Beware of sharks

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An expat couple in the Saranda community is leaving their former landlord with about $400 debt. This is a villa they rented and lived in with their dogs, while working from home. Against my advice, both parties did not sign a contract. The landlord fully trusted them and did not collect rent regularly, as the couple asked for flexibility. Their electricity bills for the winter months amounted to $175, $160 and $130. X-she, refused to pay them with the excuse that “other expats do now pay as much”. After many failed attempts to collect debt, the owner’s agent tried to resolve the issue with X-she and Y-he, with no result.

They left the villa in May, and the landlord couldn’t pursue the issue further as he didn’t speak the language and got overwhelmed with work at his farm. His son who spoke English couldn’t help much, as he was busy with his studies and exams online.

Ten days ago, I was walking up the street with a friend of mine and suddenly saw Y-he, who approached apologetically and said “I want to tell you how sorry I am for the trouble we caused. If it makes you feel any better, you should know that I’m no longer with X-she because of what she did to you. I continue to live under the same roof with her, but I’m taking the first flight out and will leave this evil person to you, to Albania.” He further disclosed that the utility bills were high because X-she kept the heater on all night, to keep her dogs warm.

The landlord called me 2 days ago to tell me that he paid himself the April utilities which were about  $130, bringing the total debt to $400. I called Y-he to arrange for a meeting, but Y-he is now back with X-she and both have ‘no desire’ to continue this conversation. They adamantly refuse to meet with the owner and have threatened to involve a “prominent community member” if we continue to pursue this issue further.

I will pursue this issue further!! I will not drop this as this has taken one month of my time and energy, not to mention the monetary loss of the landlord which is detrimental to him. This goes beyond the fact that there was no rental contract in place, where both parties are at fault. These ‘tenants’ are misusing the trust of the locals and shamefully taking advantage of a local that trusted them and handed them his home over a ‘handshake’ agreement. My pursuing this case is not about the DEBT – IT IS about DECENCY and it is about a lesson that needs to be learned by all landlords and all tenant to come to Saranda. This will change the way things are done here and I will make sure of it!! These “sharks” are not needed and not welcomed in our city!!!

I have a copy of every communication and documents. If they do not pay the debt until next Friday, there will be a name next to X-she and Y-he, and this story goes to the media and everywhere else I can take it.

P.S. This couple came to Saranda after they did humanitarian work in another third world country. Indulge your imagination!