The accidental landlord's frantic search for an emergency bed

The accidental landlord races round as the shops close so new tenants will have somewhere to sleep... but it’s a fool’s errand.
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Just 24 hours after placing an advert for my new rental flat on Rightmove, I got an offer from a young Australian couple, but there was one problem.
They had to leave the room they were renting straight away because they had only taken it on a short-term basis, but as I had only owned my flat for 48 hours, I hadn’t had time to furnish it.
However, the couple offered to immediately transfer to my account the first month’s rent and six weeks’ deposit, and they showed me glowing work references and a referral letter from a previous landlord. They seemed like the perfect tenants and I didn’t want to lose them.
Foolishly, I promised I would buy them a bed that night so they would at least have something to sleep on, but it was already after 4pm. What was I thinking? Where the hell was I going to get a bed at that time?
I dashed around every furniture store within five miles of the flat to see if anyone would sell me a bed that I could somehow shove into the back of my car.
I had no luck at the first two stores I went into, with both of them insisting — unreasonably, I thought — that all their beds were made to order.
By the time I arrived at shop number three, I was so desperate that I pleaded with the manager to let me walk away with one of his display beds.
“Surely you don’t need all of these,” I asked him, frantically sweeping my arm around the shop. “None of our beds are available today, madam,” he insisted, and I’m sure I saw him nod to the security guard at the far end of the shop.
I was that desperate, I wasn’t going to be so easily fobbed off. “What about this one?” I said, bouncing on a double. “Or this one? You must have one bed I can take away?”
The manager looked again towards the security guard, who this time started to walk towards me, so I made a speedy exit. I felt like I had ended up in a particularly ridiculous episode of The Apprentice.

Still determined that I wouldn’t let my tenants down, I screeched into the car park of the last bed store in the area just as the manager was closing up.
And there, at last, I found a bed. Tucked away in a dimly lit corner at the back of the store, it was reduced to half price and the manager seemed as delighted as I was to find someone to take it off his hands.
It wouldn’t have been my first choice — the frame was a bit naff — but hey, it was a bed. He quickly dismantled it, told me it would be a breeze to put back together again and loaded it into my car.
An hour later, after a long struggle with an Allen key, the bed was up. Delighted, I called the tenants to tell them the good news and check that they had managed to transfer the funds.
“Oh, err, yeah — about that,” said the guy, casual as you like. “We’ve realised we can’t transfer the money immediately as our account is still in Oz, and we can’t get enough cash out of the bank.”
He said they were planning to spend the night at a B&B and move into my place “in a few days” once they had sorted out the transfer.
I wanted to kick him in the shins. Instead, I collapsed on to my new, naff — but comfy — bed.
  • Victoria Whitlock lets four properties in south London. To contact her with your ideas and views, tweet @vicwhitlock

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