Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Leak

Yesterday while I was sat at my desk supposedly doing work, Him Indoors phoned me to report that we had a leak. Mildly panicked I was relieved to hear that it wasn’t a catastrophic hole in the ceiling job, but a steady drop or three from above the front window. Knowing the flat above us well (because I lived there for three and a half years) it seemed to be coming from our new neighbours’ bathroom. Him Indoors had already investigated and informed me that it was likely to be from the pipes as the chap above us had just had a bath.
So far, nothing unusual. People have leaks all over the country, the world, and I’m sure in some other parallel universes far far away. But only in London would your neighbour, on learning that you had a leak coming from their bathroom, go out for over 24 hours without leaving you their phone number or a spare key so the handyman can fix the problem. And only in London would your landlord not keep a spare key for all their properties and go on holiday leaving his secretary without means of contacting all their tenants!
I’ve literally just got off the phone to the handyman now. He is going to try and hunt down the key through his “contacts” in the handyman trade and I am going to spy on our neighbours and hold them captive on their return until they surrender a key or, as a compromise, their phone numbers (spying on them is very easy as I know their every movement without leaving my flat, as anyone who read my last blog will know!). As I said to the handyman, at least if they aren’t in the flat they can’t have another bath and make it worse.
A minor niggle, you may think. But, having had more than my fair share of experience of private landlords, I am all but too aware how these minor faults can turn into major issues leaving flats virtually uninhabitable. And in London, private landlords have more control over the housing market than is healthy. With house prices in London still ridiculously high and local councils relying on the private rental market to re-house the thousands of homeless households in the capital, the private landlord is lapping it up. How do they get away with substandard accommodation? Because the demand is greater than the supply, so desperate people (and local authorities) make do. A family of six claiming housing benefit don’t have the luxury that I do. I have a deposit and month’s rent in advance sat in my ISA so if the worst comes to the worst, I am out of here. But in a city where the difference between the rich and poor is so stark, I am clearly one of the lucky ones.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!!!
    Thanks for the great information ......