Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  , London, City of,
Sunday, February 27, 2011

One of the best things about our pending homelessness is that we no longer need to experiment with D.I.Y. 

The Lees are good at many things but D.I.Y. is just not one of them! Besides, there are much better ways to get hammered ;-) I guess that it's something that we could learn and become good at BUT (and that's a big BUT!) we have had no need, no desire and no inclination to...

Whenever something goes wrong it's the landlord's problem, except now WE'RE the landlords! And we've gotta get this place into tip-top condition for our new tenants.

It's only been 4 years since we've lived in a house that we own but initially we were spoilt because the place was in excellent condition. Conveniently the previous owner was a handyman by trade and he left all sorts of random tools (including a push-saw!) that we COULD use, if only we knew how to and even knew what they are all used for. So I guess we can't blame the tools. The initial lack of need didn't spur us into action either!

Another problem we have with D.I.Y. is that it's a never-ending story. Take a snapshot of the house and everything at that point in time is absolutely fine. But it's not long before something goes wrong! You fix it (or more likely, we get someone to fix it) and then the next thing will pack up and leave. Then a door knob goes wonky! Then someone goes off the rails! We can think of loads of ways we'd rather spend our time. Like go travel the world, maybe?

And getting a tradesman to visit is so expensive! I don't need to pay someone loads of to tell me that I have a screw loose! Hold on...??

The spectrum of tradesmen extends from dodgey rogues who often deliver equally dodgey work (that's if they show up at all!) to call-centre controlled tradesmen who charge half-hourly rates and only operate in certain London zones. In Cape Town everyone knows a Gammat or a Eugene. Everyone knows a reliable and proven "guy" - an uncle, a cousin, a neighbour - someone who can put in new windows, or fit cupboards, or re-do floors, or paint houses, or all of the above. AND it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Although the danger of trying it oneself could literally cost that too!

So today we're doing some last minute D.I.Y. Painting door frames, touching up previously botched jobs, and other fun stuff like that. Our new tenants are due to move in shortly hence the urgency. The last thing we want is to be in the middle of the Amazon jungle when the boiler packs up and it's the landlord's problem. That's why we're using a rental management agent to sort things in our absence.

Clearly I'm procrastinating but we really should get to it now. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go!

Now to get Mario out of bed...
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Travellinglaura on

Hey there - being a landlady, I feeeel your pain! I had water coming through the kitchen ceiling yesterday - oh joy. I have a good plumber based in Enfield of you need to do a gas safety check - £50 - my agency used to charge £85 (beware their commission add-ons!). In fact I highly recommended getting yourself fixed up with your own contacts as, in my experience, all the agency do is contact you and send someone round (even did this for me when all it was was a fuse blown and didn't bother to ask, £100 later for a fuse change....).

He also does elec so give me a buzz if you wNt his details xx

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