Tag Archives: son

Student Lets and Landlords

This year has seen my eldest returning to uni but this time he will be house sharing with four other students, friends he has made while living in student halls last year. They have had a year of independence, almost sheltered in a way, by living in a corridor with 11 others and sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms. They work out differences on their own and gravitate towards other students that they get on with or become friends with. As parents, although it breaks our hearts to see them go, it feels like they are still being supported if they are living on campus with all the facilities around them. My eldest goes to Sussex university and it was well equipped with a large Co op, a large cafe, launderette, bar, pharmacy and a GP surgery! I know not all uni’s are the same and some are spread around towns on different areas instead.

This  year my son got together with a few friends and viewed some houses and went through the process of securing one with no adult help at all. We had know idea of what to expect (except for a street view of the address on Google maps) but he had warned us that it wasn’t a very up to date place but they were happy with it for the price that they have to pay……………in other words it was probably going to be a shithole!

So, we took him down last week to settle him in (and get a proper look at the place) with all his belongings. When we arrived another student who had collected the keys was being taken around going over the inventory ( not necessarily with what was in the house but more a list of damage and marks!). As my hubby and I glanced around I literally couldn’t believe it, maybe I am being naive but I certainly wasn’t expecting a house who’s decor had not been touched many, many years, with  wardrobes that were definitely from the 1970’s. although, in fairness I think my son had probably the best room as apparently no one wanted to be downstairs at the from of the house- he didn’t care and so ended up with the biggest room (which would have been an original front lounge) with large shelves in the alcoves and a decent sized wardrobe (even though it had come from either a boarding school or an old sergeant’s/ officers mess it was labelled inside and had lots of smaller sections for clothes) and he was lucky enough to have a brand new mattress still in the wrapper.

room pic 4

If you open the wardrobe the whole thing wobbles!

If you open the wardrobe the whole thing wobbles!

Thankfully he was lucky enough to get a brand new mattress

Thankfully he was lucky enough to get a brand new mattress- and yes his curtains are that see through!

As adults though, we could not believe the state of the place. It was clean to the touch (which I was actually surprised about) but the nets were ripped and stained and the curtains were hanging off! There were no lampshades on any of the lights, their communal room/ lounge was an actual conservatory which had the scabbiest seats in there and an old dining table with only 3 chairs (for 5 people). There was a radiator in there thankfully but no plug sockets so that they could maybe have a telly or something in there to at least sit together. So I expect they will bloody freeze in the winter!

How rank are those chairs?

How rank are those chairs?

So, we made sure every bit of damage or stains were on the inventory as the lady doing it said that landlords will do anything not to pay their deposits back. She advised them all to take pictures of how the rooms were set out as they charge £20 to move a piece of furniture if it’s not in the right place let alone anything else! We took picture evidence of his room including any damage, and the kitchen and the communal sitting room too. Now I know for a fact this wouldn’t be the worst student let ever but at the same time it’s a far cry from the best too. However, we could not believe literally how little landlords have to do legally in order to earn big money from these houses. This was considered a cheap property as my son and his friends are only paying about a tenner more each week than they were in halls but even so with 5 of them paying this landlord is taking in almost £2500 a month from this let and yet we had to take my son out and buy them a shower curtain and bath set as it was a clear window in the bathroom with no shower curtain up for any privacy! We had to buy more clips from the hardware shop to hold his curtains up properly. They had to invest in a kitchen bin and some door mats (as it was lino throughout so on a rainy day like the day he moved in, the floor was in a right state by the time we left). Thankfully they actually had a washing machine, which looked fairly new, which I was pleasantly surprised about and was a brilliant bonus.

There were also no door locks on any of the bedroom doors which I was slightly surprised about as they are all encouraged to get their own insurance but how can you be held responsible if someone else forgets to lock up when they go out and you have no other security for your belongings!

Anyway, my hubby and I came away thankful we don’t have to live there but happy that they all seemed excited to be moving in, and wondering why we aren’t in the business of student lets as it seems a big money maker for very little in my humble opinion.

I can guarantee there are lots of you with your own nightmare stories about either your own student lets- seriously I would love to hear them as it might just make me feel better about my son living in the hovel that he is!

 

Lost in London…….aged 11 yrs!!!!

No not a story about me as the 11 yr old but my own son.

Monday saw us heading back up town for another audition (remember my youngest is a ‘luvvy’ at heart and wants to be an actor). Anyway this really is nothing out of the ordinary for us. A short notice call a few days before with address details (normally quite obscure tiny offices in London’s backstreets) so we headed off as normal.

Audition done and return journey in process until…………….

Yes we went to get on a tube when my son walked on and the doors closed!!!! Leaving me on the platform…………OK PANIC NOW.

So told screamed at the guard that my son was on his own only to realise the tube he got on was going in the wrong direction that we were going! CAN THIS GET ANY WORSE??

Again the guard seemed a bit too chilled for my liking when he said I should go to the operations room WTF????? No you take me there and bloody tell someone my 11yr old son is on the tube going in the wrong direction…….EXCUSE ME IS ANYONE LISTENING TO ME ( i’m the mad shouting, hysterical lady crying down the phone to her husband telling him she has lost her son!!!- I know not a pretty sight)

However, by the time we got to the operations room they then had to calm me down to tell me they had my son at the next station with the guard!!!! OMG OMG OMG

So went back down to platform and got on next tube, still bawling my eyes out ( what a bloody picture) with people looking at me as though I was a complete loon (understandable I think).

Turned up at the next station and burst into tears again as my son came up and gave me a huge hug!!!

He was calm, and I asked him what he did.

‘Well I thought I would get off at the next station and wait for you to come along. But a nice young man offered to get off at the station with me and tell the guard what had happened’ ( there are some nice people out there! but we still warned him afterwards of the dangers).

So 11 yr old is calm, and 41 yr old mum is a complete wreck?????

He told me that he wasn’t panicked but he was worried about me because he knew I would be having a meltdown- talk about role reversal!

Anyway, all’s well that ends well and all that. For me I don’t think I have ever been so stressed in all my life. My M.E is affected considerably with stress and for the last few days I have been unable to do anything or eat properly so I know that is definitely the fallout from Monday!

However, everything happens for a reason and now we have at least got a contingency plan- if separated go to the next station and the other will follow!!

 

 

 

The truth hurts!

Yes it does, really it does.

Yesterday the truth hurt me…………..

I became a mother of a 14yr old!! ( can you feel the pain?)

That means I have to accept I am now OLD enough to have a 14yr old- not quite sure how that happened to be honest. One minute he was a bundle of gurgles and poo, I have watched him learn to walk and talk, ride a bike, go to school, learn to read and write. I remember his little words when he couldn’t say things properly:

‘Daddy where’s my scoobydriver?’  meaning screwdriver!!

Yesterday I was hit with the hammer of truth and it nearly knocked me out. I HAVE A 14YR OLD!!

The candles say it all- it was nearly a fire hazard!

 

So what have I got left to look forward to?

Strops- yes he does that already

Independence- Oh god help me

Drinking- not going there

Girls- The stress is too much

LIKE I SAY- THE TRUTH HURTS (LOL)

 

 

 

Knitting project #2- 2012

Ok this may be cheating a little but I still knitted them!!

A smaller version of my 1st project, as requested by my youngest son- in his favourite colour!!!

Yes he honestly requested these............It confirms he is actually mad!

Laughingly my eldest has now requested a pair, in a more muted colour of course. I think I could restart a fashion!!!

However, he will have to wait as I am half way through project #3.