Nightmare Scenario - Please Help

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  • Nightmare Scenario - Please Help

    New here - can anyone help?

    New tenants as of 3/1. Only there for 3 months between selling their old home and waiting for the new one to be built. No deposit taken as still in dispute from old tenants and am already fed up with DPS.

    Plus, silly me, they seemed really nice and were desperate for temporary accommodation. I've been in the property since they moved in and am frankly quite horrified as the walls are in a mess already where they moved stuff in. They've just dumped furniture and boxes everywhere and the only room to move is around where they need to use beds and sofas. I'm worried about ceilings collapsing as there's so much stuff piled upstairs - there's a huge crack on a downstairs ceiling that wasn't there before they moved in. It looks like one of those American hoarder programmes!

    Anyway, new gas cert issued 5/11, but last week, their CO monitor went off. They texted me from the hospital late at night so I immediately rang the engineer who serviced the boiler. He was there by 9am but in the meantime, tenants have called out BG.

    Engineer can find nothing wrong. Half hour later BG engineer turns up and also finds nothing wrong. CO monitor goes off so he checks the air and there's no CO. Tenant has arrived, BG bloke tells him there's nothing wrong but his monitor is faulty. Tenant accepts that and moves back in, but buys another monitor (offered mine which he took, but he still wanted a new one).

    Few days later, exactly the same thing happens but this time tenant rings me from a hotel. BG arrive and find nothing wrong again. They check out the new monitor but there are no CO recordings. Tenant's wife tells gas man that it was just going off intermittently, but tenant says it was all the time. BG man leaves his own monitor and tells them to scrap their Argos jobbie. Hopefully, that chapter's closed.

    Friday I get a text saying he can't open the front door and needs it opened ASAP. I call a locksmith who points out damage. I have no option but to have the door repaired £200 + VAT. While waiting for l/s to fetch parts I get text asking how long as it's awkward to use back door (which is on the side and actually more accessible than the front!). I mentioned damage to him and he got defensive about his moving men causing it, but offered no apology.

    Last night I get a text saying one of the electric hob rings has broken. I text back saying that there probably won't be much chance of me getting an electrician in to look at it over the weekend and I definitely won't be able to get a new ring until he sees it and tells me what to get. Later I get a text asking me to get a camping stove. I text back asking about how many rings are still working and get told the other 3 are working but they're the smaller rings (so are obviously slower than the big broken one). I text him back explaining I don't have a stove and I'm at a loss as to what to advise on a Saturday night. He texts back saying they'll get a takeaway - again! But I need to sort something out for Sunday (already explained I wouldn't be able to get a sparky til Monday).

    So having explained the situation, here are my questions: How soon do I have to get the ring fixed? I know the sparky will need to look at it first and then I'll have to order one in so even if I get him in on Monday early enough to order one and get a next-day delivery, it's not gonna come til Tuesday earliest and then I'm at the mercy of the sparky to when he can fit it.

    Also, do I have to pay for his hotel room and his BG call out (as I'd already told him my engineer would be there at 9am, which was hours before the BG man arrived). He's taken it upon himself to take out a contract with BG which he says will be going with him when he moves to his new property - fair enough, that's his prerogative. But am I liable for the charges? I'm also worried about mould growing on the walls where their stuff has been piled. They seem to keep the house warm but don't open windows for ventilation. It's an old single-wall house and having lived there previously I know that if the house gets damp, mould will form where there's no air circulation.

    To be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit threatened by my tenant now. It's 3am and my heart has been hammering since his snarky text about eating takeaway AGAIN. He doesn't seem to have any boundaries. He has my home and mobile numbers, which I don't mind, but last Tuesday, I was having a telephone session with my counsellor (I already have some mental health issues) and he rang my other number 12 times in an hour. I have no idea what he wanted as he must have given up when I wasn't answering. I told him from the start to call any time if there's an emergency, but he has no problem phoning and texting at hours I wouldn't dream of calling friends or family! For stuff I thought I'd already explained.

    Please help as I have no idea how to handle this. Or him!

    Thanks

  • #2
    Personally I think T sounds like a right PAIN. I wouldn't pay for their gas man or anything else. It's perfectly possible to cook on just 3 rings and I doubt they could or would get the cooker fixed any faster than you can.

    Tell them that your working hours are between 8.30am and 5 pm and that outside these hours could they text you only. Ask them to confirm any problems in writing.

    Issue a section 21.

    Hope it gets sorted. Remember it won't last forever.

    Comment


    • #3
      H. This nightmare is clearly getting you down. The advice above is very good.

      You need to set some boundaries. I would say that you'll only take calls or texts between, say 9-12 unless it's an emergency. If they keep calling, I would consider changing my numbers, and just leaving one number that you only answer at certain times. If you feel really threatened you could consider calling the police.

      I would also prepare the eviction paperwork just in case they don't leave, that will make you feel a little better.

      With regard to repairs, you only need to do what is reasonable. 3 working rings on a cooker should be enough for two people. As for a camping stove, using calor gas, that sounds unsafe to use indoors, and will release water vapour, that could cause mould and damp. You are likely to need a new gas safety test if a calor gas stove is bought into the house. Hardly worth it for a short tenancy.

      You might consider buying a new cooker, you can get them for about £200, this could solve the problems for this lot and for the next people.

      As for mould, go round with mould spray and mould paint. This should only cost about £30 from a DIY store. The problem you may have is moving around all their items to apply spray and paint. You could leave the spray and paint with them for future applications if you think it's worth it.

      Don't let it upset you, there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel, although at 3am it may not seem like it!

      Comment


      • #4
        Jones- you need to take control. The tenants are not behaving in a' tenant like manner' by storing goods in such a compact way.

        You don't say why the tenant could not get in through the door? No you do not have to pay his hotel bill and three rings is plenty to cook on. ( A new ring costs about £ 15- 25 depending on type + installation.

        Try to stop yourself re-acting to every request - the more you do the more they will ask. Yes, issue Section 21 - don't keep these tenants longer than you have too.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


        • #5
          Indeed: and suggest both now & in response to all complaints or requests you write (yes, WRITE! - keep copies) to tenant calm & polite letters noting what they want, what you have/will be doing & what you wish them to do.

          I fear this may end in court: I strongly suspect they won't be gone when you have expect.

          Cheers!
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes I am paying them nothing, no need to go to hotel, just switch gas off at mains and air propperty for an hour, the house was not on fire. Additionaly they called B-Gas not you.

            They sound like they are just coming it. At least if they are getting there own home built then you can take them to court and get everything you are owed. Try and keep a record of everything and text whenever possible as they sound like you are going to have a legal problem over this.

            Also do not let it get you down, these things happen, move on, move upwards!

            Comment


            • #7
              I feel for you and you have been given good advice.
              I just wanted to say something about the CO alarm.
              They are often triggered by CO entering from another property - there migt be nothing wrong in your house but a neighbour could be laying dead with faulty gas fire/ boiler...
              Definitely don't supply any portable gas appliances - another can o worms.
              When I say "we" I mean my husband does it whilst I read and write about it! Mrs Tara Plumbing doesn't do plumbing."

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you, All for your advice so far,

                Mrs TP, BG man suggested that - neighbour still out and about, though.

                Well, it hasn't gotten any better. I've managed to get hold of a ring but am unable to get it fitted until this Thursday. Tenant seems to have accepted this, but has now started persistently texting and ringing about "his" £100 (call out was £99 and for some reason, him adding the extra £ is really rankling!). He's suggested taking it off the rent (due tomorrow) which I've refused. I stated that the locksmith had pointed out damage to the door threshold when he got it open and tenant has muttered something about it being the movers fault. I told him that I would be willing to settle the account for anything that either of us is owed (I'm reluctant to say that I'll pay the £99 for his call out) at check out but now I've had two more texts and a phone call telling me that they need "their £100" this weekend.

                I know that the advice I've had here and from my solicitor is that I shouldn't pay them so I won't bang on about that any more. I am uncomfortable about not paying, though, as I feel responsible even though I know that I've done everything right so far (gas records etc.). I know that I would be a bit put out at monitors going off left, right and centre (but I think I'm reasonable enough to believe 4 different engineers telling me it's safe).

                However, I wonder if anyone here can clarify for me if I'm responsible for their CO alarm? In the text he's sent he's asking me to pay him for a new CO monitor as his "has been contaminated". Just to recap, I did NOT provide a CO monitor. He had his own two monitors, one battery, one mains. The battery one that originally sounded went off while the BG man was there so he waved his snooper around it and told tenant that it was clearly faulty, took it outside and broke it open. The new monitor they bought which went off intermittently has a read out that the BG read and said it showed no reading - this is the monitor I believe he's asking me to pay for.

                My solicitor tells me that as I did not provide one (and he understands that at the moment the only requirement is to provide smoke alarms, which I have), I am not responsible for it and therefore, should not pay him. Is he correct? Do I have to pay?

                Thanks All. The support I've found here has been invaluable, as I'm at a pretty low point at the mo and have lost all my fight (am quickly losing the will to live, too).

                ETA to add that BG have nailed a brand new monitor to the wall, which I am more than happy for him to take with him, however, I will be asking him to pay for the damage removing it will cause!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi. Try to keep your spirits up, it's not forever.

                  CO detectors aren't mandatory, and he installed it, so it's his responsibility.

                  Consult with your solicitor about issuing a Section 21 Notice, and consider changing your phone number to give yourself a little breathing space.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by isabella View Post
                    Hi. Try to keep your spirits up, it's not forever.

                    CO detectors aren't mandatory, and he installed it, so it's his responsibility.

                    Consult with your solicitor about issuing a Section 21 Notice, and consider changing your phone number to give yourself a little breathing space.
                    big Ditto to all this.
                    Turn your phone on to silent and don't feel you have to constantly deal with their calls.
                    You aren't responsible for damage to any of the tenants property - including their CO alarm - and reember you didnt cause it to go off - even if there was CO in the property that doesn't mean it was your fault (could even be from vehicle exhaust outside).
                    When I say "we" I mean my husband does it whilst I read and write about it! Mrs Tara Plumbing doesn't do plumbing."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Me again!

                      Thanks again, All, for your replies and, most of all, support.

                      More advice needed, though.

                      I put a letter through his box on Monday night in reply to his quite nasty letter saying things like his son now won't sleep without a CO monitor in his room, how they all could have died etc. I was quite upset, but being of a sensitive nature, I may be more upset than the average person. He stated he no longer wants any contact other than essential (fine by me, I was absolutely dreading the ping of my texts). However, he states that he wants contact only after 6pm. I put in my letter that I would only accept contact during business hours as I am now looking for someone to manage the property so I can avoid any more harassment and a manager would only work during those hours.

                      At the same time, I put a separate letter through saying that I was giving notice that the electrician will be attending between 8.30-9.30am on Thursday to repair the hob and to please let me know in writing or by text that this was okay.

                      I've heard nothing so far. It's 12.30 lunchtime Wednesday as I write and don't want to drag an electrician out from 12 miles away for an appointment tomorrow morning that he may not be allowed in to. Apart from the fact that I will be charged a call out for nothing, I don't really want to annoy him into refusing to come out to repairs in future.

                      Any suggestions as to what I should do? I want to text him to tell him that unless he replies by 3.30-4pm today, I'll be cancelling the electrician in order to allow him time to fit another paying customer in. Would this be okay?

                      TIA, Anne

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nightmare Scenario - Please Help

                        Hi All,

                        I posted previously about my tenant being extremely difficult over a failed cooker ring (the Safety forum). This is a million times worse!

                        I put the house up to let last November and with that intention had the gas appliance (fire and back boiler) serviced and checked. It was issued with a safety certificate by a Gas Safe registered engineer. There was an advisory on it saying that the flue was not within current standards but was still safe to use.

                        Tenants moved in on 3rd January. They only wanted the property for a short time as they were waiting for their new build to be completed, but they couldn't give me a date that they would be leaving so they signed a 6 month AST.

                        A few days after they moved in their CO monitor went off at about 10pm so he texted me to let me know and they all went down to the hospital. They were checked out and were found to have levels of 6 and 7 in their blood (not sure who had those levels, them or their children). I freaked out and called the engineer who was there at 9am the following morning, waiting for me to let him in.

                        I was shocked at what I found - so was he from an engineers point of view. The place looked like one of those hoarding programs on telly. Furniture and boxes stacked up virtually to the ceilings in every room.

                        Anyway, the engineer carried out checks on the boiler, fire and flu and found nothing. The first thing he did was check the air to see that it was safe to enter. His "snooper" detected zero CO in the room, despite it being left with the windows closed. He pulled the whole thing to bits and could find no evidence of sooting or anything else that would indicate a CO leak. He left an hour a half later having found no fault. He did, however, point out that their furniture and carrier bags full of stuff were blocking the vent to the room and that they had also clearly been burning a large candle in the room. He said I should ask them to ensure the vent was clear.

                        I arranged for engineer to return in a few days to extend the flue to current regs which he did.

                        As he was leaving, a British Gas van pulled up. Apparently tenants assumed our engineer was "dodgy" and called them, too. They took out a plan and told me I had to pay the call out of £99 (which in panic, I agreed). BG man (and apprentice) pulled fire and boiler apart again, also checked out flue, stating that I "should" have the flue extended a few hundred mm to make it to current standards.

                        While he was there, the tenant's CO monitor went off so he held his "snooper against" it but it read zero. He proclaimed it to be clearly faulty and took it outside to break open to prevent further use. He did a final check of the boiler and just as he was about to close it up, having found nothing wrong, the pressure valve flickered so he said he'd change it "just in case" which he did.

                        Both my engineer and the BG man stated that there had been "unusual atmospheric conditions" that night which may have caused a "blow back puff" that was apparently quite common, but I think we were all satisfied that the boiler/fire was safe so they came back and carried on living there.

                        The next day I had a text complaining that the rooms were not getting warm. I'm not surprised as every single rad had stuff leaning against them. Tenant was adamant that rads needed bleeding and that he would do them himself. He was still complaining, but his wife told me separately that they were fine. I think she must have told him as I heard nothing else about it.

                        Less than a fortnight later, I had another late night text telling me they'd booked into a hotel as their new Kidde CO monitor had gone off. I freaked out again and told them I'd call my engineer out but they said they'd call BG in which they did. An engineer was promised by lunch time but he didn't turn up so I gave them oil-filled rads to use. He turned up after dark and said he was unable to do anything as it was too dark to check the smoke coming out of the chimney. He left a fan heater and tenants stayed at property.

                        Next day a different BG man turned up. Checked the place out, could find nothing wrong and no CO. He checked their new Kidde monitor which the wife had said was bleeping "intermittently" (her husband had previously stated it was going off continuously!)but the readings were zero. He told them it must be faulty and nailed a BG monitor to the wall for them.

                        Again, I just thought it was a run of bad luck with faulty monitors and thought nothing else about it. Then we had the cooker ring saga - but that's another story if any of you are interested.

                        So, fast forward to today and I find a solicitor's letter in the post claiming £20,000 pain and suffering! I also had a letter from tenant last night telling me that he'd reported me to HSE and the council for not having a gas certificate! I gave him a copy before he moved in along with the EPC and the electrical safety certificate. I've sent a copy by email to the council guy and spoken to him by phone. He says he's satisfied and will be taking no action. I'm waiting for HSE to call back.

                        Tenant is actually moving out this week and has only paid rent up to today. He's also taken out £99 from his rent for the BG call out, despite me writing to him asking him not to as I'd noticed damage to the door when I went in and would offset it against the repair cost at the end of the tenancy.

                        Estate agent did a viewing last Thursday and called to say that the prospective tenants had been "frightened off" by current tenant who interfered throughout the viewing, telling them the house was unsafe. He also has a CO monitor bleeping in every room which the EA said was very off-putting.

                        So, I am in the kind of situation I never thought I'd find myself in and am not doing very well. I suffer with severe anxiety and depression and didn't cope very well, with the cooker ring situation and all tenants nasty texts (but a BIG thank you to all those who supported me through that. It is very much appreciated). I can feel myself starting to "give up" with this already.

                        I am hoping for any advice I can get regarding these issues: am I liable to have to pay out? Are those CO levels high (as I have no idea where they could have been poisoned from - I'm pretty sure that all/any of the engineers would have shut the system down if it had been the cause)? They reverse their cars up against the vent and front door - could that have contributed? Can I claim the rest of the rent he owes even though he's moving out? Can I ask for the £99 back? Who is responsible for utilities if he moves out but still is within his contract date? It's too cold to leave the house without heat without risking burst pipe damage. Can I go in to make sure it's being heated? A few months rent and £99 won't go far towards £20,000, but it might help me pay my solicitor's bill!

                        To top it all, I asked before they signed if they had pets. They said two outdoor dogs that they were "getting rid of" (which they have). I noticed cats trying to get in when I attended the property - I have a cat and cat flea allergy that causes me to have severe asthma attacks. Tenant told me they were his cats, but they were outdoor cats and never come inside (they looked like they were pretty used to being let in when I was there!). I'd had the place professionally cleaned before they moved in and now will not be able to risk going in again until it's sanitised properly again. Can I bill them for it? They said they would leave the property clean but I'm afraid to go in and perform a check-out with them now. How do I go about this?

                        A BIG thank you in advance for any help/suggestions/support.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Two related threads have been merged.

                          Jonesthemeat, these issues are best kept together in the same thread.
                          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Mod,

                            I am so sorry - I thought I was posting in the Lettings section as there are a few subjects covered.

                            Will it remain here?

                            Thanks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Without reading the entire thread is seems to me that the main issue relates to safety, specifically CO2, and your previous thread was moved to this area following requests from forum members.

                              I can see that many regular members will look at threads in the different forum areas, so the thread should get attention, but there are other members who have a greater interest in this area and so the advice you receive should be as relevant and accurate as you would hope.

                              The thread can be moved at any time if need be.

                              No need to apologise by the way, I’m trying to help you by merging the threads, it’s not some form of reprimand.
                              I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                              Comment

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