One thing I don’t understand is how people who would consider taking a tenner stealing will happily relieve you of several hundred pounds. Does adding a couple of zeros turn everyone into shysters? Is the almighty buck that important?

I’ve been moving house recently. It’s not my choice: the woman from whom I’ve been renting has got married, and she and her new husband want to sell their flats and buy a house together. So far, so good. I’ve been renting from them for two and a half years, and everything’s been fine. I’ve kept their flat in good shape; they’ve taken care of the appliances that have broken down.

They’ve already started the sale process. The notice period on my lease was one month, so there was no point in me being obstinate, and I’ve been very accommodating with the estate agents, viewings, and surveys.

I told them that I was going to start looking for a new place. They told me that, under the circumstances, they were willing to waive the notice period, and that they would be content with a couple of days’ notice before I moved out.

I found a lovely new flat, paid my deposit, and went about moving, keeping my previous landlords informed.

Yesterday, I handed over the keys, as arranged. I had paid my rent by standing order from the 8th of the month. I moved out on the 22nd, almost exactly halfway through the month. We agreed that they would refund me the deposit plus the unused fraction of the month.

Today, they called me, said that they had misunderstood, and that they had assumed that I would let them keep all the unenjoyed rental period.

Why would I possibly do that? I’m no charity!

We agreed to meet halfway. I’m in a weak position here because they already have my money. I thus end up paying a quarter of a month’s rent for nothing. It’s better than paying half a month’s rent for nothing, though.

What is it that lets people rip you off for large sums so easily, without any compunction? I despair at humanity.