Sunday, 26 August 2012

How Not To Upset Your Flatmates

My son has not yet fully moved into his London apartment (aka black hole) but already squabbling has started amongst the flatmates.  This doesn’t bode well for harmony in the months ahead. 

Let me backtrack.  There are four students in total, of which my son is one.  Three lads and a young lady.  Prior to this merry band of four renting the black hole, Rob assured me all of them got on like a house on fire.  Which in some respects is true, because there have been lots of smoke signals these past few days culminating in major fireworks. 

It all started when Rob and – I’ll call them Wayne, Duane and, um, Jane – went to view the black hole.  Well actually it was just Rob, Wayne and Jane, because Duane had failed his exams and was swotting for a re-sit.  ‘Can I leave you guys to view lettings on my behalf?’ he asked.  ‘Sure,’ the others said.  As their budget was tight, there were only a limited number of properties available – which ranged from heave-makingly disgusting to dismally dire.  They elected for dismally dire.  A series of photographs were taken, including a video.  These were immediately sent off to Duane.  Duane viewed them before giving the thumbs up.  ‘That’ll do,’ he texted, ‘and if you guys don’t mind, I want the bedroom with the desk in it.’  The others agreed and sorted out the remaining choice of rooms between themselves. 

As I blogged previously, when I moved my son’s stuff into his digs I was appalled at the condition of the place.  Filthy wasn’t a word which came close to describing it.  Rob, Wayne, Jane, myself and my father (who’d kindly agreed to help) spent hours scrubbing the place from top to bottom.  Duane didn’t join in with the cleaning because, exhausted from revision and exams, he’d now taken himself off on holiday for two weeks.  Which rather annoyed Jane because Duane had said he was broke and still owed her £300 deposit money.

Over the last couple of weeks Rob has been in and out of the black hole overseeing men from the gas board to check dodgy looking appliances and arrival of furniture, and Jane – along with her own parents – forked out for paint and spent three days tarting up skirting boards and doors in an attempt to make the place look less of a black hole and more of a, well, grey hole I suppose.  At no point did Duane put in an appearance.  And he still owed £300 deposit money to Jane.

And then yesterday, while Rob was at work (his summer job), Duane phoned.  ‘I’m just moving my stuff in Rob and I’m not happy.  In fact I’m livid.’  ‘What’s up?’ Rob asked.  ‘This London apartment you’ve all leased is a naffing black hole.  So I’m angry.  Fuming in fact.  And I’ve changed my mind about having the room with the desk.  It’s too dark.  I’ll have the lounge as my bedroom instead.’ 

Unfortunately Wayne, Jane and Rob are not in agreement to Duane having the lounge as his bedroom.  The lounge was a deciding factor in them taking the lease because of its size.  It can accommodate a dining table for them all, a couple of sofas and is big enough to entertain friends.  They’ve already clubbed together and bought a projector for movies in there – which Duane incidentally also owes money towards.  Duane threatened not to pay Jane the outstanding £300 deposit money if he didn’t get his own way.  Jane promptly burst into tears.  So Rob and Wayne banded together and politely, but firmly, told Duane he was bang out of order.  It was pointed out that Duane had the first pick of the bedrooms, didn’t avail himself to viewing properties, failed to do his share of cleaning and still hadn’t stumped up monies owing.  Result?  Duane having the mother of all tantrums and calling Rob, Wayne and Jane some rather choice names. 

So not a good start.  And if it’s like this now, frankly I wonder who will be talking to whom this time next year. 

Which reminds me, did you hear about the guy who pushed his friend under a steamroller?  He wanted a flat mate...


  1. Duane sounds like a pain in the bum and they haven't even moved in yet. Good luck, the rest of them. It doesn't bode well does it...