I am writing this from a hotel. A hotel in Glasgow, the city where I live and work and rent a flat which I normally write from. I have had an interesting weekend. It has involved:
- A visit from my parents
- Lots of good wandering around Glasgow
- My elderly smartphone finally giving up and being replaced with a temporary unintellephone
- The water in my flat cutting out
- Booking into a hotel
I’ll write more about the first three points later. For now, lets concentrate on the fact that I’m in a hotel in a city where I rent a flat. I really like my flat. It’s not perfect but it’s close. Unfortunately, for the past few months we’ve been getting issues with water supply. Usually this take the form of low pressure, sometimes so low that showering is impractical, but the pressure returns to normal after ~30 minutes. Not that the pressure is ever good.
At first it was happening rarely but it became more common. Given it wasn’t supposed to happen at all I complained to the letting agency. They sent their handyman round and he did something (I was out and I have no idea what he did) which made it seem like the problem had gone away. His solution lasted ~2 weeks. When it failed, I complained again.
They sent another person, an engineer. Unfortunately, this engineer worked on gas boilers and we have no gas supply in the flat at all, it’s all electric. So he couldn’t do much. Still, I was able to discuss the problem with him in more detail and he said he’d talk to the letting agents about it. When I didn’t hear from them and the problem persisted I complained again.
They then blamed the factors and said they’d passed the issue on to them but that the factors always take ages to do anything. Bear in mind that what we’re talking about here is water. A supply that was getting increasingly unreliable – when there isn’t any I can’t wash, I can’t do laundry, I can’t drink, I can’t even use the toilets. It was starting to make me late for work. I jumped on the Shelter Scotland website and emailed this quote (Right to Repair – Housing (Scotland) Act 2001) to my letting agent:
All landlords have a responsibility to keep the structure and outside of the accommodation in good condition and free from disrepair so that your home is wind and watertight. The property itself must also be reasonably fit for you to live in, for example, it must have an indoor toilet and an adequate water supply. Landlords must also keep the equipment for the supply of water, gas and electricity in good repair, and supply you with suitable smoke detectors.
They promised to get another engineer sent out to me. That was on Thursday. I didn’t hear anything from any engineer on Friday or Saturday and they’re closed on Sunday. My parents arrived on Friday and, mercifully, the water worked… right up until about 9 am on Sunday. Then it just stopped. It wasn’t low pressure it was completely absent. When you turned on the taps nothing happened.
My parents put on a brave face, we’d all showed the previous evening and they could shower when they got home that day. There was enough bottled water to clean teeth and faces which we did and then went out for breakfast. We were hoping the water would be back on when we returned but it wasn’t. They went home, which they probably would have done at about that time anyway. Meanwhile, P and I were stuck in a flat with no water.
At this point I remembered I had a free hotel room I’d earned through Hotels.com. They’d been emailing me about it for months, reminding me it would expire at the end of August. I’d had no idea when we’d have time to use it and had given up on the possibility but suddenly it seemed the best solution. A quick browse and we decided to book into the Mercure in the city centre. I emailed my letting agent to let them know (since they’re closed on Sunday and there was no one to pick up the phone). Ideally I’d like them to compensate us for the room but mostly I’d just like the water back.
I really do love my flat but it’s becoming unlivable. Plus the letting agents are hopeless and that’s starting to cause real problems. I’ll be glad to move to Falkirk and not have to deal with them anymore.