When you're evicted, it is not a case of shrugging your shoulders and saying: "Oh well...fuck it! We'll get somewhere else."
Only a dumb cunt would think it was that easy.
And when the bureaucratic fascists down at your local council are fucking you over too, well...then your voice is at risk of becoming nought but a lone resistant squeak.
You may know from my previous posts just how unfairly we've have been treated by a certain letting agent. First they got their knickers in a twist when I complained that they couldn't just let themselves in without permission when they wanted (Blog post: "Revenge Evictions"), then because I complained that we shouldn't have to pay for THEIR Rent Guarantee Insurance Policy when we had already paid for our Guarantors to be credit-checked (ahem...FUCKING EXTORTION!!!) and lastly because I refused to pay £518 for three-months gas usage when the building our maisonette shares with their office used 22,000 kilowatt hours in three months (at a fixed term business rate), when an average 4-bed house uses domestic rates in the region of 15 - 16,000 kilowatt hours in ONE MOTHERFUCKING YEAR!
So after being given our notice, I swore at the staff. I called them cunts, to be honest, although I muttered it to myself as I walked past them in the street.
But the landlord accused me of standing in the middle of the street shouting at her, and one of her staff KNEW it didn't happen that way, and I recorded her agreeing with me that it didn't happen that way.
So anyway...this has all been covered in previous posts ("Revenge Evictions" and "Eviction & Intentional Homelessness Part One and Two"), but this post is to fill the reader in on some more developments.
In "Eviction & Intentional Homelessness Part Two", I showed you an extract from the letter sent to me by our council's homeless prevention officer, and how she'd determined that she was minded to find us intentionally homeless as a result of what the landlord told her.
I explained that what the landlord told her was false, and I was able to show why it was false. So knowing that the HPO was on leave until the 28th July 2015, I waited until the 29th to ring her. I'd made the decision by then that I was going to make a Formal Complaint against our landlord/letting agent for the reasons set out in those previous blog posts. I phoned our HPO and asked her for a copy of the letter or email sent by our landlord which confirmed the reasons - from her point of view - for our eviction.
Oh, said the HPO. She didn't write anything.
It turned out that our landlord had simply related her highly damaging, and lie-ridden account of our eviction OVER THE PHONE.
I told the HPO that I'd therefore have to use her letter to me as evidence of what the landlord told her.
To which she replied that the landlord had never said that we were evicted as a "direct consequence" of abusive behaviour.
Hang on! I said. It's in your letter to me. You specifically said the landlord told you we were evicted as a direct consequence of abusive behaviour.
She flapped and stuttered and I hung up on her.
Just another idiot.
So I lodged a formal complaint about her, too. By now, I was sick of dealing with all these total fucking muppets, liars and incompetent fools.
And I went on to lodge a Formal Complaint against the letting agent. There's a set procedure, depending on which redress scheme the agent belongs to. Ours is with the Property Ombudsman, and all you have to do is check out their website and get yourself hooked up with all the rules and regs that apply not only with how these fuckers have to do their jobs, but how you make a complaint against them when they screw you over. This is the Complaint I wrote.
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RE: FORMAL COMPLAINT
This letter is to lodge a formal complaint against all staff members at M*****s Lettings.
The basis for the complaint is a breach of the following mandatory Codes from the Codes of Practice for Residential Letting Agents (The Property Ombudsman):
1b You (*) must comply with this Code of Practice. You must comply with all laws relating to the letting and management of residential property and in particular to the Data Protection Act 1998, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs), Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, Energy Act 2011 (Green Deal), Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Housing Act 2004 (Tenancy Deposits) and all other current and relevant primary and secondary legislation and any local licensing obligations.
1c - You must ensure that all staff are fully conversant with all aspects of the Code of Practice and their legal responsibilities. Such staff must observe the Code and their legal responsibilities in all their dealings with consumers. You must comply with all laws relating to the letting of residential property and all other current and relevant legislation.
1d - You should provide a service to both landlords and tenants consistent with fairness, integrity and best practice; and you should not seek business by methods that are oppressive or involve dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation. You must avoid any course of action that can be construed as aggressive behaviour (*) or harassment (*).
The details of this complaint are as follows:
On the 14th July 2015, we received a letter from Homeless Prevention Officer, C*****. She works at South Somerset District Council.
I met with C***** on the 17th June, and explained in detail the reasons I felt we were issued our s.21 Notice. She advised that the process of determining whether we had made ourselves “intentionally homeless” would include some feedback from E*****, as she is our landlord (and managing director of M*****s Lettings). This she did, after which she wrote to confirm that she was minded to find us intentionally homeless - with her reasons being based on what E***** told her.
A copy of C*****'s letter is enclosed for your information (BLOG POST: "EVICTION & INTENTIONAL HOMELESSNESS PART TWO")
I am in the process of objecting to her letter, but the basis for my complaint to you is what C***** says she was told by E*****.
E***** reported that I was verbally abusive to staff in your office and that our s.21 Notice was given as a “direct consequence” of “abusive behaviour”.
But this is not true.
If the incident to which E***** was referring is the one in December 2014, I was not verbally abusive to anyone in your office, and never before has an accusation been made to the contrary.
I know that you have accused me of “shouting” in the office on that occasion. I immediately sent an apology in direct response. And E***** may have stopped me entering the office, but there was never any single episode of failing to honour this ever since, and we have even given our welcome to N*****, who has entered the property on numerous occasions for inspections and viewings.
Never has there been a suggestion of concern, and I suggest that if there had been, N***** would not have been asked to enter the property, not would she have done so voluntarily.
In April 2015, we received a letter from you asking us to confirm our intentions in readiness for the expiry of the fixed-term AST. Sarah went into your office to speak to E***** about it, and confirmed our intention was to remain in the property under a Statutory Period Tenancy. A proposition which E***** confirmed was SATISFACTORY.
At that point, there was never a suggestion that E***** was considering evicting us over the dispute in December 2014 - a dispute for which I had good grounds for raising.
So in April, E***** made it clear that she was happy to let us stay in the flat under the Statutory Periodic Tenancy, and even confirmed in an email the charges applicable to doing so.
Her claim to C***** that we were evicted as a “direct consequence” of abusive behaviour, if it is to be taken that she was referring to December, is therefore clearly false.
The truth is, E***** issued our eviction notice as a “direct consequence” of our refusal to pay £518 for three months gas...Right after, in fact, Sarah refused to speak to E***** face-to-face. You seem to think it was me who made the refusal, but I was merely writing the emails. She herself did not want to speak to you face-to-face, because by then we had been advised by the council to get everything in writing.
In all communications prior to the issue of our notice, J***** had never once indicated that she would accept a “payment on account”. All communications show that she was requesting we make an offer of what we thought was reasonable. I had always maintained that we would pay what we thought was reasonable, but that we were in the process of taking advice as to what was indeed reasonable.
Despite your claims to the contrary, you had not been clear all along that you would only accept a payment on account. The timing of the eviction notice was also suspiciously close to the email in which J***** threatened to cut the gas supply off, claiming that your services rendered you akin to a utility provider, which they do not.
This was not an energy re-sale agreement. This was an agreement to pay 40% of YOUR OWN GAS BILL, and it is not the same thing.
The fact that we agreed to pay 40% at the start of the tenancy is something upon which you appear to hang your disgruntlement, but as with your access clause, this agreement could potentially be construed as being Unfair, under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
Upon explaining the 60-40% split, you provided us with no information whatsoever to put us in an informed position with regards to the nature of the agreement.
Given that we now feel strongly that the agreement was Unfair (a concept which might not necessarily present itself as being Unfair at the time it is made), and that the Tenancy Agreement didn't even support the 60-40 split, we quite rightly had a valid dispute, and instead of thrashing it out, you threatened to cut off our gas-supply, which is illegal, and shortly after pointing this out to you, and also after refusing to speak to you face-to-face, you issued our eviction notice.
All emails will clearly show that there was never any abusive behaviour at this point.
It was several hours AFTER the eviction notice that I saw you in the street and muttered a swear-word to myself as I walked past the three of you. Clearly, I shouldn't have let my anger and frustration get the better of me. But it did, and I have always accepted that I swore, but that I muttered.
What I didn't do, however, is what E***** has been telling everyone.
I did not “stand in the middle of the street shouting abuse”. Sarah spoke to E***** about this in your office on the 20th May, when E***** persisted with the accusation, in front of all staff, that I “stood in the middle of the street shouting abuse”. Not one member of staff spoke up to point out the truth, and interestingly, not one of them spoke to back her up on that point, either.
But as all this happened AFTER notice had already been given, then again...the claim that we were evicted as a “direct consequence” of abusive behaviour is completely false.
Sarah made an audio recording of that discussion, and during it, E***** can be heard acknowledging that I swore AFTER being given our notice, which reduces the scope of your account even further.
But the problem is further compounded by the fact that I have an audio recording of the tenant viewing that N***** carried out on the afternoon of 5th June.
During a discussion I had with her after the prospective tenants had gone - concerning the inappropriate viewings - she admitted that “standing in the middle of the street shouting abuse” is NOT what happened. So what we now have, is one of the members of staff who was present when I muttered a swear-word, confirming that what E***** has been saying is not true.
But what we also have, fundamentally, is a landlord/managing director of M*****s, telling Sarah that by rights she should be warning other landlords of my behaviour, when her own staff have been recorded confirming that such behaviour didn't happen the way E***** tells it.
Even worse than that though, we have a company whose managing director makes false claims to the council, and whose staff members KNOW that the claims are false, but are refusing to do the decent thing and come forward with the truth.
Not only is that dishonourable, I find it extremely disturbing that an organisation such as yours, apparently viewed as a decent, respectable company, have put forward a false explanation of why we were evicted, and whose staff are rallying around the managing director whilst this disgraceful behaviour occurs.
Any detriment we are now caused as a result of your false claims, and of the members of M*****s staff total refusal to come forward with the truth, will quite realistically have financial implications.
Not only would I like your company to acknowledge that the information you gave to the Council was false, but I would like a written apology to myself and to Sarah for the “avoidable aggravation, distress, and inconvenience” you have caused by providing the false information. Being evicted is a stressful event at the best of times, but to find that certain facts about why you have evicted us are being completely twisted to portray me as the perpetrator of some sort of wrong-doing concerns me deeply.
Please acknowledge receipt of my letter/email within 3 working days and provide me with the written response to your investigations within 15 working days in accordance with The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice.
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Now, I sent that letter not only by email with all the relevant enclosures (including the audio recordings), but I posted a hard copy through their door on the same day and I filmed myself doing it.
They can't say they never got it.
And as the Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents say, they MUST acknowledge receipt within three working days and properly investigate, providing a response within 15 working days.
I sent them this on Wednesday 29th July. It is now nearly 7pm on Monday 3rd August, the third working day. And the agent has not responded.
How fucking predictable.