Mean-spirited, vengeful landlords versus landlords who have their heads screwed on properly

In England, many landlords do what they can to make the lives of their tenants as hard as possible. That strikes me as stupid, but it’s a consequence of the English class system. Landlords don’t consciously think about such things; they just have this fixed idea that people who rent deserve to be abused in some way.

I used to know a landlord in Southampton, who was a retired builder who took his boat over to France in the summers and who ran into me one day, a scientist (class system thinking kicking in), and showed me a new place that he was building and then blurted out “It does not need to be good as it’s only for tenants” before he kicked his shin when he remembered I was one of his tenants.

I used to know another one who was a friend for a while, who called tenants “bad tenants” if they called him to say that the heating was not working or that the washing machine he provided was not working. He was not a bad dude at all. His train of thoughts was simply pervaded by English class ideas without him being aware of it.

Landlords in England don’t even think twice about deliberately using inappropriate materials that encourage mold development in tenants’ homes. It does not occur to them. They don’t think about it at all. They grab the cheapest or the same tin of wall paint and apply the obligatory 2 tiles because that is what they’ve always done.

They don’t realize that if they don’t do whatever they can to support their tenants’ health and their general ability to support themselves, they are being pretty stupid. It is a mere consequence of the class system that landlords install energy-guzzling heating systems just because those were the cheapest ones on the market.

It does not mean that they are mean-spirited. It’s just how they are brought up. You eat fresh food and you give moldy and stale food to the poor. That’s just the way it is.

My current landlord, by contrast, is vengeful and mean-spirited.

He knows that I have been trapped here for years. He knows that I have made four attempts to escape from my abuse situation here in Portsmouth (while based at this flat) that all failed because I had no money. None. I had three options. Suicide, going homeless without access to financial support or remaining trapped in my sadistic abuse situation.

Over the years, he has made several attempts to evict me. Those attempts always contained stupid little errors that made it easy for me to show up in court and say “Your honor, this eviction attempt is not legal and here’s why”.

Each of these exercises cost him money. They cost me money too, and a lot of time. They sometimes forced me to run around all over town delivering documents and copies of documents, as required by law.

(He was of course also gathering information from me, for example with regard to which documents I had and which ones I did not have, as well as of my understanding of the legal process, but I doubt that he was doing that consciously.)

This guy is into playing stupid little games.

(He has some bad childhood hangups, so I understand.)

Instead of cutting his losses by giving me the money that would enable me to get away and finally establish a new life elsewhere – which landlords in the States commonly do, so I understand – he prefers to sustain bigger losses, take me to court, time and time again, just so that he can play his stupid little games.

Maybe he has a hangup with regard to women who went to university. Maybe his parents were once evicted by a Dutch landlord. I have no idea.

He changed his company’s bank account without informing me (the old bank account ceased to exist), and he later changed his office address without informing me. His new office address has no doorbell and no letterbox. Most of the time, postal mail gets returned or is not acknowledged. He sends letters and e-mails on different letterheads for companies of which at least one does not even exist…

(Remember that I can’t call anyone without needing to travel out of town first, so I no longer have an easy way of contacting his offices. When I still could, my calls and other tenants’ calls, however, also used to be ignored.)

He does childish things like make appointments for inspections and then send someone over on the wrong day just so that he can say that I am a problem tenant.

Maybe his childhood included evictions, indeed. Maybe he now takes joy in seeing bailiffs show up at his tenants’ doors. More likely, I think, he is simply playing stupid eviction games because it helps him get over his childhood hangups.

Whatever it is that is driving his petty vengeful behaviors, the only way you can stop someone who is that unhinged from continuing to play his stupid little games is to stop playing along with these eviction games altogether. After all, if you succeed in blocking the eviction attempt, all you have done is guarantee that you remain someone else’s toy.

It has been suggested on one occasion that he is the one behind my ordeal in this town. I don’t think so. First of all, that ordeal began several years before I moved into my current flat and second, I don’t think my landlord is as stupid as to engage in deliberately sabotaging a tenant’s income and all that. (Go into my flat to take socks from my dirty laundry or break my folding stepping stool, etc?) That would be quite a different ballgame, a much riskier one.

There’s this, too:

Even organizations like Shelter and Centrepoint are pervaded by silly English class ideas. It’s much easier to get support from them if think you are uneducated, not too smart and very poor. They have no problem with causing extra costs for you if they realize you don’t fit that bill. That too is pretty petty.

The same kind of pettiness is at work when homeless people are arrested for “vagrancy” under a 200-year-old law:

By the way, the UK may be the only western country where you can be evicted for no reason, in a so-called “no-fault” eviction, which the UK government has been promising to end for a long time too. Just like that 200-year-old Vagrancy Act.

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