There comes a time when you know you have fought the battles you were called to fight, stood up to the foes who would suppress and oppress. There comes a time when you realise ‘I want to go home’.
Our landlord/lettings agent is trying to blame a long-standing damp problem on us. We have only lived here three months. What they seem to have forgotten is that when we first looked round, back in September, there had been a massive damp problem, with walls covered in mould and mildew to the point that they had to replaster several walls. The fact that these things were seemingly being sorted out was good, and because Frank’s new job was to begin imminently, we had to choose from a selection of only five houses. We chose the best of the bunch.
Within the first week, we noticed problems: doors not stripped before they were painted would not shut, the kitchen door hinges were falling off, the curtain pole in the girls’ room fell down as soon as we hung curtains on it. We told the lettings agent of these things. When the mould began to appear, within a few weeks of arrival, we told them of that, too. They sent two young decorators out, who refused to paint, because the walls were wet. It was apparent to the decorators that the walls were not wet because of condensation, but because of something structural. Then the builder sent his second-in-command, who confirmed (I overheard him on the phone) that there was a problem with a leak in the loft, which was seeping through and creating thick, black mould on our bedroom ceiling.
A few days after Christmas, the landlord visited, with the builder. The lettings agent turned up too and announced, on the doorstep, “I’ll just do a tenancy inspection while I’m here.”
This morning we received a letter telling us, in essence, that we were creating the mould problem. There was no promise of when the issues we raised back at the beginning of October would be fixed. The letter states that they are visiting on Monday (today is Friday) to do another ‘inspection’. The letter says we have furniture ‘too close to the walls’ which ‘promotes condensation’, though the mould is not growing anywhere near any furniture, but on the ceiling of our bedroom, where there is a visible leak, and in the bathroom, where – funnily enough – we don’t have furniture. They write that the carrier bags which we have stored beside the washing machine are ‘preventing air flow’ and thus creating a mould problem. They say that the tumble dryer, which sits on the worktop with the hose out of the window when in use, ‘must be moved’. Where to they don’t say. They also write that by placing cardboard boxes on top of the cupboard in the lounge, we are ‘preventing air circulation’, despite the fact that there is clear space all around the vent of at least 18 inches. We are told to keep the electric extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom on 24 hours a day. They are ventilation fans, not dehumidifiers. I think these cowboys need some educating. Basic GCSE science would be a start.
I was – to put it mildly – furious at receiving this letter, dated 8th January but only delivered today. The postmark was yesterday. The fact that the agent had not warned us of an inspection, and that she hadn’t mentioned a single thing when she was here, is evidence that they have concocted these things between themselves. We are concerned that this is the basis for them trying to evict us, and for them trying to get us to pay for these ongoing problems, when it is a long-standing problem with the property. This would quite possibly lead to us having a bad reference if we try to rent in future.
This is the last straw. We have decided we have to move. I’d like to be nearer to where we used to live, so that we can be close to our friends and our old church (which, right now, seems like the friendliest place under the sun compared to round here). We’ll see what happens. I am extremely disappointed at uprooting the children all over again, though the girls were quite excited by the idea of moving. Prince was less enthused, though I think we will talk him round, and give him extra support and attention so that he feels as little disruption as possible. I have been honest with them all, and told them about how people have let us down, but that we’re doing what we can to look after our family. Chip agreed, “We love each other.” Right after thumping her sister over a missing pencil…
We have been let down in so many ways since we came here. First with the schools, then with Frank’s job, to some extent with finding a church (we’ve still not really made more than a couple of friends at this church, and I swear there is one of the worship singers who glares at me… which is rather disconcerting), yet we’ve stuck with it, and we’ve prayed and we’ve turned it all over to God, every step of the way. Now, the last straw, our home.
“…wherever people don’t welcome you, leave that town and shake the dust off your feet…” Luke 9:5 GNT
Shakin’ that dust off…
Praise be to God on High who knows my every breath; I know wherever I walk, Christ walks before me.