The shortest tennancy

The briefest time I have ever lived in one house began, and ended, during the mid-winter of last year. I had spent the early part of the winter living in a big renovated villa with my partner and two children. The cold and damp had driven us to find somewhere smaller and warmer. After several weekends of visiting different houses and meeting landlords, we were growing ever colder and more impatient.

Finally we found what we thought to be the house of our dreams. A neat little three bedroomed bungalow that was small, warm, beautifully decorated and with a dishwasher as the icing on the cake. We were so excited when we moved in, I believe I had fully unpacked within two days. The place was so welcoming, we felt like we were home at last.

I wish I could say this contentment lasted, but almost immediately we were hit with the most extraordinary bad luck. The electrics and plumbing malfunctioned in the house to the point we could only ever plug one appliance in at a time and any shower longer than two minutes was a cold one. We managed to ding the rear end of the car on a pole as we were backing out of our driveway one morning and this was the last thing we needed since moving had already stretched us enormously financially. The landlord was unable to have our problems repaired within a fortnight and so we settled in for an uncomfortable time.

The house’s problems alone were enough for us to consider handing in our notice, but our financial situation meant that we simply could not afford to move. Things went from bad to worse, nothing seemed to go right. It also seemed we were all suffering from forgettfullness as things were forever disappearing from places we were sure we had left them. This very quickly escalated to the point we began to feel there was more to it than mere bad memories or even bad luck, even though we managed to keep our fears from the children. Things continued to disappear and would reappear (if we were lucky) in places we knew for certain we would have never put them. In the evening, thankfully when the children were asleep, lights would turn on and off, doors and curtains would open when we left a room for a few minutes and so many other mysterious happenings occurred I don’t think I could list them all now.

Still, we knew we simply could not afford to leave and there was little else to do but try and keep things as sensible as possible and ignore what was going on as much as we could. My nerves and patience began to reach their limits when one day two hundred dollars managed to disappear from my wallet that I had withdrawn from the bank to pay a bill. I’d been alone at home at the time and I still can not come up with a logical explanation as to where it could have gone and no, I am not the type of person to ferret that kind of money away for some treat or other, we couldn’t have afforded that sort of extravagance.

At this point we had not even lived in the house a month, and already it had gone from our dream home to our biggest nightmare. There began to be phantom knocks at the door, waking in the morning to a freezing house and all the doors unlocked and wide open. Because of this, we disgregarded the tenancy agreement and brought our dog in to sleep at night. We may not have been able to keep the doors shut at night, but hopefully she would disuade any intruders.

One evening my daughter screamed out that someone was in her room and was as pale as her sheets when I ran in to her. I saw nothing, and I suppose it could have been a nightmare. But I have never known her to be that frightened and so shaken. She slept with us that, and most of the following nights in that house. I couldn’t think what to do, how on earth could we get out of this situation?

The whole house was woken one evening, still less than a month since we had moved in, by the roller blind in my sons room flying open and his light coming on by itself. It was pretty safe to say that the children were no longer under any illusions, we had to get out. The following evening my son and partner left to take the dog for a walk and I sat on my bed trying to get my daughter to sleep. After awhile I noticed my partner walking past the bedroom door and called out to him to please bring me a glass of water. When he didn’t reply or return with the water, I went stomped out to get it myself just in time to meet him and my son arriving at the front door from their walk. Who had that very solid looking person been that strolled down our hallway? We searched the house and found no intruder.

Once the children finally both fell asleep in our bed, we went out to the lounge to discuss our options. After a while we were disturbed by the familiar sound of our dog rapping persistantly at the french doors to be let in. She was always quite polite in knocking to be let in, but never one to take no for an answer. So my partner gave up and got up to let her in, just as she walked through the hall door from where she had been asleep in the bedroom. No way was I going to look outside to see what had been knocking.

Well, our breaking point had truly been reached by now. I rang the following morning to give our landlord his 3 weeks notice but I was determined we would not spend another night in that house, even if it meant paying two sets of rent. As it turned out, that is what we had to do, and we are still struggling to recover from the whole experience even 6 months later. I don’t regret leaving for anything, and even if we had ended up bankrupt I would have done the same again.

It is all worth it because now we are living in a lovely little flat, occupied only by our family and pets. If it gets too cold next winter, well I’ll just buy a couple more heaters.

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