(All names will be changes and addresses withheld! This is just a warning to any potential future tenants of a specific house!)
Having started back at university for the second time round after getting the travel bug partially out of my system, I realised it would be more worth my while and more convenient to live closer to the university. I viewed a couple of house shares, private rented ones, and finally decided on one house. The main selling point for me was the landlady allowing pets. I moved in, in August this year – 2013 – with four other lovely girls. Some students, one self employed. The girls were fantastic and we quickly made our house more of a home.
When I moved in, I had noted that there were a few repairs and touch ups that needed doing, however, I trusted that these issues would be sorted by the land lady as soon as possible. More fool me!
It’s hard to put a finger on where the problems with the house started, however, lets just say the boiler. The boiler was in my bedroom – which straight away rings alarm bells as it’s illegal to rent out a room with a boiler as a private bedroom, as the boiler has to be in a communal area, in an unlocked room. The pressure started dropping, the amount of workmen coming in and out of my bedroom giving quotes became a complete joke.
The toilet broke,
Electric cables hanging around everywhere,
Our bonds weren’t put into a bond scheme for about two months,
The back door wouldn’t lock,
Three attempted break ins into the garage which was filled with the land lady’s possessions, with no lock on the door.
And so so so many more problems!
We were at one point sending no less than five emails a day to the land lady to inform her that we had been left without hot water and heating for over a week. No replies. Let me further explain, we were told we couldn’t contact her via phone as she was now living between Hull and another nearby country.
However, as soon as I sent an email saying we would find a plumber to fix the problem and deduct the costs from our rent, I got a pretty swift reply. Coincidence?
Myself and another tenant at the house were so annoyed by our land lady’s beheviour, that we informed the council about our situation. The council replied promptly with an arranged inspection of the house. The land lady invited herself along to this – which we have now found out is classed as trespassing – and brought along a lovely 6’2 man, for intimidation and name dropping purposes, hoping to get somewhere with the council inspector.
(This is the part that can only be described as insane.)
The council inspection was being carried out with A few angry words from the land lady. Only for her then to decide to tell myself, the other tenant present and the man from the council, that she had been receiving threatening phone calls during the night… FROM MYSELF AND THE OTHER TENANT.
At this point I was so irate that I shouted, then had to leave the room and pour myself a glass of wine. When she finally left, we were absolutely flabbergasted at this accusation.
Had she been receiving these phone calls and genuinely believed it was us? Or is she absolutely crazy and making up the whole story?
I recommended that she involved the police if she genuinely believed we were involved, to clear our names, not only to prove our innocence but to protect ourselves from any slurs against our names that may affect our careers, present or future! She soon shut up.
Jumping down the line a few weeks; a few plumbers had been to sort out the mouldy bathroom, fit the bath into the tiles properly and supposedly stop the leak under the bath that we had all been told so frequently about.
I walk into the kitchen to a puddle on the floor and a bowing kitchen ceiling, dripping with vast amounts if water. (From the leak under the bath.) I shouted the other housemates, emailed the land lady three times within two hours, made the decision to call round our hunky neighbour, who thankfully turned the water off. (Obviously I don’t know very much about ceilings or plumbing, so when the ceiling was still dripping, we were concerned at the amount of time British Gas were taking to turn up, so the other housemate’s dad came to check on us.) British Gas finally arrived and fixed the leak from the hot water pipe under the bath. The ceiling was damaged fairly bad, but nothing I thought that would be potentially dangerous.
The next day, the land lady turned up, giving us 24 hours notice of her arrival, but no notice of the gang of friends she turned up with. (If I were in the house at the time, I would’ve refused them all entry, however, the housemate who was in just let them in for an easy life.)
During this visit, these fictional phone calls were brought up again, more annoyingly this time as we weren’t there to defend ourselves, and the housemate was asked if she had seen either myself or the other housemate accused of the calls, ‘doing’ anything to the ceiling. So anyway… The ceiling dried up very badly whilst I was visiting my mum for the day. A few hours later, I received a photo from the other housemates of the kitchen ceiling that had collapsed everywhere! I arrived home a few hours afterwards and emailed the land lady three times to let her know what had happened. I asked when she was able to get a builder round to make the house safe, as we couldn’t use the kitchen and daren’t use the bathroom directly above. No reply. Myself and another tenant therefore booked ourselves into a cheap hotel for the night, having to take my poor cat along with us too, and emailed the land lady telling her this would be deducted from our rent as we had to idea when the house would be made safe. The next day however, thankfully, a builder came, cleared up the rubble and made out it was safe for another day. It was actually one of the housemates dads who made the ceiling safe for us until the building work was done.
We then received emails informing us that the management of the property had been passed to an agency. After a phone call to the agency, we established that the woman who worked there was a friend of the land lady and had visited the house without our permission earlier in the week. The housemates rang the agency for more information about any contracts we might be expected to sign and received a torrent of attitude and abuse over the phone about how there was absolutely no water damage on the ceiling (despite no less than 7 people seeing vast amounts of water leaking from there, three plumbers saying there was a leak under the bath and a photo taken on my phone which clearly shows a large drop of water coming from the crack in the ceiling.) We were informed by the agency, that it was myself and one other housemate who had brought the ceiling down ourselves, to cause trouble. I almost forgot we were big burley builders by trade and not two twenty two year old girls with acrylic nails.
The story ends well however, we’re willing to go to the small claims court as I’m refusing to pay rent for the past two months I’ve been here, call it compensation.
WE’VE FOUND A NEW HOUSE! WITH A SANE LAND LORD! 🎉🎉🎉