Early morning walks to work give the opportunity to observe life before it fully awakens. In one example this week watching the bin men leap from their truck to enter an underground car park yesterday gave me a giggle. The residents of this block of expensive flats doubtless sleep secure knowing that their cars are secured by a steel roller gate. In one of those oddities of life the pavement opposite the luxury flats is a favourite haunt of drunks and littered with cheap booze cans and bottles. I have no idea how this happens but luxury and poverty intertwine like dogs and fleas I guess this explained the roller shutter though.
My early morning bin men were not readily defeated by this secure gate which is rather odd considering they are regularly defeated by wheelie bins that don’t have the lid shut! Did they have a tradesmen’s key, well yes of a sort. Off leapt one man with two broom handles taped together, having passed the ‘key’ through the gate a few stabs resulted in contact with the button and up went the roller. For any H&S readers I should point out that he withdrew the broom handle without garrotting, broken bones, splinters or cramp. Having observed this I walked off chuckling wondering if the residents had a clue as to how close they were to being ‘overrun’ by the drunks. If they could master the co-ordination to attach two broom handles they could enter the relative warmth of the underground garage. I guess the steel gate could be replaced by a thin beam, a chicane or voice command since its only real protection is based on the absence of motor skills in drunks.
Another observation, and one that I have made before, is the lack of respect for property that comes from welfare. There are, certainly in the UK, a large number of people who live in housing provided by the state but this is often through private rental agreements. There is regular uproar in our press about how the vicious, capitalist landlords are distorting the market by sucking money from the welfare system. I would like to take a different perspective on this aided by observation. I purchased my first house at 19, it was a huge struggle. Now I appreciate the value of a property and would seek to preserve and increase its value wherever possible.
One of the problems with the welfare system is that we introduce people into a virtual property ladder. As families grow and funding is increased so new property is found. This takes years of effort and work in the real world but has no associated value in the welfare world. The result is that we have people who don’t appreciate the value of the property they reside in; their home has no effort associated with it. I noticed this sometime ago when my ex-wife painted the family home pink with flowers. The exercise in painting was at a level you would associate with a child painting a tree house. Walking around in the early morning I see many houses that have suffered the same fate, they look like a child’s project. Odd gardens and ill thought out design decisions make me wince, all the result of the residents having no financial connection with the property.
I rent my property now and have done for some years. As a tenant I treat the property with the same respect that I would if I was the owner. I maintain the property and repair issues as they arise in the same manner as I would if I owned it. The only difference as a tenant is that I don’t undertake capital investment, but then why would I when it is not my asset that would be improved. When you read that the landlords of these properties are ripping off the state or are manipulating the housing market don’t be misled. Think of handing the keys of your castle, your investment to a drunken 12-year-old, this is not an act of social charity more likely it is an act of commercial roulette.