There is nothing more knife-edge nerve wracking than the indeterminate days between moving out of a rented property and receiving a deposit back.
If you’ve never had the need/pleasure/desire to rent and then cease to rent, the general way of things is: pack possessions; empty flat; clean premises to within an inch of original paintwork; hoover; clean hoover; repeat.
Having been unfortunately tied into a lease beyond its usability, I trundled back up to Smokie-land armed with a fine toothbrush in a desperate bid to ensure my wad of near forgotten cash had a fighting chance of being returned to me.
My Other Half (OH) gave it the once over.
Claiming it would pass any military inspection - and he would know, being employed by Her Majesty’s finest – I posted the keys back through the door with a sense of unease.
For the following four days I couldn’t escape the feeling I had somehow foiled myself - a missed fluff-filled corner, failing to remove a wayward chip from an oven crevice or an unswept toaster crumb pile left abandoned.
The agent number appeared on my caller ID on day five and no amount of confidence in my own cleaning abilities, could quieten the nerves.
“The inspection (inspection?!) went well, Miss Pringle. No problems at all.”
An audible exhale of relief punctuated the conversation.
“However,” continued said agent. “There seems to be a problem with a tile in the kitchen.”
The cleaning was all pointless. All of it. My Cif scented sweat was wasted. I was always going to be scuppered by the blasted tile.
Cheap and mislaid I am convinced it was set as a landlord trap intent on dismantling deposits one pound at a time.
Was I aware of it? No. Well yes, I was aware that my soapy marigolds had failed to create enough friction with a large glass and yes I was aware that when it slipped from my grasp, to the floor, that not only the glass met a fractured end but also the tile beneath it.
But was I aware, you were going to notice the damage amongst the other seven cracked tiles? No.
I had actually anticipated that replacing the £1 glass to re-complete the set would have done it but alas, apparently there were photographs and everything.
No escape. So what it came down to in the end was a bartering exchange and a fairly pathetic one at that.
The agent offered me a time consuming period of pricing new tiles, quotes for installation, etc, etc. Or, an alternative of simply agreeing a price as compensation to the landlord for a crack in the crappy tile, that let’s be completely honest - will never be replaced and will languish broken for ever more.
In spite of all my pre-deposit worry, I really just wanted to be done with the whole process so I rushed my response.
An eighth of the prized money disappeared in one fell marigold-coloured swoop.
And after all, what else can I blame but failed yellow plastic gloves?