Jezebel’s What’s The Buzz, April 2024

Winter is a quiet time for us compared with the full-on summer, and so we have a ‘winter list’ of jobs to get done while we have the chance.

On March 1st our favourite beach restaurant reopened, and we decided to celebrate with the first lunch and swim of the year. We chatted about the remaining tasks on the list, and how we were on course to complete it before the season started.

Until, just as our plates were being cleared, my phone pinged with a WhatsApp message from our landlady’s daughter, giving us 30 days notice to leave our home and business location of fourteen years.

Desert and swim forgotten, the leisurely lunch quickly became a crisis meeting and we zoomed home to start house-hunting.

Rental prices have shot up over the last decade. The laws restricting how often and much a landlord can put rent up, can’t stop them giving notice and then re-advertising the property at three times the price. We would have to pay way more than we currently do, and massively downsize.

So, our hunt for an affordable, pet friendly house quiet enough to record in, with plenty of parking, began. We saw eight houses in three days. One was perfect, with a separate flat ideal for a studio, but the ad said No Pets. When I begged them to allow two cats, the landlady said pets were not allowed because her mother was allergic and lived in the house. We wanted a granny flat, but not an actual granny!

Within a week we found a lovely but tiny house. Now we had three weeks to sell 50% of our belongings, move, and finish our winter list. One job was to deliver multiple brochures – usually we make this a day’s adventure, including a pleasant lunch stop. Now, we needed to just get it done, and chose a Sunday so there’d be less traffic. But we hadn’t reckoned on The Marathon. With the major routes closed to traffic, we gave up and decided to post them instead.

At the post office with the first batch, I was told each envelope would cost 85c. I paid, licked and posted accordingly. Next day, batch number 2, the price was 50c. “But it was 85c yesterday” I said, to be offered a shrug and, yes, she actually said: “This is Cyprus”. I licked and stamped, but was short one stamp. Back at the counter, I was handed a 30c stamp. Rents go up; postage goes down. At this rate, next week they’ll be paying me to take the stamps.

We’ve always got on reasonably well with our landlord and landlady, who live next door, apart from worsening damp and water pressure problems over the years which they refused to address, finally telling us that if we wanted a water pressure pump, we would have to organise and pay for it ourselves, which we did last September. Complaining about the rising damp taking over the house, we were merely told to open the windows!

Three months ago our landlady asked us to send the rent money to her daughter overseas, who we’d never heard of. When I happened to mention this to my hairdresser who lives locally, she told me that the house actually belongs to the daughter, who fell out with her parents years ago and moved abroad. But our contract remains with her mother.

After her parents’ latest refusal to consider the damp issue, I asked said daughter (who texts fluent English) to explain the urgency to her parents. She freaked out, sending pages of WhatsApp messages demanding why we’d never mentioned it before, why we’d put in a water pressure pump, why we’d not reported the low water pressure. Sigh. These messages begin when she wakes up about 4pm, and continue til 4am. Every day she sends another tradesman, always with her parents in tow, shouting and marching through the house, switching off the water, the electricity – all while we are trying to prepare the new house, pack up/sell/give away our belongings, cope with the stress of moving and keep the business going. She demanded, on pain of legal action, we remove the water pump, so now we are back to being unable to shower.

We asked our landlord to please wait until we’d gone to sort out the plumbing, as we need to be left in peace, and he agreed. When the daughter heard this, she flipped and said he has no right as he’s not on the rental contract. Nor, of course, is she, but currently, she’s threatening to have her parents arrested for making decisions about her property without her permission.

It’s utterly galling, having lived with a hopeless shower, a bath that takes two hours to fill, and damp, crumbling mouldy walls for years; now that we are finally moving out, in our last weeks we have to put up with these problems being fixed, and will never get the benefit, nor find out how this family feud plays out.

But let’s see what new adventures await..

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