Saturday, January 29, 2011

Now It Can Be Told- Part 1

We had to go to Court on Wednesday and Thursday this week. I was called as a witness. Let me try and explain what the reason was. It may take some time, but bear with me. It goes back some time.

A couple of years ago we lived the other side of Milton Keynes, in Crownhill. We got into financial difficulties, and rather than getting into arrears with our mortgage we decided to find someone to buy our house and let us rent it back.  We want to eventually move to Yorkshire, and it would have made it a good deal easier to move  if we had a rental home which would mean we could have moved quickly and easily once a teaching job came up for Carol to go to, rather than going through all the hastle of selling a house in Milton Keynes and transferring to Yorkshire. Also, we could use some of the equity from the house sale to pay off some of our debts.  We saw an advert in the local paper by a company called Copper Homes. Someone came to see us, and the house was eventually sold, and we then became their tenants and paid them rent. It meant that we didn't have the worry of getting into arrears and they would take responsibility for the maintenance of the house. There were one or two problems with the state of the property, one being a hole in the kitchen ceiling which was caused by damp, which was due to the hot water tank leaking. Copper Homes agreed to have this tank replaced. We were told that the hole in the ceiling could not be repaired until the woodwork and the surrounding area had dried out.
All went well for quite some time until we got a letter from another agency telling us that we shouldn't pay our rent to Copper Homes  and that it was to be paid to them instead of Copper Homes. We paid by Direct Debit each month, so we would have to close that down and make the Direct Debit payable to this other agency. They would do any repairs necessary to the house and keep up the maintenance of the house. So we did as we were asked. The rent was then paid to this other agency.  This went on for a month or two until we got a letter from Copper Homes telling us to NOT pay the rent to this new agency and that we would be acting illegally. if we did so It turned out that one of the company directors had a dispute with the rest of the company directors and had gone to Australia. We had to change the Direct Debit back to being paid to Copper Homes. Throughout all this the hole in the kitchen ceiling was still not repaired. Also, the kitchen sink was deteriating, when we emptied the sink the water would leak out onto the floor through the unit. Over time this got worse until the surrounding kitchen units began to get damp and eventually rotted. There was absolutely no attempt by Copper Homes to come and repair the hole in the ceiling (which meant we had bits of plaster and other debris falling into the kitchen.) or the kitchen sink. We had to use a washing-up bowl to do the washing-up and empty the water in the garden. Meanwhile, we had to contend with some rather unpleasant visitors, rats, which had got into the house through a hole  in the floor outside near the patio doors into the garden. We could hear them scuttling around in the space in the cavity in the walls. Eventually they came into the house and would appear in the kitchen. I would come downstairs in the morning to make tea and find them running along the work surfaces and coming out in the gap over the washing machine and the work surface. Not very nice. They ate through the electric cables on the back of the microwave, and the pipes that were fixed into the back of the washing machine, so eventually these appliances were unusable.
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