Saturday, March 19, 2011

Living situation

Why do washing machines in this country take so freakin' long?! I put a load in nearly two hours ago! Arrrrgggghh!

Anyway, yes, I'm off to Paris tomorrow and have no clean clothes. Nice one, Kusems. No complaints, though. Today was a perty good day. Work was easy and I got to spend loads of time shootin' the shit with our stockroom manager, whom I adore (read: have a crush on but will keep a respectful distance from as he has a family). And our flat situation dissolved with minimal impact to my finances, which is great!

Basically, I was reluctant to move in with this girl because she's neurotic and patronizing (despite being a full 8 years younger than me) but didn't realize this until I had already agreed to move in with her so didn't feel like I could back out. We put down a £1000 holding deposit on a flat three weeks ago, and it's taken this long for the letting agents (they're like used-car salesmen, but for your future rental home!) to check all our references and stuff. After this girl gave them the money, they sent her a document saying that we would lose the money if we backed out for any reason or if they deemed our references unsuitable. She signed it without noticing that. On Wednesday, they said that our references "failed" because this girl's boyfriend is on a temporary work contract. They said the only options were to provide a guarantor for the whole cost of the flat (not just for his share) or to pay 6 months in advance (again, the whole kit and caboodle). I refused to even attempt to do that, especially as it would require this girl loaning me all the money, so they said we would lose our £1000.

The eminently wise Tisobel said, over and over again, "Talk to the citizens' advice bureau about your rights!" So I went to get some advice from them on Thursday. While I was waiting for my turn, I called the letting agent and spoke to him for the first time. The plan was to be cool and collected and read off of script I had written out beforehand. I did not do any of those things. I was unreasonable and angry and overly aggressive and had no idea what to say. The guy handled it relatively well. He probably gets that a lot. But he was clear and firm: "we" (i.e. my would-be flatmate) signed a paper forfeiting our right to our money. He said he was planning to have a word with her boyfriend about her options. I ended the phone call firmly with, "Well, I'm at the citizens' advice bureau at the moment, so I'll have a chat with them and you have a chat with [boyfriend] and we'll talk later."

Then I spoke with the citizens' advice lady, who said we could take them to small claims court and argue that they were unreasonable and didn't try hard enough to accommodate us, etc. This option did not sound appealing, so I went to work feeling hopeless. I spent the entire tube ride going over it all in my head, fretting. Then I called my would-be flatmate in order to inform her that I had lost my cool with the letting agent and had probably blown the whole thing. Before I could say any of this, she told me that her boyfriend had just spoken to them, and they were going to give us some of the money back.

I'm sorry...what??

Apparently, I scared them! Or convinced them that we weren't going to go down without a fight. They are giving us half of the money back, keeping the rest to cover the costs of chasing up our references, etc (which the advice lady said was totally fair). And my would-be flatmate has very kindly only asked me for a small portion of the fee, not one-third. They are able to continue living in their flat for a while longer, and I am able to stay in mine for the moment, so all's well that ends well! I won't be moving to Greenwich :-( but might be moving to Edinburgh :-))))) so things are looking alright at the moment! You can continue sending lovely packages to my current address ;-) hint hint

1 comment:

  1. You GO Girl!!! You've just proved that sometimes all you need to do is stand up for yourself and mention you HAVE rights under the law and you fully intend to exercise them. And losing your cool seems to have been the best thing you could have done for yourself AND your former potential roommate. You're AWESOME!!! I hope she's grateful!;)