Leaving The Landlord Feeling Exposed

, , , , , | Working | August 14, 2017

(Not long after I move in to a rental I have to change one of the light bulbs in my kid’s room. The light fitting falls out of the ceiling as I touch it, revealing that the wiring’s protective covering is brittle and it exposes bare wires. The real estate contacts the owners who come out with their “electrician” who quietly informs me that he is not an electrician and just a friend. It’s illegal to work on electrical matters unless you are qualified; a lot do to save money but most know what they are doing. Another time I get a small shock from a light switch. The real estate sends their qualified electrician out to repair that. Then another light fitting falls down when I barely touch it to change a light bulb leaving exposed wires. I turn off the power and call the real estate, who promises to call the owners immediately. They call back a little later.)

Real Estate: “We’ve tried contacting the owners but there’s been no answer. They don’t want us using our electrician but considering that this is an emergency situation we are sending one out right now.”

(The electrician arrives not long after, and after seeing how the metal light fitting is hanging from the ceiling.)

Electrician: “Did you pull down on it or what?”

Me: “No, I only just touched the light bulb and the whole thing fell.”

Electrician: “But you took all of the glass light shades off?”

Me: “No, all of the light shades of all the lights in the house were missing when we moved in.”

Electrician: “Okay. I’ll get started, then.”

(He checks that the power is off and climbs his ladder, so I go to do something else. A few moments later I hear him swear.)

Electrician: “Oh, s***!”

(I hear him go out the front door, and the power box open and close, before he comes back in. He then goes to all of the metal light fittings in the house touching them with an electrical tester.)

Electrician: “S***, s***, s***!”

(He enters the kitchen and tests the fitting there.)

Electrician: “F****** h***!”

Me: “Are you okay?”

Electrician: *looks very shaken* “Oh, I’m sorry about that. I’m amazed that no one has died in this place. All of these light fittings are wired up wrong. They have the live wire attached to the fitting instead of the grounding wire. Every fitting in this house is live. I’m replacing all of them.”

(He removes all of the fittings and replaces them with simple cheap single bulb fittings and asks me about throwing out the old ones because they are rusted and pitted. We decide to keep them because it’s rental and they prove they are wired wrong so he puts them into the roof space. About a month later I get a visit from the owners.)

Owner: “Who gave you permission to get an electrician out? I’ve just had a huge bill sent to me. I’m not paying it.”

Me: “I didn’t get the electrician. The real estate did when a light fitting fell from the ceiling and they couldn’t get in contact with you.”

Owner: “Why did they replace five lights, then?”

Me: “They were all wired wrong; the electrician said it’s a wonder that no one was killed in this place because they weren’t put in by an electrician.”

Owner: “All the lights in here were done by an electrician!””

Me: “The same sort of electrician you brought with you last time?”

Owner: “WELL, WHERE ARE ALL OF MY GOOD LIGHT FITTINGS?! THOSE WERE EXPENSIVE AND YOU’VE JUST THROWN THEM OUT!”

Me: “We kept them safe, especially for proof that they were wired wrong in the first place.”

Owner: “Oh… we won’t worry about that, then.” *quickly says their goodbyes and leaves*

(The same owner tried making me pay for damaged blinds after the real estate signed off that the blinds were in the same condition as when we moved in. They also weren’t happy that we hadn’t repainted the crappily painted walls that they did themselves, or finish the jobs they had left undone when they lived there.)

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