Sunday, August 23, 2009

And The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Yup, my crap landlord is at it again:

FROM: Grainger Residential Management

Dear Mr. Michael. Harling,

Please contact our office to discuss your outstanding administration fee. We cannot accept your signed Tenancy Agreement without the fee so if we do not hear from you in the next two days we will start proceedings to gain possession.

Hannah Devine
For and on behalf of
Grainger Residential Management Ltd.
St. John's House
Barrington Road
Altrincham WA14TJ
0161 929 3160

FROM: Michael Harling

Dear Ms Devine,

It was lovely speaking to you on the phone this morning. I trust our conversation will result in my not returning from work on Monday evening to find my door bolted and padlocked. A check for £90.00 is enclosed.

I am compelled to say, however, your assertion that you "cannot" accept my Tenancy Agreement is, to put it in the best possible light, a lie. You've done so for the past seven years. What you mean to say is, "we will not process your Tenancy Agreement, and will toss you out on the street unless you pay us ninety quid." I don't know what you people call that, but to me it sounds like extortion.

If I went up to someone and told him I was going to throw him out of his house unless he paid me £90, I would go to jail. And rightly so. But as a business, you're not bound by the constraints of fairness, decency or, apparently, law. The only binding contract I have signed with you is the one where I agree to pay you X amount of money per month in exchange for you maintaining the building and its grounds and allowing us live here. For the past seven years the rent has been paid on time and in full. We have been very conscientious about that; you, on the other hand, seem to regard the contract in a more casual manner, but that's a different issue.

The ninety quid is more than just an arbitrary bill sent out by a company looking for free money; it's a slap in the face, an insult and a worry for the future.

In the seven years we have been here, we have endeavoured to be good tenants:
    - My wife (and a few other concerned tenants) spends her own time and money to tend the flowerbeds in front of your flats; the flowerbeds not adopted by tenants are fetchingly overgrown with bindweed and thistles. (ref: Different Issue)
    - We had to pay to carpet your flat because you refused to, even though the existing carpets were very old when we moved in and had become dangerously frayed and rucked up. You eventually did agree to pay a portion of the bill. (ref: Different Issue)
    - We had to pay to paint your flat because you refused to. You did agree to pay us for materials if we sent in the receipts; we sent in the receipts, but you never paid us. (Ref: Different Issue)
    - This weekend, we are going to paint the bathroom—we're not even going to attempt to get you to do it or pay for it.

And now you decide we need to give you an extra £90 for basically no reason, aside from your promised to not allow us to continue to live here unless we do.

So we've paid it, but I fear our capitulation will only serve to encourage you. Will the "fee" be £180 next year, or £250? Will we be required to chip in for petrol and supply tea and scones if we call out a workman?

In the future, when you decide to make up capricious fees, please disguise them as rent increases; that way I will feel as if I have simply been ripped off instead of robbed outright.


Michael Harling


  1. Great letter.....I hope you actually sent it.

  2. Absolutely! They should get it on Monday. I'll probably be living under a bridge on Tuesday.

  3. I loved that! Good for you for standing up. Let us know how it goes...

  4. It gets better. The local management just today instituted a rule forbiding children from playing outside (there is one guy who is behind this--he hates hearing the kids playing). The notice says, if they are reported playing, their families will be eveicted. Telling children the can't play; I can't even comment on that.

    I'm writing to the local management telling them how stupid that rule is, and that if they do not recind the "fee" we're going to move.

  5. Next time, Mike, send them an envelope addressed SPECIFICALLY to the landlord or to his/her/their property manager flunky. Enclose the check in that envelope, but piss on the check (and, of course, let it dry - mostly) before you put it in. Then, a week later, go to the management office (no letters, you don't want to leave a paper trail) and inform the manager that he/she touched a PISS-SOAKED CHECK !!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HA ha, hm. You'll look really immature, but you know, justice isn't always easy.

  6. Children not playing outside? Cockrels not allowed to crow? Oh Mike, sometimes I'm glad I moved from England to the USA where I HOPE this wouldn't happen.

    It sounds like a terrible landlord/company. Good luck. XX

  7. Just called the local guy. Seems there is a bit more to the children playing issue than I was aware of -- just a bit, but it's still a ridiculous situation. On the other hand, he is going to attempt to get the "fee" recinded. More to come.

  8. You haven't lived till you get a landlord for commercial property.

  9. Oh I do hope you sent that letter. And please post any response!

  10. Rackmanism, that what it is. Not heard of Peter Rackman, then check out some UK social history (in the Notting Hiil area of London) from the 1960's. He is what every Landlord has aspired to be ever since. Now Nichols van Hoogstratten down in Hove came a close second until he got banged up a few years ago for arranging a contract killing of a bussiness associate.

  11. geraldgee: I hope I never have the experience!

    Joanie: Of course I sent it. Waiting for the fallout now ;)

    Leon: My wife filled me in on Peter Rackman and I already knew about Mr. van Hoogstratten. Charming gentlemen, the pair of them. My landlord, however, is a corporation; much harder to put in jail.

  12. Anonymous10:34 PM

    Maybe it's a fee for breathing? Sounds like it's the last freedom in your little corner of the world!

  13. Absolutely love it . . looking forward to hearing more on how this situation resolves or continues. I'm gonna be your 40th follower . . cause for some kinda celebration?? Am myself living in Spain having been born and raised in London, England . . . just got fed up of it all . . . Pop over and see what we've been up to when you get a minute . . .

  14. Gloria: Nice blog! Thanks for following, and thanks for commenting. Hope to see you around.

  15. ooh good for you. that makes my blood boil. don't let them get away with it.

  16. Chip2nd8:36 AM

    Horsham is supposed to be a nice place to live but not with Landords like this. Is it time to use the power of the press and get a letter to the WSCT?

  17. I tried to get a letter e-mailed to the WSCT but after 3 failed attempts to 2 email addresses (both listed on thier site) I gave up. Plus, now that the local rep is supposed to be doing something about it, I think I'll wait--but it depends on the outcome.

  18. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Mike, I too am a Grainger Tennant - and having googled Hannah Devine's name to try and fine a Grainger email address I found your blog. Brilliant, keep it up. £90 is a joke, and one they have asked us to pay - even though their admin has been consistently wrong - to the point we were left waiting for 4 hours for them to let us in to our flat on moving day as 'the keys were in the wrong place' (they hasd known the exact tiem and date we would move for over 4 weeks). They then 'forgot' we were moving into the flat and not just looking round it so didn't clean the property fully - and finally the letter asking me to increase my rent and pay £90 for the privilege is wrongly addressed!! They’re lucky I opened it in the first place! £90 admin fee, they’re having a laugh! Ben

  19. Ben,

    Amazing you found this post after so long. Nice to hear I am not along in my continual fight against Gainger.

    Best of luck to you.