Added 18th April 2020
1 reviewRate this Rental
By tomludlow - stayed here from 1st July 2018 to 3rd April 2020
Following our 20-month residence at the Cargo Building in Liverpool, there’s a few things that I feel might be of note to you in terms of how residents view their relationship with you as an organisation.
Signing up and Check-in process
The Good - The viewing process was easy and uncomplicated with the agent being able to answer any questions we had. Similarly in terms of signing the documents and providing proof of ID this again was quite seamless. Phone calls from your end were prompt and informed. We appreciated this. Terry’s work putting up pictures / hooks etc was also well received.
Areas where we felt let down – The Referencing agent you chose, KeySafe Ltd. KeySafe provide no tenant contact details, charge large fees and, in our experience did little to help tenants move through the referencing process. We provided details of referees to KeySafe who told us no-one answered when they emailed, this despite my being in the office of my previous letting agent when KeySafe stated they had sent the email. We faced long waits for this process, and in all honesty felt like we paid several hundred pounds to do our own referencing. Note KeySafe did not reply to my repeated attempts to discuss this with them, and the Financial Ombudsman lodged it as a cause for concern. I don’t know if you’re still using them, but if you are, I would recommend you consider whether they are providing just a service for yourselves to the detriment of tenant experience.
Living in the Cargo
The Good – Quiet, warm and well insulated with nice fittings and always clean in communal areas. The Gym is a nice facility, and the lounge looks inviting if a little quiet. The courtyard is well kept.
Areas for development – The lift in building 2 on the left was broken for a significant period of time, often with little apparent haste to get it repaired. Once it was working, it then broke again shortly after. Recent times have been better, but I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say 6 weeks of no lift was a little more than inconvenient.
A little niggle, but one none-the-less, the post-boxes are in the wrong entrance i.e. ours was in the right-hand side set, when we live in the left hand set. Such a simple thing to rectify and would make a difference to lots of tenants.
The smell on level -1 in the left lift in building 2. Despite this being reported multiple times, a strong smell still lingers there, more so than in other areas. Clearly a bin accident has occurred, but it hasn’t felt like a priority to fix it.
Cargo Staff and Reception
The Good – All the reception and concierge team are friendly, polite and professional and have a good relationship with residents. Parcels are taken and noted down which is really helpful and they always offer to pass on messages promptly.
The Not so good – I wrote to you regarding the issues with meter reads, and you were appropriate in responding to those issues with a reasonable plan for this. Unfortunately, of the following 4 times I have asked for meter reads, only 2 have arrived within the agreed time frame, once it was forgotten, and once I had to chase it via the management. Perhaps an alternative solution might a resident’s online portal where you can Ask for Meter Reads with a log of the time of the request and the time it was provided, Get notified when a Parcel Arrives, and Submit Questions to the concierge team? It wouldn’t be technically difficult but would provide a useful means of corresponding
The Renewal Process
The renewal process, as you are a commercial organisation, I was suppose always going to lead to an increase in rent, however I remain of the opinion that residents have not really had any quantifiable increase in value since the increase. The adaptations to the gym offers a reasonable added space, however at the cost cumulatively to the building’s residents I’m not sure it justifies the £1.92/resident/week increase. Nevertheless, one has to put a price on convenience of staying, and once the niggles of the previous 12 months were ironed out, the process moved on.
I would note once again the signing of documents, adjusted rent calculations and general speed of this process was not overly-impressive, requiring me to proactively chase the team to ask where things were up to, carrying on living in the apartment without a new contract for a significant time period, which puts both your organisation and ourselves in difficult legal situation. However, once the time came, and after my writing to you about the meter reads, a calculation of rent was provided promptly.
The Tone of Communications
The Good - The Cargo offers many communications to residents over the year, from seasonal events like the Pumpkin carving, to updates about parcels now and then. Generally the emails and tone from the Reception guys is friendly and amicable. These events and activities are nice opportunities for residents to get to know each other and I’ve met a number of residents through these. The reception team are always friendly and helpful when you need them. Again, we appreciated this.
Areas of development – I am again remembering that you are, inevitably, a commercial organisation first, and resident support team second, who need to ensure that rents are paid, income is maintained and revenue maximised. Recently, I feel that there’s been a slight culture change in the tone of your emails:
- Anyone not holding a valid car parking permit will have access restricted
- Will be asked to pay retrospective charges
- Any residents leaving trays in the corridor will be charged
I also walked past a car with a note on the windscreen highlighting “illegal parking” parked on the front courtyard. I appreciate this must be an issue for you since the barriers have to be down now, however I would be careful about using the term “illegal parking” as, if anything, it would be a civil offence, and even then, until you acquire either both a BPA and IPC license, you would not be in a position to enforce this.
I appreciate your requests in all these area stem from genuine issues, be it car parking issues, Tesco trolleys in the corridor, or rubbish in the lifts, however the tone, as a resident, is that of “do as we say or you will be financially penalised”. We all know that re-enforcement does not work nearly as well positive. Furthermore, in any well-functioning organisation, issues like this are seen as opportunities to learn, so for example one might just fine a motorist, or they might ask why is that person parking there, is it because they can’t get access to the car park, are they a visitor who you have clarified are not allowed to park, or is there another reason. Rather than resorting to charging your residents, perhaps try and think more about why these issues occur, and try to mitigate these reasons.
Again, you are a commercial organisation, and your interests, at the end of the day, are to protect the Landlord’s investment. To that end, it came as no surprise that you levied inappropriate charge. At the commencement of our tenancy, you advised that if we used Terry to put up decorations, that this would not involve a charge, however, predictably you reneged on this at the end of the tenancy, and charged a “nominal” amount for this. As promised, this will be communicated on public platforms for other tenants to see.
Living in a new flat, with a great view and location has been amazing, and for city centre living, the Cargo genuinely offers a premium option. Day to day cargo residence is convenient and pain-free, with most issues quickly resolved by friendly and approachable staff. I would recommend living here to anyone.
I would implore all those who take out tenancies to take lots of photos when they move in, get any verbal commitments agreed in writing and ensure that concerns are escalated early.
Thank you for an enjoyable tenancy, and I wish you all the best for the future.