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If Johnny Depp Were My Landlord Things Would Be Better

by Twitchy on June 25, 2013

Regular readers may know my family rents while we build the house that would not be built. In October it will be FOUR YEARS here. That’s what you get for building from scratch in a Heritage Overlay (within which demolition is generally forbidden). Then you hire the Perfectionist Architect for whom there is only one right way for everything- the most time-consuming and expensive. Then you mix that with the real world: tradies and suppliers who don’t do this sort of thing any more so service is dodgy even if they do turn up, all the while paying for two houses… well you find yourself in what is technically called a motherfracking mess.

Not worth it.

I’m pleased to say our marriage is still intact to date, but this is how we’ve been living. LIVING THE DREAM! So forgive me if home disruption and tradesmen are far from my favourite topic. I am vile, in fact.

TODAY will be yet another instalment in the saga of The Landlord. A lovely, overly helpful, middle aged European man with NFI about boundaries or rules. Anyhoo.

Occasionally he rings and says he’ll only work outside. Then he rings the doorbell to say hello and comes in without invitation to start measuring things. Once his family rang my mobile and said:
“Can you please tell Dad to come home for dinner?”
I was tempted to respond:  “Sure, I can ask but I don’t think he likes you.”

You’d think there was a WHOLE YEAR in a financial year but no, as every late May he calls up with grand plans for capital works, turns up to our house on average eight times in a fortnight, sometimes for hours at a time.

Once it was the dreaded episode of the Air Conditioning. Fifteen minutes prior to our agreed start time a workman made it into the roof over my bathroom fan, below which I was GETTING DRESSED AFTER A SHOWER.

Recently the Landlord cleared gutters and did outdoor maintenance. Then he fixed shower tiles and the plumber installed a new hot water service. That only took 3 days, pipes and all. I suspect they secretly found the rodent infestation he’d been denying, because he says he’ll be back under the house for clearing vents soon. Without spy cameras I’ll never know for sure. Update: I forgot to mention! One night last week we couldn’t find the cat, which was odd because the night was freezing. The next morning I heard her crying from the garage. Odd- because no one had opened the door. Or had they? On calling The Landlord I learn he had gone into our garage for power (without permission or mentioning it to me) and locked our poor old Maxi in overnight. FFS.


This is what my tomorrow looks like

Next, Landlord and plumber were due back to install a new stove, for ‘approximately one hour’. GRAND! I said Tuesday was best, Monday wasn’t great and my husband wanted to make calls from home. Of course they said they had to come Monday anyway! This is the 5th or 6th visit in 2-3 weeks (ranging 2.5 hours, to 5.5.) Last week I missed 10+ minutes of a massage appointment because SOMEONE was blocking my car but was deep under the house.

I moved my frypans and oven dishes to the dining room in preparation for the cooktop upgrade. We took lunch in the lounge room as two men took over the kitchen. Without informing me they began to VERY LOUDLY angle-grind a bigger hole out of the bench. For the next hour, plus. It smelt like a saw mill. I looked in and saw the suspended dust cloud. Covered in fine sawdust was the whole room, pots pans and full dishrack. Ipod dock.  Entire plastic ware collection in the cabinet below. Floor, microwave, everything- INCLUDING the kitchen sink. To top it off they botched the cut and had to reglue a dodgy bit on the side. The rangehood cooking lights blew out with a bang and are now permanently broken. Noice!

THREE PLUS HOURS LATER they left. We went out for Chinese food, a proper kitchen clean awaits me tomorrow. If my landlord were Johnny Depp I could probably forgive him anything. But sadly for me, he’s far from it and this is not my favourite time of year.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Me June 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm

I would like to say I know what you are going through but I have no idea !!! We did a bathroom renovation last Dec11/Jan12 and it nearly drove me nuts – now A thinks we should do the other 1.5 bathrooms before we put the house on the market – I’m saying a lick of paint will do fine !!!!
A landlord like that would just drive me batty – good luck with any future dealings !!!
Have the best day that you can !


carmen June 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Oh dear hon. Our issues are nothing on that. Landlords seem to all have the same guidebook to follow I fear! xxx


Emily @ Have a laugh on me June 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Must be true love for shiz. We had many deal breakers during the build of our house, and it wasn’t as horrendous as this seems! Em


EssentiallyJess June 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Oh man that sucks!!! OUr oven broke a few years ago, but the land lords were so good about it. Even gave us $100 of Fasta Pasta vouchers for the mean time. And whilst Ray does not look anything like Johnny Depp either (so far from it it’s not funny), I think we will keep him 🙂


Josefa @always Josefa June 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

o-m-g this is horrible! the Chinese dinner, nice, but the rest – surely there is something you can do to stop this chaos?


Kim @ spirited mama June 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Wish my landlord was JD too, or George Clooney … Get that house finished Sista … Sounds like a better option, kimx


Liz @ Clover Feet June 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm

At my last work place (law firm) we had an awesome dodgy landlord called Wally. He would turn up in his Jackie Howe singlet and stay for hours changing light bulbs and terrifying all our clients.


Miss Cinders June 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Do you rent through a real estate or privately? Either way I think you’d be surprised just how much big trouble he can get in for doing what he’s doing.

If Johnny Depp buys your house I will travel as far as I need to to get there and “supervise” him while he does any maintenance 😀

MC x


Twitchy June 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

We go through an agent, who does property checks every six months. So after the landlord’s been to do all his stuff, they turn up with the clipboard, giving two days notice by SNAIL MAIL, which sometimes isn’t received because it wasn’t redirected. But when notice of a rental increase came in via the agent, it was hand delivered by registered and signed post. Hmmph!

Emily June 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Oh man. I laughed. Guffawed, really. But it was a sympathy laugh. A sympathy guffaw. (Those exist, right?!)

I hear you and feel your pain. But it’s different when it’s your own house. Landlords. So glad to be shot of them. Good luck x


Pip June 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Oh you poor poor thing. That sounds like hell. I used to have a landlord like that! He just popped up like Dicky Knee whenever I least expected. It was only years later that I discovered it was against rental guidelines and they had to warn you of their arrival. So hard. I bet your house will be worth it. xx


Becc June 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm

How have you managed to keep your sanity? I applaud you!
Becc @ Take Charge Now


Twitchy June 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I honestly don’t know. I’ve been a bit of a recluse of late- not much emotional energy for too much beyond the mandatories. HOW COULD I FORGET: we also couldn’t find the cat one night last week, and I found her locked overnight in the freezing garage, because the landlord opened it for power and didn’t see her. Adding it in now.

Anything Kel June 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

Sounds like a marvellous situation! I admire you for still being able to form a sentence – I would be catatonic on the floor under the dining table!
Hopefully Johnny Depp takes a stab in the Aussie housing market, buys up your rental and decides to do all the work himself. Shirtless.
When that happens, you know we’ll all be beating down your door, right?


Twitchy June 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

Kel, I like YOUR work. Many days I AM catatonic and over it, sometimes I even hide under my doona it all gets too much. I did not mention that during our time here, the corner block next door was razed and three double storey townhouses built along the length of our house. THAT nearly sent me homicidal, OMG THE NOISE 2m from our bedroom window! Karma WELL AND TRULY paid up in advance.

Lisa June 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

Ugh, what a nightmare! My only advice would be to just close your eyes and think of your lovely new house (and maybe Johnny Depp!) 🙂


Meagan June 25, 2013 at 9:57 am

Oh Twitchy! This sounds like a marvellous catastrophe… i hope they all pull their shiz together ASAP… I can only imagine what its like dealing with this day to day… URGH… power to you.. x


Oculus Mundi June 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

PS we also built a house from scratch, but just used a building company, an architect was not in the budget, Overall it turned out quite well and it was built in 6 months. Four years is beyond ridiculous. You poor things 🙁


Oculus Mundi June 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

Good grief. I suppose at least he’s trying to improve the place. But this amount of disruption would make me extremely aggro. He’s lucky you’re clearly quite a good natured soul.


Lydia C. Lee June 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

oh dear!! I’m in awe you have survived the motherfracking mess! (I am amazed anyone builds a house from scratch. We put in a wall and it almost killed me – especially when they discovered a structural flaw in the 100 year old house and it cost about 10 grand more than expected, but the house won’t collapse any more…


iSophie June 25, 2013 at 6:46 am

What a nightmare! We have a rental property, we would be in big trouble if we did stuff like that! How is your house going, can we see pics? Or is it not out of the ground at all? As we are in the middle of building here, I am intrigued!


Twitchy June 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

It took around 18 months or so just to get approval to demolish- because they don’t generally do it. First we fought council over and over because we refused to keep a single crumbling wall of that house. Had we done so, it would be classified a ‘renovation’ and it would’ve been done and dusted eons ago. THE HOOPS they made us jump through, the ridiculous, restrictive and contradictory guidelines… and the forms honestly came up to my waist. The architect nearly went insane.

Twitchy June 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

PS Am considering featuring the fit out as we go along. I am certain the architect plans to get us into a home magazine. Stay tuned over the coming weeks.

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