Attempting to rent out the TinyTrainHouse has been a comedy of small town real estate. I’ve had to work hard not to take it personally. Who wouldn’t want to rent out my beautiful little shack, with it’s sprawling cottage garden and native bushland backdrop…?
Applicants have come and gone, either been rejected or found properties more suited to their needs. My mate Kristabelle has rented the place since I moved to Melbourne. My only complaint with Kristabelle is that she decided to go and fall in love and move out. Given my own way, I would have kept her as custodian of my safe place forever, knowing that the rent would be paid like clockwork and that she would take good care of the little house I still think of as mine.
After the TinyTrainhouse has sat empty for many financially stressful weeks, I get a call from the real estate agent.
“We have a possible tenant! They’re not perfect, though. But we thought we’d run it past you anyway…”
My stomach flips slightly, wondering how desperate the situation has gotten. What kind of person are they suggesting move in? A convicted felon? Someone who will gut the storage space under the floors and fill it with a hydroponic set-up that’s definitely not being used for growing tomatoes?
“She’s a single mum. Three kids.”
I wait for the agent to say more. Something along the lines of “….and she runs a small prostitution business from home.”
But there is no more. That’s it. This woman has a perfect rental record, and all her previous property managers say they would happily rent to her again. After giving up an obscene amount of information on her history and her income, it’s been determined that she can definitely afford the weekly asking price.
It’s just that she’s a single mum. With three kids. All the hesitation I hear in the agent’s voice oozes from that.
I’m too shocked to take a stand over a few hundred kilometres of phone line. I’m too flabbergasted to tell the real estate agent that until a few short months ago I was a single mum myself, and it doesn’t at all mean that she’ll trash the place, or be unable to pay the rent. Most single mums I know are particularly conscious of keeping a roof over their children’s head, making that their first and biggest priority. It’s kind of a vital necessity.
Not that saying any of that would have made much difference. It likely would have fallen on deaf ears, dismissed with an eye roll and a few estate agents and office staff discussing the crazy lady on the phone after we hung up. The best I could do was squeak “That’s fine- please, rent her the house!”
So the TinyTrainHouse has a tenant. It’s a single mum.
I am, not surprisingly, quite okay with that.