Sunrise/sunset: 06:35/18:42 Daylength: 12hr07min
As regular readers will know, I had something of a run in with my landlord a couple of weeks back. This week has been dominated by a letter I received on Monday from Husleietvistutvalget – the Norwegian Rent Disputes Tribunal.
I genuinely hoped, when I was opening it, that they had been reasonable. There was some cleaning I hadn’t finished, which I would estimate would have taken a couple of hours, though I’d have paid them if they had got professionals in to clean, or indeed if they had requested payment for even four to five hours cleaning they had done themselves. My hope was dashed immediately. They are trying to charge me for twenty three hours of cleaning time and appear to have decided, presumably filled with rage, to throw out multiple items, which they claim were so filthy that they could not be salvaged. Fortunately I took some photos while cleaning.
When you look at that picture, what do you see? I hope you would agree there are signs it has been cleaned adequately and everything was in good order. One of the pillows is, perhaps slightly stained, but that is surely part of wear and tear after two years of use. My ex landlord claims that the room was so dirty that it needed to be completely cleaned again. In addition, the duvets, pillows and the mattress topper were so filthy and stained that they had to be thrown out. Never have I been so glad that I am reasonably competent at taking photos.
In total, they are trying to claim 40,000kr worth of cleaning and damage (around £3,500 or 3,800US$). I have no experience with such disputes. I have always received my deposit back in full, so their outrageous claims really floored me, though with a few days to gather evidence and calm down, I am sure I can get it down to a much more reasonable figure. But the whole thing has been incredibly stressful. After fourteen years of living in Norway, two years of collecting together handing in paperwork and a year of waiting, I finally received a letter to say I was now a Norwegian Citizen on Wednesday. What should have been a wonderful, happy, once in a lifetime event has been completely overshadowed by their vexatious claim.
Fortunately, a couple of my colleagues have been providing rock like support. I have been at the abattoir all week and confided in Trude, who has given me information on how things should have gone after the landlord and me and John had carried out the inspection together when I believed I had finished cleaning. She says the requests for additional cleaning made then should have been binding and final. I hadn’t been sleeping and on Friday asked her if it would be possible for some slight adjustments to be made to the rota because the last thing I want is to find myself too unwell to work. She arranged them immediately and better still, has worked out the rota a few weeks ahead so that, despite the fact that there are still staff on sick leave, I will be able to take a few days holiday in October, so that I can go to the UK and see Anna graduate. I was almost in tears when she told me.
The other colleague who has offered most support is Marit. I have to collect together my evidence and write a report with my version of what occurred. Marit has agreed to go through my statement, which has to be written in Norwegian. She has also offered to ask around to find a good solicitor. Husleietvistutvalget might offer mediation between the landlord and me (I very much don’t want to go through that) or they may produce a written report. Their decision is legally binding and if either party disagrees, they have to challenge it through the court system. Unless I am asked for a ludicrous amount of money, I will almost certainly pay it, but I can imagine if things don’t go the landlord’s way, that he may well decide to take things all the way.
Some good things have come of it, of course. I will be able to see Anna graduate, another once in a lifetime event. I also feel very well supported by my colleagues. You always find out who the really good people are when you are in trouble.
While all this was going on, I also decided I should do something I hadn’t had time for, with all the house moving, so I called Ann and asked if I could go round and see her new house. She and her partner Stejn have bought a smallholding with some barns and a small amount of land. The house needs a lot more work than mine, but they seem to be getting through it. And it is in a truly wonderful place. I took some photos (of course I did) while I was there. As you can see, there is a dusting of snow on the top of the mountains now.
This picture was taken on the drive there, beside Bardufoss.
Anyway, I have to go now. I have to write a report for Husleietvistutvalget and then translate it into Norwegian. I wish I could spend my weekend doing something more pleasant, but there is a fairly short deadline of two weeks from my receiving their letter, so I had better get on and get it done. Hopefully, by next week, things will be a little less stressed.
Thanks for reading. Over and out!