One fine day I walked outside and experienced a newfound appreciation for all humanity – indeed a love of life. What a beautiful day, I thought. Hello trees! Hello sun and flowers and birds! Feeling ever so happy, I then had a sobering thought – best not get complacent.
And so, in order to bring myself plummeting back to earth, I did what I usually do in these situations – I checked my search terms list, wherein I saw pure evil.
Oh yes, actual evil was planned there, and full-on, major, big time prejudice. Pettiness of every kind, and power games, along with what might be described as preludes to bullying. Exhaustive rules so intricate and comprehensive that even angels would break them.
What do people type in to find this blog that sends the foul stench of sulphur rising from keyboard as it reacts to their devilish demands? These are the queries from owner-occupiers wishing to rent out a spare room. That’s all. They want to know ‘what they can get away with.’ And they don’t like ‘cripples.’
They want to make sure their cascade of varying prejudices are allowed to pass without censure or recrimination. They do not wish to rent rooms to ‘queers’ (not used in the modern reclaim-the-word sense, I suspect.’) Oh – and ‘blacks’ are not wanted either.
Some are questions about rules: is there a legal requirement to let lodgers use the kitchen, washing machine, how long can they have in the bathroom, and must they have a key? Does anyone honestly imagine renting a room for money and banning their lodger from the shower?
This is getting serious as working poor and claimants are forced to share when nobody really wants to share by choice. This might explain the pettiness of such questions as ‘must I let my lodger have overnight guests?’ Might seem awkward, but you have to say – yes you should.
Amazingly, another questioned: ‘lodgers – curfew?’
I admit these horrible queries were collected over some time, and yes – some resident landlords want to do the right thing. My own brief experience of checking out life as a lodger ended when the owner made it quite plain they expected me to vacate during all public/bank holidays, including summer, xmas and new year. Where did they think I would go?
As we now know, the private sector has all the smaller flats, but more two bed flats were built than one-room. When owners feel the pinch by having their hours cut, or even just want to make some money to save for perhaps a holiday, that spare room becomes a money making machine. And you have to pity the poor lodger whose rentier owner has googled: ‘Must I tell my lodger the truth about long he can stay?’
These new resident rentiers upstage even old style music-hall boarding-house battle-axes for greed and hostility. Worse, they will get away with their deliberate racism, pettiness, snarking and general intolerance. How? When meeting an ‘undesirable’ they will simply say the room is gone, or issue legitimate notice on a whim.
Easy. All too easy.