted to £1890. I can live with that.

Thu 29th August 2013 @ 20:03
Comment from: [Member]

That sounds pretty good. I just wondered, from the tenant’s pov, whether having the agent poking around every month might seem a tad intrusive. But you’ve got far more experience than I, and I appear to be getting shafted–again.

Thu 29th August 2013 @ 20:25
Comment from: classybird [Visitor]

Going slightly off topic, did you ever find out why the police were looking for Gail?

Fri 30th August 2013 @ 15:05
Comment from: [Member]

Hello Classy!

No I didn’t. I’m afraid that after that rather alarming 4am visit from the police and their van–they were obviously ready to take someone away with them–I found out from her careless settings on a social media site that she says she’s working in an amusement arcade. Nothing on there about trouble with the law though.

So no idea! If you see her, remind her she owes me 300 quid.

Fri 30th August 2013 @ 15:16
Comment from: [Member]

when i moved to my new place, i kept my old home as a rental property – knowing i would be a pushover for a hardluck story, i hired a property manager to be the ‘tough guy’, so i would never meet the lodgers. it worked reasonably well - but the stress drove me batty.

Sat 31st August 2013 @ 04:04
Comment from: [Member]

Yes, I wish the Chef was my enforcer :)

Sat 31st August 2013 @ 09:58


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