The fantasy where the landlord leaves you the house is not so different from any inheritance or lottery-winning fantasy, except it is that much more tangible. You can see it all around you.
You sit around after dinner and think about what could be: “If the landlord left us the house, we would put in a window so the sun comes in the kitchen!”
The fantasy comes from love for the house and the neighbourhood you live, and the knowledge that you don’t know how long you can be there.
The fantasy is about inheritance, not about buying, because that isn’t possible.
The fantasy is stoked with sound reasoning: “They have so many houses, they wouldn’t even notice it,” or “They haven’t come here in ten years, they wouldn’t miss it.” In one of last houses, my flatmate had known the landlord since he was a kid. They got along well. My flatmate would visit him when he was sick. He didn’t have any kids to bequeath the house to. It might happen, right? Wrong!
That’s why I was interested to read today that the fantasy at least once has been lived out – to the point of the inheritance, though not beyond.
It’s a fantastic piece by Miriama Kamo, published in Metro last year. It’s about a house auction in Grey Lynn, and introduces us to a whole lot of interesting characters. The seller lived his whole life in a “freezing”, old rental home in Grey Lynn. The landlord, who he says thought of him as a grandkid, bequeathed it to him when she died.
He says, “I’m not selling this house for any price. It has to hit a million; otherwise, it’s not worth it. It’s my home.” It goes for 1.2 million. His mother goes to the new owner and says, “Welcome home.”
The house had not yet been renovated. Currently it is the home of renters.