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About MarshmallowMan

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  1. Hello all, 3 months ago there was a fire in our next door neighbours house and it more or less gutted the place. Our house next door - rented through a letting agency was engulfed in smoke but thankfully they managed to stop the actual fire spreading into ours. We had to move out of the house for almost 7 weeks while everything was restored and our contents treated and cleaned, etc. We've been living back there for about 5/6 weeks now. There is a huge scaffolding spread over our neighbours house and it goes halfway onto our 'site' as well - we walk under it to get into our door. We don't really have a major problem with this althought it is a bit of a nuisance. However, yesterday the surveyor, builder and others from next door met up to examine the structure of the place and in particular the 'party wall' - the wall which both our house and the burnt house share. It turns out that the wall is pretty much destroyed right up to our plaster - they said they were amazed it hadn't come through. They have now said that they will need to knock down parts of this wall and rebuild - essentially leaving a massive hole between the two properties. They have said it will take 'at least two weeks' and that we couldn't live there while they do it. We have had a pretty rough ride in the past few months with all this upheaval and to make matters worse I am just starting writing my dissertation for my Masters degree that I need to complete by the end of February. If we move into temporary accomodation again, we'll have no internet access which is a massive obstacle when doing my work. We are currenly looking for a house to buy and would prefer not to move out altoghether as we would then be tied down to a new rental agreement for at least 6 months. We are now on a rolling contract. Does anyone have any advice on where we stand legally with all this - if we do decide to move out and cut our losses, do we still have to give notice int he same manner as stipulated in the tenancy agreement or can we terminate the contract on the basis of (albeit temporary) eviction? As we would ideally prefer to avoid the above - do we have grounds for getting some from of compensation for all this - any advice on how to approach this e.g. reducaed rent for a period, cover for our bills while we are not there etc. We didn't get any compensation for the previous 6/7 weeks we were out but I think we have been reasonable and understanding up to now. Thanks for any advice folks, it would be much appreciated.
  2. Nice one FTC, that worked out well then. Always good to hear it when it works out well in the end. Good luck with yours Angel too.
  3. Hi FTC, I was in the middle of a reply to your earlier post but I'm afraid your new post does change things. If the bin is in the inventory and it was not there when you moved out, i'm afraid you will be liable for replacing it - it doesn't really matter if is wasn't there when you moved in as the onus is on you to check the inventory thorughly whenever you move in somewere. i have been burned by this before but it doesn't happen twice once you've learned. That said, (and others may be better able to advise on the legalese here), you shouldn't have to pay for a new bin, simply the value of the bin at the time the tenancy ceased. Otherwise the landlord is improving his property at your expense and this is known as 'betterment'. I don't know how exactly they establish this value though and again, someone else on these forums might be better able to advise on that one. If it were me, I would say to them that £40 for a bin is unreasonable considering prices you have checked out and provide examples of bin prices. Also tell them that you are not liable for a new bin as this would be betterment, etc. I would offer £15 toward the resolution of the bin issue and see what they say. If they don't play ball then you need to get cracking with getting the majority of your deposit back at least and worry about the smaller sums later. If they start stalling again, i would write them an email something along the lines of: While I dispute your claim to £40 for the bin and £xx for the light cleaning, it seems we are in agreement that the rest of my/our deposit (state £amount) is undisputed and should therefore be returned to me/us forthwith. If this is the case, please confirm that you are willing to complete a joint declaration to the DPS for the return of said undisputed sum. We are prepared to contest your claim on the disputed sum of £xx via the ADR process set out by the DPS scheme. I think you will agree that you have had more than sufficient time since the end of the tenancy in order for you to assess the property and in order to avoid any further delay I would expect a response to this email within 48 hours. If no response is forthcoming, we will reluctantly be forced to contact the DPS and instigate the Single Claim Process to obtain the return of our full deposit." Again, good luck with it all.
  4. Good luck FTC, When you send off your Single Claim form, don't forget to put in copy of all the correspondence between you and the LL/LA so that the DPS can see you are using the Signle Claim as a last resort. Also, from memory there is a specific number of days that must have passed before a Single Claim can be issued - just double-check that you have passed this date. I 'm not sure whether it's worth your while complaining to the estate agent body, I'm not familiar with their processes but it'll probably just add extra stress to be honest. Sometimes in these cases its hard to know whether its the landlord or the estate agents that are being difficult but ultimately that is not your concern. The Single Claim process forces the LL/LA agents to state their exact position regarding how much they want to keep etc. At least then you can start to fight your case whereas if they are just ignoring you, you are just banging your head of a brick wall really. Don't stress too much, I know it's difficult when you all you really want to do is go a bit Rambo in the Letting Agents office but just be positive and it is really satisfying when you are vindicated in the end.
  5. Hi both, Firstly, it is a while ago since I went through all this but here's my advice for what it's worth. Finding the Cheese, stop dealing with your landlord/letting agency now and file a Single Claim form immediately. Keep all records of all correspondence you have had with your LL/LA - i.e to show that they are wasting your time and that you have had made reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute. Once you send in the Single Claim, then essentially your LL has 14 days either agree to pay you the money you have stated you are owed on the Single Claim form. Our LL waited until the 13th day to dispute - thus making making us wait a max amount of time. Once he does this, (I cannot remember the exact order of events) both parties have to submit their version of events BUT the burden of proof is on your LL i.e. he has to show documentary evidence that clearly shows why the deductions he wishes to make are necessary and fair. You will receive a copy of a summary of what the landlord has said is the case, and also what you have said. The process does take a while (and your LL will drag it out as long as possible in the hope that you will give up) BUT don't forget, once you instigate the Single Claim process, your LL will be forced to say how much of the deposit he wants to keep. This becomes the disputed sum that goes to ADR, the rest of your deposit will be released by the DPS within circa 7 days of the LL's response. It took me over three months, a lot of stress and extra costs to get our deposit back but I got it ALL back, complte with a 4 page letter that was sent to both parties that basically said our LL was a time waster and that his case was a joke (in as much as legal peope can say such a thing.) To be honest, I was so mad with our LL for all the stress and bull****, I went a bit Erin Brockovitch on his ass. I ended up submitting a 60 page document to the ADR process, our tenancy agreement, copies of all email correspondence relating to the leak which caused our dispute in the first place, letters i had sent requesting the deposit back, etc. I can't really advise on the merits of either of your cases but my advice is this: 1. Don't waste any more time speaking to your LL/LA, you're only delaying things more. 2. Follow the single claim process, get the undisputed amount back, then proceed to ADR for the rest. 3. You will receive all the documents and guidelines you need for each stage from the DPS - read these carefully and follow them, not what anyone else at the DPS or otherwise says over the phone. If you follow written instructions you have fallback if anything goes wrong. It is your responsibility to make sure you've followed the correct procedure. 4. Be patient, your LL is hoping you won't be. Good luck, and just for future reference when dealing with any future LL/LA - conduct all business over the course of a tenancy via email or letter as the ADR process is all done by post and not in person over a table. If you have written proof of who said what and when it really helps. It also helps if you can show that you have really tried to resolve the dispute amicably first - then the LL looks guilty from the start if he hasn't responded in kind.
  6. Hi Kentish Lass, Thnaks for your reply and the link. To be honest from all the research I've done into this over the past few days there doesn't seem to be a clear point of law in this regard. I've been trying to get hold of someone at Shelter for guidance but 'all advisors are busy' is all I'm getting, all day. I think we'll probably just have to do it by the book i.e. hand in notice and leave by 30th of November. Seeing as we don't have to give notice until 30th Oct in order to do this, we'll wait until then to see how much progress has been made. If the place is brought back to its former glory within the next week, we'll stay and see what it's like, if not we'll go. If we move back in and it's not right after a few days, again we'll just hand our notice before the 30th in order to leave at end November. Hopefully there won't be too much overlap of rent between this property and a new one if needed. God this is dragging on, thanks for your reply in any case. I'll let you know if I do have a 'Matlock' moment and discover any precedent in this situation. Cheers,
  7. Hello, I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light on this please. On 30th August our next-door neighbour's house caught fire and was completely gutted. We were on holidays when it happened and got back on 1st Sept to be greeted with our front door boarded up after it had been kicked in by the fire brigade and the whole house and all our contents reeking of acrid smoke. The fire did not spread to our property thankfully but it had been engulfed in the smoke from our neighbours. Our first reaction was we would have to find somewhere else to live as it was clear our rented house wasn't habitable. We liaised with the letting agency and said we would most likely be moving out. Obviously we couldn't find somewhere that day so our letting agency put us up in a rental property they had on their books that hadn't yet been let - the landlady was glad of our rent while the letting agency still marketed it and conducted viewings. Sorry, I should say that our rent paid on the 'smelly house' was transferred to the new temporary flat. We were convinced a few days later that between our insurers and the landlord's insurers that the 'smely house' would be restored to its former glory within about 2 weeks so on that basis we said we'd wait and would move back in once it was restored to a level that we were satisfied with. It's 7th October now, our temporary flat has found a tenant and we have to move out of there this weekend. The 'smelly house' has been treated and cleaned by the landlord's insurance and also painted and while it has made a big difference, parts of the house still smell of smoke and the airing cupboard in particular absolutley stinks. Our own insurers who have cleaned our clothes (which have been in the boot and back seat of my car for the past two weeks as I can't put them anywhere!) and other contents have told me that the insulation that is in the loft is causing a lot of the remaning stink - and that this should have been the first thing removed from the house as the loft is the worst point of contamination. Essentially now we have the whole hosue painted and walls wiped down with special treating agents etc. but they are going to have to drag all the filthy contaminated insulation and muck form the loft now through the house AND seal the loft so that it doesn't continure to contaminate the rest of the house AND put new insulation in. And after all that, treat the airing cupboard and any other room that still smells. Sorry for the long explanation but we have been told nearly every week that 'you can move in next week', only for nothing to materialise. This has really placed a strain on us, living out of suitcases while working full-time and we're both studying in the evening as well. We're almost close to breaking point but we aren't sure where we legally stand if we just decide enough is enough and walk away to find another tenancy somewhere else. There is nothing in our tenancy agreement to cover this eventuality. We have been living there for over a year so are on a rolling month to month contract so worst-case scenario we have to give notice before 30th Oct to move out at end on November. We've got to move from the temporary accomodation on Saturday and we're not prepared to flat-hop indefinitely anymore - surely we can just leave, claim back the rent for OCtober from Saturday onwards and then follow the DPS procedures to get our deposit back in due course? Any advice on this one? My fiance is so stressed she was crying in bed last night - and not for the first time either. Thanks a mill for any guidance.
  8. Hi Buzby, Thanks for your quick reply. Your point about customer responsibility is a fair one, however, I'm 32 years of age and I have renated in probably over 20 different residences in that time, yet I've never been aware of, nor been on a tariff such as Economy 7. When you say 'white' meter I don't know if you are referring to the actual colour or is this some sort of term for the type of meter? Our meter is black in colour, has a 'low' and 'norm' reading but there is no clock housed anywhere. There is two other non-descript black boxes of similar sizes but these look like they are fuse boxes. I have never had an issue with the tariff I have been on in all my years of renting so I had no idea that we were on such a different tariff to any previous. Npower's letter confirming our contract 5 months ago state we were on tariff MIDE 1PY (something like that) which I searched for an explanation of on their website but to no avail, I had similar luck when i Googled said tariff. I tried phoning nPower but everytime I did I was on hold for at least 30minutes before giving up. I realise we are going to have to pay through the nose for this but, considering this type of tariff requires significantly different type of energy use (setting all appliances to work at night, etc.), nPower should attempt to advise NEW customers of this fact. For that matter, our bloody landlord should have told us too -surely he was aware. From a strictly legal point of view Buzby, I suppose you are right and we will just have to pay whatever the bill is and put it down to experience, but I'm so annoyed as even a small sentence explaining this would have saved us a fortune. The cynic in me also realises that nPower are making a tidy sum from people such as me.....I'm going to contest it in any case as I feel we should have had some notification of this. Our energy usage will back up the fact that we were 'in the dark'. Thanks all the same, MM
  9. Not sure if I should start a new thread but my problem is exactly the same as above. I've just got off the phone to nPower who have informed me that we are in fact on an Economy 7 tariff. We have been there 5 months and haven't received a bill in that time, however we have been paying £15 a month each for elec and gas (pretty low I know but that's what they 'recommended' when we moved in). At no stage were we informed of the nature of the tariff we were on - we've probably used about 5% of our electricity between 12am and 7am in the past five months! We gave a meter reading when we moved in which had 'low' and normal' on it but that meant nothing to us, neither me nor my fiance have ever heard of Economy 7. I'm Irish and I've had tariffs in Ireland where you pay a different rate between 6am and 6pm (peak) and 6pm and 6am (off-peak) so I assumed the meter reflected this. Surely nPower have an obligation on the contract they sent 5 months ago to inform us of the nature of the tariff we were on? Our bill is going to sent to us in 7-10days and it's going to be bloody massive, and I really feel this is unfair. We always pay all our bills on time but surely we have some sort of comebak on this?? Can we ask for our bill to be backdated to reflect a standard tariff? At least if we had known at the start, we could have tried to change the way we use energy!!!! Please help....
  10. Madasamuppet, Thanks for this, that gives me hope that maybe we're not on Economy 7 - the two-rate meter might just be based around a plan similar to that one you had. Aaaagh I can't believe i'm getting stressed and I haven't had the bill yet - I just have a feeling this is going to be a pain in the arse. Thanks anyway, I should find out one wat or the other in the next few days. Cheers,
  11. Cheers, I gave them a meter reading the other night but haven't heard anythign yet. I agree that £15 a month for each is a bit ridiculous, my fiance set it up with them and I was surprised it was set so low and that they suggested the amount. I see your point about why its in their interest to have us massively in debt to them so we can't switch. I've just posted nPower a letter today asking for an updated bill and clarification of what kind of tariff we are on. Being honest, direct debit payments may make it easier to budget for bills etc but you're just left without a bloody clue as to what you're being charged, whether your under/over etc. At least with tri-monthly billing, you'll only ever get screwed for a maximum of three motnhs before you'll be able to notic an error or problem - I can see this costing us a fortune. Anyway, thanks both of you for advice and help, I'll wait to see what nPower come back with and go from there at this stage. I was thinking for us - 2 people in a small two bedroom house it should be about £60/65 a month max which means we should be facing an underpayment of around £200 for the 5 months. I'll let you know what transpires anyway.
  12. Hi Chromatix, Mnay thanks for the advice and explanation. I've done a bit of reading on the internet about Economy 7 now and I understand the principle. I'm just worried that we've been living in our house for 5 months now without having been sent a bill and blissfully unaware that we were supposed to be using electricity at night. I fear a massive bill coming through the door now - I'm going to write to nPower today to ask them to explain our tariff and to ask them for an up to date bill. We don't want to use storage heaters as we are in a different times of the day and it would be a waste heating the house for times we are not there. Hopefully nPower will not have put us on the 'Economy 7' tariff and our bill will be for normal 'same rate' electricity. If we are on Economy 7 I'm going to get it switched immediately and see how much they're going to charge us and go from there. Thanks all the same for the advice, Happy New Year.
  13. Hi folks, This more of a pre-emptive query really, but something I'm quite worried about. My friend visited over Christmas and when he saw that we had storage heaters he told us that in his last house he and his girlfriend had received a bill for over £1000 for only a few months and it had turned out that they had been on some kind of tariff that assumes you use most of your electricity at night. We've never used our storage heaters since we moved in last August coz I don't really know how they work and ours look like they've seen better days. Instead we heat the house with a gas-fired heater that is installed in the living room. We're renting and have never been on a two-tier electricity plan before and I'm now very worried that we ARE on one. I read our meter last night - that's what got me worried, there are two readings for electricity and I've only ever had one in other houses or flats - and gave this reading to nPower via their online meter read service. My fiance phoned up in August when we moved in and set up a monthly DD for both gas and electricty of £15 each. I know this is quite low but that's what the person from nPower recommended based on our bills at our previous address. I didn't realise we were paying so little each month until I asked the other day. Anyway, I'm quite happy to pay whatever we owe for standard electricity (I'm sure there'll be an o/s balance of around £300) but I'm wondering where I stand if they send us a bill for a massive amount based on some tariff that we had no idea we were on. I've checked through all our documents that we received - one document says we are on MIDE T1P electricity tariff but I cannot find out what exactly this means on the npower website. I phoned nPower last night but gave up after 37 minutes on hold (who says 0845 isn't a money spinner?) so I thought I'd ask people on here if they had any advice. If we are on some night-time tariff, surely they have to tell us this when we sign up so we can tailor our usage to limit costs, I dread to think what our bill is going to be if that is the case.... Any advice greatly received, we just got engaged and are trying to save as much money as possible (which isn't much, trust me) for hopefully a house and eventually a wedding too so could do without the added stress of fighting this one. Thanks very much all, sorry for the extended essay. :confused:
  14. Haha he sounds like he's been in the jungle too long alright. Let me knwo what sort of stuff the DPS ask you for in terms of evidence as I assume the stage you are at is the one we'll be facing shortly. I have plenty of correspondence etc to back our case up and will also use the facy that they have delayed and delayed to question their integrity too. I think they haven't a hope but like you, the longer these things are dragged out, you start to wonder if you're about to get screwed on a technicality. I suppose if that happens I'll have to resort to a professional hit to satisfy my need for justice. Or maybe the A-Team. Anyway, keep me posted and I'll do the same, hopefully in a few weeks we'll be sitting pretty with our deposits plus interest - with a self-satisfied glow from knowing the hassle was all worth it! Have a good weekend.
  15. haha 20 years - your patience must be better than mine. I've decided that I'm not going to make any more contact with the agency but let the DPS runthe show from here. As part of the Single Claim process it seems they contact the landlord to say we have demanded the money back as they are useless/non-committal/ambiguous/all of the above. Apparently, he then has 14 days to challenge this and if not, we get all the money back plus interest. I'm not sure what happens when and if he does challenge but I assume he'll have to do so with evidence and we'll have to do like you and send our own evidence. I love the way we are asked for 'contributions' towards costs that are clearly nothing to do with us - trying to make themselves look like they are being concessionary and making a compromise. Bloody cheek! By the way, have you asked if they will return all of the undisputed monies? I'm nearly sure when it goes to ADR, there has to be a specific disputed amount - ie. some/all of the deposit. E.g Deposit of say, £800, they want to keep £200/£400. You should ask for the undisputed sum of £400/£600 (plus interest) to be credited to your account. I'm sure the DPS could advise - it's a start....
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