Recently, things have become just a bit too much. The pandemic, changes to planning laws, evictions can go ahead again, and wishy washy statements about funding for retrofit of the existing housing stock and building more social housing. I decided to write a letter to my landlord. It’s not specific to my landlord (apart from a few points), and I think a few private renting tenants might see similarities to their situation in this letter. If satire isn’t your thing, I suggest you do not read it.
First, let me congratulate me on your title, I didn’t know you were a lord! What an honour, I always wanted to meet one of these rich people in person. I thought they all congregate in either London or Harrogate and drink tea served by someone who is definitely, definitely doing this out of their own devotion. Oh, and count all the money that magically appears in their bank account because they are lords over SO. MUCH. LAND! Must be amazing.
I wanted to discuss your recent phone call, letting us know you want to sell the property. Came a bit out of the blue, really, after we were told this is a long-term let. But hey, the private rented sector is a bit of a hell hole and I suppose it is our own fault for not being rich enough to afford our own house, or not being poor enough, sick enough, or mentally unwell enough that we would be allowed in temporary accommodation or even our own social housing property. It’s great that you want to use the money to fund your holiday home, totally support that. It’s what we all dream of, isn’t it? Three properties, twenty cars, a wardrobe full of clothes we only wear once, and being able to look down on others from the side window of our Range Rover, while we dump our McDonald’s bag out the window. Let a poor person pick up the scraps!
Now, the only problem we have with this is that we are in the middle of a pandemic, you might have noticed. Really, we are totally fine living in precarious living conditions where our rights were shrunk so much that we can be kicked out at any time. We have noooooo issue with this, we love living on the edge! Calling the movers – so exciting! Packing everything and taking the last few vacation days from work we had saved for an actual vacation. Oh, what am I talking about! The money will already be with the movers and the deposit for the new place, since we’ll never see the deposit from this place again, are we? We will most likely live even further from work and any transport links, but you make do with what you get. Most other places we will be looking at will have some sort of condensation issue, with the estate agent telling us that’s not a health issue. Well, surely estate agents look like they have a degree in public health and worried about our well-being instead of just wanting to rent out the damn place no matter what.
We’re also fine with never really receiving any real repairs. Oh, wait, sorry, that was the last place we lived at! It’s so confusing when you willingly move a million times a year, you tend to get muddled up with all these issues that definitely do not cause any stress whatsoever. We really enjoyed getting ripped off by our previous estate agents, charging us through the nose, wanting to hike up an already ridiculous rent for no reason and then refusing to pay our deposit back. It was a pleasure spending hours upon hours gathering evidence for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, just so that they could turn around and say, actually, tenants are like our lowest priority here, so why don’t you just go back to where you came from? Oh, the blinds they are charging your for were already in the property before you moved in? What, you mentioned the extractor fan not working a million times and now they charge you for a peeled ceiling? We don’t see an issue with this, and we shall interpret the ‘evidence’ as we see fit. Now get lost. Ah, the good old days, we thoroughly enjoyed spending our time fruitlessly arguing with our estate agent and the TDS. If we had any more energy, time, or money left, we would have gone to the small courts claims, but sadly, we had no time, no energy, and the money was kept by our estate agent. Such fun!
Now back to the only real issue we have, which is the current pandemic situation. Have you noticed the pandemic? I am only asking because surely, you wouldn’t try to kick out your tenants with serious health conditions in the middle of a pandemic? Oh, you forgot I told you that. I guess my memory is quite short, too. I totally forgot the excitement of constantly moving, changing address, changing GP practice, letting every single soul know of your new address, your new council tax band. I love chasing up on paperwork, it’s my favourite thing to do! I also love the positive effects this all has on my health. I get to eat so many painkillers, it’s just fantastic. New drugs from my rheumatologist? No problem, an unexpected change in circumstances will sort this out in no time! I got so comfortable having a place to live and finally being able to concentrate on work, having stability in life which is kind of important when you have a chronic health condition and putting some roots down.
We haven’t had a viewing yet, so I thought I let you know about our plan about this. Considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we thought we could have, let’s say, 20 people in our house at the same time? Please make sure they all have symptoms of some sort, like a high fever, a persistent cough, no sense of smell or taste. It wouldn’t be fun otherwise, would it? Like I said, we like living on the edge, so why not live on the edge gambling whether you’ll get a deadly virus or not from people viewing your temporary home? Both Johnson and Trump recovered, surely I can recover in one of the worst affected areas in the country in terms of hospital beds and public spending. I see no issues here.
I’m writing this letter covered in three layers of clothes, drinking hot water. The sun warms our cavity-insulation-lacking walls a little bit, which means we can wait just a tad longer to switch on our still leaky boiler that took a month to repair and obviously the plumber did a great job. Completely appreciate your willingness to look into energy efficiency by doing absolutely nothing. We’d hate to live in a comfortable, low-carbon energy home. I mean, that’s, like, the worst thing ever, right?
Your happy tenants