Deposit refunded

12 May 2020
Six weeks ago I moved out of the flat that had been my home for as many years, and today the deposit I scraped together back in 2013 was refunded. The deposit was unusually large in relation to the monthly rent, and me having that little extra cash to cover it is why I got the place and not the couple just ahead of me. The money itself does not really matter anymore, but it marks the point where my residency there is now finally closed and the time living there now seems like a different life even though it is less than a mile away. With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic so many assumptions — such as how long I will actually be in my current “temporary” place — no longer feel certain.

The moving out process

I knew I was doing much more than changing accommodation — after six and a half years living there I was laying memories to rest in a way comparable to when I left Bristol. It did not turn out the way I had originally planned and in hindsight maybe only a week or so delay would have instead seen me stay in my old place, but I fulfilled the all important part of having no regrets with what I did given the circumstances. It is not about using time wisely; it is about not using it foolishly — and what the fond last memory should be was a limited choice. The biggest link to the past was removing all the LED-based light bulbs and replacing them with the incandescent bulbs I had removed back in 2013 and kept for this eventuality. At the time LED bulbs were not yet mainstream and from memory they were not cheap either. I suspect that incandescent bulbs of the wattage I was putting back are now actually quite rare — and the light they gave out felt like a lost pleasure — but remembering their relatively short life-spans decided against taking them with me.

The problem is that moving out roughly coincided with the coronavirus pandemic kicking off in Europe, and for better or worse I decided to press ahead with getting all my stuff moved — in hindsight had I done things only a little later I quite possibly would have ended up staying in my old haunt. Moving accommodation is itself is not an easy process and it coinciding with the pandemic meant that it would leave a large psychological footprint. What was initially supposed to be at most a three-month stop-gap bolt-hole that I would in practice probably have spend very little time in instead turn out to be more or less enforced Hikikomori living. As of today I am still adapting so hindsight of how I should have done my clearout will have to wait for a future musing.

Mail forwarding

One of the biggest headaches was getting contact details changed, because a lot of services require postal details but most of them rarely if ever actually send anything — the problem is that when they do it is usually important. Although I had changed most things to my new address there were quite a few stragglers related to past company stock and pensions that would have been lost had there been no redirect — a combination of accounts still using now-invalid company email addresses, not helped by changes in providers that I was barely even aware of. I got lucky because although I did not activate my mail forwarding until almost the last day, I had ordered it before the postal service stopped processing new applications.

Getting the refund

I am not exactly sure why it took so long for me to have my deposit refunded, but due to the delay I was on the verge of taking it to arbitration — after two emails and two phone calls I had my final demand signed and ready for registered post. When the refund cheque finally arrived I initially thought there had been a deduction of a few hundred Euros — large enough that I decided to query it but not so large that I would pursue it with any real vigour — but after some confusion I went digging through my archives and found that the cheque was for the correct and full amount. Cashing the cheque is the final step in putting the place behind me, although these days use of cheques is somewhat unusual.

Being fully refunded was lucky because although most of the furniture & furnishings were clearly end-of-life and the flat itself was long overdue a refurbishment, there was still some damage which I felt was pushing the bounds of wear-and-tear. At the very least I expected some sort of cleaning bill because although I did put effort into making the place presentable, it was clearly not a professional job and there were plenty of places that still needed attention. Particularly in early-2019 I had previously done various bits of patchwork maintenance, some of which I am very certain I should not have done myself, but clearly these were not noticed.

The future

I am in the process of buying a property but with the pandemic throwing everything up in the air whether the purchase goes through is just one of many uncertainties of the current time. It is only when — or even if — this is done and dusted I will be able to reflect on things such as what belongings to keep when I cleared out my old flat. One thing is certain though, and that is having plenty of time to write down my musings.