Flat 6, London, SE22 9EA

Added 28th April 2016

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1. Dishonest landlord, dishonest agency and a winter with no heating, plus a year of using a laundrette, because landlord would not replace faulty washer/drier.

By Carl - stayed here from 14th December 2014 to 28th December 2015

This was an awful, stressful experience, and made worse because we had to chase both landlord and agency who let the flat. Problems started from day one when some stranger sent by the landlord came to fix something at 12am, unannounced, and let himself him with a key while we where asleep, it was scary. We complained to the agency and they said they would talk to the landlord, but then days after he did it himself, not warning, just came in the middle of the day and without knocking just came in with his keys. When I confronted him, he failed to introduce himself as the landlord, he vaguely said he was sent by "workers". Later after another visit when we contacted him after maintenance and he came around we found out that man was the landlord.

The drying function of the washing machine was not working, and the washing/drier was beyond repair according to experts sent by the agency. The landlord promised to put a new one when we moved in, but this never happened, and when chased he said he wouldn't anymore. He even saw that the washing machine seal had two holes and he just made up some lie about that being standard and dismissed the fact the dryer was not even working, and the smell was putrid. There was also damp under the sink, and the water would gurgle in the sink. We had to spend the whole year going to a launderette with a rent of £1050 that included a washing dryer!!! Acorn, the agency, again brushed off their responsibility saying they don't manage the property and yet the fees are high and for what? They give no security nor do they ensure we did not get a roughed landlord.

The woman from Acorn who liased with us, Katie Miller, was extremely rude and unhelpful, to the point of denying us reports from the two companies they sent to make an inventory of all the things that needed repair in the flat. When we asked for these reports she said we had not right to access them, and she knew they were our protection against the landlord, who was not performing basic maintenance in the flat, as he accused us of lying and breaking things, but things were not working properly from day one. He knew it and the agency knew him, and in spite of that she said they never had complains about him, and they have many properties from him, and that is the key to all this: Acorn knew the type of landlord he was, but he was profitable for them. So they covered their back by not allowing us the reports and they covered the landlord back by excusing him, making things sound like minor nuisances and justifying their lack of action against the landlord with the contract they had with him.

There is proofs they knew all this. When agent showed us the property he said landlord was very helpful and always fixed things (without us asking) and also almost without us pushing for it, he said the landlord was willing to take less rent as the rent was 1100, and we were offered the flat for 1050. Furthermore, usually they carry inventories and we even paid for it, but an inventory was never carried. We had to chase Acorn for this and they finally refunded us at least that money and said finally that the landlord chose not to carry inventory. Well what a shocker, inventory would reveal problems with the washing machine, the fact that the fan in the kitchen does not extract anything just makes a lot, and I mean a lot, of noise, and that the under floor heating was not working in the bedroom, etc... Finally Ms Miller said she would not have any contact with us anymore regarding problems with the flat, effectively silencing us.

The first time we tried to use the hob it did not work. When the landlord came to replace with what he called a new one, we saw it was an old scratched hob, days after it was not working, he came and replaced it a third time, and again it was an hold hob he got from some other property as he has many.
This was actually the last time he fixed anything, and it took 3 visits.

Heating was not working in the bedroom from day one (and it was December). Landlord came and replaced thermostat and we knew the problem was not there but he did not care, so after we said it is still not working he just replied in an email that he had fixed it and there was nothing wrong with it, so that was that. Within the first and second month, the heating stopped working in the living room (we had to buy a radiator for the winter months because the landlord on his emails would not "believe" there was something wrong with the heating). Later on, it stopped working in the bathroom, we ended up with only heating in the radiator the whole year. The fan extractor in the bathroom also stopped working suddenly as well (no window) again we did not get replies to our emails either from landlord or agency after one reply where he said that we needed to stop making up stuff or touching things.

There was other issues with the flat I will not go into detail because the list goes on.
We tried to be released from the contract and first the landlord said yes, then said no, as it was typical with his weird poorly written emails. The emails from the landlord were contradictory, at times insulting, and in one occasion clearly homophobic. He did not want to deal with us, tagged us as difficult to the agency and finally evicted us instead of fixing anything. The agency, who had not even given us the deposit document, or the EPC which we asked for many times, sent all of a sudden a letter saying we were to vacate the property in December, and sent all these documents, so we could not use the lack of these to fight a subsequent eviction if we did not leave.

All in all, the actions of the landlord, Mr Oliver, and the actions of the agency Acorn in East Dulwich were dishonest from day one, abusive and exploitative. Acorn lied to us to sign the contract and washed their hands out of any trouble after signing that this landlord causes to tenants. Landlord lied to us as in our offer before signing we requested the replacement of faulty blinds and faulty washer/drier, and this was never done or enforced by the agency who are the ones giving out the offer document, plus all the things that broke subsequently a strange amount of things (explained by the fact that all fixings were non professional bad DYI by the landlord himself with secondhand appliances). They willingly and knowingly rented a place to us that had no working heating in bedroom, no dryer working and other problems. And they knowingly work with a roughed landlord, after all this all they wanted is to let the property to the next poor fool, so Ms Miller excuses that they only manage and their hands are tied are really a mic taking. They would have their hands tied but why keep on doing business with a roughed landlord. They showed they do not care for tenants at all, only the money, even if it is by lying and cheating.

As soon as we received the letter saying we had to leave, we were requested to allow viewings, which we had to do for fear of not even getting deposit back (which actually the landlord hinted at a few times on emails before because he made up that we were breaking things, things that were not working from day one!).
Basically, the flat was rented again without anything being fixed, and we wanted so hard to warn prospective tenants when the viewing occurred because they loved the look of the flat and we knew another person was falling into this trap, but again were prevented to do so for fear of deposit or referencing.

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