Friday, 24 August 2012

The Diary of a Moving Story - Conclusion

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.

To summarise:-

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

83 comments:

  1. If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was Miss Scarlet's finest hour.

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    1. Mr Lax: If not the British Empire and its Commonwealth, then most certainly the removal men!!
      Sx

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  2. ... but you did not turn grey over night?

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    1. Mr Mags: You'd think so, wouldn't you?!
      Sx

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  3. Oh. Dear. Gods.

    I can't get over it. I'm still gobsmacked at what you had to go through and that there's no proper recourse for the way you've been treated. It's appalling.

    You poor love!

    Hugs and hugs to you my darling.

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    1. Roses: I know, I'm still gobsmacked that it happened to me. I can't believe that a supposedly professional Letting Agent would behave in this manner. I also feel very sorry for tenants who end up in this kind of situation and don't have the means to get out of it.
      Sx

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  4. This is why you will live for much longer than me...I'd have blown a fuse, but not before issuing a county court summons (cheap and easy) and complaining to ARLA - http://www.arla.co.uk/complaints/

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    1. Mr Bene: Trust me, I am not calm inside... my hair can testify to this, and ARLA are on my To Do list, along with RICS.

      Sx

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  5. Please don't think Smiths Gore and Lucy Back are typical of Somerset. In 27 years of living here we haven't encountered such scurrilous behaviour.
    Onward and upward.

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  6. Pat: True, Pat! Actually some of the people I met during my short stay were very friendly and helpful - like the poor electrician who had to sort the mess out caused by the original electrician. And the lady in the Little Chef... and the lovely people in the excellent Chinese restaurant in Chard.
    But, I think I'll stay this side of the M5 for a couple of months!

    Sx

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  7. it's good to be home, sugar! wherever it is. i do hope you will have an easier move next time. xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. Savvy: The thought of moving again makes me shudder... hopefully the next move will be the last, so no more renting.

      Sx

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  8. Scarls, I'm absolutely exhausted just reading the sorry tale of your move. You must be completely frazzled.

    I think Lucy ought to be ordered to change her name by deed poll, I'd have christened her "Tohelland Back"!

    Shit & Gore is a more fitting name for her employer.

    Bx

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    1. Bux: I am frazzled, and still in a state of disbelief... and each morning I wake up grateful that I'm back in Devon
      As for Smiths Gore... !£"%$5""!£*******!

      Sx

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  9. I do love a happy ending.

    Too bad Esther Rantzen isn't still doing her TV show. The mere threat of her used to work like magic!

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    1. Dinah: Oh yes, this would have been a wonderful story for Esther to tell in her casual sardonic way! And it might have run for weeks.

      Sx

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  10. Jeez, what a horrible mess! Glad you managed to extract yourself from it before it turned into an even worse disaster. Quite an expensive extraction though. I imagine you'll be having a very quiet few weeks restoring your mental and emotional sanity....

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    1. Nick: I will be having a very quiet few months restoring my bank balance as well. Don't expect much for Christmas this year!

      Sx

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    2. But I was relying on you for my new Mercedes. The present one is five years old and the neighbours are starting to think we're on the skids.

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  11. For a long time I've had a theory that life gets better the further west or north you go. I'd no idea it was so marginal in the south west.

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    1. Malc: Hello and Welcome! It's the M5 that makes all the difference!
      Seriously, life is usually pretty good in the west country - suits me better than the south east.

      Sx

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  12. should have just tried clicking your heels together three times and repeating... 'There's no place like home"... It worked for Dorothy.

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    1. Princess: I think I did! I certainly feel like I've been caught up in a tornado.

      Sx

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  13. Pat beat me to it, onwards & upwards Scarls. Have a listen to me new tune, it'll calm you down, especially if you drink scotch at the same time. WOOHOO Scotch! :¬)

    xxx

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    1. Mr Maps: I will be over for a listen when this house has woken up... I will have the scotch later :-)

      Sx

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  14. I'm so glad you finally arrived at a place of sanity. This must have been just awful. Now go get naked and completely smashed on whatever legal or quasi-legal substances present themselves, grab a dachshund, an Afro wig and twelve gallons of exterior latex and go paint the town RED!

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    1. Ms Nations: Indeed! And it's the Dorchester Love Parade this weekend - what better opportunity?!
      Actually, due to the financial situation, I think I'm grounded.

      Sx

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  15. Welcome home!

    You could probably market this Somerset experience as an adventure holiday concept for Americans.

    xs N

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    1. Mr Nikos: Bizarre as it may seem, this has crossed my mind. Because of all the lifting and packing I came home lighter and more toned, and because I spent quite a bit of time outside [smoking] I gained a fair bit of colour in my cheeks, and before my hair went lanky it was glossy and shiny. I did come home looking like I'd been on an activity holiday... failing selling it as an adventure holiday... I could package it as a new reality show.

      Sx

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  16. my clothes that had hung in a fitted wardrobe at the bungalow still smell a bit of damp

    Mistress MJ suggests dousing yourself in baking soda.

    Or Febrezing liberally.

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    1. MJ: I think I need a more radical approach... I've been hanging the offending articles of clothing in the bathroom whilst I have a hot and steamy shower... in effect, I'm steaming the smell out of them.
      I had already tried the baking powder and a good airing.

      Sx

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  17. Darling, thank goodness you were able to get out. That was appalling, they should be struck off.

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    1. Z: They should be struck somewhere...
      Sx

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  18. Good god Scarlet, safety certificates and fire alarms are a bit of icing on my cake of life but a Shower is Non Negotiable

    Heads off to read the backstory

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  19. Ahem.. back from earlier posts to let me know I've changed my mind about safety certificates in cases where the leccy is obviously dodgy.
    I think you've been very restrained, not publishing details of these people and all

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    1. Macy x2 It was good to get home and wash that place out of my hair!
      Ack, they have to live with themselves... mutter, mutter.

      Sx

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  20. Loyf is a big circle. So that's a happy ending, right?

    I had to Google bacon butties. Good heavens! I almost licked the monitor. That's my kind of lunch. I need to get my ass out there.

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    1. Mr Banish: Bacon butties are for when you have wounds to lick! The ultimate in comfort food.

      Sx

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  21. Oh dear Ms Blue, I can so relate to your pain. My mother and I found ourselves in a similar situation 6 years ago. Our new landlord then turned out to be a complete asshole and our lives became quite a misery. And there was little we could expect from the law unfortunately. There are so many grey area. Surely we could have taken legal actions but at what cost in the end, an end that could have taken more than a year to come?

    One of the things my mother and I agreed upon right from the beginning was not to let anger and indignation take control of our minds. We finally got out of the situation and are now enjoying a wonderful appartment with wonderful neighbours. We didn'T even have to leave the neighbourhood in which we've been living for more than 30 years. Another positive outcome of all this was that my sister and I put aside our differences and got closer together which made my mother even more happy!

    I know it is too soon for you to decipher all this but I'm sure that in a short while, you'll also find some positive outcome from your ordeal.

    I might be naïve but I like to believe that life always find its own balance in the end. We learned about a year later from our old neighbours that the asshole of a landlord had all sorts of troubles whith the subsequent tenants. Must say I was not displeased to hear that. ;)

    Take good care of yourself. Wishing you the best for the next move.
    Hugs
    Jon

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    1. Jon: Funny you should say that about life finding its own balance as I've generally been floating through life in a bit of a daze. This has woken me up and made me take a bit more notice. Perhaps I was in need of a short, sharp lesson. And maybe Smiths Gore will learn something from the experience, too.

      Sx

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  22. Goodness me, quite a harrowing tale of poor builder relationship and flummoxed client knowledge. One's heart goes out to a wonderful, but somewhat ditzy young lady such as yourself. I can recommend a builder chappy who has professional contacts in the Devon area should you ever find one's self up sh*t creek again.

    I am relieved that your weight has returned to its normal 7 stone, but such a shame that you will never again fit into your skinny jeans with such aplomb.

    I send you my best wishes and look forward to seeing your kitchen floor with dirt and crumbs afoot. Only then will I be convinced that your are back to your dirty best. Ciao for now...

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    1. Mr Files: AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! You could eat your dinner off my kitchen floor... and due to being a clumsy clotz, I sometimes have to...

      Sx

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  23. I still have to resist the temptation to go and arson a certain letting agent in Greenford, Middx after they basically took lots of money off us for doing FA.

    Trouble is you never know who the decent ones are before you start. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that they're not off the hook yet. Good luck with your re-beginning.

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    1. Looby: ...and tenancy agreements are sometimes not worth the paper they're written on, you have to be so careful.
      I won't be moving again until my landlord prises me out of this place.

      Sx

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  24. Well - home at last I suppose. I thought the clip was going to be from The Littlest Hobo - didn't that go 'moving on'?
    Back up to 7 stone is good. I've a mind to come down south, pick you up, pop you on my shoulders and bring you up to the Lakes.
    Hope things settle.
    x

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    1. Claire: Let's just be thankful I didn't plonk for Paul Young's Wherever I Lay My Hat!!
      I am only 4ft 11" hence not as light as I sound!??! Am feeling a lot better, but still tired.

      Sx

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  25. What an absolute nightmare, you must be due some amazing karma shortly. x

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    1. Happy Frog: It would be nice to win the lottery :-)

      Sx

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  26. Carrying her home in two carrier bags... Did someone mention that life gets better up north? Don't you effing believe it, I was in Bradford recently and the natives there looked absolutely feral! Feral I tell thee! Glad it all worked out in the end, Devon is such a lovely place. I'll have to go now, my night time medication has kicked in.

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    1. Mitzi: Please could you expand on the carrier bag story???!

      Sx

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  27. I am stressed and depressed just reading this. I am sorry you had to go through that. They'll get theirs, darn it!

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    1. Nellie: I've been back in Devon for three weeks and it's still stressing/depressing me... but at least I'm stressed in comfort.

      Sx

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  28. Hello Miss Scarlet:
    What a sad and depressing [not to mention expensive] story this has all been. We feel that you have been treated appallingly but have to say that the cavalier attitude shown by the various representatives of your agents can be all too frequently experienced these days. An Englishman's [or Englishwoman's for that matter] home is his/her castle and so you must feel relieved to be back in Devon where all is familiar and friendly.

    Hoping that your weekend is a happy one!

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    1. Jane and Lance: I am relieved... it all now feels like a very bad dream, but I pity any estate or letting agent that has the misfortune of dealing with me in the future.

      A happy sunny weekend is pending!! Have a good one, too.
      Sx

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  29. What an absolute nightmare! On the only good note Devon is a wonderful place and hopefully the gods are smiling on you with a spot of sunshine! You seriously need a cocktail!

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    1. Jody: Devon is a wonderful place! It's a wonderful place to recuperate - cocktails will be an added bonus!
      Sx

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    2. Just came back to this post somehow. Good lord! You got down to 6 stone? I have a new job for the rental company, they should go into weight loss, making people so stressed they drop the elll bees.

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  30. And they* say you should never go back....Sounds like you should never go forward.....

    Well done for surviving....

    * Just who are these mysterious "they"?

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    1. Mr Logs: They [no, I haven't got a clue who 'they' are either] also say that the exception proves the rule... so this was the one time I was allowed to go back!

      Sx

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  31. I hope your clothes no longer smell of damp and your hair is back to its normal vibrancy. And have the cakes and bacon butties done their job?

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    1. Nick: Me and my hair spent the day at the hairdressers yesterday... we came home with salon products to sort it out.
      I still occasionally get a whiff of damp when I sniff my clothes... but it is going.
      Sx

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  32. We had some nightmare-ish renting experiences in London. Once I spent hundreds of pounds on professonals to clean our flat when we left and the landlord repaid us by charging us for every nick in every knife. Bacon butties, I do miss my old brekkie place in Notting Hill.

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    1. Jody: Sometimes it feels that no matter how hard you try, you just cannot win.
      Sx

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  33. What a friggin' nightmare.

    I'm glad you are back home. Damp clothes is not good, and how about cutting the fags out completely? You'll feel even better. ;)

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    1. Mr Joey: You might have a point about the fags...
      Sx

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  34. Good god! I had no idea the slum landlord was still at large. Thank goodness you're back home. X

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    1. Eryl: I still feel a bit odd... but my hair is on the mend!
      Sx

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  35. its such a nice & Awesum blog provide info
    hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
    for more plz visit
    Toronto airport taxi

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    Replies
    1. ...that's a long way to go for a taxi from Devon...
      Sx

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  36. Today I am going to try and write a post. I am tired of these grisly posts being at the top of my blog. It just will not do.
    Sx

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  37. Goodness what an ordeal.
    My x was an architect/builder and I can't even tell you the times I have moved while being pregnant with small children into destroyed home so he could fix them up... not quiet like your experience but I can understand.
    Hope your all comfy and recovering. A pox on Smith Gore, I do believe in karma.
    I came over from Eryl's blog.... I have seen you on several blog I read.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Angryparsnip: Hello and Welcome!! Fixing old houses is tiring, dirty, noisy and messy... it's bad enough when you don't have kids... and then as soon as the house starts looking nice and feeling comfortable then it's on to the next old wreck. No fun at all.

      Sx

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  38. Sounds like you staged your very own remake of 'The Wizard of Oz'

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    1. Lulu: Which is exactly how it felt! Smiths gore must have been the flying monkeys.
      Sx

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  39. Replies
    1. Mr Lax: ....but this is Britain and for most of the year I keep my undies on the radiators... beats festive bunting.
      Sx

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  40. Am I where I should be? Just clicked around a bit looking for your most recent post. I love the plastic envelope with your calligraphy, really clever indeed. Hope you're doing well!

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    1. Jody! How did you end up down here!

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  41. Crikey, Scarls - hope this is all distant history and you are ticketyboo xx

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