min read

Letting agent's contract renewal email spurs author to write book


A private tenant has been inspired to pen her first novel by a contract renewal email sent by a letting agent - and has even named it after the letting platform involved.

Goodlord by Ella Frears is grandly described as, “a fictional memoir of habitation, a genre-defying novelistic text that beautifully evokes the people and places of our lives—the spaces of work, those that may or may not be ‘home’, sites of trauma and ecstasy”.

It takes the form of one long email addressed to the letting agent, and her publishers reckon the book is both funny and harrowing in the way that it, “beautifully skewers the contemporary housing crisis while questioning the fundamental desires, drivers and disappointments that lie at the heart of our obsession with ‘property’”.

Standard email

Ava from Keatons Estate Agents in London sent Frears a standard email to confirm the writer had renewed her tenancy on a flat, explaining that it had partnered with Goodlord, a property technology company, so she could sign her renewal contract online.

This prompted Frears to write a 220-page and poetic reply to the agent, which begins: “Ava, It’s not your fault this caught me like it did – Goodlord – the name disturbs me most. As though we’re meant to pledge ourselves, to call our faceless landlord good… or god, and I should – should I? – feel graced, or blessed to live under this roof?

"Oh Ava, I was snagged on it. To tell the truth a thread came loose, I should explain: picture me in this little flat you rent us, lips parted, blowing my coffee’s meniscus into waves…”

Goodlord launches at the Tate St Ives Gallery on 20th June. It can be pre-ordered online via Rough Trade Books for £14.99p.

Pic credits: Ella Frears/Twitter/Rough Trade Books


Rental contracts