Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lovely Landlords

It turns out that having a mobility scooter that you can't use because you've got nowhere at home to store it is far more frustrating than not having a mobility scooter at all. Especially in this glorious 'picnics should be obligatory' sort of weather. Who'da thunk that? 

 Scooter photo taken several years ago at a local food festival

Fortunately thanks to the wonder that is Twitter a builder is due imminently to give me a quote for building a ramp and installing a storage shed of some description.  The builder hunt has not gone too well up to this point. My neighbour had to turn down the job because they are fully booked up for the next few months and it's too big a job to get done in a few hours as a foreigner as they were hoping. The other builder I spoke to and arranged a time to come round for an estimate simply never turned up. I don't care how good a builder he might be, if he can't turn up or make a phone call to explain why not I don't want him working for me. 

In anticipation of at least one estimate I phoned my landlords to check they are happy for me to install a ramp. Private landlords frequently receive a bad press as there are still far too many Rachman's about. My landlords couldn't be more different, they rent properties for fair market values and crucially keep their properties well maintained. They are such good landlords that my upstairs neighbour moved from 3 houses down the road where her previous landlord had been quite happy to leave holes in the roof for years.

There tends to be much fuss in the press about the overall cost of Housing Benefit, and concept of 'free' local authority housing. What isn't usually mentioned in the press is that most people are forced to rent in the private sector because of the lack of local authority properties, and that renting in the private sector means paying commercial rents. It is an even worse situation for disabled people as there are very few adapted local authority properties and of those there are, most are restricted to people over 65.  

I was incredibly lucky to find an affordable ground floor property and even more lucky with my landlords. When I spoke to them to ask permission for the ramp they immediately said yes, and wanted to know who would be footing the bill. They expected the work to be funded and carried out by Social Services so that it wouldn't cost me. I could apply to Social Services for the work to be done but waiting times are exceptionally long for such adaptations and I want to be able to use the scooter this year not wait until next. Some local authorities have waiting times of up to 8 years for adaptations such as ramps.

I've also had previous experience of Social Services idea of adaptations which has been overwhelmingly negative. Workmen, when they eventually turn up tend to scratch their heads and refuse to do work because it's 'too complicated'. The work that they do do is often of a dangerously low standard; many years ago Social Services fitted an extra banister rail to help me go up and down the stairs. It looked nice...until it completely pulled out of the wall after a few weeks of use. I only weigh about 7 stone so that was impressively poor workmanship! 

Once my landlords heard it would be me footing the bill they told me to get a couple of quotes and that they are sure they'll be able to do the work for a lower cost themselves. They even offered to store my scooter in their garage until the work is done. Let's hear it for lovely landlords! 


LceeL said...

Yay for LOVELY LANDLORDS!!! You are truly fortunate. And kinda cute, too. I love the picture of you.

alhi said...

Aw, that's great. Landlords like to have good tenants too, so I'm sure they're pleased to have you.

You look so different in that photo! And I can finally see just how tiny you are. Half my weight *sob* but not half my height.

steph said...

So pleased to hear that you'll soon be scooting about the place again.

You look damn good in that photo.

I'll bet that beautiful smile of yours is enough to cause a traffic accident!

Achelois said...

Great upbeat post.

Big boobs and skinny legs obviously go hand in hand with our type of EDS! Although am not sure that your shoulder is not out in this BG, look in the mirror whilst driving your scooter and straighten up those shoulders otherwise your physiotherapist will never forgive you!

scoot scoot beep beep BG is just about to strut her mobility scooter stuff. I want one but living in the country would just be a mad woman on it getting nowhere and my little car wouldn't fit one. I am jealous.

happy scooting - beep beep , by the way have you name her yet?

Lankylonglegs said...

Sometimes, just when you think that nothing could possibly go more wrong and life couldn't get much worse something changes and it all starts to slot into place.
YAY! For your wonderful landlords, most private ones are total tossers. YAY for your wonderful new scooter, having this will give you a whole new lease on life too :o)
Here's hoping that they can give you a much lower quote and get that ramp/shed sorted out as soon as possible.

Jo x

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Update: Unfortunately my lovely landlord is too booked up to do the work himself :( but he's going to come and do the electrics part anyway. Still lovely!

Lou: Aw, thanks! It's not the greatest photo of me ;)

Alhi: Will it help to say I've pretty much doubled in size since that photo was taken? I can't remember when it was but as everything I'm wearing comes from the children's dept it was definitely while I was still v underweight. Are you a short person too then? I'm sure you look absolutely fantastic! Xx

Steph: Aw, you've made me blush! We must've been posting our photos at about the same kind of time yesterday :)

Achelois: My scooter is still in the charity shop (sob) waiting for the building works to be done. As for the shoulder, I long since lost any concept of whether my joints are in or out, but according to my physio it's a safe bet that they're ALL out more than they are in ;)
I like the idea of you pootling round country lanes on a mobility scooter! Mine won't fit in the car either...not that I'd stand a chance of lifting it in or out even if it did. Once my DLA is redone I'll look into changing the car for something more suitable.
Maybe I should run a 'name the scooter' comp on here? I'm definitely going to have a scooter launching party once all the building work is done!

Jo: It's looking like it might be a bit more expensive than I'd hoped as landlord isn't free to do the work (his wife volunteered him before asking!) He'll do the electrics though which'll reduce the cost for me. I'm really lucky to have such good landlords, who appreciate the value of good tenants. Here's hoping for more slotting into place for all of us! Xx

alhi said...

I'm average size but not average weight, *sigh*. Oh to be average, who would have thought that would be appealing? I'm about 5 4": tallest in my family bar Dad as my sister is about 5 foot, my brother 5 2" and mum 4 11.75" The .75 there is very important to her!!

I guess you do look out of proportion in the photo: your head seems too big for your body but that could be you leaning forward. If you still fit in children's clothes you must save a fortune! Although I can imagine that it must be annoying to see "little princess" t-shirts.

Anonymous said...

actually private sector rents are artificially inflated above what private individuals would pay by folk on state housing allowance of one flavour or another which will often pay above what would otherwise be the market level

private landlords are borrowing the money at reduced rates and paying minimal amounts of capital gains tax all funded by the savers of this country who are getting a lousy savings rate, this is outrageous state sponsored theft as the currency is being devalued and minimal rates paid to savers while at the same time landlords are having their loans and profits treated very favourably

and so we continue to have over priced houses

dont really think you should be supporting this state of affairs bendy if you thought about it a bit more

john redwoods blog is a good source of info on whats really going on

so dont feel any warm feelings for landlords in this country at the moment

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Alhi: I'm fortunately now an average weight so I know what you mean! I did have a fine range of clothes from the pre teen department but happily have expanded out of them all! Most have been sold but a bundle recently got donated to the 9 year old who lives over the road...which was a bit weird!
Shifting excess weight when your joints limit what you can do in the first place is tough, good luck with it honey Xx

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Anon: I do read John Redwoods blog and have known about this 'inflated rent' issue for some time. I think it is a major problem in certain areas of the country but in places like my suburban small town not so much. See, here most landlords don't allow what they still call DSS tenants and charge rents vastly above the level anyone on housing benefit or LHA could afford. Some will make exceptions for those in receipt of disability benefits as 'its not their fault' but even then rents are typically £100+ above the level of housing benefits. My flat is probably rented below market value, my particular landlords rent out properties in good condition but without all the shiny extras people are becoming used to in this area.
So, whilst I take your point about the state of affairs in some places, in others it's not the case. I'm very grateful to have landlords who believe in treating their tenants well and think that kind of behaviour should be recognised and applauded.