So who would you trust? Or, rather, not trust?
The old list always included estate agents, used car salespeople (men in those days), and politicians.
Journalists and bankers have rapidly shot up the rankings, so that MPs are still first, followed by poor sad journos, and then bankers.
Estate agents are fourth, followed by construction workers, which makes me and my partner a totally untrustworthy couple. Just so you know.
Civil servants come after that, and I was one of those for a few years too. Does that make me doubly untrustworthy?
These results come from a Which survey of just more than 2000 adults, so hardly a statistically significant one, but an uneducated guess would say it isn’t that far off the mark.
I was chairing the quarterly meeting for our block yesterday. I received three apologies, and four of us turned up, three directors and one leaseholder. We were, a journalist (me), an estate agent (freeholder and director), a streetsweeper (director), and a construction worker (leaseholder).
Since the fresh water leak in the block last week, I wrote to everyone who hadn’t paid their service charges, reminding them that they were due. At the meeting the freeholder estate agent produced his cheque with a flourish. All the untrustworthies around the table had paid up.
There are fifteen flats in the block. Some people own more than one, so basically there are twelve people who pay charges.
When I took over chairing our Council of Management, from the untrustworthy management company – they are estate agents – there were seven outstanding debtors. Now there are only two.
The management company was in charge of the block for eleven months. I have been chairing the Council for five months and achieved better results. Maybe I should start up a management company.
But who are my long-term non-payers? One is someone who lives elsewhere in Gibraltar, and normally rents out his flat for around £750 a month. I know this because the people who were renting there before told us. 🙂
He owes more than £900 over a two-year period, and clearly receiving £750 a month in rent hasn’t brought in enough money to pay those charges. He is claiming there is water ingress and that his flat is damp. Most flats in Gibraltar are damp because of the humid atmosphere, even more so if you don’t open the fucking windows.
When people pay their service charges, I will consider if there is any remedial work to be done. Because how can I get the work done without money in the kitty?
I’m chairing the Council for this block in the interests of 12 people, or rather 12 flat owners. When the vast majority have paid, I am not going to tolerate some whinge from one person who wants to sell their flat anyway and seems to think block money should pay for a redec.
Which brings me onto the other non-payer. A prominent UK Liberal MP no less. I discovered last night that he was given the flat in a bequest from the previous owner. She had no family, was active in the Liberal party, so left her flat to an MP. She would have been better leaving it to the dogs’ home.
Who on earth in their right mind would leave anything to a politician? Seriously?
So, the Right Hon xxxxx xxxxxx now owns Flat One in our block. It has taken some two years to get probate. I’ve been through probate and it took no time at all. Two years?
Meanwhile, the solicitors dealing with probate and our poor Cambridge-educated MP couldn’t find £567.60 to pay service charges for the last eighteen months.
They called in a local painting company to get quotes for a redec of the flat. It must have been too expensive because the work was never done. Instead, the reason for non-payment of charges is because the unlived-in flat is damp and it is all the fault of the block. Really? An unlived-in flat in Gibraltar is damp and humid and there is mould on the walls due to lack of block maintenance?
From the solicitor’s letter:
The representative of the estate advised the meeting of the repairs which need to be done by the Management Company as soon as possible to the external area to the flat. The repairs would hopefully halt the water ingress and alleviate the resulting and extreme dampness in the flat which is unfortunately interfering with the enjoyment and use of the property. It is also interfering with the proper and adequate maintenance of the flat.
Yeah, right. So our prominent Liberal MP is just going to come and live in some grotty ground floor one-bed pied-a-terre that quite frankly, I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.
Well, he hasn’t been living there yet, so I don’t know whose enjoyment, use, and maintenance of the flat is being interfered with.
While ever I run this block, I will look after the finances, ensure emergencies are dealt with promptly, pay the communal bills, and I would like to plan essential maintenance, depending on funds.
I am not willing to pay for redecorating the flat of a UK politician, however supportive he may be of Gibraltar, when he can’t even stump up less than £600 for his service charges.
This is an MP who has been described as someone who campaigns for social justice, human rights and the environment. He is described as relatively left-wing. All of which should be a Good Thing. Apparently his sexuality is a cause for speculation. Who cares who he shags? – I don’t. But I do care when he defaults on the charges for our block.
So, my response, to both of these non-payers, is pay your fucking money. I’ll only be Ms Nice for so long, and that time is rapidly approaching its sell-by date.
I wonder if I should have gone into politics. At least I would have been top of the untrustworthy list, rather than second.
And, yes. I will be emailing the Right Hon Member today.
NOTE. THIS STORY IS MINE AND MINE ALONE. I HOPE THAT IS CLEAR.