A woman has described her time staying with a landlord in their South London rental as "living in hell," with the landlady only allowing access to the kitchen four hours a day before more "restrictions started raining down" days after the tenant moved in.
The woman, an English Tutor named Mel, alleges she had to leave her home in Worcester Park and move into a hotel after her landlady subjected her to a string of restrictions and toxic behaviour, culminating in one of the landlady's friends verbally abusing Mel in the kitchen.
Speaking to MyLondon, Mel claims she was in a living hell while renting with landlady Sheena Shepherd, who allegedly restricted access to the kitchen and, after their relationship broke down, only communicated by slipping notes under her door and "shouting" at her bedroom window from the garden.
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Mel says she paid $1090 (£595) a month to live in the two-storey Victorian house, and that things were "fine for the first two days" after she moved in last December. However, "restrictions started raining down" on her soon after.
Shepherd presented Mel with a set of rules for the home, stipulating that she would only have access to the kitchen between 9am to 11am and 12pm to 2pm as Shepherd would be running PT sessions from home. If she needed to use the kitchen outside of these hours, she needed to cross reference Shepherd's schedule.
The lounge room was off limits, with access only allowed to reach the kitchen. Mel also wouldn't be able to use the front door to the property between 9am and 5:30pm and was only permitted to work from home in her bedroom.
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Mel also claimed to MyLondon that she was to "only com[e] down the stairs once a day" to avoid disturbing Shepherd while she worked in the lounge, and was banned from having deliveries sent to the house as the doorbell was "too distracting".
Elsewhere in the property, Mel claims wardrobes were full of her landlady's "personal stuff," leaving her to store her own belongings in the loft or shed.
The pair's relationship quickly deteriorated. Mel claims that Shepherd explained her rationale via WhatsApp, stating: "You pay for a ROOM. If you want full access to the half, pay half the bills too. When you can pay £1,000 you can have equal say! Have some respect and not be so bloody entitled".
Shepherd told MyLondon the two women's personalities "were not a good fit".
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Despite Mel only being on a three-month rental contract, Shepherd tried multiple times to have her leave prematurely.
"Twelve days after she moved in, Mel said her landlady gave her a one-month notice to leave the property (a lodger's agreement showed the contract had a one-month early termination notice period).
"But on January 5 Mel claims Sheena asked her tenant to stay and apologised for being 'feisty'. Mel agreed to stay, on the condition she would have a 'trial period' until the end of the month. Sheena claimed the trial period was 'conditional on us resolving our differences which we didn't'," states MyLondon.
Shepherd is alleged to have sent Mel a WhatsApp messaged after the month trial period was over saying: "I will give you written notice tomorrow to leave on the 31st [of January]. I don't care [about] the contract, I just want you to leave".
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Mel was again served with a notice to leave, this time by mid February. But by that time, Mel said Shepherd had blocked her on WhatsApp and was refusing to speak with her in the house, communicating only through notes slipped under her door and letters from her solicitor.
Shepherd told MyLondon: "I used notes to avoid further personal clashes which were very distressing and personal to me during my workday".
Things escalated when Shepherd had a party at the property shortly after serving the notice.
Mel asked the partygoers to turn down the music they were playing, which spurred one of the guests to confront her.
Mel filmed the altercation, threatening to call the police.
The video shows the friend responding: "For what? You f***ing peasant. What a delightful c*** you are," before trying to snatch the camera. The video shows Shepherd intervening and telling Mel: "Call the police. It's fine".
Mel said both she and Shepherd separately called the police.
A Met spokesperson said: "Police were called at 11.04pm on Friday, January 28 to reports of a civil dispute at a residential property in Longfellow Road, Worcester Park. Officers attended and gave words of advice. No arrests were made."
Mel left the property after the encounter and moved into a Premier Inn hotel. When requesting Shepherd pay for the hotel room due to the circumstances, Shepherd claimed that police had told her she had "done nothing wrong" and refused to cover Mel's alternate lodgings.
Shepherd told MyLondon Mel's decision to leave was "her choice" and she "did not force her to leave".
Shepherd later told Mel over WhatsApp: "[Paying for the hotel] is not something I consented to. Please refer back to the letter from my solicitor. I wish you all the best and I'm going to reblock you now".
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