Nov 08,2013
By: 'Roberto'
Nov 08,2013
1 people found
this helpful
For three years, I have occupied a flat at 34 Lodge Road Southampton. During this time, I have experienced several issues that were at no point, remedied sufficiently, or at all. This was in spite of following all of the procedures for doing so, stated in the tenancy agreement. All requests and enquiries were met with either, no response, or complete denial of previous contact attempts. Towards the end of the tenancy, when it was evident that, one or other of the responsible parties refused to remedy issues, I was forced to contact Environmental Health. This was due to the unacceptable condition of the property.
Primarily, issues were with one radiator in the back room, which overlooks the garden. Once the heating was turned on, the radiator was only warming slightly at the top. This was the case, even if the heating was on for several hours. The landlord, on two occasions, sent round a ¢â‚¬Ëœhandy man', who removed the top of one of the valves, and depressed the lever inside several times, having sprayed it with WD40. These repairs lasted a few weeks each time, but the radiator never reached anywhere near the temperature of the others in the flat.
As time went on, black mould started to appear in the room. This was particularly at the top of the window, where there was evidence of previous mould growth ( within the first few weeks of moving in, the same ¢â‚¬Ëœhandy man' came round to paint over mould that was around the window ). Several more requests for maintenance to be carried out on the radiator were made, but nothing was done. This resulted in mould growing in corners of the room.
By the final winter, after continual requests for maintenance, the only radiator supplying any heat at all, was one in the room overlooking the street. Incidentally, this is the only room without mould. To make matters worse, it was at this point that the catch on the window of the back room broke. This meant that it was not possible to secure it, when pulled to. The result was to force my partner and me, to sleep in the front room, as when the wind blew, it opened the window. This linked with the lack of heating, damp and mould, made the conditions in all but one room, unbearable.
Before any maintenance was carried out, there was water dripping from the top of the window (from the ceiling, inside the frame), extensive mould in all but one room and only one working radiator. These conditions caused damage to my property, and resulted in enormous heating bills, which were the result of trying to warm up, and subsequently dry out the flat. The window was ¢â‚¬Ëœrepaired' once, (one month after the first report, and when it was fastened closed, I was told not to use it) but was again an issue two weeks later.
Gas usage between 23 October 2011 and February 2012 was 438.09 kWh. For the same period the following year, it had risen to 1854.87 kWh. This means, that 1416.78 kWh extra were used that would not have been, if the issues were resolved when requested.
I rang Tennant Direct for the final time concerning the conditions in the flat, then referred the details to the housing authority. They recommended that I instruct a solicitor concerning the heating issue. On receiving a letter from the solicitor, the heating was repaired properly by a gas engineer, about three weeks later. I also contacted Environmental Health.
The Environmental Health officer visited the property a few months after contacting them. By this time, much of the actual damp had been eradicated, though the mould, and broken window catch were still issues, as no further maintenance was carried out.
In the winter of the first year, the ceiling in the bathroom started to develop similar black mould to that in the first room. During the second year, a new fan was fitted to attempt to remove any moisture in the air, as the first fan was deemed insufficient. Finally, in the third year, the mould was treated and part of the ceiling repainted. However, a month later, the mould had returned. In the letter from Environmental Health, it was suggested that the pattern of the mould is evidence of either poor, or non existent insulation in the loft area. On leaving the property, the mould had spread throughout the bathroom. Advice from Tennant Direct was to keep the bathroom door open. This was done, though it opened directly into the kitchen area, and made no difference to the mould, though did allow it to circulate freely into the flat.

I now have an outstanding gas bill for over £400, water damaged belongings, and Tenant Direct say it is an issue to be taken up with the landlord, though they say;
"The property is fully managed by Tenant Direct".
They also charge about £60 each to register, £80 for my partner and I to renew each year, and £50 to leave.
They fail to call back, answer email and bully entry into the property when they wish to show it. Finally, At the beginning of the third year, we were pressured to renew swiftly, or they would put the flat back on the market. Two weeks after signing the contract to renew, I was told that the landlord was raising the rent by £50 a month, and that I could pay the extra, or find somewhere else to live. After challenging them on this, I was \'permitted\' to stay at the original price. rent payed was £500 a month each (£1000 total), for a cold, damp, noisy flat, consisting of four \'rooms\'.

Appalling service, uncompromising, always fobbed off with lies, never a tangible result to maintenance issues, unfair costs and bullying, forceful tone when they want something.

To be fair, one, possibly two employees are at least pleasant to liaise with, (if nothing else).
What agent could do to change your mind?
If they employed a Giraffe with a hair lip, wearing purple trousers, but was capable of performing the tasks that it was payed to perform.
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