‘Generation Rent’ – A poem by Anna Frances, 2021

Image: Wikipedia

Generation rent
Rental generation
Is it really necessary
To take away our pension?

Is it really a service you’re providing?
An £150 hike, for a newly painted wall?
Are you really putting a price on décor, here?
Or is this just plain cruel?

What’s a bit of mould between friends?
And by ‘friends,’ I mean strangers you met online
What’s a bit of mildew between flat mates?
Apart from a rent increase, or a fine?

Isn’t it great when you get to choose your flatmates?
How you instantly know if they’re a murderer, or nice?
Isn’t it fantastic that you can make a new best friend?
Or someone that could ruin your life?

Isn’t it great, with the freedom you have?
You can leave within 4 weeks notice
If someone’s mean, intimidating, or decides to crack-up
Leaving is your best form of protest

Isn’t it wonderful how people just get on all the time?
How harmony is so easily achieved?
Who needs down-time when you work 9-5?
Who needs boundaries, when you’re stressed, tired or bereaved?

Isn’t it great, if someone likes music?
If they listen to Rocky Horror’s ‘Time Warp’ 7 times a day?
If they smoke, take drugs or don’t do their laundry
Another rental is just 4 weeks away

Isn’t it great how landlords are there for you?
Not when you’re there, but just when you leave
It’s an excuse to raise the rent the next time
It’s an excuse to blame you, for other’s feeling peeved

Aren’t landlords just the best invention?
They care so much, they hire an estate agent to deal with the house
Good thing you managed to get that spare room
It would have been hard to find anything else

Are landlords evil, or is the system?
Who’s to blame, when we can’t afford to live?
Is this something this generation has to accept?
For how long can they keep ‘taking’? How long is there anything to give?

Are landlords really the problem?
Or is the cost of property that keeps rents high?
Is it because the landlord can’t break even?
Is the only solution to milk everyone dry?

What is the justification
For even managers to be buying clothes in charity shops
Is there any hope, for anyone, actually?
When you’re depressed, cold, hungry, you don’t like your flatmates and you hate your job?

Are we really living in a world
When someone’s annual holiday is a week visiting their parents in Stoke-on-Trent?
They’ve cancelled their travel plans, they’ve ended their relationship
But it was all worth it, because they could pay rent

Rent is a bit like happiness
Except when you spend your money on it, you don’t get anything back
No love, no family, no memories for life
Just an unstable living situation, and a hope that one day, you’ll be back on track

Is this really a ‘financial structure’?
A ‘system’ where people can live?
Or is it a systemic ‘taking’ and land-grab
From the children of the people you work with?

Is this really an economy to cash-in on?
Is land and property just merely for sale?
Is it possible to the be ‘dominators’ and ‘owners’ of the land?
Or are landlords just stewards themselves?

Like everyone, even landlords have a shelf-life
Like every human, they will one day die
Was taking from others really worth it?
How easy will it be to look your grandchildren in the eye?

Come rain or shine, people are paying landlords
Through leaking rooves, break-ups or divorce
How are people meant to raise kids in a 1-bed flat?
How are people meant to ‘be kind,’ as a matter of course?

Should property really be on the market?
Or is it something we all deserve?
Should people really be ‘buying up’ something we all live on?
Or is there another way? I’m concerned.

I’m concerned that people are living
On less than £25k a year
I’m concerned about the rising debt
I’m concerned that we’re all living in fear

I’m concerned that we’re worried we won’t have enough
We’re in fear that we’ll lose what we have
We’re in fear that we’ll be kicked out of our rental
We’re in fear that we don’t deserve to be on this land

Let’s raise a glass to landlords
The glasses were here when we moved in, they’re not very nice
Lets make a meal, on plates that we hate and pans that are grubby
Lets sit round furniture, that will barely suffice

Is it really necessary to give us a mattress
That’s been slept on by 40 people? In a room with walls that are growing mould?
Is it really necessary to give someone a fine for spilling something
On a carpet that’s 80 years old?

Is it really necessary to treat adults like teenagers
Like they’ve just moved out, and into university halls?
It is really necessary to treat people like financial assets?
With no living standards or financial prospects, at all?

Dear landlord, I’m young and I’m angry
Except I’m not that young anymore, but I’m still angry, and you’re testing my patience
The rent that you’re asking for does not match the wages that are available to me
Or anyone, in my generation

©Anna Frances, 2021

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