Monday, September 28, 2009

And my response was...

Dear Kelly

RE: 6 Johnstone Court

I appreciate that withholding the rent is against the tenancy agreement. However, as I pointed out in my previous letter, the damp in the flat contravenes the Housing Act 2004. The damp was noted in the inventory, but this was ignored, clearly someone either working for or on behalf of Bairstow Eves thought it simply did not matter, yet you now you write to me asking me to fulfil my obligations.

I am pleased that you have contacted Atlas to inspect the damp and I have arranged for them to visit the property on Tuesday the 15th September. This action, however, is only being taken because I have withheld the rent. When I was paying my rent, staff at Bairstow Eves were quite happy to not return my calls and ignore my emails. If Atlas do recommend action, what guarantee have I that their recommendations will be followed? If I could trust the Bairstow Eves East Croydon Lettings office to take action, I would happily pay the rent; however, experience has taught me that I cannot.

In regard to the Landlady’s comments, I am not asking for the flat to be painted or decorated. I am asking for it to be cleaned and to be cleaned properly, which is quite different. I was not aware that any deal had taken place to allow me to rent the property at a lower price on the condition no work was done on the interior. There is certainly no mention of it in the contract. Had I have known of such a condition, I would certainly not have expected it to extend to accepting the flat with dirt and damp on walls and would not have accepted the offer if I did.

This is not the first property I have rented. The properties I have rented before were clean and presented in a good condition when I moved in. I do not see why this property should be any different. The laissez-faire attitude and low standards of service offered by Bairstow Eves lettings have been extremely disappointing. I suggest that you view the pictures I sent back with the inventory and if possible share them with the landlady. I would then ask you both to consider the pictures and to ask yourselves honestly whether you would be happy to move into a property presented in such a condition.

I would certainly consider the landlady’s offer to release me from the contract, but I would only consider vacating the property if the agency fees I paid were refunded in full.

I would appreciate it if you would forward a copy of this letter onto the landlady.

Kind regards,

David Nixon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

And so they said....

Dear Mr Nixon,

Thank you for your letter dated 6th September.

We would like to advise that by withholding your rental payment you are in fact in breach of your tenancy agreement and would therefore request that payment be made without delay.

Further more we would like to advise that we have instructed a damp specialist company called Atlas Timber to contact you directly for an appointment to visit the property and investigate the problems you have reported and then come back to us with their findings.

We have informed the landlady of the above and also copied your letter to her. Your landlady has asked us to highlight to you that she made if very clear before the tenancy commenced that she was not in a position to offer any redecoration but did fact accept a much lower rental to reflect this. She has also confirmed that she has given her permission for you to decorate the flat at your own expense providing the colours are kept neutral and the work is done to a professional standard.

Your landlady has confirmed to us that she would be happy to release you from the contract immediate effect should you wish to vacate. If this is the case please confirm in writing to us.

Yours sincerely


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An insight into the kind of thing I do on a regular basis...

Friday, September 11, 2009

My response was as follows...

Dear Louise

RE: 6 Johnstone Court

I received a letter this week signed by you requesting the payment of overdue rent. You know full well why the rent has not been paid for 6 Johnstone Court. I have been requesting help from yourself and other members of the Bairstow Eves staff for over 2 months now in the hope of resolving the poor cleanliness issues within this property, yet little or no action has been taken. I have been forced therefore to withhold the rent as I have been left in no doubt that no action will be taken unless there is a financial incentive.

Furthermore, I am also writing to inform you that I intend to report the property and the landlady to the Department of Environmental Health and the Trading Stands Authority as the damp within contravenes the Housing Act 2004 and could also be a potential health and safety risk.

Yours sincerely,

David Nixon

Friday, September 04, 2009

After some weeks, I received this letter....

Dear Mr Nixon


Outstanding Arrears: £600.10*

Due: 20th August 2009


We regret to inform you that your rent is now overdue and would request that the outstanding amount is paid immediately and that all future rental payments are made on the due dates.

If these arrears are not paid, further action will be taken against you which could result in you incurring additional costs and an administration fee of £25.00 plus VAT per letter.

If you have already forwarded payment to us within the last few days, please disregard this letter and we apologise for troubling you.

Yours sincerely


* It’s actually £625. Can’t even get that right...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Scenes From Stoke: The Fenton Monument

Yes, it’s the Fenton monument. Centre piece of Fenton, which is far from the least important of Stoke-on-Trent’s 6 towns. The ‘Onward and Upward’ message perfectly encapsulates the spirit of a town which may not have a high street, but is totally like vibrant and full of life.

It may have been accidently forgotten about by Arnold Bennett when he wrote his famous books on the “Five Towns” but Fenton has so much to offer. Its important landmarks include the largest swimming pool in Staffordshire, the magistrates’ court, the...uhm Town Hall, and of course there’s the 6th Form College, where I had the pleasure of studying myself, although they’re going to move that down the road so it’s part of Staffordshire Uni. It did have a large part of the pottery industry, although that’s mostly gone – but they have a big KFC there too now; there was an armed robbery there once.

Oh but the people who still live must be able to draw constant inspiration from this inspiring monument, which is by no means gaudy, tacky, or a complete waste of time, effort and space. Hail to Fenton: ‘Onward & Upward’ the only place it has left to go.