Tag Archives: Rent tribunal


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.

Misty Mountains

Sunrise/sunset: 07:56/17:09 Daylength: 9hr12min

I tried to take a picture of the descending snow line this week. It got to about halfway down the slopes of the highest mountains, so probably about five to six hundred metres still. As you can see above, I was hindered by the fact that the mountain peaks were swathed in clouds, but it was beautiful nonetheless. You may have to click on the image to see the mountains!

I have to take the car to Tromsø today. The windscreen washer hasn’t been working properly for a while. Sometimes water sprays, but it seems to be coming from an overenthusiastic headlight skoosher and not on the actual windscreen itself. It was in at the local garage a couple of weeks ago. They changed over the washer motor, which seemed like an odd choice at the time, given that it was sometimes working, but I hoped they were on the right track. Unfortunately they weren’t. They called me and told me I would have to take the car to a BMW garage, and the nearest was in Tromsø, so that’s where we are taking it. I’ll have to drop it off today and pick it up towards the end of the week. Fortunately I’m off to the UK tomorrow, so it won’t be too much of an inconvenience. To my amazement, my local garage haven’t charged me for changing the washer motor. I went in, all ready to be decent about it (because I understand that sometimes, diagnosis can be difficult and time consuming) and was very pleasantly surprised to find I didn’t have to pay for the work. They’ve certainly attached me to them more firmly by doing it!

Tomorrow I fly to Heathrow, to visit Anna in Winchester and see her graduate. We have planned a trip to Stonehenge on Monday and we are hopefully meeting up with Vicky Holmes, my co-author for Hope Meadows afterwards. Vicky and I wrote six books together and have been corresponding for years, but never managed to meet up, so fingers crossed, on Monday we will finally manage it!

I will also be sending off my evidence to Husleietvistutvalget (the rental disputes tribunal) this evening before I go. I will be glad to get that done. After that, I’ll have to wait and see what happens. I think my evidence is more compelling than Mr Abusive’s, so I hope they will see it that way too.

And last but not least, I have a spectacular aurora photo to share with you. I was driving to the airport to collect Andrew last week. It had been raining heavily, but as I drove towards Bardufoss, the sky cleared to reveal both a beautiful moon and some wonderful aurora activity. It will soon be dark for most of the day, so it’s just as well that the night sky sometimes offers some spectacular scenery of its own.

Aurora and moon behind a dark foreground of fir trees

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!