51B Surbiton Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2HG

Added 17th May 2014

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1. 51B Surbiton Rd. Relatively cheap, but for a damn good reason.

By ITXIKIZ - stayed here from 15th July 2013 to 15th May 2014

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This flat looks like a decent student rental, with two largeish bedrooms and one small. However there is no communal space, like a living room. The kitchen looked small but usable before we moved in, but it quickly became apparent that only one person could use it at a time. Accounting for the space taken by the cooker, fridge and sink, the floor space measures about the same size an an A3 sheet of paper.
The bathroom is pretty damp, the toilet rusting and skirting rotted, owing to the window that does not open unless levered up with a length of wood. When it is open, all occupants of the flat are soon made aware of the extractor pipes from the kebab restaurant below.
Another significant issue is the noise from the busy street below. Because the "double glazing" fitted in the flat is insufficient and of poor quality, even with the windows firmly shut, the noise from police sirens, night buses, club-goers etc is insanely loud. It is impossible to hold a conversation with them open.

We were told, when we moved in, that the landlady and her associates would replace all of the beds and mattresses. When we inspected them, they looked like they had come from a skip. The bed frames were broken in several places, the mattresses so old and limp that they could be folded like a sheet of paper. One mattress had a huge bloodstain on it, and when added to the fact that the locks on each bedroom door appear to have been forced open at some point, the whole place doesn't scream quality accommodation. We also gave our student ID numbers to the landlady, upon signing the tenancy agreement, as she said she would inform the council of our non-paying council tax status. Three months into the tenancy, we receive a council tax bill for over £1000.00, and the local council has never heard from our landlady.

Although the bills are paid by the tenant, the landlady apparently randomly allocated bills to us as individuals without informing us.

One attraction of the flat is that the bathroom features a proper bath, with a shower attachment. Unfortunately the water pressure is so low, and boiler so incompetent, that through both the taps and the shower head comes either a weak dribble of warm water, or a torrent of ice cold.
The flat does not have a washing machine, nor any kind of drying facilities, although there is a laundrette directly across the street. Location must be a key reason as to why anybody chooses to live here, the flat is between Kingston and Surbiton station, directly next to the university and at a reasonable walking distance from most amenities. But it's also on a drunk student route back to the nearby halls of residence, a rowdy shisha bar (many 3AM fights), a night bus route, and a main road which is used by police, ambulance, fire, waste disposal etc..

The landlady's people enter the flat on a whim, we have never received a courtesy call or text to let us know that anyone is coming, they just open the front door and call up from the stairs. We have not spoken to the landlady for the duration of our entire tenancy, owing to her aversion to return our texts and calls.

This flat is suitable for desperate student renters, but if you can afford its £1200.00 rent for three of you (excl. bills) you CAN find somewhere better in the area. As we have.

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Reply to ITXIKIZ:
Astrid said:

With all due respect (and I have just come from a bad landlord) noise issues from the high street is not a landlord/lady problem. It down to the tenants to inspect the area and the type of shops and places nearby. Did you actually view the place before you accepted it? It doesn't like you had a really good look around. Double glazing is no guarantee and should not be relied out to filter out noise. You also took it on knowing there was no communal area. The size of the kitchen should have been viewed and looked at the space needed for 3 or more people sharing. Most flats do not have drying facilities, use a clothes airer in your room. You also knew it did not come with a washing machine and flats do not have to come with one either. Did it ever occur to you to call the CAB or Shelter for advice? To even Google some basic information?You could have fitted cheap locks yourself and stopped the landlady coming without notice (that is illegal) Also NEVER EVER rely on a landlord or lady to pay bills unless it it written in the contract (Did you sign a tenancy agreement, because if you didn't more fool you) It was your responsibility to check with the council and all the other utilities that bills were in fact being paid. The council tax for students need to be filled in via a form for each one of you (I didn't go to uni, but looked up some basic moving in/out facts when I started renting at 18) Most of this sounds like rookie mistakes and quite how that is the landlady's fault is beyond me. I have just come from 8 years of a bad flat and there were fire hazards to be dealt with. The damp in the bathroom I can see was a problem and probably should have been fixed, but a common problem and can be sorted out easily with a bit of effort from the tenants and landlord. £1,200 a month wouldn't even get you a 1 bed flat in Zone 3 (which is 15 mins into the city) so while I do NOT defend bad landlords, it sounds like you all paid the price for being rookies. I realise this shouldn't mean bad flats in bad condition but really it does not sounds like you helped yourselves. Ever think of contacting the council? You got pretty much what you viewed and accepted to take on.

on 8th June 2014 at 12:56pm