37 Western Avenue, Leicester, LE8 8BS

Added 29th July 2015

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1. Manageable house - unmanageable landlady

By Josh - stayed here from 30th August 2014 to 30th April 2015

Despite the mould issues still a liveable house in a nice area. Unfortunately the same can't be said about the landlady who was very unpleasant to deal with - especially towards the end of our tenancy.
When we first visited the property we were shown around by the landlady who seemed like a nice person. As we needed a place urgently and the property was ok we decided to rent it. The signing of the contract was done at a rental agency but we were told that all further communication should be addressed to the landlady herself as she was going to manage the property. The agent also advised us to go through the house with a fine-tooth comb and report any issues back.
So this is what we did and we reported some issues (bathroom window didn't open, broken window lock, garage door coming of it's hinges, other windows in the house unable to open) but left the comments about the cleanliness of the house. Nothing visible at first glance but when looking in the kitchen drawers it was full of breadcrumbs, the toilet seat had yellow marks on the bottom, the extractor fan was greasy, etc. All things you don't notice at first glance but will notice when you start cleaning.
Our report wasn't received well by the landlady as I think she thought she left us a clean palace but all she had left us with was a normal house with cleanliness problems. A few days later she stormed into our house together with - I presume - her husband (although I wouldn't know as he never introduced himself) to go through our list and make some amends but the garage door was left in the same condition and the bathroom window was left as they had actually sealed it shut (?!?) and instead had provided the smallest of fans (one that comes on when the light is switched on), which according to her should be enough to get rid of the damp in the bathroom.
After this visit we decided to try and minimize contact with the landlady as my girlfriend felt intimidated by her. After the visit we got the feeling they wanted us to live the exact way they had done before prior to us moving in, e.g. the grass on the lawn was supposed to be 5 cm! In case of any wear (I don't think she got the idea about fair wear and tear) she threatened with withholding deposit. I got the impression they wanted the house back in the exact same state as they left it and to us living in this house felt like walking on egg shells all the time. We therefore decided to start looking for a new home as soon as the lease was up.

As we started the rent in autumn we were renting over the winter period and as expected the mold was building up in the bathroom, despite using the fan and having the other - although much smaller - bathroom window open. Upon closer inspection we could see evidence of painted over mold on the ceiling. Unfortunately also some paint started coming off on the side of the window that didn't open which made us think the wrong paint was used. Nothing in the inventory list suggested special bathroom paint was used.

At the end of the tenancy we had an inspection and according to the landlord there were some issues. The place wasn't clean enough, there was some water damage to the windowsill in the kitchen, the bathroom had paint coming off and signs of mold.
We had paid for a professional cleaner so we contacted her to request some extra work to be done the next day, which we agreed with the landlady who would let her in. To our surprise the cleaner called us the next day to tell us she was refused entry and couldn't carry out her work!
As for the windowsill in the kitchen we unfortunately were partly to blame so we knew we had to pay something towards that. However she also wanted to repaint the bathroom at our expense which we did not agree to. She suggested we never used the fan which implied either us not showering at all or us showering in the dark (as it was winter and I had to leave before 7 this would mean it was still dark in the morning...), both unfounded and ridiculous accusation! She further mentioned that as she lived in the house prior to us with her husband for a good few year she never had any problems with damp in the bathroom. I obviously can't comment on her shower behavior but we did notice painted over mold on the ceiling suggesting it was a problem before we started the tenancy.

It the end we had a dispute over a part of the deposit. It took us weeks to get the undisputed part back. It then took months to get a breakdown of the deducted amount as we needed to know what the costs were for the kitchen and the bathroom separately. When we finally obtained the breakdown we settled on the amount for the kitchen to pay. I still think that was to much but since we never were able to get a quote that was much lower we had to leave it at that. In the end part of the disputed bond was released to us.

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