Flat 6, London, SE14 5EB

Added 28th August 2019

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1. Grotty Flat, incompetant letting agent

By CW1377 - stayed here from 1st August 2015 to 1st August 2017

Possibly the worst property I’ve ever rented – I would have moved out sooner but could not afford tenancy fees and moving costs and as such was stuck in the property for longer than I had planned.

On first inspection, the property appeared nice, clean and in good working order. It was not until we had our first check-in that litany of issues with the apartment became apparent. Most of the light fixtures did not work, the taps were non-functioning, the toilet was blocked, the heating did not work, the fridge and oven were broken, the storage spaces were filled with junk (mostly broken furniture, building materials and old, Urdu-language VHS tapes!), the electricity was on a key-meter and this had not been topped up (meaning the inspection was done in the dark), the locks were broken on the front door, several electricity sockets were non-functioning, even the furniture that was provided was dirty and damaged, but had been cleverly presented in a way that meant this was not obvious until closer inspection. As we had moved down from Manchester to move into this property we had arrived late on a Saturday afternoon and the letting agents, Winkworth New Cross, were finishing for the day by this point. When I called them and told them about all of these issues they were reluctant to do anything until Monday morning and it took a significant amount of arguing to get them to agree to send out an emergency repairman (I believe it was when I pointed out that I would not be able to go to the bathroom that they finally acquiesced). To top it all off, after the first night we awoke completely covered in bed-bug bites!

First thing on Monday I presented to Winkworth’s office with an extensive list of issues that required fixing. They acted sympathetic and promised to get everything sorted but it took the best part of a month before all of the issues were resolved (at least they agreed to replace the bed and have the place fumigated as soon as possible!)

Sadly, this experience set the tone for the rest of the tenancy and we experienced various issues throughout our stay. Mould quickly built up around the windows despite them being left open (it did not help that the seals on the double glazing had perished on nearly every single window, thus allowing damp to accumulate in and around them). Winkworth were quick to blame us for this but on closer inspection I found evidence that mould had been present in the property for a while and the previous tenant (or Winkworth) had simply painted over it. The heating system was an electric boiler which, aside from being highly inefficient and expensive, broken down every few weeks – the landlord refused to replace it and instead had every single part of it replaced using second-had parts (sadly this made for a lot of cold showers in the winter). One month after moving in, the wall-mounted shelves that the landlord had provided fell off the wall, destroying everything that was on or under them. The agents were quick to send the repairman out on this occasion to remove them and fix the holes they had left in the wall and, on inspection, he asserted that these were ‘not weight-bearing shelves’ as the wall was too soft to support such weight.

Eventually the landlord tired of having to pay for these various repairs and, cleverly, told the agents that repairs could only be carried out with his permission and then began ignoring their attempts to contact him.

The building itself was an odd, 50/50 mix of perfectly nice people and anti-social reprobates which meant we were frequently disturbed by loud parties, domestic disputes and the occasional police raid. In fairness, the company managing the property were fairly helpful in dealing with anti-social tenants but as soon as such one group was evicted another would take their place. The neighbourhood was of a similar character and there would often be incidents of petty crime, anti-social behaviour and even gang-fights and fatal stabbings in the immediate vicinity. Indeed, I was once woken up at 4am on a Tuesday by the sound of 6 large men having a melee immediately outside our bedroom window.

When I finally left the property I had to spend 6 weeks arguing with Winkworth regarding the deposit. It was 14 days before they eventually replied to my enquires – I pointed out that at this point they were obligated to return my deposit but apparently they were unfamiliar with basic tenancy law. They demanded to know where the aforementioned, non-weight bearing shelves were – they had no record of them falling down and demanded I pay for them. They demanded to know where all the broken furniture from the storage spaces were – again, they had no record of agreeing to remove them as they were clearly beyond repair. They then insisted that the property, having now been empty for 3 weeks since I left, had become dusty and needed a full professional clean which I should pay for. Eventually, following the exchange of some very loud words and threats of litigation, they backed down and returned my deposit in full.

To cut a very long story short – avoid this property and its agents if you can. The amount of rent they charge for a property of this type, in this neighbourhood, is exorbitant and you can get far more for your money (and live in a much nicer area) if you look slightly further away from the city centre.

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