May 25, 2005


What can you do? I'm tired but need to blog. Don't know why. Not having exams to complain about. Going home tomorrow so should have more interesting stuff to tell next week. Got amazing new CDs but am not allowed to talk about them (it's like having seen Star Wars but downloaded from DC++ not that I know how - honestly!). So let me tell you a story about off campus student housing.

I live in a lovely house on Canley that makes me ill every other week. It only makes me ill because we can't open the windows as they have locks we can't remove. And because it gets dusty and none of us really feels like using the vacuum cleaner. And (until recently) because it's either freezing or it's boiling hot.

But recently someone showed us where the thermostat is and told us how to use it. Amazing technology! But then one day I came home and the hot water tap wasn't running up to speed. Consequence: washing up takes 5x as long and lazy students as we are the dishes piled up. Time to call the letting agency.

Lovely people, but communication wise a bit… bureaucratic. We're not allowed to call the plumbers ourselves, but they can do it for us. So we call the agency they call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they don't. So we call the agency who call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they do. They fix one of 2 things we need them to do so we ask them if they could please fix the other as well. Nope. Agency didn't tell them to. "So let's say I call the agency now and you leave but then they call your boss and you'll be back in half an hour?" "If your lucky, yes". Great. So we do. And they come back the next day. Yay! Everything is working! Or not.

We try out our heating and the whole house seems to fall apart. Luckily that didn't happen for another month. Apparently some way lots of air was trapped in the pipes and made a racket. We call agency agency tells us it's normal with our heating system and it happened in the last tenancy as well. Sure. So we use it as an extra method to wake up in the morning (but we fail).

April comes and goes.

Had a great weekend just now, and I come home and my lovely housemates await me with a smile. Poor me didn't recognize the smile of despair: a massive leakage (not as in pouring down everywhere, but just a continuous stream of water through a small hole in the ceiling) occurred in one of our bedrooms. Hot water. Why is that hot water? Why do those pipes go into the loft? Why isn't there any light upstairs? So we call the plumber's emergency line but get the answering machine. We realize we have to call the agency first, but they decided to take a break too. It was already past eleven but who knew what could happen so we decide to call for the help of our amazing neighbour who can fix anything.

After being ashamed of waking up the whole family and every other living creature in the house, amazing neighbour comes, sees, and… can't help us. He amazingly climbed into the loft and tells us the hot water tank's overflow isn't working and that there's about 2 inches of water waiting to go down, so we might have to stay up for a while. Great. At least we know what and where it is. Fortunately, the leakage calls it a day so we don't have to refresh the buckets every hour. And we go to sleep.

9:00AM Phone rings. "Hello Thorwald, it's the agency. You called last night. Do you still need help?" "Woo-aaa-elllll there is still 2 inches of water waiting to pour down, we don't know if we can use the hot water, and we still have a power cut, so yeah would be nice if someone could just pop in and say hi." "OK then we'll have someone over in an hour" Back to bed.

10:00AM Doorbell rings. Yay! Housemate is up so she can open. I sleep in while I hear everything going on in the room next to me and in the loft above me. A crack appears over the width of my bedroom. Time to wake up. Housemate relieved as she doesn't understand any other English than the Queen's, or oddly enough, mine. So yeah, plumber/electrician/fixitall guy explains that when my (other) housemate turned on the light in his room, it caused a power cut as the wire was touching the hot water pipe which had melted the safety stuff around it. Apparently must have happened ages ago but now it decided to fail on us completely. Oh and that cut blew a hole in the hot water pipe. Ah! Hence the water! It all makes sense.

Lovely fixing guys fix everything and drill holes to drain the water and soon the hot water is working again and the light can shine safely and we're all happy. "So see you later!" They say, and a loud bad noise comes from the bedroom. Turns out they stay for a while to clean up the mess. Also, they don't have to use the small loft trapdoor to get up there anymore. There's a new 6sq ft whole in the ceiling of the 2nd bedroom. Amazingly, no one got hurt, only some clothes got dirt spat on them, and nothing got damaged. Well, apart from the ceiling.

So we call the agency and tell them what happened. Kind of. Agency guy comes in an hour later expecting to see some minor water damage. "Ooh – that hole… That wasn't there before was it?" Sometimes you've seen a red on a person's face you never knew existed. Nice guy though, but he can't promise swift repair. "But the hot water pipes are fixed?" "Yes… and the light still works. Well. It would if it would still be hanging there."

Nice guy tells us the next morning that some contractor guy will arrive some day to assess the costs and then some day later when all the beams are dry (which will take a while in a house where windows cannot be opened) the ceiling will be redone. Oh and probably all of it will have to be redone. Yay! New ceiling without cracks! Which means you'll have to move all your stuff… Great.

There's still more going on. Also, I need to decide on whether this whole thing is exciting, or funny, or terrible. First, I'm going home though. If trying to avoid studying isn't exhausting enough, try landlord bureaucracy!

- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Um, has anyone told you to go see the Advice and Welfare guy in the Union? Because it seems to me you should have gone along time ago. I'm pretty sure that windows which are locked shut is a massive health and safety risk. This house sounds totally unsafe, and you're paying to live there!

    25 May 2005, 01:41

  2. Are they going to rehome you in the meantime?

    It sounds like they should.

    25 May 2005, 08:45

  3. Gasps! And you are still going to stay in that house ? You certainly should make a complain.
    Have a good break at home. Hope all the house problem will disappear when you get back. God bless.

    25 May 2005, 08:57

  4. Awful story – but great storytelling!

    25 May 2005, 11:07

  5. Was actually about to contact Advice and Welfare. Agency was convinced that we could replace the window locks but they're sealed to the windows with superglue or something. Thanks for the compassion though! Oh we don't have a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide one either – if that increases your worries?

    25 May 2005, 15:49

  6. Mike

    Sounds not good at all mate! but i agree with ali, its a captivating tale! have fun at home!! mike

    26 May 2005, 11:31

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