The Letting Agent had said not to worry about re-decorating, and the ‘swirly’ carpets would be acceptable to most tenants. He even said the walk-in bath Mum had installed shouldn’t be a problem.
So I decided just to freshen things up. The following week we had our first spell of warm sunny weather and I set about spring-cleaning. I took down all the curtains and washed a few each day and put them on the line to dry while I continued to sort through cupboards and drawers, upstairs and downstairs. There were books and games, records and knitting patterns – Mum had lived there for over 40 years.
In the midst of all this, I’m taken by surprise when the letting agent turns up unannounced to meet with someone wishing to view. He’s actually more surprised than me as he was told the house was vacant. Well it is, but it’s not ‘empty’, as he can see – I’ve got stuff all over the place! I ask him to give me 2 or 3 minutes just to clear away the bucket and step-ladder (I’ve been cleaning from top to bottom) and make it safe for all concerned. I then volunteer to go and sit in my car to give the viewer some privacy whilst looking around. It’s time I had a break anyway.
Break over, and the agent lets me know he’s given them long enough, but unfortunately we have our first “no-show”. Oh dear, not a good start.
The following week it seems we’re having better luck. I believe we’ve had a few more viewings and we now have a prospective tenant. We are told they have asked if they can re-decorate and would we split the cost with them? And also, would we change the bath? We say “no” to both requests. Surely there’ll be someone who’ll take it as it is.
Anyway, the next day my brother phones to say the same family would like to have a second viewing next Tuesday evening, but he’ll be on holiday and will I meet with them and the agent to discuss certain matters. Okay I can, but I ask him to be on the end of a phone in case there are things I can’t answer alone. We have to make joint decisions as far as possible on Mum’s affairs.
Tuesday evening comes and I meet with the letting agent and the young family who are interested in renting from us. I arrive early, but so does the agent who wants to get a few facts straight before the family turn up. So we chat for a while, and when they arrive he introduces himself first and then, having forgotten my name I think, he introduces me as “the landlord”. It’s the first time I’ve been called that. It’s official!
However, we get off to a rather shaky start. He immediately launches into some ‘does and don’ts’ with the lady, such as telling her she can’t just re-decorate without certain restrictions. I think he was only trying to protect my interests, but unfortunately his manner slightly annoyed the lady, and I was feeling really awkward, but she finally said very firmly “I have rented before and I do know the rules”. Well, that drew a line under things and we moved on (literally) and room by room we discussed what was needed.
We gradually came to amicable agreement on most things, such as removal of all the internal grab-rails we’d had fitted for Mum’s safety, which I suppose I’d begun not to notice anymore.
There were a few things I couldn’t answer immediately and needed to discuss with my brother, so I tried phoning him there and then. I couldn’t get an answer but said I’d try and report back to the agent as early as possible the next day.
Having cleared the air, and before we parted company, the prospective tenant told me how keen they are to have this property as they’re looking for somewhere much quieter than where they live now. I assured them that it’s very quiet. In fact, I’d heard that the new family who’ve moved in a few doors away are actually finding it too quiet. She said that would suit them fine and, I hadn’t realised, but they’ve already put down a deposit.
It looks like we’ll have a family living there, with a young child and a baby on the way. Let’s hope it works out well for all of us.