Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago 39
I had been letting a property for over five years with no problems whatsoever so when I moved in with my partner we decided to also rent out my home I’d been living in rather than sell it.
I placed an advert to test the water as it’s quite a large house and didn’t know how much interest there would be but had lots of enquiries despite the high rent for the area. One particular couple and their family really struck a chord with me but they wanted to rent the property straight away rather than wait the month that I wanted to sort out the electrical safety certificate etc.
I pointed out that there was a problem with one particular socket and that it needed a new consumer unit, but they said it would be fine to get the work done whilst they were there. They were apparently living in a house with horrendous damp problems, in fact water was running down the walls and an uncaring landlord who would not do anything.
At this point I did make them aware of a damp patch in one of the bedrooms caused by the chimney which I said would also be rectified, but they said it was fine (yes I can hear you all groaning!!!). They asked if they could pay £100 holding deposit and move in in 2 weeks I later received a text asking if they could move in sooner.
On the day they moved in they said that they could not afford to pay the deposit and one months rent in advance as agreed, that they couldn’t pay monthly anyway, but would have to make weekly payments instead. I was left with little alternative other than to agree, but still believing them to be a lovely as the Swiss family Robinson did not foresee a problem. I have also been quite ill so just wanted a quiet life.
It took them just over a month to get the payments up to date including the deposit. My health by this time was worse and I had been signed off work by my GP awaiting tests. I asked them for their email address on a couple of occasions for the DPS but was not given it so I finally deposited their deposit without it but unfortunately a week late.
I had had a couple of issues with the tenants over the aforementioned electrical socket but had an electrician attend and remedy immediately. Mysteriously the light circuits kept blowing and other sockets started tripping but again my electrician looked into it as well as fitting the new consumer unit. Having lived in the house for 9 years myself I had never had any electrical problems, but the electrician recommended a full inspection to which I agreed.
However I then received a call from an environmental health officer who was at my property as they had reported my electrician as having said that the electrics were unsafe to live with, a complete fabrication. I was made to have the inspection done straight away and the tenants now decided they did not need to pay their rent as they had been advised not to due to the electrics being unsafe. Of course this was a lie which I told them as no official would advise a tenant to stop paying rent so low and behold they called environmental health out to the damp patch in the bedroom which despite having only ever being nothing more than a stain was now a torrent of water running down the wall.
Luckily the officer who called out had the decency to speak to me about the situation and he has concluded the same as me that as they had had their bluff called over not paying rent due to the electrics they were trying a different tact. They had told him that they had spoken to Shelter who advised them that if they claimed the house was damp and unfit to live in they could claim their deposit back even though they had rent arrears.
Their 6 moth tenancy agreement ends on 5 March, but they have verbally told me that they are moving out on Friday 9 Jan. They have also told me that they are taking me to court as I did not deposit their money within 30 days, because of this I can’t issue them with a section 21. Landlord action advised me to write to them telling them I’d offset £1000 of their arrears against their deposit and if they agreed to this I could then serve a section 21. They refused to sign the letter though and have now said that this is classed as harassment as I did not use and ADR form (?). They say they are now seeking legal advice against me. I have had numerous texts from them with veiled threats and have also suffered verbal abuse from the wife.
I am hoping that they do move out on the 9th and I hear nothing more from them, but I have a feeling they are so nasty that they will take me to court. I went out of my way to help them when they first moved in even helping with getting their children into local schools (they have caused them no end of trouble too) and when the husband was looking for another job I got in touch with someone to help. I am in no way the horrible person they are making me out to be and I can only hope that any judge see’s through them.
The whole situation has made my health even worse. I feel sorry for whoever has them as tenants next.
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