The Polish Couple Who Moved Upmarket

And so it’s goodbye to Robert and Eva after 4 happy years as Eva’s baby is due next month.  Having moved from an HMO room to a two bed flat in a posher part of town they seem swamped by the space.  Robert called me today to ask if I could help him with the boiler as there was no hot water.  Passed by on my way to school pick-up to find them proudly perched on their little sofa in the hugest living room I’ve seen – I think they forgot they were going to have to furnish the flat but at least the 42″ telly filled a corner.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t help with the boiler so he put me onto the inventory, AST and informing the utility companies of their move as well as asking what to do about the rattling sash windows which wouldn’t open but still managed to let the wind whistle through the flat.

Finding The New Landlord

Apparently he’d tried calling his new landlord to no avail and was told by the letting agent that they couldn’t help or advise which is why he called me.  He couldn’t understand why BT were asking £27/month for a broadband and telephone package when I charged each tenant £5/month.  I tried to explain that my maths wasn’t that great, I set the rate four years’ ago and couldn’t work out how to squeeze a few extra quid out of everyone so left it – they hadn’t realised how much they were going to have to pay out after being used to an all inclusive rate.

Why didn’t the landlord leave a house file explaining how everything worked and where the stopcock was or  even an email address if he doesn’t want to answer his phone?  Why did the letting agent just give them the meter readings but not tell them which utility company supplied the gas and electric?!  So we set about with the admin and I talked him through the bits, told him what to look out for and left them trying to contact the landlord to get the boiler sorted.  I even had to explain the concept of contents insurance.

Before all this I’d spent the day refurbishing their room.  I don’t do much painting these days as I give the work to Tom to give him something to get out of bed for.  However, I’m fed up of giving him a bit of cash, him getting pissed then me getting calls of complaints from the other tenants when they’ve had to step over him at 6pm on a Saturday night.  This time, I decided to pay myself the money and buy a new pair of shoes.

As I cleaned and painted my thoughts wandered back to the time Robert, Eva and I spent together in this landlord/tenant relationship.  My, how we laughed over the years after:

1. Finding the near dead body of Jeremy following his dabble with a hard drug cocktail.  We both looked at his naked body turning blue, wondering who should give him the kiss of life or if it was too late and theorising how he came to be in the recovery position, oh, and perhaps the paramedics should be called.

2. Hiding in his room whilst Mo, a Kuwaiti drug dealer, moved boxes and boxes of viagra to a waiting car then came back and tried to kick down the door whilst shouting obscenities

3. Working out why Freda, the South African care worker, put a note under their door calling Eva a “beach”.  Turns out, it was supposed to read “b**ch”

4. He spent three years complaining his sink in his room wasn’t draining properly and, finally, I asked the plumber to investigate only to find that he wasn’t being pedantic and the whole sink and waste pipework through the house had to be replaced.

Yes, it’s been a happy partnership and I’ll miss them.  I’ve placed the room ad in the paper and this time have specified “quiet, mature working people” – wonder who I’ll get?

2 Comments

Filed under Tenant Stories

2 responses to “The Polish Couple Who Moved Upmarket

  1. In the last year I’ve had more and more involvment with HMO’s. Getting the mix of people right is tricky, especially when filling it for the first time. Filling the odd room is easier when you know the personalities of the other tenants. We’ve recently filled a house of seven rooms. Six of the tenants are lovely but it would appear that the seventh has an alcohol problem. In that, when she drinks, she becomes brazen and shouts and is unruly with the others. She’s a little older than the rest and recently divorced which seems to be her reason for being drunk and woeful even though I’m told she now has a new boyfriend.

    With regards to the property manual I agree wholeheartedly. These save a lot of time. We always go through the manual and show them that they have full instructions on how to use all appliances. Informing the utilities is important that way you know that the bills are going to them immediately. With the new water regulations being proposed then its important that landlords start telling the water companies who is living at the property to save them having to pay the bill.

    I love reading your articles you have a great way of expressing the trials and tribulations.

    Best of luck with you new tenants.

    • Thank you Sandra for your kind words! Short of doing a psychometric test of everyone it’s always going to be a bit hit and miss, despite your best intentions. At the end of the day, most tenants realise there has to be a bit of give and take sharing their space with strangers and some are surprisingly tolerant! I’ve just taken on Philipe, a French accountant, who seems very nice and marks a new dawn for me by taking people with normal, working references. Life isn’t going to be so interesting, but the market demands mean that I am able to choose the tenant to fit the house rather than being desperate for the money.

      Once again, thanks for reading.

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