#6 (2015) The House Share Nightmare
There is only one thing worse than discovering the house share you’ve just moved into was a terrible mistake, and that’s having to go through the whole process again.
When you’re looking for your own place, all you have to worry about is how to arrange all your stuff and trying to work out if your landlord is going to be on your side or not.
When you’re in a houseshare you have barely a split second to also sum up the other people you will be living with. And that’s if you’re actually lucky enough to meet them when you’re shown round. Hopefully noone will have made the effort to tidy up before you get there, largely because noone will have been told by the landlord that prospective tenants are being shown around.
That way you will get an idea how house proud they are. I looked at 11 properties before I finally settled on the monumental mistake of my current place. I saw houses where front rooms were a bicycle repair centre, doors were hanging off kitchen cupboards and fridge freezers were situated in the hallway because there simply wasn’t enough room in the kitchen for the needs of all the tenants the landlord had greedily squished into every available room.
Front rooms were converted into bedrooms so there was no communal area, bathrooms made me shiver with fear and often bulbs were missing in corridors because noone wanted to be the one to fork out for something someone else might use. As for the state of shared areas, it was hideous. One landlord apologised to me for the state of the place, another showed me the room, and the broken furniture left by a previous tenant saying I could fix it or dispose of it as I wished. Like it was my problem in the first place.
And even if the house looks nice, it may be several months of relative calm before you realise someone is a psycho. If you have pets of any sort the challenge is bigger. I have outdoor pets, but finding somewhere without a concrete block for a garden is not easy.
I’ve averaged one house move per year in nearly seven years. I’m about to embark on my eighth when I find it and I feel sick to my stomach. I have three weeks. To be fair not all of my shares have been a nightmare. My first was a student house which was horrible, but I got through to the end of the contract. My second house lasted 3 years and ended because the landlord wanted to turn the house into student accommodation, but it was fraught with ‘weirdo’ problems and extreme damp the whole time we were there. The first winter I was extremely ill because of the damp and the lack of any insulation whatsoever.
My next move lasted 6 months and ended when I valued my safety from one particular tenant more than the lovely new build house I loved so much. My next lasted 7 months. Ended for several reasons I won’t go into. My next lasted 6 months because I relocated to a new city. That was probably my best place.
I’m now in my new city and this one will have lasted 4 months because my landlady lied to me about everything on the ad I put up on Spareroom including the criminal convictions of my fellow house sharer and his inability to do anything remotely contributory towards the house. Never live with a mummy’s boy on benefits who can’t keep his hands off your stuff.
Ironically enough in all of this my outdoor pets, my 3 small bantam hens, have not been a problem at all. Although obviously it does reduce the number of viewings you can do.
So there we are. This is me and this is my update. I have a joyous 23 days to find a new home. Watch this space for more hilarious updates coming soon.