I am sure that a lot of you have had some bad experiences with Landlords at some point in your life, and I've had a fair share of mine too. I have rented three times in all my life and all were terrible, all private Landlords unfortunately.
I moved into this flat in London back in June 2011, summer time, but it was not in a very good condition or clean but it had potential. I thought with a good clean up and paint, which the Landlord said he would do, and there were tins of paint and tiles in the hallway, so I believed him. I got a somewhat basic contract from him, which just stated the rent, £1150.00 pcm, stated as fully furnished but I found out from the previous tenant that it's not fully furnished and the furniture in there was actually the tenants and not the Landlords. I bought the furniture off the previous tenant as I didn't have any of my own. The agreement of paying rent, he wanted £550 paid into his account and £600 paid in cash, which I hate, we all know why Landlords want paying in cash, so that they can avoid paying taxes. Then for those of us who actually have to work, we pay higher taxes because of people like them who avoid paying taxes in the first place. If everyone paid their tax, we wouldn't have such high tax to pay, but that is just not possible with all the cons out there.
In the flat, there were old lampshades hanging from the ceiling, torn and dirty, the walls in the hallway and bathroom were dirty, even in the kitchen. The hallway and bathroom had rising damp which the Landlord promised that he was dealing with it, they had two leaks in the bathroom, from the shower and the radiator which caused the surrounding walls to have damp problem. I asked him when it would be fixed and he kept telling me that it needs to dry and that he's on it, but I found out later that he's been saying that even to the previous tenants and still didn't repair the walls for damp. Damp can be very hazardous to the health if one is exposed to it for a long period as well as a risk of getting lung cancer. These walls were shedding a powdery substance, which came from being damp, and when the builders finally came to redecorate the bathroom, they told me that no one should be living in the flat under such conditions due to the health risks it comes with. My Landlord was not interested in leaving his flat empty because he would lose money, instead I had to put up with builders in and out for four and a half months.
Before they redecorated the bathroom, I was cleaning the bathroom cupboard below the sink, and it's amazing how some people live, even the Landlord didn't have the property cleaned at all. There were old stuff from medicines to toiletries dating back to 1998, never cleaned out, it was black with damp moss, stinking of rot because, wait for this, there was another leak that no one even noticed, so I was told. Only God knows how long that leak was going for, but it was the main drain pipe from the flats above from their bathrooms, not sewage thank God. I immediately called my Landlord and told him what I can see, water pouring down from the main pipe, and he came round all upset because I disturbed. He had a look at it and called the Managing Agents, and the next day they came to see it but it was not fixed for another week. How can one live in a property without cleaning it? the bathroom for heaven's sake is one of the most important rooms as well as the kitchen for hygiene! Adding to his other problems of earlier leaks, he was not a happy bunny because he had to spend a lot of money repairing them, which I advised him that he could claim it off the insurance anyway, which he did and seemed rather pleased about it, but repairing the bathroom and hallway, took four and a half months. I had to live with dust, dirt, builders in and out, noise until 11pm because they would work even at night and when I got back from work there they were and sometimes even at weekends. He also had most of the windows and doors fitted with double glazing, apart from my bedroom window which is still old and lets out all the heat because all the wooden frames were rotten and one window in the living room would not close any more.
In order to get my Landlord to repair all of this, I had to get my own builders and plumbers to come check it all and send him a quote, as I told him that I wanted it all repaired because I was tired of living in such conditions, only then did he act otherwise I was going to get my builders and plumber to do the work, and then bill him, they were expensive but very good. He, however used Cowboy Builders, yes as you see on TV, very poor job that they did, to a point where the wall in the hallway and bathroom have huge cracks on them already, they were only replastered in November last year. Even the painter was just bad, I could paint and decorate better and yet I'm no expert, but my father was, he was an architect and had his own construction company, so I did learn a thing of two about renovating and decorating.
At the beginning of November when the weather changed and became cold, I switched on the heating, it's never been checked nor was I given any certificate for the gas or electrics to say that all was ok. I found that the radiator in the leaving room was not working properly, it was heating only on the corner of each side the rest was cold so not enough to heat the leaving room, in fact it was to so cold that I got ill, very bad flu that turned to bronchitis, and I had it for almost three weeks. I had to live in my bedroom for three and a half months (November to mid February) because he refused to repair the heating. It was not just the one in the living room but all four radiators, he point blankly told me that he was not spending any more money on the flat because he has had enough. We had a big argument about it then in November and I didn't hear from him since, actually he sent his plumber who came to check the radiators, he admitted that the two large ones needed to be replaced but the small ones only had air in them, which was happening too often. My plumber said that there was a leak somewhere because the pressure on the boiler kept dropping to zero which affected the heating system and the hot water. Tried to explain this my Landlord who didn't want to know. Unfortunately, in December my mother passed away so I had to go to Italy, and I didn't get back until end of January, lost my job in December and my mind was not where it should have been. I ended up just buying a portable heater to keep in my bedroom and that was how I lived until mid February when I told him that he was not getting rent until he fixed the heating. The very next day he sent his plumber only for him to say the same thing, the two large radiators need replacing because they are so old and never been serviced. Nothing in this flat has ever been serviced in over ten years, everything is old, that's also why there are leaks all the time. Eventually he replaced one radiator, the one in the living room. He said the problem was fixed but unfortunately it is not because this Wednesday, I got home only to find the boiler leaking again, and the two small radiators not working. I've had enough!
I found out that my landlord has 26 flats, which are all in very poor condition, and he asks for rent to be paid half into his account and the other half in cash from all of them. Whilst I was suffering with cold in the flat he was off to Australia for three months, sunning himself without a care that he has left his flats here under terrible conditions. The previous tenants also were angry with him and left after only eight months, and I couldn't understand why, now I do.
He returned yesterday, and whilst I was out, entered the flat and went through all my personal documents, because I refused to pay him rent after all he put me through. I realised that someone had been in the flat when got back because the blind in the kitchen was raised and I knew I had it down and closed. Then today, this morning at 9am he came banging on the door wanting to speak to me, that's when he brought up the discussion of me owing money even to the bank, an overdraft, so what, how did he know that if he hadn't gone through my file where I keep all my documents. There was mark on the wall too in my bedroom which he mentioned, how did he know that seeing as it only happened last week when he was in Australia, that's because he was in the flat. The other thing I noticed, was before I left that morning, I had mail waiting for me in the hallway and I thought I would pick it up on my return, but when I got back, it was gone, he took it. So I told him today that I would be reporting him to the police, the tax man and taking him to court for what he's done. That is violation of my privacy, taking my mail and going through my documents.
He just doesn't realise that he has put my health and life at risk by his greed. When I refused to pay him, I got harassed with phone calls, e-mails and text messages from him at least ten times a day, yet when I asked him to repair the heating he refused.
Well it's time to put a stop to this and him being an irresponsible Landlord and the only way is to report him to the authorities.