Rental Raters Blog

19th December 2014

5 things to do while you’re waiting for your landlord to do repairs

Written by
Lucy Sweet
Lucy Sweet
Follow author @lucytweet1

Lucy Sweet writes for many internet and real life publications, like the Big Issue, Bitterwallet, Lifetime, Bluffers, the Mirror and Glamour. She's also the author of two novels and a cartoon anthology about her squalid youth. She lives with her husband and son in Glasgow, perilously close to a pub and a kebab shop.

5 things to do while you’re waiting for your landlord to do repairs

You know what it’s like – you’re on the phone to the letting agent every day for three weeks because Niagara is spraying from under the sink, the boiler is on the blink and there’s mould on the wall that looks like it has a face. You’re trapped. You’re powerless. Every time you call, the secretary at the letting agency says in a bored voice:  ‘I’ll pass that on to [insert name of absent superior here] then goes back to picking her nose with a biro.

But what can you do to wrestle back some control? How can you use those interminable days and weeks of waiting to create the kind of home you really want to live in?

Well, it’s all about turning that frown upside down and putting a positive spin on your overflowing septic tank. Chin up – and who knows? –they might get it fixed in 2017!

Remember: A leak is just a water feature in disguise

Whether it’s a slow drip or a galloping great gush, a leak can be beautiful. Yes, there’s probably wet rot accumulating somewhere which is slowly compromising the structure of the building and the whole thing will one day collapse, but in the meantime – let’s PARRTY! Put a little circle of waterproof LED lights round the bucket you’re using to catch the drops and watch as visitors are mesmerised by the tinkling flow.

Turn that weird stain on the wall into abstract art

Is that odd stain getting worse? Does it smell like a recently exhumed corpse? Simply put a frame around it and call it  ‘Untitled (Rorschach Blot No.7)’ Art dealers will come from miles around to view it, and the money you’ll make when you sell it will be enough to buy yourself a new flat that doesn’t totally SUCK.

Create drama with a broken light fitting

Who wants a bare overhanging light bulb anyway? What, do you live in a West Yorkshire police interrogation room circa 1979? Instead of banging about in the dark, cursing your landlord to hell, light some candles and turn your living room into a Buddhist shrine. Put tea lights on every available surface and pretend you are a melodramatic penniless novelist with syphilis. With any luck, you might set your flat on fire and have to be rehoused somewhere nice.

A condemned gas fire can be used for storage

Does your gas fire have a big sticker on it saying ‘DO NOT USE: DANGER OF DEATH?” Does it smell disturbingly strongly of gas? Did it splutter its last dying flicker of flame in 1982 but nobody has been arsed to replace it? Well, use it as a shelf instead! Put books and ornaments on it, fancy it up with some attractive Farrow and Ball paint called Dead Clunge or Stovepipe Mauve and loudly shout ‘IT’S UPCYCLED!’ whenever anyone goes near it.

Experiment with exciting sartorial combinations

Broken boiler? Don’t see a complete lack of hot water and heating as a bad thing. While you wait for the inevitable delinquent, toothless plumber to visit to tell you the boiler needs a part that they stopped making before the war, see it as a great opportunity to parade your knitwear collection. Wear 14 Christmas jumpers at the same time (Vogue calls it LAYERING) along with all your trousers and socks and three bobble hats. Just wait for that call from Anna Wintour offering to put you on the cover! Hopefully she’ll call you before you die of hypothermia…