Dear Southampton Landlord (You know who you are),
Seeing as you are not responding to any of my many texts, phone calls and emails, I thought that maybe writing a passive aggressive letter to the student newspaper would work. Who knows? You must have a busier social life than I do, and I’m a Jester’s gold card holder.
I’m one of your tenants in Portswood. Yeah that’s right, I live in one of the “period” houses that you split into more rooms than is feasible in order to turn the greatest profit.
Oh that doesn’t narrow it down? Come on, you must know, the one you didn’t bother cleaning or even looking at before the new tenants moved in.
Still no? We’re the guys with a shed made out of asbestos.
Yeah, that’s the one.
I’m not sure when exactly you graduated from the School of Landlordery, but I’m guessing it was before Portswood was upgraded from ‘slum’ to ‘student area’. A small distinction I know, but one that seems to have slipped past you. So I’m afraid that yes, you do have to make sure the slugs stay in the garden and don’t move through the hole in the wall into the living room, and that our fire hazard of a front door can be opened from the inside without a key.
I’m sorry if the blu-tack I put on the walls leaves marks on the industrial beige you presumably coat all your houses in. It’s just that I’d rather live in a place where I can express my individuality through putting up the same Che Guevara poster as everyone else, instead of Southampton Young Offenders’ Institute.
I’m assuming you’re out there somewhere, spending your days tending to the needs of the one student house you truly care for, but if every once in a while you could nip round here and sort our boiler out when it dies in the middle of December, we’d be ever so grateful. We might even make you that cup of tea we half-heartedly offered when you turned up three hours late to give us the keys.
Oh and if you bump into the lettings company on your travels (although I don’t see why you would– you don’t seem to have had any dealings with them before) could you politely enquire as to what precisely it is they do after taking our agency fee. We’d be thrilled to find out.
You must have thought it was such a laugh to come up with a contract that means you’re not legally obliged to do anything if we don’t submit our request in writing two weeks before. I’m sure there’s a funny side, but it’s probably over there with you and all the rent money.
Now, it might seem like I’m not altogether happy with our relationship, but there are definitely some aspects that I’m all for. I like knowing that we can have a quiet night that turns into something much louder and messier, and not for a second worry that you’re going to turn up in the morning demanding we clean the place up.
I do also like the family touches, like that time we told you that one of us had been electrocuted when the pipes leaked into the living room, and you sent your brother around to agree that, yes, the shower was indeed broken.
It’d be foolish of me to think you’ll ever change, especially since I’m never going to kick up an actual fuss about anything you do. Whatever you decide to do though, don’t worry about me – I’m planning on moving back to halls.
Haven’t had a good fire alarm in ages…
Image: Nicola Manuel