My partner and I moved into the property in winter. As the year moved into spring and summer, we discovered a disgusting and serious health hazard: that there were flies coming from somewhere in the flat, all the time. This problem became steadily worse until (using an electric flyswatter) we could be killing well over a hundred in a day. In addition, we found mouse droppings and evidence of rats.
Although we called them when the problem was new, and although we repeatedly called them as the problem grew worse, Castles claimed that they could not reach the property's landlord and therefore could authorise no work on the property.
However, in conversation at their office, one of their agents claimed that her son had stayed in the property and had been driven out by "hundreds of them coming out of the drains". Why the flat was rented out again before the problem was resolved can only be put down to gross negligence; I would call it incompetence, but they clearly knew about the problem.
In summer we threatened to move out and pay nothing more to Castles, and gladly present our case in court if they wanted to take the matter further. Within an hour a pest control agent phoned asking about an appointment. When he came, he discovered two gaping holes in the floor under the carpet. The floor had been replaced with chipboard in place of real floorboards and the water entering the foundation space from the mouse-holes underneath it had rotted the chipboard away. These holes in the floor had been expanded by nibbling, and when we investigated a storage cupboard full of the landlord's property we found that it had been nested in for some time by mice.
Castles sent a builder round who said, and I quote, "You live in a terraced house; you've got to expect rats and mice in your property." When the (very helpful) pest-control agent came back he was horrified with this, and between the two of us we blocked off six mouse-holes. We later heard that they were disputing that he had done the work. No agent ever attempted to arrange an appointment to inspect the work.
Having moved in in February, the landlord finally came to do some work on the property in August. The floor was replaced - with more chipboard - and overlaid with tiles. Those flies breeding under the floor were stopped; those coming out of the drains were not.
In December, we were served with an eviction notice and told that if we wanted to stay in the property we would be charged an additional