Before I get into this post, I just want to throw out a disclaimer to let everyone know that in no way am I trying to convince you not to rent privately or tell you that every landlord/agency will treat you the way we were treated, I am just sharing my story and giving my horrible experience I had with landlords and letting agencies to simply let anyone else with bad experiences know that they are not alone in this.
Oh where to begin… first I’d like to give you a minute or so to grab a cup of coffee and 3 packs of biscuits as this is going to be a long post (sorry!)
Basically, in July 2017, Chris and I decided we were ready to move into our first home together, we both(along with A LOT of help from our families) managed to box up all our belongings and prepared for new beginnings in our little, privately rented, 1 bedroom flat. (Letting Agency held a deposit from us which would be returned once our lease was up as long as there were no damage, remember this… vital part of the story)
The beginning was like a dream, we were in love with our little home, making it our own and this is when the little hiccups began, which I’m sure everyone has at the beginning of a tenancy… we had just moved in and obviously there were little snags and things weren’t working, letter box was broken, smoke alarm was hanging from the ceiling, mess in the back garden, the list went on. So, we decided to write a list of all repairs and take it to our letting agency in order for them to get in contact with the landlord and have them fixed. Once we got to the letting agency, the woman was so nice and sat us down and had a read over of all our repairs and advised that all of them were acceptable and they would contact the landlord, but she advised us that if we need to contact them to just email, so we got her email address and agreed to do this. We left the office feeling satisfied with the conversation we had with the ‘lovely lady’ and felt more ‘adult’ than anything.. you know, getting things done and stuff. Haha!
Couple of weeks later… still no contact from landlord or letting agency about our repairs that we had reported. Both Chris and I work full-time and so his mum was always on hand to help us out as much as she could. We were starting to get agitated about not having anyone in contact and so one day, we asked Chris’s mum if she could give the agency a call whilst we were both at work, and to this day I regret is so much, as what she had to put up with on that phone call was complete and utter rudeness and downright abuse. She was told that ‘at the end of the day, your son and his girlfriend are just kids’, she was shouted at, she was also told ‘that’s fine, we will speak to the landlord and cancel the tenancy agreement’, this obviously upset his mum as she felt partly to blame if they were to cancel the lease (which they didn’t). This was the first time, both Chris and I felt a bit shaky about taking the flat but there was nothing we could do as we were roped into a 6 month tenancy lease. Oh, and those repairs.. ha, we had to get family members to help repair all of these, despite being told at the time in the shop that they would be fixed. Oh and all the horrible things that Chris’s mum endured was all from the ‘lovely lady’ and that’s when we realised… lovely is what she most definitely wasn’t.
Now, I am not entirely sure when we found this out but I know it didn’t take us that long to figure it out as it was coming into winter, we moved our bed out to get something from underneath and I have honestly, hand on heart, never seen anything like it before… I would upload pictures, but my pride got the better of me and I had to delete all the pictures as it was embarrassing living in a house where there was mould growing up every wall. The full wall of our bedroom was infested with it, our hall began turning blue/green with mould as well. I was never done cleaning it off all the walls and I might sound like a drama queen, but, working full-time and in-between constantly cleaning all the walls of my home to get green mould off them was proven extremely difficult and tiring. We didn’t want anyone to come visit as we were mortified, our pride was damaged, our happiness was ruined and it was the beginning of a terrible nightmare that we seemed to never wake up from.
We did contact the letting agents about the dampness/mould and we were told that it was our fault, we haven’t been opening the windows and we had been drying clothes in the house (they had no proof of this, they assumed). Little did they know, our windows were always open, we were freezing and also, IM SORRY, BUT I LIVE IN SCOTLAND AND ITS FREEZING AND RAINY IN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER WHERE ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DRY CLOTHES. We were sent a link for a de-humidifier which we tried and this didn’t work, they had no interest and just kept telling us it wasn’t there problem.
In October, our extractor fan in the bathroom stopped working and they also didn’t fix this, our bathroom didn’t have a window and so this added to the infestation of mould. Our shoes were covered in it and all my furniture was ruined, but I mean… as far as the landlord and agency were concerned, it was our own fault. By now, this was affecting us both mentally, we felt like we were being treated like idiots and the agency told us that we were ‘annoying them’ with our email complaints about the dampness.
At the end of October, we were living without heating as the boiler was broken and the handy-man for the agency was taking ages to come out, we planned for his visit to take place one day after work and so I had just pulled up into a space outside the flat and was on the phone to Chris asking where he was (as both us had been in contact with this man and did not like him one bit), I didn’t get out the car as I was still on the phone and the next minute the handy-man fellow came up to my car and yanked my door open asking if I was going in to the house, I felt intimated, mortified and just got out the car and walked to the flat with him. That night, I cried about the way he dealt with that as he treat me like a little girl, he wasn’t happy and also told me that he didn’t have all day but what I didn’t understand was that he was half an hour early and I had literally just pulled up and also did not see him or I would’ve got out the car.
1st November 2017… we got a letter through the door with big writing ‘NOTICE TO QUIT’, I had never seen this before and so I googled it, that gave me the answers that I needed. We were being asked to leave, in 2 months time. At first, I was scared but after it settled in I was relieved as I was exhausted with constantly fighting with a landlord and his agency – it was tiring and I wasn’t up for the fight anymore. It was a blessing in disguise, and the letter that we had been needing, it was our escape from the most torturous 6 months. We celebrated, we were happy and we felt human for the first time in a long time. The reasoning behind this was that the landlord was selling up but we later found out it was because we were ‘nightmare tenants’ complaining about everything.. the next 2 months were slow, I didn’t wash another wall though as I wanted them to see the full extent of the damage but eventually our moving out date arrived and we were free! There was just one last thing to discuss with the agency… the return of our £375 deposit… but that is a story for another post!!
I hope you enjoyed our little story time about the reasons we left our first home… if you have any experiences/stories on being a tenant please leave them below, I will be sure to upload our story on getting our deposit back soon after this post goes live!
Have you rented a home through an agency before? Have you ever felt like you have been part of a nightmare?
Thank you for reading, always