Several months ago, I moved house. I should say now, that main reason for doing this was to move in with the other half; I only mention this because she was irritated that she got so few mentions when I was talking about our holiday. My explanation was this blog is called "An exercise in irrelevance" because it has nothing important in it and that she has her own blog so why should she want to appear on mine. Impeccable logic I thought; she didn’t.
Anyway, coming back from the social melodrama, a few months ago, we moved house. It’s quite a nice place; it’s unfurnished so has required a lot of work buying furniture, screwing it to together and standing it upright (having, of course, carefully hoovered underneath first). Although it’s left me tired and drained, I’ve enjoyed it. The flat, however, it turning out to be a bit of a disaster.
The letting agents, Countrywide Residential, have been fairly poor from the start. Obviously, this is all my misunderstanding, and is not what happened at all, but they appeared to phone me up the day before the lease at 4pm, say we were required to have contents insurance and then offer to sell us the same for 3 time the market average. My mistake, but it appeared to be a filibuster. Obviously, this is not what they did say, because the lease does not require insurance; probably, they were just trying to be kind and help us with some organising. No doubt, their deal was different from the ones we found on the internet and were no way comparable, hence the price.
We’ve now had the plumbers out three times to the heating system; once because the timer has broken, once because it was leaking and now, it’s no longer leaking but it ain’t working either. So, no hot water. Not too much of a disaster for me as I am going to Stockholm for a conference, but a pain for my other half (two mentions in one post!).
Still, this seems to be getting sorted now. But we got home last night to find that the Royal Bank of Scotland (my bank incidentally) is taking the landlord to court for repossession. For foreign readers of this blog of whom there are none, in most sane countries tenants have pretty strong rights; if you pay the rent, you stay in the property. In the UK, we have very few rights; you can get kicked out for little reason. One of the few rights we do have is an initial 6 month rental period; in that time, it’s hard to get rid of a tenant. Unless the landlord doesn’t pay his mortgage and gets repossessed. Under these circumstances, you are out. So, potentially in a months time, having not quite moved in yet, we’ll be putting everything into boxes and moving again; in the middle of teaching term also.
As a society, I think that we have to learn that rising house prices does not constitute a boom and that falling house prices a recession. Both of them are a disaster. Steady, reasonably priced, affordable houses are the only way forward. It’s about time that we grew up from our free market childishness and realised that a house is not an investment, it’s something to live in.
For us, the worst case outcome is not a disaster; it’s an inconvienience, a cost and a lot of hassle, so I’m not depressed, just irritated. I know for many others, the situation is much, much worse.
Originally published on my old blog site.