A Notice To Quit is a legal document. It gives the tenant two months to vacate the rented property. When a tenant has a rental agreement called a Short Assured Tenancy then each and every court in the land must evict the tenant, by law, no matter what the circumstances are, once the Notice has been served.
Tenants are human beings, living in homes they rent because they cannot afford to buy or build. Tenants are families, communities. We are the landless – the lottery players eager to scoop enough to change the pattern of our lives. We are the dreamers of huts and yurts in wooded places. We are the ones wanting sheds as dwellings. We are rootless, wanting to be planted, waiting for the time when we can choose to live in our forever homes. We are the majority of the Scottish people, desperate for Land Reform.
A Notice To Quit is a terrifying thing. My hands shook uncontrollably as I read it. My speech stopped, only stuttery sounds came out. My body convulsed. My daughter was terrified as she watched me. We tried to phone our friend but the phone jumped in my hand and I couldn’t dial the number. She was hysterical. When the words finally formed and were spoken, to our friend, she screamed as she heard them. She threw herself onto the couch and howled. I had to hang up the phone. It took hours to calm her down.
This is the power the housing provider has over the tenant.
We have loved this house, our home and sanctuary for ten months. It’s an old army house on a large ex-army estate. It’s built like a bomb shelter but I made it cosy and comfy and beautiful. I cared for the house and the garden, making each corner as pretty as possible. The immediate effect of forced eviction is the removal of that care, that respect for the house. It is no longer our home and as such, we now find it difficult to respect the property. It seems we project our frustration of the situation into the very bricks that last week we loved.
I was determined to stay until the sheriff’s officers and polis came to sling me out. To anyone who would listen I said I would fight. Kind friends mentioned stress, ill health and should the child be dragged through that. But I am as stubborn as forty mules and would not be dissuaded. And then something quite strange happened.
I was happily fuming, pacing, chain smoking, knocking back the wine and plotting the down fall of my housing provider, when two women I barely know suggested I view a house in Findhorn Village. I wasn’t sure, wasn’t keen but my daughter nagged and cajoled until I relented.
We walked in, sat down in the kitchen and the tears poured from me. It’s the same as the house I bought many years ago in Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, except of course, the owner has taken the time to renovate it, to install heating, double glazing, even smoke alarms. It has wood burning stoves. It comes with a shed that sings writer’s studio. It’s a very short walk to the beach. I couldn’t speak. Some sort of weird warm fuzzy feeling had taken me by surprise. The child had to do all the talking, and she was grinning and nodding at the owner and saying yes yes yes, I can just lock Mum in the shed, let her out to cook, she’ll be perfectly happy here, she can write and walk and do her dreaming, it’ll be fine.
The boxes are being packed again. I have a good feeling about this next move. I am also happy to report that the next tenant here in the bomb shelter will benefit from a new gas hob, a working hot water system, and many other minor improvements, thanks to this blog and this stubborn as forty mules woman.