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Shipping containers ..and moving home during a pandemic ?


Bfg
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Hi all,

My landlady dropped off a letter yesterday to say that her brother now wants to live in this house ..and so they will be instructing the agent to end my tenancy agreement.  

No date was given but I've been here 16 years and I'd rather not to discard a whole lot of  ' my stuff ' within the next 2- 3 months. 

The plan was to try and get my little boat ready to move onto (liveaboard) for this time next year, and so their timing is 6 winter months earlier than convenient.  Anyway to save trying to find and move into another house with garage and garden shed right now - I'm considering buying a 20ft container and finding somewhere to store that.  Then I'd find somewhere a tiny hovel to live in,  just until I could move onto the boat. 

So,  does anyone know anyone who sells one-trip or otherwise low mileage shipping containers ? 

Thanks, Pete.

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If you have any local storage companies you may find it's cheaper to rent one for a short (hopefully!) time rather than  buy one then have to find somewhere to keep it. 

I checked Gumtree locally and in my area there's five or six containers for sale, but quite expensive; but Gumtree is a starting point for both containers and storage facilities.

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Thanks Colin, 

Inbetween old cars and older bikes I'm present working towards living aboard my old boat, and the likelihood is that I'll end up abroad somewhere (.. possibly Spain or Portugal).  So to buy a plated (certificate of safety for shipping) shipping container seems to make sense.   Brexit ..if you still remember that fiasco, might have put paid to that idea - I don't know. 

Pete.

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On Thursday the landlady came around so we've now spoken face to face about this ..and I've been served 3 months notice.  The present legal minimum doesn't seem much after 16 years but it is what it is.  Next door is an agricultural worker / tied-cottage situation and he's turned down two properties they offered, but I guess they're going to approach him again. Then the place will be gutted and made into a modern home with special needs adaption for the brother who is lower leg amputee and massively over weight. 

I've also explained that next May would be much better for me, with regard to selling a motorcycle and the possibility of my moving onto the boat. They will bear that in mind in accordance with as n' when next-door accepts whatever else they might be prepared to offer him.  He's been here 30 years and doesn't like the brother - so their negotiation will not be an easy one unless they dig pretty deep into their pocket. 

I also asked about the possibility of leaving a container on the farm somewhere, and the landlady is open to the idea.  I only just started looking at other possibilities but with a 13 week deadline that now seems to be the most likely way to move forward.  No ground fee or duration has yet been discussed.

Loosing ones home is all a lot to take in. 

Pete

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To be honest I'm very upset and now faced with the reality of the situation - quite anxious.

I'm also rather disappointed in my landlady.  Her letter had said  "Please accept this letter as an intention that we will be instructing the estate agent to end your tenancy in the foreseeable future, with a generous notice period"   Although dated 19th May, it was not hand delivered here until Tuesday (26th) and then two days later I'm given the legal-minimum notice.

The house I rent is a run-down property which is part of a farm.  After 16 years of being a "never-any-trouble" tenant (her words) - my landlady has suddenly given me 3-months notice to leave because her brother (who owns a beautiful barn conversion on the farm) has a "yearning"  to live here. 

I am not a farm hand so have no claim as a tied-cottage, but I have always paid on time. The rent is cheap, but then I've never asked for things to be done except essentials like the water heater leaking through the ceiling.  I've always accepted the (literally) threadbare carpets, rising damp, woodworm, the crumbling masonry and the farm track ..along with the flies and mice from the farmyard, because it is in the countryside and I have a garage in which I can work on restoring motorcycles (which I already own), to then sell - so that I can pay my bills.  Bottom line is that it's not a quick thing to find another property that is suitable &/or which I can afford.  

I accept it's their property, on their farm, so they have the right to do as they wish, but as it has been my home for such a long time - I do have a lot of stuff to clear, and even the charity shops are closed for another couple of weeks.  But the real difficulty is in, as a 63 year old, having to find somewhere else to go to, and to physically move out at such short notice ..on my own.  That in itself is difficult enough,  but we are all a little frightened to even go to a supermarket ..so I cannot call on my friends to help.  If we were coming out of the coronavirus then it wouldn't be so bad, but I fear Suffolk figures catching up with the worse hit counties and then 'the second wave'.  Even moving to another area where I don't know where the shops are, or those shop's inside layout adds to the anxiety  ..people just don't want you to stop them to ask.  Moving and having to sort out / connect services, when companies and their employees are on skeleton staff and keeping their distance, would just add to the issues. 

In view of all the above - I'm having second thought as to whether I should stand my ground.  Had the family been kind and given me four to six months then I would have gone quietly,  but as it is I'm tempted to say no to them  ..not until this pandemic has been dealt with.  Perhaps in 12 months time. 

It's just a thought at this time because I'm upset  ..and because their selfishness has rattled my cage.!

..but Bfg might soon stand for something other than 'friendly'

Pete.

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Not good, and I feel for you. I've no idea on Property Law - must ask the younger member of the family - but as you say it's the worst time of any year to have to move, when the country is in lockdown and companies are either closed or running on a shoestring. 

Is there any chance, at the very least, they'll give you some kind of storage until you can get things sorted out? Legal fees can be quite pricey if you go that way, they're probably operating within the law no matter how much of a dirty move it seems, but if you honestly have nowhere else to go and cannot find anywhere due to the current crisis you'd think they'd give you more notice, and if they can't, just a little bit of assistance with storage, even for a small fee, until you get somewhere suitable.

Alas all I can do is offer sympathy, which is an empty gesture, and hope that something works out.

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Thank you,

I'll give it a while for me to come to terms with the situation. But equally, as being good tenant hasn't earnt me any consideration on their part - why in return should I now be so very compliant to their whims ?  

My present thought is to draft a letter (but not send it yet ) which says..  yes I'll accept leaving within the minimum-legal-notice basis,  but that will be dated from when the coronavirus emergency measures are officially lifted.   This is on the grounds that, as an over 60 year old with imperfect health - it is unwise to go around viewing properties,  or to move into a shared-house situation (..which is about all I can afford),  nor would I want to rent a van which hasn't been sterilized, or to move into another area where I will need to sign up with doctor,  dentist,  find my way around new shops,  etc.,  etc.    And as someone already on the waiting list for a hernia operation, then for me to move house at this time is equally not good.  

However, in the meantime, their Architect is free to come in to the house to take measurements, necessary for their planning, and they can order and bring building materials into the garden to get things ready, but the builder will have to wait ..not least until next door tied-cottage tenant is sorted anyway. 

If worded carefully - I dare to hope she will accept that as being reasonable ..in the circumstance, and that the brother may be yearning but is not actually 'needing'  things to happen so very quickly.  If on the other hand she take's issue ..then they can see what the courts say of their urgency to kick me out. 

Certainly I'd much prefer to not have any such aggravation - but moving house very quickly, at this particular time, is that anyway.  

And it's true that I'd like to buy and keep a container somewhere - but if she does get upset with me - then I'm sure there must be other landowners who would like a hundred quid cash each month for the sake of a corner of their yard that's not been used for 20 years.  

Still, there's a lot to think about and even more to start getting done.

Pete.

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Ignoring the health issues, as I'd say those are reasonable at the current time, I'd certainly be pushing the "It would obviously be a lot easier for me to be out on your requested schedule if you let me keep a storage container on the farm for £xxx/year, going up in line with inflation every year for the next 10 years.", leaving the implied "Or if you prefer not to rub my back, don't expect me to rub yours..." hanging in the air.

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So sorry to hear this Pete :(  I will do a bit of checking re the tied cottage, but there is something somewhere about a right to live in an area that you have been in for a long period. Legal help i am sure can be obtained free. Have a look at this site. https://www.generationrent.org/i_have_been_asked_to_move_out.... Personally i would stand my ground which can involve a couple of years if you push it.

Tony.

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^ Thanks guys,

I have taken advice from Citizens Advice ..and legally they are within their rights to give me notice to leave..  Remember : we do not have a justice system - we have a legal system ..which deals impartially with rules and not issues of fairness, nor kindness, and only considers what is reasonable.

Anyway latest is ..  I've just had a meeting with the Landlady, who was very friendly and reassuring in a non-definable way ..but I can take things at my own pace  and we need to keep in touch as things progress.  She cannot agree to my request, to date the notice-to-vacate from the end of the coronavirus emergency, because no-one knows how long it will last.  But she said she'll not kick me out on the street.  My impression being that the notice given will stay in place, but will be a sort of rolling-according-to-the-situation basis.

I reiterated that I don't want to move while this pandemic is still in the air so to speak, nor do I want to do myself a damage by lugging boxes around when I'm waiting for a hernia op.  ..which is delayed by the virus.. 

We also discussed her brother, wife, step daughter, and mother in law moving in here,  even though next door is a tied-cottage farm worker (so they can't get him out unless they very generously buy him out).  The brother has a 50+" waistline and is an amputee in an electric wheelchair., so at home he'll need a chair lift ..and these stairs are too tight and the walls are wattle and daub so are not robust enough to carry that load.  Even if he got up stairs under his own steam (prosthetic lower leg) there are two steps at the end of landing before the bedroom, and another two steps down to the bathroom.  His wife on the other hand is a little madam used to living in a beautiful barn conversion, so the tiny kitchen (down a step), rising damp and woodworm would I am sure delight her.  In short., the landlady and I agree that the only real prospect is to wait until next door agrees to leave and then take over the whole building (that end of the house has even more steps and even tighter stairs).  So the whole of the interior will need to be gutted and knocked into one, and modified to accommodate his size and disabilities.  

Because there's no date, the landlady's present reassurances doesn't really add up to very much ..so it's still an uncomfortably uncertain  situation, which is I guess their objective.  But on the other hand I'm no worse off than if I were to ignore the notice and push them into evicting me in three months time. 

As the brother has not been in, or even up to this house since I moved in, in 2004,  I think I'll take some photos and described to him how improbable his idea to move in to this end of the house really is.

All too many fun and games.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Following on from my previous posts when I was given the 90 day / legal minimum notice to vacate where I've lived and worked (from home).

My response was to write a letter to say OK I accept that I must leave, but also how disappointed I was, how I considered it unfair to give just 90 days notice, and I tried to explain some of the ramifications of telling an old guy to go rental-house hunting and move out during a pandemic, that it’s not a good time to sell stuff or even to give it away, and that I couldn't even ask friends to help. I appealed to the family farm owners to let me wait until after the state of emergency.

The appeal was received and considered with expressed empathy but the notice remains in place. However, depending on circumstance and the effort I’m seen to be making - I might expect some flexibility on the final get-out-by date.

 

Well since then I wrote again, likewise very politely.. to express that while next door (farm worker / tied cottage situation) was installed, then this end of the house was of little use to the amputee (largely wheelchair bound and vastly overweight) brother because this staircase is too tight and its walls are not structural for a chair lift. And then on the landing there are another two steps before the bedroom and another two down to the bathroom.

I also added that I now have the opportunity, through a close friend, to take a small, nice, but inexpensive apartment in town. However it will most likely not be available until next April. I thought this would be totally unacceptable timeline for the landlady's brother, but nevertheless thought it worth a shot to run it passed them.

 

Well, it then took another two weeks of my trying not to bite nails, before the landlady came to reply in person. Bottom line is that the legal minimum notice will remain in place but, as suggested beforehand, they won't kick me out on the streets. And then., " I'm not saying this but .. I cannot see what the (brother's) haste is. And September so quickly turns to October and then November, and we couldn't ask you to leave over Christmas ! And then it's the new year and before you know it., it's coming on April".

So it seems I have an unofficial (not legally binding / not even family binding) understanding, that I might not have to leave until April. Which is of course Great News. I have said that I will continue to clear and be ready to go, so should that apartment's existing tenants decide to move out before that time (there may be reasons with they being a Polish couple away from their family at this time, and also their working in a restaurant ..which is closed with the virus, and then with whatever might happen because of Brexit ).


So, my plan this year was ; to concentrate on getting my boat  Barbara-B  back onto the water and to refit the basic systems to make her habitable. I'd then spend another winter in the house (selling up through those months) before making moves (putting other stuff into storage) to live aboard in summer 2021.

But now with the way things have panned out - mean that I'll now spend this year selling up and will only work on the boat when home and personal effects are whittled down to the bare minimum. The focus then is to get on with selling as much as I can, as well as getting my motorcycles and other projects in a fit state to sell or otherwise to store. - I can live with that.

Coming to terms with concluding my many past lives, career, familiar places & faces and home - to move aboard a small boat with no-fixed-abode is still a huge psychological upheaval and emotive, as well as the timescale being stressful, but looking on the bright side... perhaps it's the push I needed to make it happen rather than just 'a plan'.

Stay safe and look to a better future
Pete.

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13 hours ago, Bfg said:

Coming to terms with concluding my many past lives, career, familiar places & faces and home - to move aboard a small boat with no-fixed-abode is still a huge psychological upheaval and emotive, as well as the timescale being stressful, but looking on the bright side... perhaps it's the push I needed to make it happen rather than just 'a plan'.

Stay safe and look to a better future
Pete.

I'll echo your last sentiment there, but it just may be the start of something good. Change is always scary but it's not always the nightmare you lie awake and worry about at night. We're all hoping things are going to take a turn for the better, but keep us updated especially if things turn out better than you had feared. In the meantime, relax and take the breather that the extra time has given.

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3 hours ago, Colin Lindsay said:

I'll echo your last sentiment there, but it just may be the start of something good. Change is always scary but it's not always the nightmare you lie awake and worry about at night. We're all hoping things are going to take a turn for the better, but keep us updated especially if things turn out better than you had feared. In the meantime, relax and take the breather that the extra time has given.

Perfectly put Colin,

Pete, I'm sure that this current upheaval and the frustration and disappointment over the TR4 saga have been hugely stressful for you, but when you are sitting on the deck of your boat, beer in hand and enjoying the setting son in some Mediterranean harbour.........

Adrian

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  • 2 weeks later...

Latest.,  on Friday I had a missed call from my landlady so upon my return home I called her, to hear a request from her nephew (the brother who wants to move into this house, his son) to come and have a look around inside the house.   She explained that the nephew was soon to be married and although they have been given the large house at the back of this one - they have to wait until the old couple in there (retired farmer workers / tied cottage situation) fk off to a nursing home or die (my expression not hers)  In the meantime, until Colin next door (28 years a farm worker here, made redundant when the father died - but protected in a tied cottage) is gotten rid of - then the nephew wants to move in here.   

I stated my objection to his coming into my home  ..as imo that would only excite the situation within the family household (..what with young people and wedding plans suddenly in the picture) ..and I fear the informal 'understanding' between the landlady and I - that I may stay here until after April /  the pandemic emergency, and my hernia operation (hopefully) would be pressurised and most likely be pushed aside.  The Landlady said she could control the situation and there was no need for me to get anxious. I said it would be fine for him to visit at the same time as the surveyor,  but I think it inappropriate for him to otherwise come into my home for a nosey.  The landlady could see my point of view and went away to convey my reluctance. 

Next I hear,  brother or nephew (i'm not sure which) has thrown a wobbly and said "it's my house I can do what I want"  so landlady now insists that the nephew should be allowed to come in and view inside of the house.  Can it be this Sunday.  I know that by law I do not need to allow him in,  but I feel the landlady is trying to be considerate to me and yet is caught in the middle between her cowardly brother - Phillip Partridge, Westerfield, Suffolk.  (It's a good job I don't do facebook or other social media - but yes, why not name and shame ! ) and myself (and the former employees / legal residents of these homes).  I say cowardly because he has never once come up to the house and spoken to us in person - He sends his sister.!  

So anyway, I've put them back a week (they are due to come next Sunday) and I replied in text  " the precedent has now been set.  Kids throw a wobbly and they get what they want, when they want it.  I have to anticipate that's the way it will be. No hope."    The latter is of course in reference to the landlady being able to control the situation and honour her verbal, albeit informal, agreement that I may stay here until after the pandemic emergency / and through the winter - to give me the time to get my affairs in order. 

Her reply was simply " Thank you - words noted"  ..So there we are,  I think I'm back to facing legal notice to vacate by the 1st September.  Now just seven weeks away. 

But if you'd excuse my language - I'm well and truly p'sed off  (..indeed I'm wound up like a spring and am having to very consciously constrain my temper and my reaction).   I felt it reasonable for the owner to want to live here and to be at the heart of the farm,  if due consideration is given to those of us who have to move out.  But to take my home at such short notice - so his son can move here.. that just winds me up.  I hate spoiled kids at the best of times.

The father inherited the land and worked it, the son selectively 'worked' here and bossed people around without knowing a shovel's handle or shit end (according to Colin next door / farm worker here for 28 years, for the father),  and now the next generation comes in and simply says "that's mine, I want it".

I'm feeling a reluctance to bend over any more. Tomorrow I'll be seeking legal advice, because I'm sure I read of a legal precedent where a tenant's home cannot be taken off them and be given to another family member.  We will see.

P.

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Give the local paper a call, see if they are interested in a local interest story of the bullying property owner driving somebody out of their home in the middle of a pandemic... see if you can make them persona non grata in the local area. See how they like that? 😉

Another route would be to simply not move out, tell the landlord/lady that they'll have to take you through the courts (given your circumstances - illness/pandemic there's a good chance a county court judge would tell them to go take a jump) and that it'll probably cost them in the region of 5K to 10K in the long run. If they change the locks etc when you are out without a legal order of possession they are breaking the law etc etc etc. But take proper legal advice and don't listen to armchair lawyers like me!

 

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