Where I’m working in London this week, I’m in an office opposite an apartment block. (Which used to be known as a ‘block of flats’, but that’s not cool or trendy enough for people now)  Personally I’d hate it, but that’s OK, I don’t live there.

What I don’t get about the building though is that certain windows have bars outside – I assume to look like they’ve got balconies. But all they are is the bars, there’s no outside space to them, they’re just a ‘feature’.  But why?  I don’t get the reasoning behind it. OK, you’ve a door you can open (into the flat/apartment) so I suppose it’s for ‘safety’ in case someone walked out of that door and fell to the street. But why have the door? It’s not even a sliding one, just a normal hinged doorway to fuck-all.


You might as well have done away with the ‘balcony’ and door completely, and just replaced it with a decent window. Same amount of ventilation, low-to-no risk of falling out (depending on the window style/opening) and no faffing about with the door protruding into the living space, and not having to look through a semi-barred window.

City-living is bloody strange on occasion.

Tenancies and Tenants

I wrote on Monday about the fact I’ve been able to renew my tenancy with the current place for another year, and how easy all of that process has been.

At the same time, another semi-friend, an ex-colleague, has been having a nightmare of a time with her new tenancy – having paid for references etc., the landlord has then announced that he’s putting the house on the market to sell it. She hasn’t paid the deposit etc., so she hasn’t got a leg to stand on, and all told it’s a pretty shitty situation.

But.  Ah, but.

In the two-ish years I’ve known her, this is her third or fourth move. As regular readers know, I’d never snark on someone for moving a lot – my own current record of eight moves in ten years goes some way to illustrating why – but in her case, and in each case, she’s moved because there’s been something major wrong with the place she’s living. White goods haven’t been working properly, maintenance hasn’t been great, bad neighbours, bad landlords – indeed, she’s taking her current landlord through the Housing Ombudsman, which I didn’t even know existed. She’s also taken neighbours at the current place to court for some reason or other.

To my mind – and in my experience – when someone always has problems with something, you sometimes have to sit back and look at the common factors. In this case, we’re talking about four or five different landlords, and different properties, all of which are supposedly bad. But what’re the odds?

I’ve been renting places for *cough* twenty-plus years, and I’ve never had a landlord or property that bad. Ever.  My brother’s in a similar position, having rented places for a fair old number of years as well. We’ve certainly both had smaller issues with places, or with landlords, (The one that always stands out for me was the one in Manchester that got broken into twice – the landlord for that one was a commercial entity, and totally useless) but I’ve never felt the need to make a big thing of it, let alone take anyone to court or ombudsmen, and I’m sure my brother’s the same.

All told it makes me just think that the person is a nightmare rather than the houses/landlords.

Because of the situation she’s currently in, I did think about acting as a referee for her – not a guarantor by any stretch, but just a referee – and then thought about the rest of it, the fact that whatever I did would come back and almost certainly bite me on the arse, that wherever she goes next will also be “a nightmare”, and you know what? I just don’t need that much hassle in my life.

More cynically, I figure that a lot of it is about reaping what she’s sown, but that’s not my problem, and it’s not my place to help those who won’t help themselves.