Last week, we reported on the first episode of the BBC’s The Week the Landlords Moved In, a show that highlights how the housing crisis is really affecting people. The latest episode focused on tenant Vishal, who made a shocking discovery about his finances.
Vishal was horrified to discover that he had been paying his neighbour’s bills for several years. After working out his financial outgoings, Vishal found something in the house that he hadn’t accounted for.
His millionaire landlord, Prab, from Leeds, had not communicated the oversight, but did work hard to rectify the issue as quickly as possible.
Pointing to an electric meter, Vishal explained: “This electric meter is shared with my next-door tenant, which I just came to know in the last three months because there was an electrical inspection. So, my next-door neighbour is using my electricity and paying the bills to the landlord, so he owes me something like £400 or £500. I really lost hope actually when I came to know that.”
The programme revealed that when Vishal raised the issue with Prab’s office, they suggested giving him top-up tokens that he would then have to sell directly to his neighbour.
Horrified, Vishal continued: “That’s not fair, because they haven’t repaid what I have spent actually, and he should have his own meter so that they have to pay the money to the service provider and not to me, because I don’t want to get into the hassle of who’s used how much and constantly keeping tack.
“That’s not my job to do. I’m not the landlord here. I’m just the tenant. So, looking at this, to tell you frankly, I don’t trust my landlord anymore at all.”
When Vishal finally met Prab for the first time, he confronted him about the meter issue and asked him if he had noticed anything different about it while staying in the house.
Taken aback, Prab asked: “In terms of…?”
This prompted Vishal to ask directly: “Do you know the electric meter is shared?”
Prab responded: “Yes, this came up I think a few weeks ago, about a week ago.”
Vishal added: “It really came as a surprise for me when I got to know during one of the electrical inspections. Basically, you guys owe me a lot of money!”
“Yeah, of course,” Prab admitted.
Prab explained further: “Basically, this electric meter is actually running both this property and the one next door, and he had to take it upon himself to sort of find out that that was the case. It doesn’t look well does it for him to find that out? I think it’s unfair for him to be expected to sell the top-up cards to his neighbour anyway. Obviously we can’t expect him to do that.”
At the end of the programme, Vishal read out a letter from Prab with £100 enclosed, which read: “While we get the electric meter issue resolved, please accept £100 as a gesture of goodwill until we can work out what we may owe you.”
Visibly moved, Vishal said: “That’s really good of him isn’t it? Even though I’m entitled to it, when you’ve lost hope, somewhere the light shows up.”
Landlords, while you may not be featuring on the BBC’s new show, it is always worth communicating with your tenants regularly to uncover any issues they may have and conducting frequent periodic inspections of your property.