[Ben Reeve Lewis has bought a new washing machine ...]
Frazzy and I have just come out the other side of that peculiar enraging phenomenon known as ‘Buying a washing machine from Currys”.
We bought it online 6 weeks ago but this particular comedy sketch went like this:
Phone call Monday saying it will be delivered Sunday. – Phone call Friday saying delivery Saturday. – Delivery van arrives but machine isn’t on it – cock up with paperwork. – 2 hour conversation with company who couldn’t tell the difference between being simply “Not in stock” or more worryingly, “Out of stock”. – Van comes back late afternoon with sweating driver apologising and saying it was on lorry after all….only to find it actually wasn’t.
1 week goes by – phone call saying to be delivered the following Sunday –driver duly arrives but with cooker onboard – point out it is meant to be a washing machine.
Another week goes by, phone call saying all to be done on Saturday – two men turn up to fit it but it hasn’t been delivered yet.
Gets delivered a week later – two days later men come to fit but can’t because they don’t have fittings on board.
So I was pleased to read in the Telegraph of another disgruntled Currys customer who had the wrong fridge freezer delivered but Currys refused to refund the money because she had already put food in it.
And in housing????
The Russell Brand Incident
This week’s storm in a tea cup award goes to The altercation between Russell Brand and Channel 4 news reporter Paraic O’Brien reported just about everywhere.
Russell Brand was adding his celebrity in support of the New Era Estate residents who’s (yes ‘Just Saying’…..I noticed) homes have just been brought by an American property company about to hike the rents through the roof to drive them out.
O’Brien made snarky comments about Brand’s rented home in an attempt to pour the scorn of hypocrisy on him.
Now I’m not a big fan of Russell Brand, not for any political reasons or even just not finding him that funny. I just think he is too chunky a bloke to wear skinny jeans, so looks ridiculous, but since when does having money preclude you from caring and trying to do something for people who don’t?
“Blessedly, I can afford my rent and I’m prepared to stand up for people that can’t”.
In that he is to be commended,. I just hope that at some time soon he goes for Levi’s boot cut jeans. You’re not getting any younger you know Russell.
I came across a new website called ‘Mental Floss’, an American thing with strange facts all over it and saw this gem about houses that had been built out of spite.
It’s worth a read.
It seems that ‘Spite Houses’ as they are called were often erected to block a neighbour’s view after a falling out. The Hollandsbury Spite House in Virginia, a small 7 foot wide affair was built in 1830 by an adjacent owner, a doctor, simply to stop people using the alleyway next door.
And I like the Freeport Spite House, erected by a landlord annoyed at the cities growing grid system of roads by building it on a triangle of land just to annoy the planners and spoil the monotonous symmetry.
My kind of guy.
I fell across this frankly bizarre story in the Telegraph (slightly late….August) about River Thames-side resident Robinton Irani who accused his neighbours of ‘Human Jealousy’ and ‘Racism’ when they objected to his planning application to knock all but one wall of his house down to rebuild.
Mr Irani said:
“God will punish them”
Another spite house perhaps?
I doubt god is much interested in planning applications, having more important things to deal with such as War, religious murders, Ebola, Ian Duncan-Smith and other forms of Cancer, not to mention how to get Russell Brand out of skinny jeans.
Apparently Irani had permission to demolish part of the house but not the whole thing, barring one wall which is now shored up with scaffolding to build the rest of the new one around.
Why didn’t he just knock the whole thing down? Oi-vey!
Its only 5%
I am reliably informed by government reports that the kinds of crappy properties I have to deal with on a daily basis represent only 5% of the PRS rental stock.
This may well be true but when you spend 24/7 working in them you can be forgiven for thinking the figure is more like 100%, so I don’t get shocked much these days and finding myself looking at a dead rat in a kitchen or a missing ceiling above a bath saying “Weeeeell…….I’ve seen worse”, but even I raised an eyebrow at this story on the BBC news website
The headline describes the property in Rectory Gardens, Clapham accurately:
“A south-west London house which was sublet for about £40,000 a year had an electricity cable running through a tree branch inside the property, a council has revealed.”
The photographs on the website are a treat.
Councillor Matthew Bennett said:
“The conditions the people in this illegal HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) were living in were truly appalling, and represented a genuine danger to life and limb.
“It is shocking that someone can make money exploiting people by illegally renting out such dangerous accommodation with no regard for the safety of the people living there.”
Hey don’t worry Matthew, its only 5%.
Right to Rent
Also on the BBC site it was reported that Monday saw the kick-off whistle being blown on the new right to rent scheme pilot, making Midlands landlords immigration inspectors.
Securities Minister James Brokenshire said the rules would:
“act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out overcrowded and unsafe accommodation”.
Yeah right James!!!! So it isn’t an attack on immigration then?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all this daft scheme will do is encourage professional landlords to simply not let to anyone who may have a foreign accent. Why would you if you knew there was a £3,000 fine if you got it wrong?
But there is a ready army of the sorts of landlords who rent out properties like the one in Rectory Gardens, Clapham ready to step in and mop up the growing army of often trafficked people desperate for somewhere to live.
Like the Chinese woman I met in March sharing a 3 bed flat with 35 others. She told me she had brought over from China by gangs and had to work off her debt in the sex trade, DVD factories or cannabis farms.
Or the three woman a Hackney colleague of mine found 3 weeks ago chained up under a trapdoor in the floor.
But lets not drag the tone down….its only 5% after all. I’ve seen worse.
What made me smile this week
At last the release of the boxed set of the final season of the sublime HBO series ‘Treme’, by David Simon who did ‘The Wire’, telling the story of a bunch of musicians, cooks, Mardi-gras Indians all fighting to rebuild and save their culture and community from government indifference and property developers in post hurricane Katrina New Orleans.
I haven’t got it yet, just stuck it on my Xmas list but guess what I’ll be doing on Boxing day?