The Blind Men And The Elephant.
We’ve all heard the story of the Blind Men And The Elephant. There are many variations, but the gist is that there are several blind men (sometimes sighted men in the dark), who are asked to describe what it is they are touching, even though they can only feel one part.
One man feels the leg, and says they are touching a pillar. One man feels the tail, and insists they are touching a rope. The man touching the trunk tells of a tree branch, while the guy feeling an ear describes a hand fan. The final man is determined that they are holding a solid pipe, with his hand on the tusk.
A king explains to them they are all correct- they are only telling it differently because of their different view points.
This Story Is Relevant To Everyone, But Particularly To Those Of Us Involved In Rental Property.
When we look at a problem with one of our properties, its important to take the whole view. Its all to easy to only look at the surface, and decide that what you see is the issue.
A good example might be when assessing a damp issue in your property. You can look at the wall, and see that it s damp. You might even test with a moisture meter. Yes, its damp. But where is all that moisture coming from?
In the above photo of a wall in a Tyneside Flat, you can clearly see a wet band across the middle of the wall. It would be very easy to jump to the conclusion that this is rising damp, especially as there doesn’t seem to be any blackspot mould present.(rising damp brings salts with it which normally prohibits mould growth). Just looking from this angle, you would feel this part of the Elephant, and conclude it’s the wall.
Looking further into the issue shows that it’s dry underneath, and is actually where the damp course has been done, and rendered, before replastering. ( I know this because my contractors did the work)
Checking outside this ground floor flat showed that the rainwater down pipe was in poor condition, and water had seeped through the solid masonry wall, but couldn’t penetrate the render course applied.
Taking a wider view shows the full problem.
Solution: new down pipe- not hundreds of pounds on a damp course.
This is also a good story to remember when dealing with tenant issues. We need to remember that their viewpoint of any issue isn’t necessarily the same as ours- and not necessarily wrong either. Seeing things through the eyes of all people involved in any situation can help you to see a fuller picture, and might just help with finding a better solution.