Wednesday, 11 July 2012

So my kitchen roof collapsed...

There's not mush room in our kitchen. By which I mean there are mushrooms in our kitchen. And not the good 'we're making risotto' way. In a 'growing out of the walls' way. And then the roof fell in.

Long story short, student landlords really suck sometimes. We've had some pretty intense storms in the UK a few weeks ago which our buildings are just not designed to deal with. After a few weeks of calling our estate agents to tell them that the ceiling above the back door was sagging and the (load bearing) wall next to it was bulging alarmingly and being ignored, my flatmates went in this morning to let them know the ceiling had collapsed during the night. When I say collapsed there's not an actual hole, just a lot of rotten plaster that's fallen off and places where you can see daylight through the slats.

We're all fine by the way, if a little dizzy from cleaning fumes. We're all moving out in the next week or so and so we're getting the place as clean as we can (mushrooms not withstanding) and trying to reduce our worldly possessions into something that will fit into the back of a parent's car. It's kind of like being a monk, at least in the sense that we get to wear robes for graduation.

All this sorting of possessions has made me think about how much I buy and how much of it I actually need. I'm not exactly surprised to say that my main extravagance seems to be books; not necessarily in the money they cost me but in the space they take up. I think nothing of buying a book 'just to see' if it's reduced to £1 or so, despite having a whole shelf to be getting round to. I borrow books from book exchanges and splurge on Amazon. When I was a kid my school library would sell off books from time to time. They cost 10p each and I still spent my entire dinner money on them more than once. More than once in the same week. Clearly I have a problem. And sicne all this cleaning and sorting is putting me in a New Year's Resolution mode, I'm going to make some for the new academic year.

1) I will use libraries more and get fined less.

2) I will not by books I'm not going to reread.

3) I will go through the books I'm not reading and get rid of them.

Of course I doubt that all of that is going to stick. But I have given away two whole carrier bags worth of books to friends, Amnesty International and book exchanges. And packed two crates and a suitcase full of them, with maybe another box to go. Um...


  1. Glad to know no one got hurt when your roof collapsed! The landlords should be held accountable for that alarming problem. Even after the roof has been repaired, they should ensure that there are no termites and leaks up there, as these two are the most popular causes of a sagging ceiling.

    Elizabeth Hoffnung

    1. Thanks: it was a bit alarming at the time. Thankfully we're no longer living there although I worry about the next tennants, assuming they've managed to let it: they were still sending people round for viewings fairly close to our move-out date. Students are really vulnerable to being exploited bt lazy/negligent landlords.

  2. Thank goodness you moved out of that place already, Kate! It’s very hazardous to live in a place where there’s always a danger of the roof collapsing. You are right about irresponsible landlords. They should have had the roof fixed and secured before offering the unit to interested viewers.

    Missie Rice

    1. Thank you for saying so! It was probably less bad than it sounds but for weeks I was terrified of the bathroom floor caving in every time I showered!

      You're absolutely right of course: there should really be some kind of regulating body. A friend of mine just had to move out of his flat because it was declared legally uninhabitable (luckily some kind of health authority got involved and dissolved his contract so he got back some of his rent). For now I'm just happy no one got hurt.

  3. That was very unfortunate! Roofs are there to protect us from disaster, and it’s certainly bad when the disaster is the roof itself. It should really be the responsibility of the landlord to make sure that everything is fine with the room. It’s not enough that the roof got fixed. They should also check it once in a while to prevent the roof from caving in.

    1. I absolutely agree. The apartment I'm in now leaks in strong rain but the building staff are really good about fixing it. With it being a listed building I don't think there's not much they can legally do apart from patch the leaks as they happen.

      Thanks for commenting.