11:03 AM, 21st October 2014, About 8 years ago 14
Just need a bit of advice please. It’s a long story so please do bear with me.
I rent a bedsit in a converted house and have been there about 3 years, no dramas or issues. My bedsit was broken into on Wednesday 15th Oct 2014 by bailiffs looking for an electricity meter that’s not in my flat. I pay my bills .
Approximately six months ago, SSE started posting letters through the shared letter box of for ‘Flat B’ in my building. I’m Flat A. They were not addressed to me but I decided to deal with them as the envelopes were getting more frequent.
I’ve been scanning the warning letters as they come and emailing them to my property manager for months to get him to sort out the situation. Apparently he did nothing because SSE rocked up on Weds when I was at work and not only broke into the wrong flat, as I’m A….they broke in in spite of my neighbour physically intervening and telling them I was in work, I was Flat A (they wanted B – and a previous tenant no less) and that I had been leaving notes for the other tenants in the hall to reassure them that the nasty letters were being dealt with by me.
I’m in talks with the police and SSE now – I expect A LOT of grovelling and compensation!
My issue now is, the property manager has done a Lord Lucan. I desperately want to move flats (I feel unsafe there now) but can’t get a peep out of him to discuss it. Here’s an email I’ve just sent (I rang a random letting agency for advice and found out who the property owner has her mortgage with and rang that bank – both advised stopping my standing order for rent)
“Dear Property Manager
I am disappointed that, as my property manager, you have not yet called me in spite of my voicemails and emails to you regarding the matter below (this is with regard to the unpaid SSE bill for a meter that is nothing to do with me, and the fact that bailiffs broke into my flat in Weds 15th October 2014 at 11:30am to locate it – and obviously fail to).
As I can not get hold of you, I asked my neighbour if he had any way of contacting anyone at the letting agency. He told me that your business has folded, that your office is now vacant and that someone else was running things. I had no idea about any of this and was not notified of any changes. I telephoned your associate (name changed to “AngryBloke”) on Saturday to explain what had happened and to ask where my rent money is going to each month (I have a standing order that has been paid 1st month every month for several years) and where my deposit is being held. As you see below, the last rent payment I made 1st October 2014.
(screen shot of bank mandate sent)
“AngryBloke” would not allow me to describe the SSE situation, said ‘I don’t have half an hour to listen to your problems, I am not an agony aunt’ (sic) amongst other unintelligible shouting. He then hung up on me. As neither you nor “AngryBloke” will speak with me, and I cannot obtain a telephone number for the property owner (who resides in same house I live in according to the Land Registry extract!) I have just purchased for title xxxxxxxx5 (suggesting she has a residential mortgage not Buy-to-Let.
I am forced to cancel my standing order until such time as one of you gets in touch with me to satisfactorily explain the following:
1: Why you did not appear to act on my multiple notifications to you about the unpaid bill for SSE electricity account xxxxxxxxxxxx, resulting in my flat being broken into on Wednesday 15th October 2014 – these were via email and voicemail, e.g. the below:
(screen dumps of emails sent to agents in August)
2: Why it is impossible to speak with anyone connected to my formal letting agent either via telephone or email? The office number rings out and the mobile goes to voicemail. “AngryBloke” will not be getting another call from me as the last one was so abusive that it resulted in me bursting into tears. I expect an apology from him and a clear, satisfactory explanation for his behaviour.
3: Why the ground floor back flat (the one behind me and occupied by a lovely neighbour and his daughter) in was treated for bedbugs in October 2014 and none of us other tenants were warned of this infestation by you as property manager. Bedbugs by their nature infest an entire property, not one single bedsit within it. The entire house should have been treated and we should have been told. I now understand why I am suffering with strange blisters and hives – I have/am being bitten by bedbugs that have migrated to my untreated flat. I shall be documenting my bites by collecting images of these for the attention of Environmental Health if necessary.
4: Where my rent payments have been going – have they been given to the property owner or are they going elsewhere? What status is my tenancy payment account?
5: Where my deposit is being held and when it will be repaid to me?
I am looking for alternative rented accommodation, with deposit, fees, a month’s rent and moving costs covered by SSE in light of their violation of my rights and my loss of safety and security. I intend to stay in hotel accommodation, paid for by SSE until such time as alternative rental property is secured and paid for. I am in the process of packing up my belongings for transport to a new flat.
My telephone number remains XXXXXXXXX. I have blind-copied in my parents and boss at work. This is to establish reasonable adults as witnesses via this date/time stamped email in writing that I am cancelling my standing order and my rationale for this action.
I suggest that you contact me as a matter of urgency.
Phew! SO, my question to you guys is what is the best course of action now?
I’ve done a Land Registry search and have the homeowners name – she’s down as a resident of the building but unless she’s a Chinese man or a Nigerian man or my lovely neighbour’s transgender alter ego she aint living here! I did a 192 search on her but can’t find a number to call – she’s registered at the same address as the property agency is run from…which is an empty shop.
I’m trying to get a decent payoff from SSE that will cover a deposit on a flat and rent. They offered me £250, I laughed. They offered me £350. I laughed. They said ‘the last time this happened to someone we gave them £500 and that’s the most we could give you’ – I still laughed, and posted on Twitter that SSE has a habit of breaking into the wrong flat :p
SSE said they’d like to change my locks for me too – I said I can’t authorise that without my landlord/property manager’s apporval – gave them all the contact info, again, but highly unlikely they’ll speak. Given the agency has vanished into thin air, as has the landlady.
I’m wondering if she’s been paying her mortgage and if not, how soon it’ll be before the bank repossesses the whole house.
I’m ready to leave and plan to do so – have I done everything possible to communicate with the letting agent, do you think?
Really appreciate any advice you can give me
Thanks very much x
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— Mark Alexander (@iAmALandlord) October 21, 2014