Our House

Our House

Since leaving home at the age of 18 I lived in 10 different houses, only one of them not rented, out of these 9 different landlords/ladies only 2 I can say are decent landlords, and one of them, my current landlord I have never met, he is overseas somewhere, a good place for landlords to be. So, as I was watching Dispatches last night on Channel 4 channel4.com/programmes/dis... I wasn’t surprised at all by what Jon Snow had found. I know this topic isn’t really TS related, but it gets up my nose ( the smell of damp and bad drains) because it does affect us is a round about way, if 2 out of 3 adult ticcers are not in employment then at some point we will have had to familiarise ourselves with the world of the bad landlord, bad landlords whilst at uni are part of the course, we did have one who would randomly let himself in to ask us what had happened on Eastenders (we didn’t have a TV, he knew this) and then he’d scuttle off when we mentioned the slugs, hole in the bathroom and the broken hoover. His favourite day of the week was rent day. This guy was just one of many preying on young students in the Earlsdon area of Coventry. A few years later, as a working person I rented a house via a letting agent, all the paperwork seemed to be in order including the gas safety certificate a couple of months later the house started to fill up with carbon monoxide, shame the landlady wasn’t lurking outside the front door which was her usual trick “Hello, I’m coming around in 15 minutes” there would instantly be a knock on the door and there she was – what happened to 24 hours notice? But I am luckier than some, take poor Mr Warlow, after living in his house for all his life his home gets sold with a sitting tenant ( Mr Warlow) and then this happens - bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-c... Similar things are happening around me, ex-Coal Board houses – with sitting tenants who are ex-miners are sold at auction, the rent goes up, one lady found that within the space of a month a home had been bought and sold twice since being sold at auction. Naturally her rent went up to. There’s a rather stubborn elderly man around the corner who’s had a broken front bedroom window broken since last summer, it hasn’t even been boarded up! These ex NCB tenants are quite elderly people they should not have to put up with that kind of stress.

There is a big problem however for us ticcers with regards to housing, the average local authority or housing association waiting list is LONG, the only way you’re going to even get considered to get a house or flat within your lifetime is to pop a few sprogs, so we are left to the sharks, if you’re receiving housing benefit due to being either on a low wage or unemployed it’s rare that you’ll find a place via a letting agent, you’ve seen the ads “No smokers, no pets NO DHSS!!!!!!” so you look through the dodgy adverts in the local paper, the only landlord that will consider taking on the DHSS tenant is Mr Evil the dodgy landlord who wants as well as the rent up front and deposit ( housing benefit doesn’t cover for this, HB is paid in arrears fortnightly ) Mr Evil knows this, so he knows you’ve had to either beg, borrow steal or sell your worldly possessions to pay this. You know the house isn’t perfect, it smells of cheep magnolia, you notice a couple of faults, he earnestly tells you that he’ll fix them for you. (There’s always tomorrow) You reluctantly sign a six month contract; he only does six-month contracts. As time goes by the damp starts to shoe through the paint, the neighbours are awful, the electrics are dodgy and he never seems to get round to getting the boiler fixed or the gas fire checked. You look through the paper for another house, you realise they are also owned my Mr Evil; you find you Mr Evil owns several houses in your street, you’re stuck with him. We are extremely lucky that our landlord has let us sign 12 month contracts, got us a new lounge carpet, a new cooker and let us doing some painting and we’ve only had one rent increase, we only need to top up the housing benefit by £5 per week, which is VERY good news compared to Mr Evil, who after 6 months puts the rent up knowing that the HB no longer covers it.

The problem I have is that due to the lack of social housing landlords like Mr Evil are plugging a gap. They know they have their tenants under their thumb because their HB claimants and it would be difficult for them to find a new house. They know also that they n more-or-less charge what they like for rent, because the HB will cover most of it and the tenant can’t get anywhere else. They also know that they can get away with next to nothing to maintain their property because the tenant will find it difficult to get anywhere else. It’s a s%$t life, it’s a return to landlords of the 50’s and 60’s like Peter Rachman notting-hill.london.myvilla... who let out his slum flats to families that had just come to Notting Hill from the Caribbean. We are seeing a return of such landlords, they are everywhere, Shelter are currently running a campaign against rouge landlords, if I can find it I’ll post it, please sign it. If you do receive housing benefit please check out this link, it tells you what the new limits will be in certain areas. guardian.co.uk/news/datablo...

5 Replies

  • Here's the petition on the Shelter website - england.shelter.org.uk/camp...

    Here's the website that the picture came from - homersykes.photoshelter.com...

  • Thankfully I have not had so many experiences with dodgy landlords, but I have TS-related problems with houses to make it on topic - needs to be a safe area so I don't get beaten up, when my tics get loud i need understanding neighbours, I accidentally punch and headbutt things (which isn't deposit-friendly), so may need to discuss with landlord how safe his fittings etc are. Due to my OCD and sensory issues I also get anxious about the cleanliness of the house in general (especially furnished), the water pressure of the shower, and things like that.

    Petition signed.

  • The last house I lived in was disgusting when we moved in, I was working at the time, and it was through an estate agent, the curtains stank ( so I made some more) the carpets were about 20 years old and full of dog and rabbit hair and HAY (!!!???) oh yes, and rabbit poo. We did have a bit of a mold problem in our current house in the bathroom, but I got rid of that about 3 years ago with some special mold cleaner and some special mold barrier paint, the landlord also got an extractor fan fitted. It's noise that bothers me sensory wise, I can't sleep in a noisy place, or too light, so I'd have to live in a little close like I do with quiet neighbours.

  • Crikey! That landlord really didn't make an effort to get it cleaned up!

    I like some quiet, but depending on the type of quiet can trigger some loud tics, so I'd want to be in a pretty accepting community.

  • That particular landlady also got the gas man to do a dodgy gas safety cert, we got carbon monoxide posoining.