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Monday, January 31, 2011

Now It Can Be Told- Part 2

After a year of our tenancy agreement we had to have our boiler checked. It is a legal requirement that landlords of rented property have the gas boiler checked to make sure it is safe. We got the visit from a plumber to do this job, and we got the certificate saying that the gas boiler was in good working order. We told him at this time that the central heating was not working properly, and we assumed that he would inform Copper Homes and they would get it repaired. Copper Homes were fully aware of the problems with such things as the hole in the kitchen ceiling, at the time we sold the house to them, it was understood that they would fix this problem, as well as doing general maintenance on the house, the guttering needed some repair as there was  constant running water when it rained and the downstairs toilet needed replacing. But we heard nothing from Copper, either in writing or by telephone, that they would deal with these problems.
Things proceeded for the next few months without any further problems, until we got a letter from an agency which stated that we must not pay our rent to Copper Homes any longer, and that we must pay it to them. We didn't think at the time that there was anything odd about this, and duly changed our Direct Debit to pay to this new rental agency. After a few weeks we got a letter from Copper Homes stating that we were not to pay our rent to this other rental agency. So, we accordingly changed the Direct Debit back to Copper. We discovered that one of the directors of the company had left Britain and gone to Australia. There was some sort of dispute with the rest of the board members, but we could never discover what this dispute was about. It was at this point that we became somewhat concerned as we got a letter telling us that the dispute was about who owned our house. Then the 'other' rental agency wrote (we presumed that it was him who used this agency to collect our rent.) to inform us that we must pay THEM and so we had to transfer the Direct Debit back to THEM. As you can imagine, we were getting somewhat annoyed having to keep going back to our bank and changing the Direct Debit details to and fro. 
Meanwhile, the condition of the house was deteriorating rapidly. We were getting more and more rats coming into the house and we could hear them scuttling around in the loft and within the cavity walls. They began to come into the kitchen and steal food, so we had to keep food in boxes and even inside the microwave to prevent it being eaten. Then the rats even ate through a plastic box in which we kept the dogs' food, on on one occasion the rats ate through a plastic chopping board. Also, the state of the kitchen sink was so bad, because any water that was drained away down the plughole, came out on the kitchen floor and eventually lead to the units rotting away. We were helped on this issue, though, as someone from our church kindly came to our aid and repaired the sink so that water would actually drain away outside and not on the floor. As I have also mentioned, the washing machine became inoperable as the rats gnawed through the plastic pipes on the back, so we had to take our laundry to a local company to have it washed. 
These rats got the attention of our two dogs, Poppy and Alfie. They could obviously hear sounds that we couldn't, and Alfie, in particular, would go into the kitchen and stare endlessly at the cupboard near the sink, as he must have been able to hear the high-pitched sound of the rats as they squeaked. Poppy wasn't so effected by the rats, but one presumes that she had some idea that there were intruders in the house.
Carol, meanwhile, decided that enough was enough and decided to ring Copper Homes to try and get them to sort out the various things that needed repairing, informing them, amongst other things, that the boiler wasn't working. By now we were approaching winter and the thought of having no heating was not something we wanted to have to do without. She got a lot of verbal abuse down the telephone from the Managing Director, Neil Brown. He said that the condition of the house was terrible (given to him by the plumber who came to do the checks on the central heating boiler.) and they weren't going to do any repairs until we cleaned the place. I think this may have been due to the state of the kitchen, as we were contending with rats running about and the hole in the ceiling was making the kitchen really dirty as bits of plaster and tile kept falling out of the hole and the ceiling in general was deteriorating very rapidly. If Neil Brown wanted to inspect the property, he was welcome to come to the house and see for himself, but he never came to the house once, even at the time the house was sold to Copper Homes, so I have no idea how he could make such comments when he hadn't seen the house. If they had repaired these things earlier, the condition of the house might not have got so bad.
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