Monday, 13 August 2012

A Diary of a Moving Story - Part Two

July 26th 2012 – moving day continued...
It is early evening, the removal men have left, gardening contractors have arrived to strim the garden area, but not yet the paddocks. Mr Blue rings EDF [electricity company] to see if they can resolve our electricity problems. Because we have no electricity in half of the property, EDF consider us to be in an emergency situation. EDF also explain that each key meter has a unique key.

The EDF man arrives promptly and inspects the meter box area. He explains that due to new health and safety regulations that the key meter will have to be changed to a standard digital meter; they are no longer allowed to install key meters above 6ft. He installs the new meter, switches the power on and begins running tests on the circuits. Initially, we are relieved. Mr Blue switches on the light in the dining room, we almost cheer, but then Mr Blue tries the light in the main bedroom, this causes the light in the dining room to fade and the light in the bathroom to come on. Mr Blue and the nice EDF man play around with the lights for a little longer until the EDF man concludes that the lighting circuit in the main part of the bungalow is unsafe. He advises us not to turn the lights on until an electrician has looked at the circuit properly. He tests the sockets and concludes that these are safe. I ask how this property can possibly have an electrical safety certificate? The EDF man shrugs and shakes his head.

Due to our efficiency prior to moving we already have an internet connection set up at the bungalow [thank you, Plusnet]. Mr Blue fires up his laptop so that he can access his email to see if Ms Small has forwarded a copy of the electrical safety certificate. She has indeed sent him an email regarding the electricity, but it is not a safety certificate, it is instead a safety report, which more or less informs us of all the work that needs to be done to make the building safe. It also tells us that the main part of the building has only ever had a ‘dead’ test and not a ‘live’ test due to the key meter being switched off....

The nice EDF man leaves. I find a voice mail on my phone from Lucy Back [Rural Surveyor – Smiths Gore], she tells me the key for the key meter is generic and that I can purchase one from any good hardware store.

We go out for food.

We come back. We discover that turning on one of the bedroom lights in the annexe trips the lighting circuit in this part of the building as well.
I am slightly hysterical. I drink scotch and smoke too many fags. We stay up all night and compose an email to our solicitor.

Property: Gesuda TA20 3JA
Letting Agent: Smiths Gore
Landlord: Highways Agency

65 comments:

  1. I'm hoping for a happy ending:)

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  2. Pat: There is a sort of happy ending - I am back in Devon from where I started out from, but only by the skin of my teeth... though slightly out of pocket, as you can imagine.
    Sx

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  3. So glad you said "I drink scotch and smoke too many fags" rather than "I smoke fags and drink too much scotch". On the other hand, sounds a nightmare I so hope your future property escapades are less problematic

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    1. Mr Bene: I am thinking of buying a tent; who needs bricks and mortar anyhow?
      Sx

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  4. I recently moved out of a house where you could not have the airconditioning running, the fish tank and the TV on and have the audacity to blow-dry your hair.

    *offers lighter and holds out glass of sympathetic Scotch*

    Pearl

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  5. Pearl: And God forbid that you want winking lights on the Christmas tree!
    How the hell do people get away with treating each other like this?

    *chinks glasses with Pearl*

    Sx

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  6. Hello:
    This sounds like disasterville with a capital 'D'. Far be it for us to advise but in this litigious society we suggest suing - it seems that is what everybody does these days. Helps to keep the courts busy!

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  7. Jane and Lance: Indeed, I will view Mr Blue's accounts to see if this is possible.

    Sx

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  8. Jeez, it just gets worse and worse (as you warned us). When were the electrics installed - 1887? Glad to hear your first priority (after excess scotch and fags) was to email your solicitor. Hopefully he/she was able to put the fear of God into the unspeakable Smiths Gore.

    I see this is turning into a Dickensian novel of instalments. And equally gripping....

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  9. Nick: As a warning... the law isn't always as clear as you think it is... it gives the Landlord a certain amount of time to remedy the situation... but this doesn't seem to be made clear in tenancy agreements.

    Sx

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  10. Dimming lights is a symptom of a dangerously overloaded electrical circuit. Simply put, that place is a death trap.

    [ques insprational speech]

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    1. Mr Lax: Can't listen to the inspirational speech right now, but will do when I can.
      As for the bungalow - it certainly wasn't safe!! And not handed over to us in the state that was promised. I'm glad I'm out of there. I think I have made packing and unpacking into an Olympic sport!!
      Sx

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    2. Apparently it was caused by the live and neutral wires being crossed over.... so I've been told [this is bad, yes?]
      Sx

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    3. Safe and proper operation depends upon the integrity of the line, neutral, and ground circuits. So yes, that is a bad thing. It would not, however, be the cause of the lights dimming. It would create a potential electrocution hazard and could possibly damage more complex electrical devices (i.e. The SMEG, God forbid!).

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    4. Nobody puts THE SMEG in the corner... and they certainly don't electrocute it!
      Sx

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  11. Thank goodness you didn't move in the middle of Winter. Nightmare.
    Also you may have had trouble installing satellite tv. May have needed Blue Sky thinking

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    1. Rog: Any evidence of a thought process by the Smiths Gore team would have been helpful.

      Sx

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  12. I'm still re-reading the sentence 'winking christmas lights'...I now know I definitely need to go for that eye test asap...I mistook the first letter 'i'for an 'a'and almost fell off my chair.

    Well, I'm glad you are out of the unsafe rental but sorry you are out of pocket. Bxx

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    1. Bux: No worries! The Scarlet Blue Blog will return to its usual winking self ASAP - just one more post on this subject and then I will move on.
      Sx

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  13. It seems like a certain letting agents needs to have a lesson in basic contract law...

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    1. Kev: You'd be surprised as to what they can get away with. It boils down to sums and solicitors fees. In the end my greatest ally is the internet!

      Sx

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  14. MAybe the electrician did the Scotch'n fag thing ... there must be (or should be, in the case of this house) a fuse box or cut-outs, a small sparkling box ...

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    1. Mr Mags: The original electrician must have been drunk - I forgot to mention that he also forgot to connect up the smoke alarms.

      Sx

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  15. That is a nightmare! Electrical problems like that are a danger to your property and your health and safety!

    I am so glad you got your lawyer involved! And I'm so sorry you lost money on this. I just hope that you're in a safe and better place now.

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    1. Mr Swings: I am in a safe place now - back in the house I moved out of on the 26th July!! It was slightly odd moving back in, but such a relief. I moved twice in two weeks - I still can't quite believe it.

      Sx

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  16. Earth leakage circuit breakers - the way to go - zapppp

    Tenancy agreements are somewhat one sided in my experience.

    xs N

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    Replies
    1. Nikos: In the immortal words of Kenneth Williams - Frying tonight!

      Sx

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  17. You only have electricity in half the property? Did you move into a mansion? I am jealous here. If I only had electricity in one room of this house, it would be enough to brighten the entire place!

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  18. Nellie: Trust me, Nellie, if you'd seen it you wouldn't be jealous! It was a large bungalow with an annexe, damp and dismal... it had potential, but sadly this potential was never realised.

    Sx

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  19. If youcan survive witout litigation I would. It only prolongs the agony. The sooner you can put it behind you the better, IMO.

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  20. Pat: You are quite right. And our solicitors think we already have the best outcome possible, i.e. that we were released from the tenancy agreement - it's actually quite tough to get this result. On the bright side I don't have to pay rent on a damp dismal bungalow, I can live somewhere that I am safe and happy.

    Sx

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  21. There is not enough scotch and fags in the world to deal with this.

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    1. MJ: I know... I ended up on the Jack Daniels - it goes surprisingly well with milk.

      Sx

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  22. Forget the Whiskey get one of these down your neck. I hope you find a happy ending to all this palaver.

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    1. Mitzi: Now that looks like it could do the trick!

      Sx

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  23. I use a letting agent in London for a flat I own there - they are mustard - I wouldn't get away without all the certificates in place, they'd get the work done and just bill me with their charges on top. Horrifying story about the electrics.

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  24. Z: I know, I use a letting agency to manage my property as well... I had to get everything done to the letter before they'd allow a tenant in there. Just goes to show.

    Sx

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    1. You manage a property and also rent a property? That's an unusual arrangement....

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    2. Not so much these days, Nick. I'm what's known as an accidental Landlord. Couldn't sell, but needed to move, hence had to let it out. Sometimes this is the only way people can move.

      Sx

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  25. What a horror story! Hope it's sorted soon! x

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    1. Mr John: Life is now returning to normal, thank goodness.

      Sx

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  26. We live in a house where every time a lightbulb dies the while house falls into darkness. We've put up with that for 9 years. I hope your drama ends sooner.

    Perhaps I should buy some bottles of Scotch too.

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    Replies
    1. Mr Joey: Yes, lightbulbs can do that - they pop and trip the circuit.
      I am nearly drama free :-)

      Sx

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  27. aheeerggghhh, this exhumes memories of unsafe student accomodation and the accompanying desparation - glad you're over the worst of it....

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    1. Wendy: I am also very glad that the bungalow is behind me... considering how hard it's raining this morning!
      Sx

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  28. Replies
    1. Mr Maps: Indeed, well wine doesn't quite cut it.

      Sx

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  29. Real estate. How can something so deadly be so desirable? "I wonder if this glowing stove burner is hot? I think I'll press my palm against it and test." That's as best a metaphor I can come up with at this early hour. But it fits.

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    Replies
    1. Mr Banish: A tent or a motor home is now looking attractive...
      Sx

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  30. You have my sympathies - you really do. I also love the way that when a landlord fixes a problem after 6 months of asking, they expect some sort of praise - maybe even a big medal.

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    1. Dicky: Blimey, I wasn't going to hang around for 6 months to see if they fixed the problems or not... either way, Smiths Gore were never in line for a medal!

      Sx

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  31. Oh. Dear. Gods.

    I'm sorry I've been so long in coming over, I've not been well.

    Oh. Dear. Gods.

    There is no way, I could let out a property in that state. No way. My agent would never allow it. They are shit hot on getting things sorted and right.

    You poor love.

    No wonder you sound so fraught. Frankly, you dealt with it far better than I would have done, merely calling the woman a skank.

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  32. Oh, by the way. If you'd like to spread word of how appalling this agent was...visit Property 118. It's a resource website for landlords and tenants alike.

    It would be a good thing to let other potential tenants know what they risk. And actually, the Highways Agency should also be informed at their dereliction of duty, that the agents let the property out in an unsafe condition. They may not know.

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    1. Thank you, Roses. Yes, I think I will visit Property 118, and a few of the property forums. I agree, the Highways Agency should be informed, I imagine they've been kept in the dark about the whole squalid affair.

      Hope you are feeling better now!

      Sx

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  33. part 3, I need part 3!
    I think that you have moved out already, I hope you're now ok.
    X

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    1. Zig: Part three will be coming soon - possibly shorter than part two!

      Sx

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  34. God I hope you get your money back.
    Still confused how those Christmas lights would work...
    C xx

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    1. Claire: We won't get all the money back... we should have the deposit back by now... but I doubt anyone in the Smiths Gore office knows how to release it. Sigh. I feel a ranty phone call coming on....

      Sx

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  35. Scarlet, for gawd's sake put me out of my misery! DID YOU RE-PACK THE KETTLE?
    Jokes aside, I hope you have not lost too much dosh in all this, but better out of pocket than in a coffin.
    Raises glass of jolly nice Prosecco..cheers!

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    1. Dinah: The kettle has been packed and un packed too many times to count!!
      I am back in Devon... awaiting the return of my deposit... maybe part three will be a long post after all...

      Sx

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  36. Will hopefully post the final part of this trilogy by the end of the week. I have been busy staining rustic fences... to make them look... er... more rustic. There were 36 panels, and it took some time. Need the money :-)

    Sx

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  37. My darling, I may not have said it before but I love you deeply and unreasonably. Miss Roses has exactly the right idea, though...post up as many vile, negative reviews about this debacle on as many relevant sites as you can! Work that Internet voodoo! I raise a glass of The Recipe in your general direction in hopes that this whole sorry sack of shit resolves IN YOUR FAVOR, lovey. You certainly deserve it. XXOO.

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  38. Ms Nations: Thank you!!! I am about to embark on my spreading the muck... I mean spreading the word campaign... My deposit still has not been returned and I am getting itchy about it.
    I'm sure the Recipe contains whisky... a little vodka, some gin, a little pernod and a teaspoon of coca-cola just for taste.
    Much needed.

    Sxx

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  39. It doesn't surprise me that stinky Smiths Gore haven't returned your deposit yet. They're obviously useless, intransigent and slippery.

    Yes, where is part 3? What happened next? Did the Smiths Gore office burn down after a sudden electrical fault? I demand the denouement....

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  40. You so often hear stories about nightmare tenants but not so often the nightmare landlords....

    On a positive note no electricity means no high electric bills....

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