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  1. Hello All, A quick update to the situation: I had several followup E-mails asking me to agree to the renewal and rent increase. I ignored them up until last week, when the Letting Agent tried to phone me while I was on holiday in Norway. I ignored the call but followed up with an E-mail advising that I would be staying, but without accepting a rent increase. They subsequently responded to my E-mail asking me to reconsider, saying "We have been liaising with your landlord on this, but a rent increase is requested as part of the renewal" (judging by the wording, I suspect the LL has not been involved). According to their lettings, the current rental is below market value. I responded back to them, stating that I would not be willing to consider a rent increase. This has apparently being fed back to my landlord. It's been over a week since I last communicated with them. I've not received an S21 or been pestered to sign or pay for a contract renewal. Hopefully this will be the last I hear from them, though I will keep you posted with further developments. Cheers HaX
  2. Last time this happened I responded to their Email stating that I wished to stay but would not be accepting a rent increase or signing a new TA. About two weeks before my contract was due to expire I received an Email saying that they had arranged for someone to go through the checkout process and collect the keys on the date my contract expired. I contacted them and told the to cancel whatever process they had invoked and ended up signing a new TA. I queried the cost (£250), asking for a bill of materials. Predictably they fobbed me off, even saying that I was getting a good deal as the landlord also has to pay £250. I suspect that I'm in a weak position. The property is fully managed by the LA. I've not had any communication with the landlord before (though do have their Email address). I wonder if there is anyone I can report the LA to if they do screw me over. I think that some of their previous actions constitute harassment.
  3. Hello, I've been renting a flat in Reading with my girlfriend. It's relatively low-end as I've been saving for a house deposit (£60K saved to date). Not keen on buying in Reading, though both of us enjoy our jobs so I think we'll be staying around for a while. Each year our letting agent has attempted to increase our rent by £50 per month (5%) and get us to sign a new tenancy agreement. To date, I've always refused the rent increase, though signed a new TA (and paid the £250 fee) as a gesture of goodwill. The service we've received from both our LA and LL have been excellent, and repairs/maintenance, though the quarterly inspections we've had to endure have been a little intrusive. This year they're trying again - over two months ahead of my renewal date. I will be refusing again, and also insisting that my existing AST transition to statutory periodic. Last time I requested this they claimed that SPTs didn't even exist. I'm keen to avoid being fleeced again, but am keen to avoid getting the dreaded S21. We have always been excellent tenants, scoring 5/5 each time our flat was inspected. Should I stand my ground, or am I playing with fire?
  4. In fairness, I suspect that anyone moving from London to Glasgow would enjoy a significantly better quality of life. However, of my friends who originate from other countries, the vast majority say that they wish to remain around London, or at least relatively close, due to airport links and being able to pop back and see family etc. I suspect that places like Glasgow have significantly less choice when it comes to international flights
  5. Are you referring to the 95% Help to Buy Mortgages? If so, these were extended to older properties some years back. HTB must be finishing soon. When introduced back in 2013, it was only meant to be a temporary measure.
  6. I'd echo fandanman's sentiments about life in Reading. Having spent the last four years living and working there, I can confidently say that I've found it to horrible, soulless dump. A trip on the number 17 bus will take you through Cemetery Junction and Oxford Road, giving some insight into the social dystopia which proliferates throughout the town. I would not want to commit to living down here for another 5-10 years. I currently save £2K per month so have a financially compelling reason to be down here. House prices are obscene down here, no doubt partially underpinned by the social rents which get paid for the slums around Oxford Road, Cemetery Junction, Whitley and parts of Tilehurst.
  7. I saw this reported in a Daily Mail article yesterday. According to LinkedIn he used to be employed by the Cooperative Bank. Judging by his career history and age, he shouldn't be short of cash. I wonder why he's still got a mortgage at 59?
  8. Wow - that's quite an amazing figure. Based on the average UK house price quoted by Halifax being in excess of £2k, the average house made £5400 in August. Meanwhile, someone on the average salary of £27,000 would have earned £2250 pre-tax.
  9. I'd move somewhere where your earnings are more closely aligned to the cost of living. I live in the South East for the simple reason that my Salary is a multiple of what I was earning in my Northern homeland. If I became unable to command the salary I do, I'd move in a heart beat.
  10. I'm voting UKIP. Although I quite like what the Labour and the Green Parties support with regard to housing, I feel very strongly about immigration and our ongoing membership of the EU. Nigel Farage is not afraid to speak his mind, unlike Con/Lib/Lab who just utter empty populist rhetoric.
  11. I didn't realise that this thread was still active, so thought I'd give you an update We ended up renting a 1 bed flat by the Kennet and Avon Canal - 10 minute walk from the hospital where my OH works - £975 PCM. The place is finished to a very high spec and is larger than we'd been expecting for a 1 bed. We were paying £600 a month for a mid-range two bed in Nottingham City Centre (Lace Market area). The sweet point for a decent 2 bed in central Reading is £1100 PCM. Further out (Earley etc) I saw some decent 2 beds going for £800 PCM, though due to not being able to drive at the moment need to be fairly central. Our joint income is £65K per annun (Take home just over £4K PCM). We will be saving £1500 PCM for a house deposit and £300 PCM for travel / holidays etc. Living expenses and entertainment will come to ~£2000 PCM I'd be quite happy to stay down here long-term, though suspect that we'll be unable to buy anything decent and furthermore will be squeezed by above inflation rent increases heralded by the arrival of Cross Rail in a few years.
  12. Me too. On a more serious note, it really begs the question - if you're not poor or stinking rich, what is the point in working and trying hard? Parties of all colours appear to be forgetting the middle earners
  13. Thanks for the helpful advice. My enquiries (contacting the local electricity company) have revealed that Spark Energy are already supplying energy to the property. I suspect that the previous tenant signed their agreement without taking issue to the clause or indeed being aware of how Spark operate. According to what I've read, I'll have to use Spark for 28 days, at which point I'll be able to request a transfer to another electricity company. It sounds as though I'll have a fight on my hands, though I'll be fighting it tirelessly.
  14. Good Afternoon, I'm about to sign a tenancy agreement for a flat I'm hoping to move into very shortly. On reviewing my tenancy agreement before signing, I noticed some clauses relating to having Spark Energy as my electricity supplier. A quick google on Spark Energy reveals them to be very pricey and difficult to switch away from. They've even been fined for blocking people from leaving. Would simply crossing out these clauses be sufficient, or do I need to request a new tenancy agreement? When I spoke to the Letting Agent who said that I could opt out of it and that they would exclude me from being signed up, however I am reluctant to take their word over what is written in my tenancy agreement. Quote: 4.4.15 Disclosure of Tenant’s details to Spark Energy: Tenant acknowledges at the start of the let, the Gas and Electricity for the property will be provided, or will be in the process of being provided, by Spark Energy. Tenant agrees that the letting agent may pass the Tenant’s name and contact details to Spark Energy for the purposes of: a. registering the gas and electricity meters at the property in the Tenant’s name with Spark Energy, providing gas and electricity to the Tenant and administering the Tenant’s account with Spark Energy. Energy will use the Tenant’s details only for the purposes set out above and not in any other way. Spark Energy will comply with it’s obligations as a data controller in the Data Protection Act 1998 and will handle Tenant’s data in a manner set out in Spark Energy’s standard terms and conditions 8 | P a g e and/or privacy notice. If the Tenant has any questions regarding details or use of the Tenant’s data held by Spark Energy, the Tenant may contact Spark Energy at Ettrick Riverside, Dunsdale Road, Selkirk, TD7 5EB or [email protected] or 0345 034 7474. 4.4.16 The Tenant may change the Gas and Electricity supplier, but should provide the Landlords Agent with details of the new supplier within fourteen days of any change being made.
  15. Just seen this pop up on my Facebook News Feed ; As expected, boomer types celebrating their advantageous position on the GetReading Facebook Page, with no comprehension or appreciation of the economic impact this will have on the generations behind them. The sooner this becomes a political hot potatoe the better. These people aren't in this position due to success or intuition on their own part, but in the large, economic circumstance.
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