Nine Cats Times Nine Lives… Oh, Dear

, , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2021

My spouse and I rent out our basement suite to a tenant. When the tenant moves in, they have an adult female cat and two of her kittens. The tenant says they will be getting them all fixed and giving away the two kittens.

Since you have to get through two doors to get to the downstairs suite, I know the cats are never let outside. I also see all three cats the few times I go downstairs to fix something. And, sometimes, we hear some very, very loud meowing from the otherwise pretty insulated suite. Fast forward several months and the tenant texts me, informing me that her cat has, yet again, had kittens. 

Me: “Oh, how did that happen?”

Tenant: “No idea.”

No, the tenant did not get their now nearly-adult male cats fixed — or give them away — nor was the adult female fixed. Now we have nine cats downstairs. Irresponsible pet owners drive me crazy.

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Should Put Their Energy Into Paying Their Energy

, , , , , | Right | May 5, 2021

I work for an energy supplier. A tenant sends us documents proving he moved out of a property we supply two months ago. He assumed his landlord had already contacted us, but he just received his quarterly statement and wanted to let us know he isn’t in the property anymore. He pays up to the day he moved out and provides the address of his landlord to send the bill for the last two months. The landlord calls us.

Landlord: “Why are you sending me a bill? I never gave you my address!”

Me: “Your address was provided to us by your tenant.”

Landlord: “They can’t do that, and you can’t bill me because I never consented to you supplying me once they moved out.”

Me: “Sir, we were only recently advised of the move-out. We’ve been supplying the property for two months since then and the energy needs to be paid for.”

Landlord: “It’s estimated, though; no one’s living there. How can it be so much?”

Me: “Our system is just estimating the usage based on previous usage. If you can give us more recent meter readings, we can get a more accurate bill for you.”

Landlord: “I don’t have that. I haven’t been there in weeks and I won’t be able to visit until next month.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but without those, we have to go by the estimation.”

Landlord: “Just send someone out to read it yourselves!”

Me: “Sir, we have no way of accessing the property to do that unless you let us in.”

Landlord: “Just use your key!”

Me: “Did you provide us with a key?”

Landlord: “Of course not!”

Me: “Then how would we have a key?”

Landlord: “All you suppliers have keys to the properties you supply.”

Me: “Sir, that’s just not true. You will need to pay the estimation if you cannot provide meter readings.”

Landlord: “I’m not paying it! You had no right to keep supplying the property, and this rate is ridiculous. How can you charge this?! It’s criminal!”

Me: “That would be our standard tariff rate. If a customer doesn’t sign up for one of our other tariffs, then we put them on this.”

Landlord: “That’s illegal! You should always put them on the cheapest tariff!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but our cheapest tariff means agreeing to have a smart meter install—”

Landlord: “I don’t want a smart meter!”

Me: “We understand that some people don’t want smart meters which is why we don’t put you on this tariff without speaking with you first.”

Landlord: “That’s criminal. There are a lot of elderly people who don’t like smart meters. You’re discriminating against them and forcing them to pay higher rates!”

Me: “Sir. Criminal would be forcing you to have a smart meter. If customers are unhappy with our prices, they always have the option of switching suppliers.”

Landlord: “Well, I definitely will be switching. This is disgusting and I will not pay it! You should have called me to ask if I wanted to stay with you.”

Me: “We do not hold a phone number for you, so we would have had no way to do this. We also do not call up people asking if they want to continue with us.”

Landlord: “I don’t care what you don’t do. That’s what you should have done!”

Me: “Sir, even if that was something we did, we were not aware that your tenant moved out until recently. We had no reason to believe someone else was responsible for the bills.”

Landlord: “You. Cannot. Bill. Me. Because. I. Never. Consented. To. Have. You. As. My. Supplier!”

Me: “As the owner, it is your responsibility to advise the utility companies supplying your property of any changes to tenancy. Regardless of whether or not you chose us, you are responsible for this bill.”

Landlord: “I never consented to f****** being with you! You cannot charge me!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you should have arranged for another supplier to take over if you didn’t want to be with us.”

Landlord: “No, you should have just stopped the supply!”

Me: “Again, we did not know of the move out until recently, and since you did not contact us, we had no way to know you did not wish to continue with us.”

Landlord: “Which is why you should have f****** called me!”

Me: “Sir, please do not swear. We had no phone number and no way to call you.”

Landlord: “I’ll swear if I f****** want to! You’re a grown woman; just deal with it!”

Me: “You’re right, I am a grown woman, and as such, I have every right to ask you not to swear. I also have every right to disconnect this call, so please do not swear at me when I am just doing my job.”

Landlord: “I’m not paying this and I will be contacting my lawyer. You are all a bunch of scammers!” *Click*

It was another two months before he got round to switching the supplier, and yes, he had to pay for the energy used during this time.

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Hi, Still Living Here, Thanks

, , , , | Working | April 24, 2021

The owner of the house my boyfriend and I are renting has decided to sell. This isn’t the first house we’ve lived in that is for sale, so we know how it goes. The only difference is that this house is a duplex and our neighbor moved out of the other side a few months ago.

First, they want us to agree to a day every other week for them to do a showing. We suggest once a month due to the health crisis and not wanting too many people in our home. We compromise and agree to have the place viewable when they call and give us twenty-four hours heads-up.

I wake up one afternoon and my boyfriend tells me someone showed up for a viewing and asked to enter, but we didn’t get a heads-up so he said no. I’m irritated by this but figure one mistake isn’t a big deal. They showed the other side and left.

Then, yesterday, a little before noon, we were both awake when we heard people outside and I heard someone try to open the door. My boyfriend got up to look out the front while I pulled up my phone and dialed 911, thinking it might be a break-in. I didn’t call yet just in case, and my boyfriend cracked the door open. My heart was pounding, and I recognized the early signs of a panic attack.

My boyfriend’s tone in the following dialogue is extremely polite – much more polite than I would have been and much more polite than they deserved, in my opinion.

Boyfriend: “Um, hi. Can I help you?”

Realtor: “Yeah, we’re here for a showing. Is it all right if we take a look inside?”

Boyfriend: “No, sorry, because no one called us to tell us you were coming.”

Realtor: “Oh. Not just real quick?”

Boyfriend: “No, we weren’t told.”

Realtor: “Well, do you ever do showings of this side?”

Boyfriend: “Yes, when we are given a warning.”

Realtor: “Okay.”

After they left, I texted the landlord and told him that this was totally unprofessional and that I had almost called 911 on the realtor. He wasn’t as bothered as I was and just passed along our message to the realtors. I thought he would be more upset since he wants to sell the place, but I guess not. I calmed down but was upset the rest of the day. Who just tries to open someone’s door and then act like they knocked when someone answers?! They gave us no apology or any sign of remorse.


This story is part of the Homeownership roundup!

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The Joys Of Renting

, , , , , | Working | December 28, 2020

I moved out on my own when I was twenty-one, scoring a fantastic little new build flat in the city centre. In nine years, I only moved to a different block so I could have a bigger place. Eventually, though, the area got worse: there was vandalism, my car was broken into twice — in the underground “secure” car park that had easily broken gates — a pub on my road was closed after a guy was killed there, drugs, gangs, you name it.

I decided enough was enough; I wanted out of the city and to somewhere quieter. I was delighted to find a ground floor flat that looked great on the visit, close to my parents. The rent was the same as I was currently paying and the lease was for twelve months. Perfect.

Yeah. You know where this is going.

When I move in I actually have to wonder if it is the same place I saw three weeks ago. With the previous tenants’ stuff gone, it is easy to see the chronic damp. Oh, and the kitchen window has dropped so there is a wide, open gap to the outside — not great in the winter… or for security. I have problems with the en suite toilet and shower, as well, during which time the landlord and I have a chat when he is fixing the issues.

Me: “I’m really looking forward to living here. In a year or two, I think I’ll have it redecorated.”

Imagine my surprise when, barely four months later, he tells me I have to leave!

Landlord: “You’ll have to find somewhere else. I can’t afford the flat—”

This is despite me paying rent on it.

Landlord: “—and if you don’t leave, I’ll have to go bankrupt and the bank will take the flat and evict you.”

I should mention here two things. First, in the UK, you cannot breach a rental agreement for that reason. In fact, it is notoriously difficult to evict a renter from a property. Point two, I know this because I work in the real estate industry. I know how this stuff works, I know my rights, and I know I can make his life h***.

But still, it was stressful to have this man message me at least twice a week demanding I find another place, telling me I didn’t need to find somewhere perfect, just to leave his place, that he’d pay me to leave, that he wouldn’t give me a good reference if I was not gone by a certain date, etc.

But I ignored him. I consulted with colleagues who agreed that he had no legal standing, and I talked with the estate agents who had some very choice names for him, but I didn’t stop looking for the perfect place. Moving is expensive and stressful and I hate doing it, so if I was moving now it was to a place to stay a long time… like this was supposed to be.

In the end he came clean. Kind of. He hadn’t realised it was a twelve-month lease, despite the conversations we’d had. He did try and blame the estate agents — they are liars, they tricked him, blah. I figured he screwed the pooch and had someone else lined up to move in.

Thankfully, this has a good ending. I found a house, rather than a flat, still in my ideal area and price, with everything I could want: a garden, a driveway, three bedrooms, and an amazing landlord that I can laugh and joke with.

I don’t hate my ex-landlord any more, and I write this now from my garden, sipping a coffee and reflecting on how lucky I was that my ex-landlord broke the law and kicked me out, how I dodged a bullet, and how fun it was to see him a little while ago when I was visiting the friends I had made at that building… watching him bring his groceries into his — my — flat.

Yeah, he kicked me out so he and his girlfriend could move in. He saw me, I saw him, and I just grinned, with the other residents smiling with me.

I think I won.

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Wait Until She Hears Cardi B’s Newest Little Ditty

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 23, 2020

I’m a singer, “pro” by formation but it’s not my career, nor how I win my life. I’m also the owner of a duplex, occupying the first apartment and renting the second. Insonorization is pretty good, but it is a nice warm day and everyone has opened the windows. Also, because of the recent health crisis, my tenant lost her job, and school was canceled for her eight-year-old son, which causes them to be home when I don’t expect them to be.

As I often do, I start a playlist to sing for an hour or two for practice and fun. About thirty minutes in, there’s a knock on my door. It’s my tenant, looking rather angry.

She explains to me that her son heard me sing, and now he’s “asking questions.”

She states that and crosses her arms, looking at me with bulging eyes.

I don’t understand and ask what’s the problem, thinking that maybe I was too loud or that she had some hate against singing in general.

Tenant: “I don’t care if you sing, but what you sing! How dare you be howling obscenities like that in front of children?!”

Now it clicks: while I do opera and classical, I also do popular music. Some songs are in the “sexy” range, but it’s all stuff you could hear from any radio station without censorship.

Me: “Well, there are no children here in my apartment. So much for ‘in front of children.’ Second, it’s the first time I was made aware I was heard from your apartment and I have been renting for fifteen years at this point. Also, I sing what I want; I could drop F-bombs and you would still get no say with that choice. I guess you’re lucky that I elected not to. Otherwise, the lyrics are rather clean in themselves, and out of context it doesn’t mean much.”

Tenant: “But now my son is asking questions! What are you going to do about it?”

Me: “Me? Nothing, he’s all yours to educate.”

Tenant: “It’s all your fault! You deal with it!”

I think it’s pretty funny and I can’t help but smirk.

Me: “So, you want me, the landlady who’s ‘howling obscenities’ to teach your son about the birds and the bees, then answer and explain, in detail, all about what he just heard in the songs? Really?”

I think she changed her mind because she turned around and left without a word.

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