27A Barmouth Road, London, SW18 2DT

Added 23rd September 2018

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1. A Life Of Grime and Obnoxious Behaviour

By Don G - stayed here from 29th July 2018 to 22nd September 2018

(We are still here, for now. More on that later. Just had to change the date above so this review could be accepted)

This is regarding the landlady of 27a Barmouth Road, SW18 2DT. Real name Alex James. For some reason she also uses the alias ‘Jane James”. I have subsequently learned that, it’s MySpareRoom policy for a landlady/lord to show ID to new tenants. That didn’t happen.

My flat-mate, Lucy, and myself have many grievances regarding Alex James. Forgive the long note. But, if you’re considering bypassing using reputable Estate Agents and going privately you might want to read this. We will certainly never make that mistake again.

Our main issue is the appalling standards of cleanliness and hygiene we have had to endure since moving in 2 months ago.

We now have another very serious issue – she is attempting to illegally evict us with only 24 hours notice and have our possessions taken away without a bailiff’s note. In other words, theft.

I read up on the government website about illegal eviction yesterday and went to Lavender Hill Police station to report her threats. They confirmed that she will be breaking the law if she carries them out. But she is still indicating that she’s going to attempt to evict us today and have our belongings taken away.

When we moved in the state of this property was like something from ‘A Life Of Grime’. The inside of the fridge was black. I am not exaggerating. The inside of the oven – the worst I have ever seen. Every single surface in the house covered in a film of sticky grime. We should never have moved in, of course, but Alex seemed charming and accommodating and the place has potential. When I finally met her, I asked her to deep clean the place. She enthusiastically agreed. So, we felt the issue would be resolved. The next day, however, she bizarrely accused me of making the place so dirty. In fact, I had been chipping away at making the place cleaner. Utterly perplexing but also got me worried about the safety of our 2,300 pounds deposit in the future.

The ‘professional clean’ that took place was done by her. The living room and kitchen were cleaned to a semi-decent standard. Nothing else. Not the bathroom. Not our room. Not the garden. Also, when looking closer, you could see that it had been done to a standard FAR short of professional standards.)I have photos to demonstrate this).

When I moved into my own room (which was free 5 days after I moved in) I had to spend 4 hours cleaning it. It was absolutely filthy.

In our Whatsapp conversation yesterday, Alex complained that she spent 14 hours doing it. I pointed out that it was her fault for letting it get so bad. And, regardless, she didn’t complete the job.

When she is not living here (the third room is rented out to Air BnB guests) Alex keeps turning up unannounced. This is also to show the property to potential new tenants/buyers. No notice given.

When she is living here her standards of cleanliness and hygiene are jaw-droppingly bad. I frequently clean up after her. But what is most bizarre is she tries to claim that it is me, Lucy and our immaculate, well-behaved and fully house-trained dog (whom she agreed to have here) that have made the place so filthy. A state of filthiness that would take months if not years to accumulate.

Alex also has a dog. He defecates and urinates inside the building – and she doesn’t clean up properly after him. When I asked her if it was because he’s old, she said “no, he’s always done it.” In other words, she has never house-trained her dog. On one occasion she just left a towel on a puddle of urine in the living room and and then left the house for two days. (Again, I have photos of this)

On another occasion her dog defecated in the kitchen. I told her. She wiped up some of the feces but there were still smears left on the floor. She then took a mop from outside that had been sitting in dank, dirty water and without wringing it out spread the feces around. After that she laid a towel on top of the mess, stood on it and this was the end of her attempts to clean up. When she finished, I cleaned it up properly with fresh, boiling clean water and bleach.

I’ve also frequently cleaned up her dog’s feces from the back garden. Which wouldn’t be a problem if she didn’t then aggressively reprimand my flatmate, Lucy, this past Saturday morning 23rd September for our dog pooping in the garden. She then slammed the door on her as she left the flat. The pattern is that she won’t behave like that towards me – because she knows I will give as good as I get. Lucy is a bit mellower than me and does not like confrontation. Alex’s pattern is to behave aggressively towards her – because she thinks she can get away with it.

She’s a bully.

It was then that I finally snapped and sent her a Whatsaspp message detailing everything that I have written in this note. She didn’t like it. And that’s when she told us to be out of the house by 6:30pm the next day. Later she added the threat of having our possessions seized and put into storage at our cost.

More on the hygiene issues. Because they are serious.

For some reason, Alex keeps putting dog food outside the kitchen (our dog and her owns) which attracts vermin – rats and foxes. One day I opened the door and there were LITERALLY 100s of flies and bluebottles around the dog bowls. For this reason I keep taking the food inside - because it’s MORE hygienic. And, unlike her, I wash the dog bowl’s after they’ve finished eating.

Lucy has just recovered from a serious bout of gastroenteritis. Is it any wonder when you consider the hygiene standards we are living in. Another recent example - attempting to clean the bathroom and then kitchen with the SAME sponge. Lucy, having just been released from hospital quite understandably took the sponge off her and threw it in the bin.

Then there is the needless mistreatment of our dog. The most placid, calm and good natured of animals. For some reason she keeps locking him out in the garden and then leaves the house. Usually after one of her unannounced visits. I have told her that this distresses him. On Wednesday 20th I came home to an empty flat and could hear him crying. She had locked him out in the garden again. When I let him in his nose was scratched from trying to get back in. I messaged Alex to ask her why she had done this and to not unnecessarily distress our dog again. She didn’t even acknowledge or apologise for it. Instead for the next two days, she gave us the silent treatment.

The next morning as I was leaving, her own dog urinated in the living room again. If you look around the edges of the sofas in the living room, they are all yellow. Stained with his urine.

(I should add again that I have extensive photos of the conditions we have lived in)

We have had 3 Air BnB guests stay in the third room while we have been here. The first one said his room wasn’t even ready for him. The second one left because the frequent unannounced viewings made him uncomfortable - strangers coming into the room he’s paid for without any warning. He would’ve stayed for a month otherwise. A lovely guy. Spanish. Kept apologizing for his English not being great. When I said “don’t worry, your English is better than my Spanish” Alex chipped in with “And mine. And if I knew you were Spanish, you wouldn’t be here.” Luckily, he didn’t hear this.

Yesterday morning, 22nd September the flat stunk of cigarette smoke today on the day her next Air BnB guest was due to arrive. She also only told us there was a new guest on the way at 7pm the previous evening – again giving us no opportunity to prepare or make an effort for the arrival of a new guest or viewing that, as considerate people, we would cheerfully do.

We gave Alex notice of our intention to leave the property on 3rd of October via email. I informed her that because of various situations, we feel our deposit is vulnerable. Therefore, we would not pay our last month’s rent. Instead offering our 2300 pounds deposit to cover the rest of the stay. I didn’t tell her why but said I could elaborate on the specific reasons if she wanted. She didn’t make such a request. She responded via Whatsapp and said, while she didn’t agree, she ‘had no choice’. In other words, 3rd of October was set as our exit date.

She WhatsApped us on Friday 21st to confirm we were still exiting on 3rd October. We confirmed we were.

Now she is trying to make us homeless with 24 hours notice. Despite the Police confirming that she cannot do this and the laws regarding illegal evictions making it explicitly clear that she will be breaking the law if she carries out her threats, she seems determined to try anyway. She also threatened to sabotage my reference for new accommodation. Again via Whatsapp. All screenshot, of course.

This is our experience and her actions. In my opinion, this woman is unfit to be a landlady and should be blacklisted. Sure, I’m biased, but having read the above, I think it’s understandable.

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