For the last four days, water has been pouring through the ceiling of one of the properties we rent out. Evil slumlords that we are (we’re totally not), it has been almost impossible to rectify this problem because the origin of the leak is in the flat above… and we have had no way of getting the landlord’s details. The tenant in the flat with the leak has decamped to her parents’ house, so no urgency from anyone to sort it out.
Our tenants have been very patiently mopping up water as fast as they can, but the ceiling is sodden with water – as are their floors, the walls and no doubt several of their possessions. We spent approximately £2000 about a year ago replacing all the flooring and redecorating the flat.
Technically we should be able to claim from the landlord’s insurance, and as it’s a buildings rather than contents claim, this should be more straightforward as leasehold flats are usually insured by the same company – i.e. we will share an insurance company. I finally got hold of the landlord today, and it’s a property management company, rather than an individual, which makes me feel slightly better. This is perhaps counter-intuitive or hypocritical – as “amateur” landlords ourselves, why should I prefer to deal with a professional company when something goes wrong?
It’s because when something goes wrong and you own the property yourself, it feels personal. It’s hard to take emotion out of the fact that it’s your tenants who are being inconvenienced, the flat that you paid to be redecorated, that you project managed, that’s being trashed. It’s a stressful situation and it’s your responsibility to sort it out. It’s you who’s getting worried phone calls at 8 p.m. on a Sunday and text messages at midnight on a Tuesday. If (and this has happened to me previously) your flat happens to be the one that’s causing the leak, you often feel attacked, blamed and helpless.
Dealing with a property management company, the employees of whom (in the nicest possible way) couldn’t really give a shit about the tenants, or the water tank, or the inconvenience can actually be a blessing; they have a process, they will follow it. They will go home and forget all about it, not stay awake in the small hours wondering if the ceiling will collapse. Hopefully they won’t take shortcuts or try and weasel out of paying for the repairs they have necessitated.
Obviously, from a work point of view, today was stressful therefore, today was also the day when YoungestGirl decided to cut a molar. A fricking molar. She has six teeth right at the front of her mouth – and a molar at the back. I mean,what sort of infants cut their molars before their canines? (Vegetarian ones maybe? Watch this space.)
Also, EldestGirl felt it was entirely urgent to go to gymnastics, make mince pies and write Christmas cards to all of the children at her nursery – “even James who I don’t like but who has been behaving better recently, and hasn’t done a wee in the Home Corner this week, so I want to write ‘good boy’ in his card”. EldestGirl can write her name. Sometimes. And do kisses. So a certain amount of parenting was unfortunately warranted.
And I made bastarding pancakes for breakfast.
I do not understand why I have not yet been awarded some sort of OBE for Services to Christmas and Not Going Fucking Postal.