12 Wakefield Gardens, London, SE19 2NR

Added 11th February 2015

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1. Mixed bag

By Hannah Williams - stayed here from 4th April 2009 to 4th February 2015

On the plus side, the location of this property is terrific. Right next to Westow Park and really convenient for the shops in the Crystal Palace Triangle. The neighbours are pretty friendly and, if you have children, there are some nice perks to living on this street (a private communal garden which you can access, an annual Easter Egg hunt - all good stuff). We rented this place via a letting agent (Cooper Giles) who were actually pretty good to us and dealt with most issues quickly. We never saw the landlords.
On the negative side, the property is a rather strange lay-out. It's a 1960s townhouse which means the ground floor is almost entirely unusable other than for storage and as a utility area. There is a room on the ground floor but there is no heating which means it's completely impossible to use for the colder months of the year. Under no circumstances would you be able to use it as a bedroom, for example.
There are two decent sized bedrooms and one absolutely tiny box room. It's marketed as a three bed house but this feels like a bit of a stretch (no way would you be able to fit a double bed in the smallest room). The kitchen is completely tiny and not great if you enjoy cooking or you have more than two people to cook for. The house was initially decorated nicely and neutrally but as time wore on (and we were there for close to six years) the landlords would deal with everything as cheaply as possible with absolutely no thought to aesthetics. The lights in the bathroom were faulty and hazardous to use so rather than replace them with new lights they simply put rubber stoppers over the old lights - ugly as hell AND impractical!
The garden is a tiny courtyard but I wouldn't allow my kids to play out there as there is sheer drop at the foot of the garden which could be very nasty for a child. I asked the landlords to deal with this but they totally fudged the issue, saying that there was a nationwide shortage of fencing panels (I'm not making this up) which meant they couldn't make the space safe. There's also an ugly fishpond in the garden which takes up space and isn't ideal if you have kids to try to keep safe. Tenants are required to keep the front and back of the house tidy and weed-free which is a huge job because the tiling in both areas is incredibly old so you're fighting a losing battle against weeds. We paid to have a gardener come in to weed for us twice a year out of our own pockets.
The lighting would frequently fuse on the top floor and we'd need to run down two flights of stairs to the fuse box to get the lights on again. I strongly suspect the house needs to be rewired.
I got my deposit back minus £280 which was used to put right what was described as inadequate cleaning (worth mentioning that we did pay £140 to have the house professionally cleaned before returning the keys) and to fix issues that I felt came under reasonable wear and tear over a six year tenancy. I didn't argue, however. It seemed there was no point.

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