A LONDON landlady has gobsmacked her tenants by installing a cage around their thermostat, preventing them from adjusting the controls.
Alex Milsom from Ealing, London was shocked when he arrived downstairs on Saturday morning [2nd Nov] to find the Dickensian device installed.
The 21-year-old, who works in publicity, pays £700 month which covers his rent and bills.
Heating is included as part of this payment, but is controlled externally by his landlady through a Nest thermostat which has now been locked.
The cage also prevents the tenants accessing hot water at certain times of the day, meaning they have been taking cold showers.
To make matters worse, Alex says he was given no warning about the installation.
An outraged Alex took to social media to share his landlady’s actions.
He shared a photo of the locked-up thermostat with the caption: “Welcome to renting in London!
“My landlord has just put our thermostat in a cage.”
The post, which has since clocked up more than 34,000 likes online has shocked social media users.
@felixslp wrote: “Is that even legal?”
Danny Tokay Reid added: “Shame on them. This is not cool. Just let people pay their own bills if this bothered about it. #slumlord #rentalnightmare.”
And Lara Bailey said: “If it was me, I’d report her (not sure who to tho… maybe the council or someone who deals in housing standards?)
“It’s nearly winter! You need to be able to put your heating on! Absolutely ridiculous!”
Many also had some handy hints for how Alex and his housemates could get around the cage.
Helen Vecht said: “Stick an ice pack onto the wall above thermostat if your place is cold. Remove if place gets to hot or before landlord visits.”
@NewpPaul added: “So, it’s a NEST wireless thermostat. Change your WiFi password so it can’t connect to the boiler, and hit the override button on the boiler when you’re cold.”
And @Matt11_ suggested: “Unscrew it, throw it on full, screw back. If he complains, say you couldn’t access to change it.”
However, Alex confirmed in the comments that none of these methods would be able to override the system.
Speaking today, he said: “We were quite surprised – that surprise turned to shock when it meant we couldn’t shower on those days in the afternoon nor could we put on our own hot water!
“I was very grumpy at work and on the commute as well.
“I was not aware it was happening. It was just one of those Saturday morning surprises!
“She can control it externally It’s a Nest thermostat and we don’t have any control over it which sucks.
“I spoke to her yesterday and she just says it is for stopping settings being changed.
“Judging not from her justifying it, it doesn’t look like she’s planning to remove it.”