Do I turn this flat down?(35 Posts)
Viewed a flat today (renting, not buying). It ticks all my boxes, and is absolutely gorgeous. Enough storage, central heating, shower and bath, carpeting in two rooms, within ten minutes walking distance from everywhere I love, enough space for me, two cats and future baby. It's also way below budget. The area I want to live in has been lacking in rentals recently so this is like finding gold.
One thing massively let it down though. The stairwell is awful. The block of flats are self factored, there are five floors including basement and ground and three flats on each floor. So fifteen flats in total. Obviously none of the landlords put money towards close maintenance, and none of the current tenants clean it, because it is really, really, really filthy. The flat I viewed is on the top floor, which is fine, but all hopes of storing a buggy in the close are gone (I don't drive). And less important but still sad, the garden is a tip- although it is a massive garden that backs on to the whole street so it could potentially be really lovely if effort was put into it.
I feel seriously conflicted because on one hand it is perfect inside, but the close was manky. I guess I could organise a close clean up or something, the area itself is pretty active in terms of stuff like that, but I just don't know. Should I just go for it?
If it already annoying/worrying you, perhaps it is not right for you. Besides, with a baby on the way, you will be otherwise occupied, so organising a clean up with possibly uninterested tenants could be hard work. Also a top floor flat with a baby and two cats sounds challenging tbh.
@Lucisky Yeah, I don't see when I would have the time to organise such a mission haha! I'm not too worried about being on the top floor in general, the stairs are very, very easy. Just seems like such a shame to pass over something that could be brilliant. I guess it could also be a complete nightmare though.
You won't spend much time in the stairwell
I think ultimately it will start to depress you. I loved short term in a flat with a grotty stairwell and it got me down every time I walked through it and embarrassed me whenever anyone came round.
Don't do it. It will give you the rage every time you enter or leave your flat about how disgusting people can be. And if they're that uninterested in their surroundings there may be other issues. If it's short term you can suck it up. If it's your home for a while find somewhere nicer. <bitter voice of experience>
I would turn it down. The poor maintenance is just an indicator of the poor management of the area. Nobody wants to feel like they live somewhere tha is poorly kept so if you can avoid it then do.
Thanks folk, that's food for thought. I'm aiming to stay put for four years at the least and that's a long time with a grotty stairwell! I think I'll contact the letting agency and ask again about it.
You'll start to resent the flat
I don't know much about management companies - don't they have an obligation to put monies received back into their clients investment? Is this not in a Contract anywhere?
Why not ask the landlord about the stairwell?
Bad sign, but worth flagging up - just possible the agents are minimising work and the landlord doesn't know about the mess. Although that means either none of the other tenants care or requests to sort it are being ignored.
Try and find out more but don't commit yet!
Does "factored" mean managed?
What is the "close"?
If no one can be arsed to clean and it's not covered by agency, then I wouldn't live there. But if you wanted somewhere you could leave a buggy on the corridor, a lot of places won't allow that due to fire hazard eg tripping over it in smoke.
Top floor with cats and babies won't be fun. I only had 3 steps out of my front door and that was a pita.
Does the ll own all the flats?if so, I would wary as it's unlikely to be a ll who will be quick off the marks with repairs if they are maintaining othet areas. If ll does't own all the properties then it is likely to be a managment company dealing with the communal areas.
I once lived in a flat with a horrible communal hallway. Peeling mouldy wallpaper, absolutely freezing as the radiator was disconnected. Years of uncollected post. I gave it a good clea when I moved in and continued to do so as it was so depressing but my flat then developed a major issue and the ll couldn't give a fuck until I refused to pay my rent (and then did the cheapest repair ever)
I'm not sure if there's anything about it in the contract because so far I've only viewed it- I am however the first viewer and emailed straight away asking for the application as I've been told I won't have to put a deposit down until I'm totally happy with everything. So thought it was worth a try getting my foot in the door, so to speak. If there's something in the contract it'll make everything easier!
I have no idea of their obligations either. All I know is that it's self factored by the landlords in the close, and it is a 'buy-to-let' area really. If it's factored by the landlords then surely it should be up to them to do something, right?
I did ask the agent about the stairwell, his answer was that the close is self funded and doesn't belong to the council or a housing association and he doesn't know the score re. landlords cleaning it up. Which isn't very reassuring, to be honest!
@GoldfishJane- sorry, yes, factored= managed and close is the stairwell! Didn't realise that 'close' isn't a universal term And yeah, the buggy thing is always iffy anyway!
@Thatextrainch I get what you're saying re top floor flats but I grew up in flats (mostly top floor) and it's never been an issue- something I'm totally used to! I've never lived in a house on the ground floor in my life so a top floor flat is just what I'm used to and it's fine.
Landlord doesn't own all the flats no. That hallway experience sounds gross, I'm sorry
If you don't decide not to take the flat do let the agent know why, and ask them to pass the same onto the landlord.
I'd ask the LL about having the common areas cleaned as a condition of rental. If s/he says no and if the flat is otherwise perfect and a lot less money than you'd expect to pay, the pragmatic thing to do might be to organise a cleaning company to give it a one-off clean?
Re: buggy in the hallway - this is a total pita for other residents if it is a narrow, Victorian style corridor, it gets in the way and other people then start storing their bikes/rubbish etc. However, I would see if you could buy a very flat folding buggy and ask to install (again at your own expense) a hanging bar to hang it off.
I wouldn't hesitate to take it, it sounds brilliant. It's only the stairwell, you don't live there!
I will definetely ask when they get back to me with application forms etc. I'll at least bring it up again and see what they say. But yeah, it is much cheaper, and otherwise perfect, and is maybe worth getting someone in to clean it.
It really is brilliant! I don't see a flat like this coming up again in the area, at least not within my timeframe.
Aaaah, so torn! Will wait for the letting agency to get back to me and then grill them with questions regarding the state of the stairwell.
The landlord might not own the freehold. It is the freeholder's responsibility to ensure that the communal areas of the block and the structure of the building is properly maintained. The landlord might just own your flat and/or other flats but not the freehold of the block.
The estate agent should let you know who owns the freehold and whether the block gets maintenance of any kind. A dirty stairwell now could be a leaky roof next week and you wouldn't want to be in a position where the freeholder was doing nothing about that.
I'll double check but I think the landlord is the freeholder, or at least shared freeholder :/
If the close and garden are so badly maintained I'd be worrying about the state of the roof as well.
A leaking roof is going to affect the top floor, and it might be a problem getting proper repairs done.
Would the contract allow a 6 month break clause? Then if you're unhappy you could move, although moving with a young baby will be a PITA.
@Vicina- Bugger. I didn't think about that properly.
@AntiHop- Aye, it'll be a 6 month lease and I would renew it every 6 months. But I really don't want to move with a teeny tiny human due to a dodgy flat
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