Tuesday, 13 November 2007


I started early today. I had my first one before 10:30am. Not chocolate bar (that was at 12)...but a good old fashioned rant. Oh yeah. Me! Of all people! Didn't think I'd have it in me, did ya?

As you know (or may not know if you're a new reader) up until September I was a student at Hull Uni. I did my degree and my masters. I had a house which I shared with another girl for my final year, and before that I lived with 6 other boys and girls. Bar 2nd year, I've never had any trouble getting my deposits back (our 2nd year landlord tried to deduct charges, but on receiving phone calls from at least 3 angry mothers who had all cleaned the disgusting house on moving in, he soon backed down.) After that I had been with the same accommodation company for the last 2 years, only in this final year the house wasn't owned by the accommodation company, only rented out by them. Are you with me? Good, then we shall continue.

Now me and the Housemate are hard working girlies, both in our final years. We've both got boyfriends where we spend a lot of our time and we keep the place clean and tidy. We party at other people's houses, thus nothing gets broken at ours. The house is, by all accounts, tiny and typical of student digs, i.e. will not look nice and clean no matter how hard you try, it's mouldy in places, badly heated but generally it's ok, short term livable. We move in and it's in this slightly grubby but tidy state. We move out and leave it tidy, surfaces cleaned and floors vacuumed with the equally shit 80-year-old vacuum cleaner, give the keys back and await our £100 deposits.

4 months pass.

Last week, a letter arrives with a cheque attached: the landlords (note, not the accommodation company with whom the contract is with) have deducted £42.50 for an extra week's rent over graduation (not a problem to sort out, they have refunded that as we didn't use it) and an extra £17.50 for cleaning. At this point I'm like hold on a minute...what's this cleaning charge? There's no way we left that place in a mess, we left it as found. Angry Mother gets on the blower to the landlords who state that the cleaners had to be in there "for hours" and this warrants the charge.

Now here's my understanding of the whole thing....in previous years with the Accommodation Company, the contract says they expect the students to leave the house clean and tidy. They then get their own cleaners in to give the house a good going over before the next lot arrive. Unless you've smashed the place up or really messed up the carpets, made it awful for the cleaners etc they don't charge you and everyone's happy. However in this case, the landlords have been left in charge and are obviously in the habit of charging the last tenants for the cleaning which, surely, should be carried out anyway.

It is this argument I put to the said landlords in a phonecall this morning. I was fuming, but tried to keep calm as I explained why it was unfair that we'd still had money deducted. Yes, I know it was only £35 between the two of us, but we should not be charged for standard cleaning. Obviously our opinions on the matter, err, clashed and after I'd said my piece he hit back.

"People like you...your problem is you don't listen. You just go on and on and don't listen. It's people like you who don't see sense and if you continue to lecture me down the phone I shall hang up" said the Land-Idiot.
"That's not very professional is it? I am not lecturing you, I'm telling you my side of the story. I've spoken to Accommodation Company and they say we shouldn't be charged for standard cleaning"
"Well you've said your side of the story. You've been charged because our cleaners have had to go in there. We've had to clean the property before the next people move in because you didn't do it properly"

At this point I snapped. There's something so intolerably rude about his seemingly favourite phrase 'People like you'.

"NO. We should NOT be charged for this because that CLEANING SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE ANYWAY."

*Click* He ended the conversation. Hung up, rung off, whatever. The thing I hate more than anything when it comes to phone conversations. It solves nothing.

I mean yes, I may have lost my cool with the guy but I know my rights and he'd just admitted that basically, they expected the previous tenants to make it sparkling for the next so that they don't have to. Which made me think hang on, who the hell cleaned up before I went in? I shouldn't even be having to deal with him, it should be the accommodation company as thats who the contract is with...and worst of all...it's all over £17.50!! But if these people are taking £35 from every couple of people who live there on top of rent, they're making a small fortune which no doubt contributes to their frequent holidays in Spain. And they continue to get away with it.

I didn't bother calling back. I've called the Accommodation Company to sort things out, I feel pathetic arguing over such a small amount but like the essay saga, it's just one charge too many. Now I don't really care if I get the money back, I just don't want these money grabbers to do it to any one else.

PS. Always take photos when you move in or out of anywhere - take it from me.


James said...

Bummer. We has the landlords from heaven when I was at Uni, they even gave us stuff we asked for, like a shed after we suggested it would be nice to have somewhere to put our bikes.

On another note, I wonder if your life really is one big rage as your blog suggests or whether it's a little artistic licence. Do you have a reputation for being a grumpy sod?

Jo said...

Life isn't 'one big rage' and indeed when nothing of note annoys me, you'll find I don't post as much. I'm sure everyone can pick one thing in the day thats pissed them off or irritated them, something they'd maybe come home and tell a boyfriend, girlfriend or parents about. Or maybe you see something amusing on the train home and wanted to share it - that's all this blog is about. Instead of telling them about it, or as you put it, coming across to everyone I know as a "grumpy sod", I write it down on here.

An argument with a landlord at half 10 in the morning isn't really stretching the bounds of real life too much, is it?

Shameless said...

In my last year of uni I moved out a week before my other housemates and informed (read warned) the landlord as much. The housemates then proceeded to absolutely trash the place, so much so they managed to break the bed that had been in my room when I had locked the bedroom door and handed the key in. When they moved out and the landlord went round to show some people round I can only imagine what the place must have looked like knowing what my housemates were like. However it did piss me off that the Landlord wanted to keep all of the deposit when I had warned him to go round before the guys moved out to check the place wasn't trashed. In the end, after much negotiation, we made a secret deal, met in a supermarket carpark and he gave me half my deposit back in an unmarked envelope. seriously.
I feel your pain.

China Blue said...

It sure is a good week for t'eefing bastards everywhere :-(

James said...

Jo, I wasn't being critical.

It just amazes me the amount of quality and amusing content you manage to muster up for your blog on such a regular basis. Given that you choose to make the subject of the blog your rants about life, I was just wondering if it was a reflection on you personally (like you were known for regularly getting your knickers in a twist) or just a way to chip out a little niche in the blogosphere. Which I think you've pretty much answered in your comment above.

Anyway keep up the good work.

Jo said...

James, no offence taken you silly sausage. In answer to your question, its fair to say that my friends know me as someone with strong opinions, and my boyfriend will contest to me absolutely loving a good rant (in fact his response to any inkling of a rant is 'blog it.'), and I do enjoy a good debate about life with anyone who'll have one. Also, me and Miss Pink use the phrase 'oh dear what have you come as' about people we see while out and about, so that's not just a blog thing... but my big thing is I love writing and especially critical writing, so I try to make whatever I write about entertaining without compromising what really happened. And very occassionally yes, I'm a grumpy sod. Ask my parents ;-)

Shameless- I had a similar experience with the unmarked envelope business with my 2nd year landlord. They try it again and again, and most of the time, they get away with it :(

China - Owwww and here I am whinging about £17.50, you've got much bigger fish to fry than that.

Miss Understood said...

Ok...that is totally unfair.

I used to work for an accomodation company. They are the ones that you paid your deposit to, and they are the ones who should pay it back. The landlord pays the company to take care of the property...to find new tenants...to do repairs...and to deal with everything. The landlord has no right to take up an argument with you. If they aren't happy with the state of the property, their grievance should be with the bloody company.

When you left, the comapny should have checked the property, and if they weren't satisfied, given you the option to rectify any problems. If that didn't happen then they are out of order and not doing their job properly....and the company should be out of pocket, not you.

Rant over!

Perpetual said...

If someone hung up on me like that I'd go absolutely ballistic and call them back immediately and give them both barrels. So kudos for keeping your (relative) calm and not doing so.

kit lizette said...

I haate it when people just hang up on me! weak bastards, stand up and defend opinions!! bastardos.

Landlords are funny breed though, they are always right. Funny that.

bec said...

My uni landlord tried to keep all our deposits (came to total of £800) as we had apparently destroyed her house. We, luckily had taken photos of us all in the house on the last day so she had to relent.

Turns out after we moved out some local kids had decided to have a party... Nice.

We still had to take the evil witch to the small claims court to get our money back as she wouldn't back down.

Fight for every last penny, and then report the landlord to the university too.

Girl Vino said...

Back when I first went out into the big wide world of renting we struck a dud landlord on our first place. He was sweetness and nice when we were looking at the place. Then two weeks after we moved in he moved over the road into what he had neglected to tell us was his other rental. We had a few drinkies at our place and the following morning he just about banged the door down at 7am and told us the street was a mess and we should get out and tidy it up. Feeling bad we armed ourselves with rubbish bags and got straight out there. ONE FUCKEN BEER CAN. Yep. one. Then I was home studying when I heard a lawn mower start up on our front lawn. Apparently when we had done it two days earlier we hadn't cut it short enuf. And he mowed our hose into a million pieces! We got out of their pretty soon after that. We got burned on our deposit too even though the house was in fab condition when we left it, but apparently professional cleaners were required. yeah right. You fight for your money on principle alone girl!

London-Lass said...

Awful person. And if it'd been me on the other end of the telephone to that particular loser I'd've ended up blogging the whole thing too. Nothing quite so satisfying as writing the whole thing down and venting your spleen in the process.

Although my keyboard can take a bit of a pounding with the `o' key smetimes wrking lse.


Jo said...

miss understood - thanks for the insider perspective. Thats what I thought should be happening, the Accommodation Company are really nice and usually very good (if a little too nice), and so it's hard to get much out of them.

perpetual - It makes me fume when anyone hangs up on me, I've always been taught that it's one of the rudest things you can do. As I said, it solves nothing. It's an easy way out when you don't like what you're hearing, usually because it's the truth.

kit - indeed they are. Its stupid really, I took photos of the last house I was in before I left and when I got in there. I just didn't bother this time as there was only two of us and I knew everything was fine.

bec - that's the thing, it's so utterly frustrating because I don't have any proof that we didn't clear up. I'm not sure if I have a leg to stand on.

girl vino - I'm going to let the Accommodation Company sort it out, at least they listen to what I have to say before hanging up!

londonlass - Blogging keeps me sane and saves a lot of ranty phone calls to the boyfriend :-D


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