Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Letter To The Landlord

Mysterious Landlord
Secret Lair

7th December 2011

Dear Mysterious Landlord,

As you may already know, I have lived in your property along with three friends since July 2009.

You know the place - the floors slope alarmingly because it’s an aging tenement gradually subsiding into the Water of Leith, the fridge leaks, the intercom is broken, the boiler is temperamental at best, and it’s colder than a penguin’s pants. Yet in spite of all that, it’s a nice flat. And at least we got rid of the mice.


Having said that, all the little problems are starting to irk. We have managed to adapt (visitors phone from the street when they want to come in, and we’ve attached all free standing shelves to the walls with brackets so they don’t fall), but the fact you never deal with anything means that every time a new issue appears, our goodwill stretches a little closer to breaking point.

You might think it enigmatic to force us to tell you things through a letting agency and to be referred to in hushed tones as ‘the landlord’, but the illusion is wearing thin.

Whenever we call to ask what’s being done about the thing we reported last week/month/year they feign surprise, because they referred it to you right away and you told them you’d sort it. What are you employing them for, exactly? Somebody to lie to? You do know you can talk crap to people for free, right? You don’t have to pay for the privilege. Or perhaps there’s some pleasure to be gained from watching them charge us outrageous administration fees for doing sweet FA?

The other alternative, I suppose, is that the agency haven’t passed anything on.

It is possible, then, that you don’t know the seal on the fridge door has been broken since we moved in, and that every morning we go into the kitchen to find a puddle of cold water next to it. We stopped reporting it, eventually.

You also won’t know about the buzzer, broken for over a year. Initially it was a case of replacing the button, as visitors to the building had to stick their finger in a hole full of wires to gain access. In recent months, though, it has stopped working at all. When I asked the agency (in April) if this was something we could sort ourselves as we’d been waiting an awful long time, I was told we were not allowed to do anything because it is a communal concern. That means it requires the owner – you – to liaise with the tenants of the three other flats in the building in order to sort it out.

This problem has cost us a fair whack in redelivery charges and bus fares to the royal mail depot, because although there is someone in the flat to take deliveries nearly every time, couriers and posties are unable to alert us to their presence. Fortunately two other buzzers have now met with the same fate, so we are optimistic someone else in the building (maybe the guy across the hall who professes to have seen you in the flesh) will prevail upon you to sort it out.

Of course you’ll be unaware the windows are so old you can actually feel air coming round the edges of the glass (many panes, by the way, are paper thin – check out the top left one in the right hand window of the living room. Feels like it’s going to come away in your hand, dunnit?). We’ve been fed some bollocks about the council saying you can’t replace them, but as we are all from middle class backgrounds and know how to look shit up on Google, we know this is not strictly true – you’d just have to adhere to a few rules and regulations. I’ll be honest; we have speculated in the past that you just don’t want to spend cash on re-pointing. And after all, you aren’t to know that there’s ice on the inside of the glass of a winter morning, or that we have to wear dressing gowns over several layers of clothes between November and March to keep warm even when the heating is on.

You probably don’t know our boiler has been broken for over a fortnight. Three calls to the agency resulted in a man coming after ten days or so; agreeing with my flatmate’s diagnosis that it needs a part, and vanishing off never to be seen again.

I suppose you are equally unaware what the problem is – an electrical fault, that means while we can put the heating and hot water on manually (although we can’t set it in advance for morning warmth), it can also get jammed on. To be honest, we might not mind so much at this time of year if any of the heat generated stayed in the building, but it was on for three hours the other night and the bedrooms remained at 12 – 13 degrees Celsius (about 52 Fahrenheit). In my mind, that temperature is not quite cosy enough to warrant the extra money this will add to our next energy bill.

Sir, mere words cannot express how much I am dreading another four months of feeling like I’ll never be warm again, of swearing under my breath at innocent posties, and standing in weird fridge water in the morning. The cons of renting this property now far outweigh the pros and if I had my way I would be out of here, but sadly my financial status last January was uncertain enough that I allowed your agency to force me into signing for another year. Rest assured that in June of 2012 I will be headed for Barbados, or failing that a new build with level floors, containing both sealed fridge and working intercom. Such stuff as dreams are made on, as the Bard once said.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope that now you are aware of the things that have been done – or not done – in your name, you will see fit to sort it the fuck out.

Kind Regards,
The Unhappy Tenant

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