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minkeygirl

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About minkeygirl

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  1. I moved into my current property in Jan 2009 on an AST, which became a periodic tenancy after the initial 6 months. The managing agent of the property has just delivered a section 13 notice for a £25 increase in rent to start at end Feb. However, my tenancy agreement says that (paraphrasing): 1. The landlord should negotiate any increases with the tenant 2. The tenant should be given 8 weeks notice of any increase 3. Any increases should be implemented 12 months after the date of the initial tenancy, and at 12 month points after this, again on the date of initial tenancy - 29 Jan 2009 Do I have to accept the section 13 or go to RAC, or has the notice been given incorrectly? The gov.uk page explains it should be used when there is not a rent clause in the tenancy - but there is (a very woolly one, admittedly). Now, the increase isn't excessive, but there has been a significant reduction in service this year. The landlord (a housing association - though I'm a 'market rent' tenant) stopped directly managing the property 12 months ago, and now pays a letting agency to do so (hence the rent increase methinks!). Recent issues include: - 9 months to repair heater in bedroom - 10 weeks to repair broken oven/hob - fire door not up to standard- but no replacement offered - my mobile number shared with numerous contractors (accidentally added to all the letting agent's properties) In addition we have spent £2000 on internal decorations this year (allowed by tenancy agreement) including £1500 recarpeting to bring the property up to acceptable condition. Should I just put up with the increase, or do you think I have any chance of negotiating? Thanks
  2. I live in the Circus / Lansdown Road area and find it an excellent area to live (my only niggle is the parking problem - only 1 residents permit per property). However, there are some areas to avoid... Bath is unlike anywhere else I have lived, because you can literally go from desirable area to highly undesirable in 50metres. For example, The Circus / Bennett St / Brock St northwards to Rivers St is lovely. 50metres north of this is Julian Road / Morford St / E Portland Place - full of drunks / drug addicts swearing at you in the street. Just north of this is Cavendish Road/Sion Hill which are truely stunning and peaceful (mainly cos the drunks cant be bothered to walk up the hill!). Local knowledge is vital. I've lived in 4 bathstone flats, and have never had a problem with noise, though I may just have been lucky. It may also be due to the fact that we tend to choose 1st / 2nd Floor for the combination of ceiling height, view and light - so we avoid the front door banging. For info, several locals have warned me of damp and poor water presssure in low lying areas (eg Great Pulteney Street), but I've never lived there. As for value, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Bath property market over the next year or two. With the MOD closing all its Bath sites next year, thousands of jobs and a large part of the local economy will go. Coupled with the stagnant market I wouldn't be surprised if there was a drop in values (despite the local paper's assertion that Bath is the "City that can't be Crunched!"). Though I hope any drop would be drastic (as a FTB) - my head says that residual values in the area will remain high, as it is such a stunning place to live.
  3. Thanks for your reply, Our HA is the leaseholder, but the leasehold team is worse than useless. We will try to see the CAB - thanks for the suggestion. We do have the money for repairs (we're private tenants), but have been strongly advised not to go this route (the property is in a grade 1 listed building / historic monument and should any repair we pay for fail, we will be liable for any damage caused). We've got reps from the Council doing an inspection on Tues - and depending on what they say, we may issue a formal notice of disrepair. Thanks again
  4. I'd be grateful for any advice you can offer... In Nov 2010 we noticed a small leak in our bathroom ceiling, and informed our landlord (we rent privately from a Housing Association). They promptly sent a repairman round who agreed that the leak was coming from the shower in the upstairs flat (rental- owned by a 'charming' man to be known as Graham). They agreed to contact Graham and sort it out.... nothing happened. On 27 Dec 2010 we returned home after visiting family for Xmas and the ceiling was in the bath. 200 years of horsehair, plaster, etc had collapsed and there was a torrent of water (the upstairs tenant was in the shower, and all the waste water was coming through the bath sized gap). Being a Bank holiday the Housing Association was not keen on sending someone out - I insisted (as the ceiling light had 1 inch of water in it, and I strangely thought this may be dangerous...). An electrician came out, told us not to use the electrics in the bathroom as they were 'lethal' but didn't turn them off. Being a Bank Holiday our caring HA wouldn't do any more, so we contacted Graham ourselves to get him to sort it. He arrived, and after several patronising comments and moans about having to travel 200 miles to do a job that a 'trained monkey' could do, he used cable ties to bodge the pipework. The next day it leaked again, and to cut an extremely long story short, 4 months later it is still leaking, we still have no electricity in the bathroom and only a temporary ceiling. Other than sinks, the bath is the only place to wash in the property, and it is now unsafe to use (the new temp ceiling is soaked and could collapse any second). Graham keeps blaming his tenants for 'misuse', but the HA workmen took photos of the pipework and a 5 year old could see it's not watertight. Our HA, although very sympathetic and helpful when we call, just don't seem to have the power / desire to sort it out. What can we do? A few months back they threatened to force enty upstairs, do the repairs and claim from Graham, but nowt has happened. As the leak is from upstairs, we seem to have no recourse - can we take legal action against Graham to force him to do repairs? We contacted the local council Environment & Housing Office who say we can make a complaint (which we are doing) but it doesn't seem to hold much weight. The Fire Service say that although there is an electrical hazard, there is not much they can do. We could move out, but the rent is about £200 cheaper than any equivalent in the area, and with moving costs (and hassle) we'll be out of pocket - due to personal reasons it is also not practical to move at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. With the days off work, damaged goods, etc this has cost us a lot of money, and I really don't know my rights. Many thanks
  5. Thanks for all the replies. I was getting very concerned last night when both sets of landlords refused to do anything to help. My landlord, being a housing association, has tight rules about what is an emergency repair, and only the electrics qualified (the gallons of water pouring down from above, and the lack of ceiling could wait a few days apparently!?!). As noone was taking responsibility I was considering caling a plumber and paying myself. Luckily my other half persuaded the landlord of the flat upstairs to drive a 460 mile round trip to fix the leak (though he complained repeatedly about it). Now that the water gas stopped flowing I just need to get our landlord (the HA) to do the repairs. Again, thanks for the advice.
  6. Many thanks for your help porca miseria, I had two very difficult conversations last night - one with my landlord and the other with the landlord upstairs - who were both saying that it wasn't their problem. Not what I wanted to hear with water pouring through the ceiling! It's good to hear you confirm my suspicion that our landlord should fix the damage. Once the plumber has been upstairs to stop the leak I'll be back on the phone to my landlord to request repairs. I just wish the students upstairs would stop using the shower / sink upstairs - despite asking 3 times there is still water pouring our every 30 mins or so...
  7. I'd be grateful for any advice - We rent a 2nd floor flat from a Housing Association as private / market rate tenants. The HA also own the freehold to the building, although the flat upstairs is owned privately and rented to students. We got home today to find our bathroom ceiling in the bath and water streaming through the hole above. I rang the HA and expained the problem (no ceiling, water feature, electric light fitting full of water) and they said it is not their responsibility, but the landlord of the flat above. After a lot of argument they agreed to send an electrician out - he immediately turned off our light circuit saying it was lethal. Eventually we got hold of the students above, and rang their landlord who agreed to send out a plumber ( tomorrow). The problem seems like a split in the outlet from the shower above - so is caused by the flat above. What I am concerned about is who pays for / does the repairs - as tenants we only have contents insurance. Once the plumber has fixed the leak, we'll need the ceiling removed, the damage repaired and our broken belongings replaced. Should we ask upstairs landlord to arrange this, or do we arrange it ourselves and try to get the cash back? I don't know where we stand, and what if anything we can expect from the HA we rent from. Thanks in advance for any advice :-)
  8. I have to agree with Dr Renter here - his generalisation matches my experience of the Bath property market... A large proportion of properties in the city are owned by those who made their money / sold properties elsewhere, particularly in London, as you have nuk. They haven't done anything wrong by doing so, but is has inevitably driven up prices. Some move here to live (because as you say, it is a great place to live) - thereby contribute to the local economy and society. Many however buy up properties and leave them vacant / visit on occasional weekends - try walking around the Circus / Brock Street area on a weekday evening and count the number of lights on!. As I'm sure you understand, there is considerable discontent from the local populace about this. As someone who has been priced out of the local market, although both my salary and my partner's are well above regional average, it does anger me that in the last two buildings that I have rented in, 2 of the 4 flats are second homes and rarely / never occupied. Local salaries just are not sufficient to buy in the area. I'm sure Dr Renter meant no insult when he stated that "People like yourself are one of the biggest factors", but it is a simple economic fact. Property prices here are being held artificially high partly due to the higher purchasing power of 'outsiders', who find Bath an attractive place to live or have an 'investment'. I just hope for the sake of the city that the proportion of investment buyers reduces and those that buy here, live here. I say this as an outsider myself, having moved here from the South East because I love the area - I just wish I'd taken the time to make some money first!!
  9. We're moving into the centre of town (by the Circus). The flat above ours (same floorspace but a bit better kitted out) sold for 600K last summer, and we're renting ours for £830 pcm. Still quite a lot of cash, but its really convenient for work - no more need to cross Bath in rush hour! We last moved in July and had a similar experience to you - every decent place was snapped up within a day. We were unsure whether to move now or leave it a couple of months, as I can see rents dropping further. However this place is perfect for us so we decided to go for it. Talking to the letting agent yesterday, the 1 and 2 beds are still renting out relatively quickly as long as the landlords are happy to drop their prices, but the 3-5 beds are not moving at all. They mentioned one 4 bedder that was on for £1800 and was rented out last week for £1150. Doesn't your heart weep for the BTLs!! Hope the move went well - Freshford looks like a cracking place. Time to get back to packing...!
  10. Cheers Wemb! Unfortunately we only moved to Bath a couple of years ago, so have to pay the usual overinflated rental prices. Hope you manage to keep up the saving though! Interestingly, we were in the letting agents this morning and one of the staff was on the phone discussing the fact that they had nearly twice the number of properties on their books than normal. The person on the other end of the phone must have asked why, as the agent said loudly "well, nothing's selling in Bath at the moment!". Mr Minkey and I had to choke back our laughs! I just hope it's true, and that the relatively slow fall in Land Registry figures is down to a proportionately low volume of sales at the cheaper end of the market, as Dr Renter indicated.
  11. I'm hoping it's just a temporary hiatus before prices come tumbling down... However I'm slightly concerned that the local sheeple actually believe the drivel that the Bath Chronicle has been churning out recently (eg the front page headline 'THE CITY THAT WON'T BE CRUNCHED'!). The Bath glossies (Bath Life, etc) are even worse - if I read one more article with a local estate agent saying that 'it's different here' I will scream... The one positive sign is the sharp decline in rental prices, partly fuelled by the large number of properties that are being rented out because they cannot be sold at the ludicrous prices the vendors are asking. For example, we are moving to a better area of Bath next week for £100 less rent than we are paying now.
  12. Agreed! The CPI is, as it says on the tin, a CONSUMER price index, therefore it does not apply to items that you don't consume (eg your house - although if the recession hits as badly as some predict, we might need to chomp on a few bricks...). It is not meant to be a 'complete' inflation measure, but is mandated by the EU (EuroStat). The ONS are very clear about what the CPI, the RPI and RPIX cover, and are very happy to explain the shortcomings of each measure, and give advice on how the measures should be used. They also have a 'personal inflation' calculator on their website to help individuals get a more accurate picture of how inflation effects them. By the way, the ONS is already independent (as a result of the 2007 Statistics Act). It no longer reports to the Treasury or any ministers, but to the newly formed non-executive "Statistics Authority". Having worked with several government statisticians, however, I don't think this will make any tangible difference to the quality of their output or the effort they put in to get the figures accurate - they've already made massive strides in this direction, and have done a huge amount to prevent political interference in the last 10 years. Independence will simply help with public perception. I find the idea that they 'fiddle the figures' laughable - unfortunately the statisticians have little control over how politicians / media / BoE use the numbers they produce. As 'intelligent' consumers of their figures, the least we can do is try to find out what the statistics are supposed to represent, rather than believing the drivel spouted by the Daily Mail et al...
  13. We had a similar experience last year Shiney. Having lived in Bath / Wells for several years we decided to try out 'village life', and rented a lovely barn conversion about 10 miles from Bath. The place was really good value, and we thought we'd get some idea what living in village was like. A lot of the 'more affordable' properties on the housing market around here are in rural areas, and we wanted to see if that suited our lifestyle. It was the worst year of my life - we couldn't go anywhere without one of us driving (and not drinking), we couldn't sit in our lounge without some annoying blonde on a horse riding past our window and staring in, and running out of milk / bread resulted in an 8 mile round trip (unless it was the second Thurs of each month when the village shop was actually open!). Never, ever again. I'm so grateful that we were renting and not stuck there for years...
  14. That's an amazing price drop! We had a sneaky look at these flats just after they were built - mainly to be nosey one day when they were having open viewings. We were already priced out at that point, or at least had decided that the prices were ludicrous and must go down. They were surprisingly nice. If this price is an indication of the way prices are going, I think we made the right choice!
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