Housing from hell

Features asked students for their best and worst housing experiences. Here are some of the best.

“When I first got to my house at the start of the year, the toilets hadn’t been cleaned and the house was generally in an absolute state. If that wasn’t bad enough, we had a slug problem for months after too: we’d wake up and there would be several slugs on the kitchen floor every morning. One of my housemates had a major phobia of them and ended up leaving a line of salt around her bed. Eventually, we had to leave a line of salt around the kitchen cupboards too, to stop them from coming in.”

“House parties can be messy, especially when there is a paucity of toilets. It would seem that in these situations any white ceramic hole will do, and therefore a sink is the next best thing. However, whichever opportunistic urinator bit the bullet and straddled the sink found the sink, with the screech of ripping plaster, tumbling from the wall. The culprit was never found, though luckily the landlord got it sorted within a few days.”

“It came as an awful surprise to me, but more so to my friend, when he came blasting through the bathroom floor, and crashing through the ceiling. Although funny in hindsight it was certainly particularly dangerous, and not what anyone expected when buying the house. It’s long-term comedic value probably doesn’t eliminate the thought of just how hazardous that was.”

“In the first week of term we made the mistake of hoovering the vinyl kitchen tiles and it left a small chip in the flooring. It was literally the size of a pinhead, and nothing that anyone would ever notice… or so we thought. A week later our landlord came round for an inspection and without missing a beat went straight for the kitchen tile and loudly asked ‘has anyone been walking on the floor in heels, because there’s a hole in the floor?’ Us, flustered, and scared of owning up to the real reason in case he charged us for a whole new floor went and got all of the heels that we owned and proceeded to watch him try to fit them into the hole. None of them fitted, of course, but I still have a feeling that we’re going to be charged for it.”

“Our toilet door handle broke. You could only open it from the outside so people kept getting locked in so we had to try to sellotape it to stop it locking in the meantime. Luckily the landlord fixed it pretty soon though.”

“Our landlord’s really nice, and very quick with dealing with any issues that we have with the house. For example, he bought us a bookcase and does any maintenance work for free… except weeding the garden. He apparently sprung it on us that that was our job, and if we just took 20 minutes a week to do some gardening then it wouldn’t be such a big job by the end of the year.”

“Visiting a house, a trip in which the landlord declined to accompany us, we were alerted to the presence of a mysterious ‘back-room’. It was relayed to us by the inhabitants of the house that this rather distant landlord, who remained unknown to both us and the building’s natives, had suggested the back-room could be used as a bedroom but unofficially, as it was not registered. However, whether anyone would want to use such a room as their personal haven of privacy and respite is incredibly contentious: the smell was overwhelmingly disgusting, think of a dead skunk marinated in a cesspit. We did not sign the house.”

“Our heating broke for the third time this academic year when winter began frostily setting in. This was the same time our dishwasher broke down mid cycle and we now have festering water stewing there which is starting to smell like spoilt cottage cheese. The heating has still not been fixed but we got little heaters delivered. But, unfortunately, I managed to break mine. Time passes slowly in this cold, cold house.”

“When unpacking in my new home I was suddenly shocked, and pleasantly distracted from the tickling nerves of a new year at university. Unbeknown to me, or my house mates, we shared our adjacent fields with inquisitive gangs of horses. I immediately felt a strong sense of simpatico with their hipster hair-dos and scruffy beards: they appeared almost as teenage and angsty as me. Hearing them gallop across Whinney Hill like Great Plains mustang, although free from the harnesses of whooping Comanche braves, still brings a smile to my lips. There is no doubt that they have proved a most surprising and welcome addition to the family.”
Photograph: Arthur Dimsdale via Flickr

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