Saturday, October 28, 2006

Marching orders

I feel like I’ve only just moved in, but now my landlord’s showing me the door. He’s selling two rental properties to fund an extension on his own home. That’s got to be one motherfucking enormous games room or granny-flat.

So I have until January, maybe longer if it takes a while to find a buyer. I can stay after January on a two month rolling basis, but I suppose I should start keeping my eye open for somewhere else.

My landlord’s invited me to make an offer, but how in god’s name can I do that? I earn £18k a year. Eighteen grand for the shit I put up with. Someone’s getting a good deal. I can’t afford to buy a house. I left uni nine years ago with a 2:1 and my salary’s the healthiest it’s ever been. Thanks to an heroic lack of ambition, I’ve never made enough to have to pay back my student loan, which has slowly gathered a negligible amount of interest over the past decade. Savings? Fuck off.

Anyway, if I don’t want to be back on the street, hustling and pimping my arse to the highest bidder, I’d better start scoping the estate agents.

Renting is such an unbelievable racket in the UK; most landlords are pretty shady operators, who give you the keys and then develop powers of invisibility until they want to chuck you out. Many properties are rat traps, despite £600 a month or more rents. And yet, what other choice is there? My parents changed the locks when I moved out. Bought a pack of hounds. And bricked up my room. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except I’d secretly let it out and there was a Dutch exchange student in there at the time. She normally came and went by the window, but one day the dogs got her on the way down and, well, they never did find her leg.

How many of you guys own your own places, and how in God’s name did you manage to afford it?


  1. I'm a very, very long way from owning my own property. And you are right, landlords are scum! The agencies charge extortionate amounts - one place I rented, we paid out well over a grand the first month we moved in, on deposits, "inventory fees" and a fee for checking our references. However, because it was property managed, if there was a problem it got sorted out quickly. Place I'm in now isn't property managed. When the boiler broke down in January it took almost a week to get it sorted. A week with no hot water and no heating, in bloody January. We drank a lot of whiskey.

    By the way I have joined you in the land of blogger beta and it feels very grand.

  2. Should have bought after I left art school but wasn't sure I wanted to live in London. Which is a shame. Always moved about a lot as a kid, and when my parents left home when I was sixteen, I wasn't at all ready to settle.

    Place I'm in now is great and conventient for getting into Central London or up the A1 where my work partner has his studio. When I found the place almost two years ago it meant dealing with the nicest, most helpful Estate Agents I've ever come across. Which amazed me. Couldn't believe my luck. Especially after some of the places I had lived in and the evil satan-spawn agents I had to deal with back then.

    Hope you find somewhere soon.

  3. Oh, and it's a rental. No way can I afford anything at the moment.

  4. Boilers never break in the summer do they, even though you're still using them for hot water.

    At least there's a good chance my next place will be able to get better TV reception.

    Oh, and I like your technorati thing, OR. Might have to get myself one of those.

  5. I've never owned - never been inone place long enough. That and my income has never matched my wishful eyes.

    When I first moved to LA I should have investigated buying a loft downtown and put up with the crackheads. By now I would be a millionaire.

    But I'm always a day late and dollar short.

  6. there's always caravans..

    or you could marry into aristocracy....

    ..whatever happened to those flat pack Ikea houses - they tried to launch ..?

  7. Hello,

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    - An additional part-time job;
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