I have received the following sad story from C, a harassed and frightened tenant, whose landlord’s son actually damaged the door frame (right) when he slammed the door shut on his way out ….
10 May 2011: We pay the electric directly to our landlady instead of a regular electric bill. We paid her the £50 owed today, we had a receipt from her and everything was just fine.
A few minutes ago her son came over, walked right in and began to threaten and yell, claiming that we didn’t pay his mum enough money and that we owe her a lot more than what the numbers we’ve had from her show. We have everything written down with her signature and up until this evening it was all fine.
Her son was literally throwing us out, dismissed all the receipts we have and was unpleasant overall. I know that he’s not even allowed to walk in here the way he did, but our landlady is doing the same when she’s in that mood, no matter what it is about.
What on earth are we going to do about this? We thought of calling the police, but we have heard that they won’t do anything unless it happens over and over again and we have the incidents recorded in some way. It’s been happening during the past 4 years, sometimes for no apparent reason and unfortunately we have not kept any records.
But this is getting scary and I don’t feel safe around here any more. We have applied to the Council for help but have not heard back from them. We tried calling the inspector who is handling our case both yesterday and today, and left our name and number each time, but she’s always out of her office. So we have no clue where we stand. At Shelter the advice line is constantly busy.
Do you have any suggestions what we can do?
It is difficult to know what to say when the advice organisations which are supposedly there to help people in C’s position are simply not contactable. But this is the reality for many tenants who are being bullied by their landlords (or people acting for their landlords as here), and who do not feel safe in their homes any more.
A few suggestions:
- Always keep a full and accurate written record of what happened, and make sure it is dated. On my Landlord Law site I have (for members) a ‘diary sheet’ which can be used to record events such as this.
- Serious incidents should be reported to the police, even if you don’t think they will do anything, just so there is another record of the event.
- Consider changing the locks.
- See if you can find a solicitor who will be willing to act on a no win no fee basis, to apply for an injunction along with a claim for damages for harassment. You are unlikely to find one as few firms do this work, but you never know.
Does anyone have any other suggestions for C?