Friday, March 27, 2009

The Last Flatmate I'll Ever Get

I've always had language students live with me to help pay the mortgage. I'm pretty easy going, and most of my language students have ended up staying with me for much longer than they were going to. Renee from Indonesia was with me for 3 years, then Wendy from Hong Kong was with me for 6.5 years! Kitto was with me for 2 years from China, and I've also had short-term students from Japan and Brazil.

Wendy left me at the end of last year. My daughter was flatting and I had a reasonable sized 3 bedroom house that I was rattling around in. However, I really didn't want another student, as part of the deal of having students is that you are around cooking meals for them each night. I hate cooking, but apart from that, I've come to the time where I don't want to be tied down. If I get invited out at the last minute, I'd like to be able to, without having to cook a meal before I do. That applies to holidays as well.

So after discussing this with my daughter, we decided a flatmate would be the best answer and an advertisment was placed on Trademe. At the time, there were not many people applying for the position, so I took the first person who came along - and ran into my first difficulty. Fortunately this person didn't move in as he showed his true colours beforehand - you can read about it here !

Shortly after someone else came along. He seemed a likeable guy, friendly. Said he worked 3 days a week on Shortland Street as an Extra, and that he owned 10 rental properties, but had a negative cash flow so needed to rent one place out and flat for a while. I accepted this, and we arranged a date to move in.

I told him he could have the room upstairs, plus we could share a study, so he could put his computer and desk downstairs in there, alongside my desk. He asked if he could store a few boxes in the garage, and told me that they would be neatly stacked up to the ceiling, and he would use no more space than what was already there (which wasn't much). I reluctantly agreed. When my 'stuff' was at the end of the garage, I could still park my car, and walk around it to get to the Laundry without having to go outside.

I erected a garden shed, and moved my stuff to the shed so he could put a few boxes at the end of the garage.

He moved in end of February. It wasn't pleasant. The very first thing he did was argue about where he wanted to park the car, yet had he parked it where he wanted to, I would not have been able to easily get out of my garage. It took him 3 days before he moved the car where I asked him to.

He moved in on a Thursday. By Saturday I realised he had far too much in the garage than what he had originally said he would. Take a look...

As you can see - it's a). more than just a few boxes, and b). it's not really boxed up. And I can no longer get to my Laundry easily, or out the back door easily, because there is too much stuff, AND his bike was in the way. You can see just how much difficulty I had in parking my car in there by the following two photos...

You can see how in this photo how close I had to park to his stuff, so I could just get my car into the garage.

When my garage door shut, I culd not even walk around the car to get to the Laundry. The only way to my laundry now was to take the dirty washing out the front door, and then walk into the garage. Apart from the inconvenience, the house no longer had a back door that was easily accessible in case of any emergency.

On the Saturday, two days after he moved in, I asked the Flatmate to move his stuff to storage. He agreed there was too much and said he would. By monday nothing had happened, so I asked him to have it out by the end of the week. He refused and said he would do it in his own time.

This was not all.

The shared study - where he was meant to have only a desk and computer, was full of his stuff as well. So much that I could not even get the single bed that was meant to be in there on the floor where it belonged.. Let me show you..

Very little floor space as you can see as he was using this room as storage, which was never in the agreement.

Here you can see clearly the bed lying up against the wall - the only way it would fit, but useless in terms of anyone who might want to stay over!

And this is was what I was meant to share. He could see no reason why I couldn't work on that desk surrounded by all his stuff.

Anyway - my daughter asked if she could come home before she went overseas on 12th April. Of course my daughter comes first, and so I said yes. I went into the study where the flatmate was and asked him to clear his stuff out of the study as I will be needing the room for my daughter who was going to come hoome for a few weeks before going overseas.

He flatly refused. See in the first photo of the study above, he pointed to the bits of blue carpet and said she could live there no problem, around his stuff!!!! Seeing it was an outright refusal, I then gave him 2 weeks notice to move out, and told him he had to be out by 26 March. He refused and threatened me with court action over this, so I went and discussed it with my mother, who works for a lawyer. After writing everything down, my mother phoned her boss. We found because it is my own home, then the Tenancy Act doesn't apply, and he basically has no rights. So I typed up written notice requesting him to leave, as well as asking him to clear the study by Sunday. I then went to the police and asked what I could if he still refused to leave. They gave me trespass notices and said I could serve these on him. If he didn't leave, the police can then evict him. I really hoped it woudln't come to that. I didn't need the stress!

I gave him the written notice.

He stopped paying the rent. Initial agreement was that he paid 2 weeks rent in advance, and 2 weeks rent as bond (in case of damages that would be returned when he left). Unfortuantely, my mistake - I didn't have this in writing, so he said as far as he was aware he has paid 4 weeks rent in advance. This meant if he damaged anything it would be much harder to get.

Further - he refused to pay me for the internet as he reckons I was unhelpful getting him on it in the first place. Well. As soon as I heard he had problems, I suggested to him it was his WiFi card that wasn't strong enough to get to the modem upstairs. He didn't believe me. So I gave him the phone number and passwords to ring Vodafone - remember I can't use a phone. Vodafone told him his Wifi card wasn't strong enough to reach the modem (I am after all just a dumb blonde!) He asked if he could move the wireless modem downstairs, but I explained the wireless was hooked into that computer and so by moving the wireless, the computer upstairs would no longer be hooked in. I do use that computer as all the printers are attached to that one.

I explained I had a wireless USB Wifi on my downstairs computer and suggested he get one like that as it's strong enough. He promptly took that and used it. Now I didn't have to supply the hardware for him - but I let it go. So here he was - up and going on the internet on the second day. And he refused to pay the internet charges as I was unhelpful, all because I was kicking him out. I just changed the password on my broadband connection and cut him off. I saw no reason for him to use my Gigb allowance when he wasn't going to pay for it.

By Sunday morning, there was no movement on the study, so my mother came down and together we moved all his stuff to the garage. We left his computer and desk in there, but I was finally able to get the bed on the floor and make it up.

While my mother was there, he had a long talk with her. As I am completely deaf, and my communication skills are not so good in situations like this, I left it to her. As soon as he went out, Mum wrote everything down on paper to what he said so we had a record.

This is what she wrote... (I've put my answers in brackets).

1). He is upset that he has to move out after only being here for 2 weeks.

(Whilst I can empathise that he is upset, if he hadn't been so difficult, argumentative, and unhelpful it would never have happened. The whole reason he has to move out was that he refused to make way for my daughter who was coming home briefly before going overseas).

2). He is looking for storage today (Sunday) with the aim to move stuff from tomorrow (Monday)

(It took him 5 days to move the stuff from the garage. Even when he had finished, the remaining stuff he left in a pile using up the same amount of room. I'm not sure if he was being purposefully obstructive or not. In the end, I had to pack the remains up at the end of the garage myself so I could fit my car in.)

3). He told mum that I had said I don't watch TV, and said that he could take the big TV in the lounge and put it in his room, then reneged on the deal!

(Huh? Huh? Why would I let him take the big TV to put in his room? For one it wouldn't even fit!!! He's dreaming! Absolutely Nuts - !)

4). He said that I didn't ask for bond, nor anything in writing, so as far as he is concerned he has paid 4 weeks rent!

(The deal was 2 weeks rent in advance, the equivalence of 2 weeks rent as bond money (damages) and the first lot of rent in advance to go into my account on 12th March - unfortunately I didn't put this in writing so I have no comeback there legally, but he is now effectively living here for free - however by saying this he was lying.)

5). He told mum that I had misled him - that Anne was coming home end of April, but it is only March now.

(I told him that Anne 'might' come home before she goes overseas, and 'probably' in the first two weeks of April. I would never have said end of April as Anne leaves on the 12th to go to the UK. And anyway, this is the family home, and he has no right to think he comes first.)

6). He told mum that I had told him he could store stuff in the garage up to the curtain.

(The curtain is quarter of the way down the garage. I told him he could store stuff in the garage, but no more than what I had already there, that was moved in the shed. Had I allowed him to the curtain, my car would not fit into the garage - he's deluded!!! - Mum actually told him that she understood that he could store a few boxes but not as much as he had.)

7). He told mum that the deal was that he could share the study, and so shouldn't have to move because Anne was coming home.

(Mum told him yes, study was to be shared, but not used as a storage. At this stage he told mum that he sees no reason why Anne just can't fit amongst his stuff.)

8). Mum told him he had no rights under the Residency Tenancy Act Section 5 Clause (n), as he is living in the landlords own home. He asked her very rudely 'are you sure about that'. Mum said yes she was, as she has had 30 years law experience. Once she had said that, he took a more gentle approach.

9). He said he would dispose of his rubbish

(He did)

10). He also said he asked me to fill in a form for the tenancy tribunal, and said I had refused.

(He never asked for this, and in any case, it's not a requirement of law as this is my own home, and not under the residency act.)

Anyway he has left. It's left a bad taste in my mouth, and I'm not likely to get another flatmate. I will get another language student once I have hearing again. Interestly enough, a friend of mine knew him from 20 years ago. (I wish I had known this before he had moved in) I asked my friend about him and they said he couldn't be trusted, and was dishonest. Obviously he hadn't changed.


Sam said...

whoops!!! Did you hit the return button too quickly!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yep - but it's all up there now!!!

My computer is acting up - while I'm in hospital I will get it seen to so it's fixed when I et home :)


Sam said...

are you serious!!!!? People are just bizarre - why...why...why? I am never ever having a flatmate - I would have to be quite seriously struggling before I even think about taking in people like that!! You are one brave woman to keep trying. This is just bizarre to me - particularly as I the kind of person that would just keep myself to myself and stay neat and tidy in someone else's house.

huh. What can I say?

Anonymous said...

Yes - it was very bizarre.

There were other problems as well, including a refusal to pay expenses until the very last minute. He also initally refused to pay for the supplies, but in the end he did - although he got a very reduced power bill because the power bill was assessed the month before and he refused to pay an average over the two.

In the end, I was just glad he was going, so accepted what I could. He's was a taker, not a giver.


ms toast burner said...



Anonymous said...

Yep - Blimey alright! LOL

Dan Connell said...

Oh good-night! My wife tried this (renting out the spare room). She wouldn't listen anyone about how hard it would be for her. But, oh boy, did she learn her lesson after having to put up with the house-mates for a couple of months. Fortunately they moved off and now all is back to blissful peace :-) She has sworn off roomies for life.

Hope you have a good visit with your daughter. And hope you get that CI working soon !

Cheers !


Morgan said...

God, what a pain. People can be annoying huh? I guess he must be used to living that way all the time and used to lying as well. What a shame you didn't just get a nice reliable friendly person.

jelly said...

Yikes, what a fiasco! You poor woman, I can see your glad that is over.

What is so hard about finding a nice, decent flatmate?

Better luck in the future if your rent out again.

Michelle said...

Oh, I was so ticked off for you reading this.... It doesn't matter what side of the pond you live on... There will be people with bad attitudes like this anywhere with rentals! Glad you got him out.

Michelle said...

This is off topic, but realized you are getting turned on Monday.. and I'm getting activated on Tuesday... hope we can compare notes... and please post on Monday night! I want the scoop.

Michelle said...

Totally OT but please blog on Monday night after your activation. I'm dying to hear how you make out. Mine is going to be the next afternoon on the 31st. Do you have your first two mappings on the 30th and 31st?

Michelle said...

If you got two posts before this it's because I thought the first didn't go through... just pick your favorite. ;-)