Living in a shared house in a buzzing students area in Cardiff, I find myself enjoying my postgraduate study in the UK and my living with my four European housemates. However, this enjoyment has been interrupted today.
After a long day in the university, I expected to have a rest at home but I was shocked when I opened the door, my chair was moved. Thief? I scared. My laptop was still on my desk. I then noticed some screws dropped on the stairs and remembered that the socket in my room somehow didn’t work last night. A repairman? But I didn’t tell anybody about it.
My housemate then told me that she just called the landlord to express her anger that he and an electrician went in her room to repair a socket without telling her and left a dog-end. The socket in her room was damaged possibly because of an extra electric heater she used and then affected to my one. She asked the landlord to repair and told him that she would not be in before 5pm but he just said he would sort it out. The whole day she was expecting him to let her know the time when he could come but didn’t expect this at all.
The investigation is finished, but our anger is not. Our private and personal space is invaded. Our “covenant of quiet enjoyment” was interrupted.
Covenant of quiet enjoyment entitle us to have a noise-free environment and more importantly to live in the property undisturbed.
My housemate said the landlord was arguing that he was doing her a favour and in the end it’s his house. Maybe because of her furious call, shortly after our talking, the landlord text me a message saying he and the electrician will come tomorrow at 5pm and will need to access my room as well. Isn’t it too late? I questioned him. He claimed he had to give the electrician access to my room due to an emergency.
Does what he said justify what they have done? No!
Yes, it is his house and yes, it is his obligation to keep the house in proper repair. A big NO if they use keys to enter the property without the tenants’ knowledge or permission, except for genuine emergency. Claiming a broken socket as an emergency, my cunning landlord obviously understands these but just doesn’t care. We do. We should let them know that we, as foreign students, are aware of and do care about our right of privacy, otherwise there will be the second time and the third time… We are not asking more, as the law says, the landlord must give the tenants at least a two-day notice of intent to enter the property at reasonable times. As the people living in the house, we won’t refuse unreasonably anyway. He finally promised that “I assure you of our best service as always”. We’ll see.