Thursday, 25 August 2011

Dodgy Landlords - Part 1

Private rental prices in the UK are increasing rapidly and with wages and interest rates stagnant, this only makes it more difficult for people to find somewhere to live. Getting together enough money for a deposit takes many years of saving and whilst you’re saving you’ve still got to live somewhere. Unfortunately with rental prices somewhere in the region of 56% of gross pay, the amounts you can save every month are extremely small, making this a viscous circle of which only land and property owners are in control of.

The majority of landlords are respectable, with a reasonable moral compass as to their responsibilities; however there are many more that are not. And as rents increase, it is likely that more and more people will have no choice but to turn to these bottom end landlords. I have personal experience of the less scrupulous.

The first of which was either Russian, or at least eastern European and mostly seemed absolutely fine. In fact throughout the two years in which I rented the property I heard nothing from him. However, the problem was that the electricity board heard nothing from him either.

Shortly before I moved out a key meter suddenly appeared next to the electricity meter (strangely there was no key and with a large amount of credit showing), along with an open letter stating that over £2000 was owed for electricity. I should point out that my rental contract was an “all inclusive”, and so it was the landlords responsibility to pay all bills.

As time went on the credit slowly dropped, but a call the landlord went to voicemail and no response came. Finally the electricity disappeared completely, for a day or so, before more credit mysteriously appeared in the meter. Once more I called the landlord but with the same outcome.

I finally decided that I should move out and quickly, but with the haste that was required and the lack of funds for somewhere via an agency, I took the first reasonable seeming property that was available.

Now I phoned my landlord again to say I was moving out, several times, and even stopped my last months rent. Amazingly I still received no response and after leaving the property unlocked with the keys on the inside, I often wonder whether anyone else has moved in.

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