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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 02:47pm on 20/07/2013 under , , , ,
Meet the Landlords (available on iPlayer until the evening of Thursday 25th) is an interesting but depressing look at the private rental sector. Perhaps inevitably, it gives us stories of things going wrong, from the self-styled "HMO Daddy" with his £26M housing portfolio and army of unhappy tenants to the single mother with cancer who no-one will house (and her local council saying they won't house her until the baliffs have thrown her onto the street), and a couple of people who have rented out their own home to discover that eviction is a time-consuming and stressful business.

I was alerted to it by the housing law blog Nearly Legal, whose take on it is here. What struck me is how desperately we need a decent supply of social housing again. I concur with them, though, that it's worthwhile viewing.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 05:11pm on 13/11/2006 under
In the Grand Old Days of the Empire, you signed an initial assured shorthold tenancy, typically for 6 or 12 months; thereafter you went onto a rolling 1-month contract. This was good, because when you wanted to move out, you'd just give a months' notice, and all would be well.

These days, however, you have to surrender your tenancy at the end of each 6/12 month period, pay the agents a sizable fee (around £60) to photocopy the contract, and have another fixed-term tenancy. This makes you easier to evict, and means that if you want to leave early, you get shafted. It works something like this:

"There is no notice period within the fixed term tenancy.

However, you can ask for early release from your Tenancy Agreement, and we would ask your Landlord if they are are prepared to release you. If they agree, you would be expected to pay rental until the day that the new tenants take up occupation, and you would be liable for early release costs as per your tenancy information which was given to you when you took up occupation."

The "early release cost" is a charge of £60 if you've got <2 months left to run, £120 if <3, and £300 if more than that. I think you're only liable for the rent until when the tenancy would have ended anyway. Note that there is absolutely no incentive for the agents to get anyone in before that point, because they're still getting all of their money.

It stinks.
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So, following on from the last entry on the subject, Russells emailed [livejournal.com profile] atreic with more details of the appliance insurance. [livejournal.com profile] atreic 'phoned them up, and they said they'd send someone round today between 8 and 6. She pointed out this was utterly unreasonable, as we both have jobs and can't just sit at home all day, so it was agreed that the engineer would call [livejournal.com profile] atreic's mobile an hour before he was going to turn up.

At about eleven this morning, the phone went at home. It was the landlord's mother(!), who was confused as to why the engineer has just phoned her up. I explained what was going on, and told her to tell them to call [livejournal.com profile] atreic's mobile, as we'd told them once already. I gave her [livejournal.com profile] atreic's mobile number for this purpose. Shortly afterwards, the landlord's mother phone's [livejournal.com profile] atreic to tell her all of this. [livejournal.com profile] atreic then phones him and gives him her number (which he has already, suprise, suprise). Mid-afternoon, she's not heard anything, so calls him, but fails to get any useful reception, and then is cut off, only to get answerphone thereafter. [livejournal.com profile] atreic then calls the call center to be told that the engineer has recorded a "I called, but they were out", and that they can't send us anyone again until the 20th, well over a fortnight after the dratted thing failed in the first place. To cap it all, our "Property Manager" at Russells is on holiday until Monday.

I am furious. I am utterly sick and tired of being fucked around by these useless muppets. Tommorow morning, Russells are going to get an exceedingly stroppy email from me demanding Something Be Done. It's not my fault if they didn't know about the stupid appliance insurers, it's not my fault if said insurers can't pass on instructions to their engineers, and I'm sick of not having a working washing machine. I'm meant to be renting a furnished property, for crying out loud!

[Edited in light of [livejournal.com profile] atreic's comment
Mood:: 'angry' angry
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You may recall that when I got back from Daniel's wedding, we discovered that our washer-drier was broken. [livejournal.com profile] atreic phoned Russells, who sent someone round, who frobbed it a bit, and decided that the central control unit was buggered. That's probably going to cost as much as the ancient machine is worth, so he said he'd phone Russells.

[livejournal.com profile] atreic chased Russells up at the end of last week, to be told they'd tried to get hold of the landlady and failed, but had got hold of her mother(!) who said she'd try to get hold of the landlord.

Today [livejournal.com profile] atreic chased them again, to be told that the landlord apparantly has an appliance repair contract (which they knew nothing about, despite managing the property for the past 3 years), and is annoyed that Russells had sent someone to look at the machine. They gave [livejournal.com profile] atreic the details of this policy, and suggested she call them to arrange for someone to come round and do something useful. So, [livejournal.com profile] atreiccalls them. They ask her a series of questions she couldn't answer "how old is the machine?", "When does the policy expire?"[1], and so on, and then say they can't help without answers to these.

So, [livejournal.com profile] atreicthen has to call Russells back and explain this mess. They've now got to shout at the landlord to give them enough information so they can actually get the appliance people to send someone out to look at the machine, at which point we'll have reached stage 1 of the process, again. Over a week after the fucking thing broke.

Inserting a random fourth party into the already-over-beurocratic process of house-renting is just fucking crap, especially if you don't tell anyone you're doing it! And these people will presumably want to waste lots of time, in order to try and avoid paying out.

[livejournal.com profile] atreic has been a star at hassling people about all this, when she really has better things to do with her life.

Err, so if you live near us, we may come and ask nicely to borrow your washing machine :(

[1]err, WTF? surely they should know this? muppets!
Mood:: 'stressed' stressed


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