LandlordZONE

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Aug, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default My landlord is neighbour- invasion of my privacy

    I wonder if I could ask for advice on how best to handle this very awkward situation.

    I live in a little granny flat next door to a large farmhouse and the occupants of the farmhouse (in their mid 70's) are our landlord and landlady. We've rented the granny flat for 3 years now and love it. We both get on with them both, although OH is more friendly and sociable than I am and so he gets quite chatty with them whereas I don't really stick around long enough to chat. OH is particularly friendly with the landlord, but less so with the landlady (who I haven't been overly keen on from the start due to nosiness and bossiness and trying to mother us both). She's not a horrible person by any means, but I just never warmed to her.

    Anyway, we have an electric meter in our house which is connected to their house and we discovered not long after we moved in that they entered our house when we were away from home and removed the 50ps from the meter. I wasn't at all impressed I couldn't see why it couldn't be done when we were home and felt it was rather an invasion of privacy and it upset me, but OH and I felt we didn't want to upset them and so we let it go. I wasn't at all happy and am always nervous about the state of the house every time we left the house (it's not terribly messy, but things do pile up during the week and then I'll have a good clean every weekend).

    Once we came back home and the key they use had been left in the front door (which hadn't been locked). We took it round and the landlady said she'd been to get our 50p's and had forgotten the key. She didn't seem concerned that she'd left the key and that she hadn't locked our house up afterwards.

    On another occasion we had asked the landlord to pop in and take a look at a leak in our sink (we rent, so we're not allowed to mess) and I had happened to leave a small pile of dust in the hallway, which I was going to clear up when we had bought a dustpan and brush later that day (we didn't have a hoover and we had managed to lose our dustpan and brush somewhere - later found up the loft!) When we got home, the landlord had indeed looked at our sink and fixed it ... but the pile of dust had been swept up. Now, I know some people will be all 'she was only trying to help', but I found it rude to be honest and it was as if we couldn't look after ourselves. I was not a happy bunny.

    She has also just strolled into our house whilst we were eating dinner with our washing basket (we have to do our washing a little outhouse and pay extra when we do a wash). She said she'd knocked, but that didn't excuse the fact that she'd just waltzed in and we were perfectly capable of fetching the bloody washing ourselves.

    We did come back off a holiday once and our bathroom had been 'touched up' with white grouting. I didn't mind that so much as the fact that our bath mat had got a big bleach stain on it.

    When we're in the house we are now in the habit of locking it from the inside and then leaving our key in the lock - this way you obviously can't open it from the other side. This is because she once strolled into the house when I was off sick and in bed unwell.

    She will also randomly move our front door mat and has told us it's because it is raining and it gets wet When we got home today it has done a vanishing act again and there has been no sign of rain all day.

    When we got home from work today their key was in our front door and the door was unlocked.

    My OH took the key next door and, again, she was unconcerned about having left our home unlocked and with the key still in the door. When asked what she had wanted in our house she said ....

    "I needed some milk so I went in to see if you had any."

    I don't think I need to state any more other than that when OH told me I went into what I think was a state of shock and burst into tears and have been really shook up since.

    Talk about a blatant invasion of privacy and total disregard about our property. For MILK?! Not even something remotely life-saving or urgent.

    I'm absolutely horrified and have told OH that we now have to take action and advise them that they must not enter our property unless we are home. We have absolutely no problem with them coming in to check on things or collect the money, but there is no reason whatsoever that they cannot do this when we are at home.

    It's so difficult though because we don't want to antagonise them, as we're happy where we are and don't need to move yet. We're worried about them deciding to give us notice to leave if we upset them, but I'm afraid we've definitely got to do something now or she'll just continue to use our home as she pleases.

    Still in shock about it to be honest.

    Sorry if it doesn't seem like a lot to some of you, but it shook me to the core and I felt like I was going to be sick. The thought of her going through our cupboards and looking at all our private belongings and the mess ...

    I just wondered how best to handle this. OH says he will speak to the landlord, but I did wonder if I should inform the letting agency so that they can at least log this in our 'notes' in case of future problems. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,633

    Default

    Simple answer, fit a dead lock. You need only say you are worried about security.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,633

    Default

    http://www.keylesspro.com/images/Products/remote.jpg

    Here's the sort of thing you can get these days.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,004

    Default

    First off: clearly the LL's behaviour is completely unacceptable.

    However, what the LL's doing is so blatant that obviously she has no idea that what they are doing is illegal and is causing you so much grief and offence. The fact that she sees nothing wrong in popping in to help herself to some of your milk suggests to me that she sees your relationship entirely differently to you: you're like guests in her home. She's ignorant of her responsibilities and doesn't realise what she's doing is wrong and inapproproriate.

    It also sounds like you have never given her any indication at all that her behaviour is upsetting you so much - I expect she'd be mortified if she knew.

    So, yes - you could start writing official letters, change the locks and all sorts; but how about just being a lttle more assertive than you have been, sitting her down with a cup of tea and just having a conversation with her - let her know this is your home and that you value your privacy etc, and would she please treat it as such.

    If she persists, then by all means escalate things if you have to.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3,343

    Default

    Totally agree with Eric. It calls for very sensitive communication. Remember to tak about the positives (eg its a super place to live, caring LL's etc) as well as the negatives

    I would add that if you make it clear that you are so upset that you would consider moving rather than put up with it going on as before, they will see that you do have some control in the situation.

    Its likely they would prefer to keep you, and your rent money, rather than have an unknown person take your place.
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  6. #6

    Default

    It sounds bang out of order, you could try and embaress her next time, buy a load of sex toys and a blow up sheep and leave them around the house, next time you see her, she probably wont be able to look you in the eye.

    On a serious note, i would just explain to her the way you feel, and if she doesnt stop, you will move out, hopefully she will stop when you have pointed this out to her.

    Its sound has if she is taking you for granted, and she needs to take a step back.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks so much for all the posts everybody - they've all been really helpful.

    Yes, we're going to talk to them first. We have an inkling that she may be going a bit senile, so we're going to approach the landlord privately.

    I wouldn't want to mess with putting bolts and chains on the door and really don't think I would be able to anyway, as it's rented.

    I have considered getting a motion activated key code alarm, but I'm frightened she'd have a heart attack if the alarm went off after she'd come in! She is in her late 70's.

    I'm really hopeful that she'll restrain herself once she's been told and we'll be able to live in peace and able to relax.

    Speedy - funnily enough that was what my Mom suggested - that I buy tons of bondage gear and hang it up everywhere!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    128

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    Hello SB, could you wait until she leaves the key in the lock next time and not return it ?

    I know it doesnt solve the problem immediately but it will avoid any 'little chats' and upsetting any one.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks billericayboy. Yes, that was something my mother suggested that I hadn't even thought of! However, they're still entitled to hold a key so I'm pretty sure they'd just get another copy made up. I will still do it if it's done in future though and maybe it will make her think and realise that what she's doing is very dangerous for the security of her building and the validity of the insurance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    241

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by silverbird View Post
    ....However, they're still entitled to hold a key .....
    What makes you think that? If they are using their key to gain unlawful entry which they are you are perfectly entitled to prevent them. So assuming they only have the one key just hold on to it. Failing that just change the lock. Assuming it is a standard type just keep the old one in a cupboard and put it back when you leave.

    If you have a reasonable landlord it makes good sense for them to have a key in case there is an emergency when you are away but that dosn't seem to be the case here.

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