Time to draw this sorry tale to a close. I am back in Devon, back in the same house I moved out of on the 26th July, but I am only back here by the skin of my teeth and some good fortune. I could continue to write the whole story here, but I think it'd drive us all nuts... quite frankly I want to move on... and Smiths Gore aren't very helpful when it comes to moving.
Smiths Gore left us without an electrical safety certificate from 25th July 2012 until 30th July 2012.
The smoke alarms weren't connected until 30th July.
The shower wasn't connected until the 30th July.
The thermostat for the central heating wasn't connected until 1st August.
Smiths Gore left us without a safety certificate for the chimney. They swore blind they had one, but on 2nd August a chimney sweep left a message on my mobile saying that he'd been instructed by Smiths Gore to contact me regarding my chimney etc, etc [rolls eyes skywards].
The outstanding building work for the property is too extensive for me to go into - but there are plenty of pics on my camera.
Anyhow, our solicitor informed us that it was highly unlikely that we would be released from the tenancy agreement and so long as Smiths Gore completed the work within a reasonable time frame then there was little we could do without spending even more money seeking damages.
We sent an email to Lucy Back [Rural Surveyor, Smiths Gore, Taunton] on 1st August giving them two options:-
1] To release us from the tenancy agreement on moral grounds rather than legal, or
2] To waiver the first month's rent as compensation for the stress they'd caused us.
We also said that if they agreed to release us from the tenancy agreement then we would not pursue them for damages [different from costs].
Lucy Back replied on the 2nd August. She wrote that Smiths Gore were not prepared to waiver a month's rent, but would release us from the tenancy agreement provided that we vacated the property by 11th August, giving us just nine days to move out.
Luckily we had already talked to our old Landlord in Devon about the possibility of returning, without this option we would have had just nine days to find a new property and yet another deposit - which I don't believe would have been possible.
We moved back to our home in Devon on Wednesday 8th August. I can't describe how this felt - it was the oddest feeling to move all my possessions back into a house that I'd moved out of two weeks prior. This odd feeling coupled with an overwhelming feeling of relief. Have you ever wanted to hug a house? This is how I felt when I returned.
I also very nearly hugged the removal men when they came to fetch me from Somerset [one of them had moved me in, so we became quite friendly]. The morning of the 8th August was a bit like Christmas morning.
Smiths Gore refused to pay costs, i.e removal fees there and back - just under £2,000 and solicitor's fees of £930.00. They returned my deposit for £2,225 this morning.
All in all a very expensive two weeks in Somerset. I'll stay in a B&B next time. And I won't take the kitchen sink.
Meanwhile, I still don't feel too great - my clothes that had hung in a fitted wardrobe at the bungalow still smell a bit of damp; my smoking has thankfully gone back to normal - 13 a day; my weight went down to 6 stone 13lbs but is now going up again thanks to cake and bacon butties! But my hair has suffered, I don't know why but it's gone lanky... I've not seen it like this since I was fourteen...
Anyhow [my second 'anyhow' in this post], let's not dwell on this, time to move on.
Property: Gesuda TA20 3JA
Letting Agent: Smiths Gore
Landlord: Highways Agency