A friend of mine very kindly spent the morning helping me with an HMO fire alarm as I’m ashamed to admit that I go into a panic involving anything technological AND that makes an incredibly loud noise. For some reason the alarm responded to her gentle touch but ignored my banging at the keys but we think we’ve now got it sussed.
On the way back she offered to show me her newly refurbished bedsits so I could look at her shower rooms. I can’t seem to keep the showers sparkly and white as the body fat (the orange stuff that comes off the skin) gets into the grout and grime lodges itself in the corners. Her solution was to put in aquaboard which looks fantastic, easy to clean, no risk of broken tiles if the tenants get frisky in the cubicle and, most importantly, the orange stuff can’t stick.
Just as we were leaving a tenant emerged bleary eyed from his room (midday) and said in a thick foreign accent “What you gonna do about these pigeons?”. ”Er, what pigeons?” replied my friend. ”The ones that wake me up at 6am every morning. They make so much noise and wake me up so I can’t go back to sleep. You need to fix roof.”
“The roof’s been fixed – that’s what all the scaffolding was for”
“Well, it hasn’t solved the problem of the pigeons”
“What would you like me to do?”
“I don’t know but they’re disturbing my sleep and it’s your job as landlord to sort it”
“OK, but I’ve fixed the roof and can’t control the pigeons, so what do you want me to do?”
“I want you to tell them to be quiet. I hear them walking about”
At this point, I wouldn’t have blamed her for becoming exasperated at the futility of the conversation which could have gone on all day, so she bowed gracefully out and we both left sniggering. She said “What does he want me to do, knit the pigeons effing slippers?!”
This is the problem with some tenants: they think the landlord has a duty to do just about EVERYTHING. I’ve known tenants call me to say the lights aren’t working only to find that the bulb needed changing, there’s wee on the toilet floor, there’s no internet signal (because some bright spark switched off the router at the plug!) . Going back to birds, though, I once had a call from a new tenant in the bedsit which is at the top of the HMO to say that a seagull was waking him up every morning at 5am. It turned out that the previous occupant had been feeding a seagull which had learnt to rap on the window with his beak whilst standing on the ledge and waited for him to open it for his daily helping of seeds. This was tolerable until the seagull went and got his mates and there’d be a whole flock of them waiting to be fed and having a tantrum if they were ignored. Apparently, you’re not allowed to kill seagulls.
In the meantime, here’s an update: Tom was beaten up on Friday night “for no apparent reason”. He picked the only place in the town with no CCTV, swears he was sober and four complete strangers pounced on him – he doesn’t look great and it’ll put his job hunting back for a few weeks. We’ve advised him not to go out in daylight in case he scares old ladies. The mystery of the copious amount of baby clothes has been solved – Eva is pregnant and due later in the month. Luckily she and her boyfriend have found a flat as they’ve decided that it’s not a great idea to bring a newborn baby into an HMO even though she’s cutting it fine. Congratulations to them but I’ll be sad to see them go after four years of regular rent.