The first year passes like a dream and as the summer break closes in, you leave it to your child to arrange their accommodation for the next year. Most want the freedom of living together with their friends; Matt from Poole, Julia from Derby, Isaac from Chelmsford and Karen from Kingston on Thames whose father is a merchant banker and mother is big in publishing. You met them all when you first dropped your own 18 year old off. They all looked clean cut, polite, well mannered and the parents were similar although a little nervous and uncertain; very much like yourself. You’re confident that wherever they choose to live together will be of a high standard!
Summer comes and goes; you’ve barely seen your now more confident and assured son or daughter. They haven’t really needed you as they’ve slept through most of the summer mornings and been out most summer nights. They’ve surfaced occasionally for food and to ask to borrow a tenner that turns into a twenty when you have nothing smaller. You never see it again btw.
Next thing you know they’re packing up heading down the A1 in a car stacked with sports bags, pillows and Asda bags full of provisions that mother feels are essential if their little darling is to see through the first few weeks before student finance sort out their act!
“It’s just down there dad, past the second hand furniture shop, the taxi office and the all night off licence; it’s next to the one with the security gate attached to the external frame of the front door”
Unlike the neighbours’, the property looks ok from the outside but doesn’t stand up to inspection once you get inside. It’s shabby. Its lick of paint has been put on slapdash; by a jobbing builder, whose main talent is roofing or laying pavements not painting and decorating.
It is advertised as fully furnished yet the fixtures and fittings are definitely 1980’s, the wiring suspect, the carpets threadbare, the bathroom and kitchen require modernizing and while modern features from the 1990’s such as a microwave and washer drier are installed, they are definitely not of the most modern range that tenants have become accustomed to as standard.
There are no telephony or internet connection facilities. There is however a sticker on the grubby fridge door advertising a local store ran by a friend of the landlord, whose nephew can arrange internet connectivity by hanging off the back of the neighbours hi-speed connection via a series of cables, copper wire and a couple of cocktail sticks stuck in the back of special black box that he gets from a contact in Ghuangdhu.
What is obvious is that the absentee landlord is doing the bare minimum to justify the rent he is charging. He doesn’t live in the house therefore he has no real interest in anyone’s opinion of its condition. He knows that with demand outstripping supply he will eventually find someone who will sign up to his terms and conditions of tenure.
But you learn that all is not lost. The Absentee Landlord has been in discussion with a Housing Association with a track record in regional development and presented him with a plan that will not only completely refurbish his property buy also help regenerate the whole area as most of the other property owners have agreed that if the absentee landlord commits to the remedial work necessary to bring his property up to a modern functioning standard, they too will reciprocate; clearing their gardens of waste, updating the general wellbeing of the are and working with the local authority to bring life to this once vibrant part of the city. All it will take will be for the Absentee Landlord to invest in his own property and trust the Housing Association that they can bring the property up to the standard expected; supported by the Regional Development Agency.
As you leave your son or daughter with four weeks of tinned food, a limitless supply of pot noodles and £20 credit on their phone your abiding thought is will the absentee landlord take up the Housing Associations offer and by the time you return to collect their belongings at the end year two you can see the changes that have been made have really made a difference. And most importantly, your son or daughter wants to stay and sign up in the property for the duration of year three.
Of course, there is nothing to stop an Absentee Landlord selling his property to someone who wants to work with the Housing Association; not only putting the physical house back in order but also adding new modern fixtures and fittings, perhaps building an extension, tidying up the gardens and garage and creating a property that puts the pride back into the area
Any Absentee Landlord wishing to know more about the works of the Housing Association referred to, what is has to offer and how it can bring regeneration to run down properties and areas, please check out the record of its Chief Executive Rafa Benitez @rafabenitezweb
For more on Development Agencies in your area check out @IfRafaGoesWeGo #IfRafaGoesWeGo