Go big or go home…

No home, no heart

Posted on: May 11, 2009

Regular readers, ambushed listeners and those who provided sanctuary will remember that our bloody buggering London flat tried to burn down at Christmas.

I think we can say that fate (that malicious and imaginary card shark) dealt us a bad hand. The fire screwed everything except our letting agent. The letting agent was screwed by the bus that drove through its offices.

But we’re smart cookies, right? Smart cookies can play a bad hand well, especially if an army of friends and family step in to make three months of dual home ownership manageable.

Wrong. We played a bad hand really, really badly.

Two weeks ago there was finally light at the end of the tunnel. A friend of a friend was in situ, acting as caretaker in return for very low rent, and ready to move out at a few days’ notice.

Another friend of a friend, S, was waiting to view the place. We were happy to offer her cheap rent given that we knew her, she knew us, she was likely to be an amenable tenant, and our mutual friend would be on hand to mediate.

Finally, we had a potential tenant via the letting agent – the first they’d produced in four months of showing the property. Sticking with the agency would leave us (slightly) better off financially, but the tenants wanted us to remove the bed. And the sofa. And have the place ready to move into within three days.

Our instincts told us to hold out until S had viewed the place. The agency hadn’t instilled us with much confidence anyway, having lost a lot of paperwork and sent us survey results for the wrong property – it would be good to cut the apron strings.

But they leaned on us. Hard. “You have to move now, you can’t rely on getting another offer,” all that crap. We panicked and jumped. Bed moved. Sofa moved. S viewing cancelled.

In the frenzy, favour-doing caretaker was forgotten. She was evicted in the worst possible way – removal men arrived at 11pm to take her bed, just as she as about to get into it.

We disregarded the efforts of many good friends at the agency’s say so, and now we have tenants in place, the agents are agitating.

– We didn’t leave enough keys

Why did no one from the agency ask us for extra sets at any point during the past FOUR MONTHS?

– The paint work is shabby and needs re-doing

Too true, my friends. I believe this was also the case before the contract and inventory were signed – shoulda mentioned it then.

– The floorboards are old and worn

The floorboards are indeed old, being one of the few Victorian features to survive the conversion. If you think I’m covering ‘em up with Ikea laminate to satisfy the fickle demands of the rental market then you can go suck my… oh wait, this is the non-sweary blog, right?

Gah. I know I’m being unnecessarily stroppy, but it kinda makes me feel better. Being angry at the agent lets me pretend that I didn’t treat my friends badly or make a stupid letting decision that I’m stuck with for the next 12 months.

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