20 March 2023
“There is a dangerous man in the waiting room”, the switchboard operator said in a whisper. “He says he has an appointment with you”. Delano Tak was indeed an impressive sight. Two metres tall, a shaved head and a pockmarked face.
He said he owned a wreckers yard with his brother. They used the money they earned to buy real estate. “I rented a flat on Escamplaan to a Romanian. His name is Boris Popa”, Delano said. “The neighbours complain that he doesn’t live alone, but with about five other Romanians. I want them all to leave”. It is always difficult to prove subletting. I advised my client to inspect the property and take photographs. Perhaps that would provide some evidence.
A week later, I spoke to Delano again. He had rung the doorbell at the flat on Escamplaan. An unknown man had opened the door and let my client in. “It was a total mess. There were mattresses and clothes everywhere. There were also six locked lockers, presumably containing items belonging to the residents. I photographed everything”. In a short letter, I confronted tenant Boris Popa with the findings and demanded that he vacate the flat. In fact, by subletting the flat without permission, he had committed a breach of contract.
Not long after, I received an e-mail from him. In perfect Dutch, he wrote that a few family members had stayed with him during their holidays. Everyone had returned to Romania by now, so what was the problem? Delano Tak responded gruffly. “Those Romanians still live there and work in Westland. But I will visit that Popa soon with my brother”.
Two weeks later, I received another message from the tenant. There had been a big misunderstanding. He would leave the flat within a week. With apologies for the inconvenience. When I telephoned my client and asked for clarification, he only said: “You sound very hoarse, do you have a cold?” I said that yes I did, and put down the phone with mixed feelings.
Later that afternoon, our switchboard operator called. “That dangerous man came by again and left a bag for you. He told me to give it to you right away”. I walked down to the reception desk of our office and looked in the bag. It contained two boxes of Antigrippine.
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This column ‘Common cold’ was written for Den Haag Centraal. Raymond de Mooij writes a monthly column about what he experiences in his practice.
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