Yup, my crap landlord is at it again:
FROM: Grainger Residential Management
Dear Mr. Michael. Harling,
Please contact our office to discuss your outstanding administration fee. We cannot accept your signed Tenancy Agreement without the fee so if we do not hear from you in the next two days we will start proceedings to gain possession.
For and on behalf of
Grainger Residential Management Ltd.
St. John's House
0161 929 3160
FROM: Michael Harling
Dear Ms Devine,
It was lovely speaking to you on the phone this morning. I trust our conversation will result in my not returning from work on Monday evening to find my door bolted and padlocked. A check for £90.00 is enclosed.
I am compelled to say, however, your assertion that you "cannot" accept my Tenancy Agreement is, to put it in the best possible light, a lie. You've done so for the past seven years. What you mean to say is, "we will not process your Tenancy Agreement, and will toss you out on the street unless you pay us ninety quid." I don't know what you people call that, but to me it sounds like extortion.
If I went up to someone and told him I was going to throw him out of his house unless he paid me £90, I would go to jail. And rightly so. But as a business, you're not bound by the constraints of fairness, decency or, apparently, law. The only binding contract I have signed with you is the one where I agree to pay you X amount of money per month in exchange for you maintaining the building and its grounds and allowing us live here. For the past seven years the rent has been paid on time and in full. We have been very conscientious about that; you, on the other hand, seem to regard the contract in a more casual manner, but that's a different issue.
The ninety quid is more than just an arbitrary bill sent out by a company looking for free money; it's a slap in the face, an insult and a worry for the future.
In the seven years we have been here, we have endeavoured to be good tenants:
- My wife (and a few other concerned tenants) spends her own time and money to tend the flowerbeds in front of your flats; the flowerbeds not adopted by tenants are fetchingly overgrown with bindweed and thistles. (ref: Different Issue)
- We had to pay to carpet your flat because you refused to, even though the existing carpets were very old when we moved in and had become dangerously frayed and rucked up. You eventually did agree to pay a portion of the bill. (ref: Different Issue)
- We had to pay to paint your flat because you refused to. You did agree to pay us for materials if we sent in the receipts; we sent in the receipts, but you never paid us. (Ref: Different Issue)
- This weekend, we are going to paint the bathroom—we're not even going to attempt to get you to do it or pay for it.
And now you decide we need to give you an extra £90 for basically no reason, aside from your promised to not allow us to continue to live here unless we do.
So we've paid it, but I fear our capitulation will only serve to encourage you. Will the "fee" be £180 next year, or £250? Will we be required to chip in for petrol and supply tea and scones if we call out a workman?
In the future, when you decide to make up capricious fees, please disguise them as rent increases; that way I will feel as if I have simply been ripped off instead of robbed outright.