Emma and I went out of the house Saturday morning to walk down to town and get some breakfast, Saturdays are still a bit of a novelty to us.
Two metres from the house I realised I hadn't put my specs on. My eyesight isn't that bad but if it's further away fro my hand it's going to be a little blurry. I was intending to raid some second hand book shops so I'd be needing my eyeses.
Pop back to the house and open the door... open the door... open (strain) - nope. The door won't open.
I may have mentioned we've not been too happy in this house. On Saturday the house bit back again. I tried to call the letting agent but just got an answerphone. Just to be safe we decided to walk down to their office and pop in to explain the situation in person.
'We're your tennants from number X on blah st,' we said, 'and we can't get into the house. The lock turns but the door isn't opening.'
'I don't think I can get anyone out to you today.' says the company that manages our home.
'You'll have to get someone out today because we can't get into our house,' says we.
'I know what you're saying but I'm not sure there'll be anyone available today, it's Saturday.'
'Then you'll have to arrange an emergency locksmith,' I suggest.
'Take a seat please,' our handy dandy helper says dismissively.
So we sit. And we listen to the letting agent phone the land lady. The conversation begins with a discussion about who will pay.
'If we call someone out and there's nothing wrong with the lock you'll have to pay.'
'Once we're back in our house and the situation is resolved we can discuss who pays for what,' I reply.
'But if the latch has dropped and the deadlock's on are you happy to pay?' she asks.
'You need to get us into our house,' I say firmly, 'then we can discuss payment.'
'The tenants are fine with paying,' she tells the land lady - still on the phone. Curiously that doesn't seem to match the words that came out of my mouth. Too late it ocurrs to me that if the latch has dropped and the deadlocks on then the locks at fault anyway. I say so helpfully but the letting agent isn't very interested in anything I say unless I say it loudly and slowly like I'm about to rip her eyeballs out of their sockets and stuff them up her nose.
Rather than call out a locksmith, like we asked, they send one of their man-with-a-van's. This works out in our favour though as it turns out there really isn't anything wrong with the lock. The door is so swollen from the damp we've already reported that it's solidly jammed shut. Man-with-a-van has to force his way in and plane a couple of inches off the door to shut it. This is the second time the door has been planed in fortnight. Come July you'll be able to walk into the house without opening the door. At least we won't be here then.
The point of this story is this. I've been renting for over a decade, I've had a lot of land lords and I've dealt with a lot of letting agencies. I don't honestly think I've ever rented from anyone who didn't describe me as an ideal tennant. My current letting agency are without doubt the laziest, most incompetent and overpriced company it has ever been my misfortune to deal with. Their customer service is atrocious and I would warn anyone who reads this never to even consider renting or purchasing a property through them. Only a sense of good form prevents me disclosing the name of the company - though I could probably be convinced. If you're looking for a home in the Worcestershire area drop me a line and I'll let you know.
On the plus side I did find The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Making of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on video for 50p at the Cats Protection jumble sale. And The Trouble with Lichen from the bookshop in the market on The Shambles. We're probably going to get a cat when we move. If we can think of a good name. Is Phenomena a good name for a cat?