The accidental landlord
WITH the autumn comes a new round of tenants moving in, ready to start their new jobs in London. But first come the interviews.
My autumn did not start well. You know those moments when you want the ground to open up and swallow you whole? Well, I had one of those when meeting a young tenant for the first time.
I had been expecting a woman to turn up to view my two-bedroom flat, so when I opened the door to a short, fresh-faced, backpack-carrying boy, I naturally assumed he was her son. Bobbing down to look him in the eye, I said in the slightly patronising tone I can’t help using with teenagers: “Are you here to look at the flat with your mum?”
Too late, the young woman approached, hurrying up the path and introduced him as her boyfriend. They laughed, I went puce. They were the sweetest pair, so young, but I was tempted to ask if they could afford the rent.
The next couple who came to view the flat also looked frighteningly young and the girl was so hyper I think she must have either skipped her afternoon nap or eaten too many sweeties. She bounded into the living room, reached over to the tall window and tapped it with her fingernail. “Single glazing?” she asked, arching one of her lovely young eyebrows. “Does that mean it’s cold in here?” Before I had time to answer, she’d whooshed into the kitchen area and started yanking open the cupboard doors. “No dishwasher?” she asked.
Then she bobbed off into the bathroom, having evidently lost all interest in dishwashing. “Darling,” she shouted to her boyfriend, “come and look at these ridiculous lights.” “Darling” looked at me apologetically and we both went to look at the “ridiculous lights”, which are actually just regular bathroom ceiling