Tag Archives: Husleietvistutvalget

The Big Melt

Sunrise/sunset: 04:17/21:18 Daylength: 17hr01min

The big melt is underway. It has been above zero for more than a week now, although there has been an overnight blip. I woke this morning to a light dusting of snow. I know some people reading this live in snowy places, but most do not. My mum asked me a couple of weeks ago, after a few days of warmer weather, whether the snow was gone yet and I had to tell her that it was still higher than the car roof. It takes weeks for it to go away and afterwards, another couple of weeks for the earth to begin to warm up and for plants to grow, despite the already long days.

The picture at the top of the page was taken yesterday morning, behind the house. It was difficult to photograph, but there is a newly formed river and lake just beyond the garden. No wonder, with the amount of rain that has been coming down. Coupled with the melting snow, there is going to be a significant amount of water gathering for the next few weeks.

Of course, as with any such major change, there is a lot of work to be done. Not particularly for me (I have to decide when to change from winter tyres to summer, which is always a lottery as it can snow into May) but for those fixing the roads, which are badly cracked this year, and also builders and anyone else whose jobs are limited by the weather, the next few months will be crazy. I will have to contact the plumber again soon, to see whether he can fit me in while entry to the foundations is not blocked by a metre of snow . I’ve also contacted an electrician, who hopefully is coming out to look at my museum-piece fuse box, with a view to installing something a bit more up-to-date! The current one is not as old as Per and Tor, as the house was only built in the early 80s, but perhaps they’d have been more familiar with its design than I was when I moved in!

I don’t really have much idea how much it will cost, and perhaps it won’t be possible now, but there are a few fixes I would really like to get done, and this is one of them. At the moment, we can’t run the washing machine twice in a short period and if we use the oven and plates too enthusiastically, dinner ends up being very slow.

I’m going to give what will probably be the final update in the Mr Abusive saga. I didn’t mention last time, but about ten minutes after the electronic letter arrived, Mr Abusive’s wife sent a demand for the money on my phone. This, I recognised, was the first part of a process, by which they have to give various warnings before contacting the bailiffs. As far as I can work out, they have to send a demand first, with two week’s notice, then a warning that they will be referring me for debt collection, with another two week’s grace. That is the minimum, but they are allowed to send various letters, ramping up the charges with each, and for every day I don’t pay, interest would be added on. The bailiffs in Norway are the police, and they have the power to take money from my bank, so Mr Abusive had the full force of Norwegian law and power behind him, based entirely on Husleietvistutvalget’s faulty decisions.

I hope you are not bored, but when I say faulty, I do mean it. The clearest example was that, for carrying out cleaning himself (rather than employing a professional company) he charged me 600kr per hour. This seemed a huge amount, when an inexperienced cleaner in Norway only earns 210kr per hour. My feeling that this was off, was backed up when I read various other Husleietvistutvalget cases. Most landlords only ask for between 200 and 250kr per hour. In another case, the landlord asked for 350k per hour and was firmly told that was too high. His fee was reduced to 212kr per hour. The other decisions were also faulty. For example, Mr Abusive alleges he had to throw out a rug because of ingrained dog hair, but the picture he staged (presumably by emptying the vaccuum cleaner over it) showed a mass of unvacuumed hair and dust. Legally, he is required to attempt to clean it before throwing it out, but there was no evidence he had. It really was like that through the whole case.

Currently, a group of students in Oslo have the papers and I hope they will give me their thoughts on the legalities, but I will be making a complaint, one way or another. Not that it is easy to do so. Every letter I send out from Mattilsynet contains details on how to challenge the decisions I’ve made. There is literally no official pathway to complain about Husleietvistutvalget, and even the information about which government department might have some responsibility for overseeing it is carefully obscured. That the only official channel for challenging it is taking it to court means that those without money are unable to get justice. I hadn’t expected to find myself here in Norway. There’s an assumption that tenants (and women) are well protected here, but this is the second time I’ve found out that I am not and I can’t deny that it has changed my view of Norwegian “justice”.

Anyway, unless my complaint results in something positive happening, I won’t be updating again. Though it’s enough to have an impact on what I can do to improve the house, I am not about to go bankrupt. I will move on, given time, but that’s a story for another day.

It’s not a very beautiful time here, when the snow is melting, but I took some photos anyway. As the huge piles of scraped snow melt, they turn black as the grit that was scraped up with them is left behind. There are a lot of septic tanks around here (I have one) and I should imagine that, as the water levels rise, they must all flood. There was something very brown deposited on the ice in a melting river I found yesterday. No smell, but I did wonder. Snow is beautiful. Its retreat: not so much!

Have a good week all! Thanks for reading.


Sunrise/sunset: 05:26/18:23 Daylength: 12hr56min

I have lost my case against Mr Abusive. This despite the fact that, in his evidence, he made false claims and even sent in the receipt for a completely different oven from the one in the flat. Ignoring the fact that I could demonstrate he was lying about some things (which should surely have cast doubt on everything else he presented) they have taken his word for everything. I will get my overpaid rent back, but they still want me to pay him about two thousand pounds.

I am reeling and I don’t really understand how we ended up here. I knew that there was some fairly damning evidence against me in one or two aspects of the case. A vacuum cleaner had been damaged when it was in the store room and we had patched and used it, then stupidly left it behind. That was probably the worst as there’s a definite implication I hadn’t looked after things properly, or replaced them when perhaps I should have. The cooker had also been hard used and there was soot on the fan (burning fat from grilling spitting burgers being the most likely culprit) though there certainly hadn’t been a fire inside it, as he claimed. Also, there were some large items (the shower cabinet being one) which we hadn’t moved out to clean. If you move out items that haven’t been cleaned under for two years, with a dog in the house, inevitably it will be messy. But I think they have taken that as evidence that I had been negligent and have extrapolated that to everything else, rather than considering each claim on its own merits. They don’t seem to have taken into account the fact that he lied into account at all, even though there was undeniable evidence of it.

It is at moments like these that I feel most isolated. I have John and Andrew here, but there’s very little they can do. I have also friends and they will offer comfort and advice, but practically there’s not much they can do either. If I take the case to court and lose again, I will be faced with lawyer’s fees on top of the two thousand pounds I have to pay him. It’s also unlikely, given that he does have some evidence against me, that I would end up with a clear-cut result, where I win and he has to pay costs.

To pay up without objections feels awful though. I know that he has lied. I suspect that some of his evidence was contrived. He showed pictures of dirt where I know there was none, and unfortunately I left him a vacuum cleaner and enough dust and dog hair under the seats on the sofa that he had plenty of “evidence” to plant. He has shown pictures of garden seats that were not in my garden and removed the leg of a table that was standing fine when I left it, but of course I have no proof of these things. If they have decided to take his word over mine, there isn’t much I can do to undo it. I took some photos after cleaning the flat, but they appear to count for nothing. They are not mentioned once in the judgement. I will put them on the bottom of the post so that you can get an idea of what a flat in Norway looks like that needs a thousand pounds worth of cleaning doing and which contains damaged furniture and other things that were in such a bad stated that it warrants two thousand pounds worth of compensation. Click on them and zoom in all you will. It certainly wasn’t trashed.

So how do I move forward? I spoke to my mum, who has advised me to pay, basically to get it over with. I am fairly sure that is what I will end up doing, but it rankles. In books, the bullies never win, but in real life, it seems they do, all too often and I don’t really know what to do with that conclusion. There are too many complicated things going on with my life at the moment and part of me wants to run away, but for a number of reasons, that isn’t practical and wherever I went, I would still be there and there’s a risk I’d end up somewhere similar again.

So it looks like I am going to have to swallow this bitter pill. In the country where tenants rights are supposed to be strongly upheld, where the landlord’s power and relative richness and ability to pay are supposed to be muted, I still find myself here. Having been shouted at and lied about, having paid large sums of money for renting out his basement (enough that it probably covered a good percentage of his mortgage payment for the whole house) having been bullied to the point where it has affected my health and happiness, I am now being asked to pay him more money. Sometimes, life is just shit.

Link to previous post on the case.

Soot on the Wall

Sunrise/sunset: 11:16/12:37 Daylength: 1hr21min

You will hopefully be amused to hear that I had a bizarre new update this week in my dispute with my ex landlord.

(Related posts for anyone who wants all the lowdown: Cows in the Field , How Much?, Don’t Try This at Home, Mixed Emotions).

The time for sending in evidence is long past, so when a letter pinged into my Digibox account (in Norway, secure letters are generally sent electronically) from Husleietvistutvalget (HLTU) I assumed that here, finally, was the judgment. I was out at work when the letter came in, but I waited until I was home to open it, and when I did, I discovered it was not the judgement at all.

As background, I was copied in to a letter, a while back, which HTLU had sent to the ex landlord. He had been sent my last statement (submitted before the deadline) and HTLU wanted confirmation that he had received it.

Instead of sending confirmation of receipt, the ex landlord had sent another “evidence statement”. This, HLTU confirmed, had been sent after the deadline and therefore would not be considered when the evidence was examined, but they still wanted him to confirm that he had received my statement. Later the same day, I was copied into another letter, which indicated he had called HLTU and no longer had to send confirmation as they would accept the fact that his opening of the letter in Digibox was indication enough.

The new letter, which I received on Wednesday, had a short explanation at the top, which roughly translated said:

Ex landlord has informed us that his pleading of 24th November has not been sent over for information. We apologise. Attached is ex landlord’s pleading of 24th November, for information. The case remains in the queue for a decision.

I am beginning to be quite fascinated by this. There was little new evidence sent. In his previous statement, he had claimed the ancient cooker in the flat had been bought in 2018. He had sent a receipt for a cooker as proof, but unfortunately for him, I was able to demonstrate that the Gram cooker in his receipt was not the Zanussi cooker that was visible in one of my photographs of the flat. In his new pleading, he “explains” that he had been so excited by finding the receipt, that he had sent it, not realising it was the wrong one. He claims the cooker in the flat had, nevertheless, been bought in 2017 or 2018. He had asked both the electrical appliance shops in Finnsnes if they could find a receipt, without success. He therefore thought the cooker must have been bought from a shop in Finnsnes that had since closed down. Honest guv….

At the end of my previous response, I had commented that I was pleased he had stated he hadn’t actually bought a replacement vacuum cleaner. My understanding was that in Norwegian law (case law, I think, found on a solicitor’s website) the landlord in such a case had to show actual financial outlay. If there was no financial outlay, therefore my belief is that he can’t claim any money for that object. He said he wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Given that he has been preening himself throughout for being Norwegian and therefore having superior knowledge of how everything works in Norway, I found this rather ironic.

But my very favourite “evidence” was his response to my comment that, if I had set the cooker on fire, as he claimed, there would be soot on the wall behind it. He had previously sent a picture of an electrician mending the electrical contact behind the cooker and the wall was (in my opinion) very clean for a wall behind a cooker that I supposedly left dirty and which should have been fire damaged.

So he sent a picture of the soot. It was difficult, he acknowledged, to show it in a picture. The picture at the top of the page shows part of the photograph he sent, but for the avoidance of doubt, I will show you the unclipped picture.

All in all, though I am slightly worried about his state of mind and where he might take all this, if he doesn’t get his way, I can’t help feeling that, with every new move, he is shooting himself in the foot more. Indeed I will be sad if they don’t take his evidence into account, especially as he has now insisted that procedure be followed and they must send this to me. What possible reason could he have for such an insistence that I must be sent this? I think I acknowledged earlier to HLTU that I felt sick every time I got a letter from them. If he has that information, the only reason I can imagine he wanted an additional letter sending was to cause further distress. I do know, however, that if I was dealing with this case at work (I don’t deal with this type of case, but assessment of animal welfare cases is part of my job) I would probably have drawn quite significant conclusions about who was likely telling the truth and who was an arsehole.

Anyway, other than that, it’s been a pleasant enough week. Officially, the sun came up yesterday and will come up again today, but I have barely been outside during daylight hours and therefore haven’t taken any photos. I thought I would look back at some photos I took last year and the year before, to compare this winter with those. I was surprised to see that in January 2020, there was almost no snow. Quite the contrast with this year.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you have a good week.

How Much?

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.

Bedroom used by John and Anna

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.

Autumn trees with a snow topped mountain
A view from the valley below the house

This picture was taken on the drive there, beside Bardufoss.

Waterfall with autumn trees

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!