By Joe Mellor Deputy Editor
Last week a group of MPs and peers have called for an overhaul of the way the rental industry is run to provide better protection for families who do not own their own home.
Well until that is sorted out (don’t hold your breath) www.rentalraters.com are the TripAdvisor of the rental market, to alert you to dodgy landlords. It is an on-line community that praises the best and (literally) rubbishes the worst.
We have compiled the top ten worst rental reviews. Read, review and recoil…
1. Even if it was in perfect condition, you’d still have to rent from that awful arse.
By Darren – stayed here from 9th January 2013 to 31st August 2013
With a cursory glance, this flat was small but cosy. A little esoteric in some ways, but we were desperate (on housing benefits and trawling through the terrible hellholes on Gumtree), so we snapped it up.
Having rented through Gumtree, we dealt with the landlady directly. At various points during our tenancy she accused us of being lazy because we were job seeking, and of “sitting on our arses pissing people off”. To call her the single most condescending, vile human I’ve ever had to deal with would be an insult to the planet’s most truly condescending, vile people. The council were paying her mortgage, but we were the scroungers.
All of this would have been water off a duck’s back if she actually did any maintenance work, but in our six months not one thing got fixed.
She now rents the flat to her daughter, and as such has completely renovated it, but if you were to ask whether it was worth living there, I would absolutely say no. Even if it was in perfect condition, you’d still have to rent from that awful arse.
I’m giving the flat two stars. One for its close proximity to Richmond, and one for the upstairs neighbours who were utterly lovely.
Other than that, those were six of the worst months of my life.
2. Most Disgustingly rented property I have ever experienced
By ALiAli – stayed here from 17th September 2010 to 17th September 2011
There were holes in the floor, holes in the couch (one you could sit through, burnt holes in the carpet…The wall were paper thin and the floor was flimsy and the floorboards were broken. The doors had no locks except for the front door, and back sliding door. The neighbours are atrocious. We were robbed twice. We had solicitors letters coming through saying that our stuff was going to be taken because the previous tenants owed money.
3. £3,500 lost – months of dispute, a lying agent, and landlords who treated us like scum.
By Chris Owen – stayed here from 1st September 2011 to 31st July 2012
the worst experience of my London renting life – on moving into the 2 bed flat, it included mouldy and rotten window frames, a lack of wall round the balcony above a twenty foot drop (!), erratic lighting and electricity… and the bathroom It also affected our health, giving us coughs and colds.
The bathroom needed gutting – this was the recommendation of four different builders who came to quote on it (the floor was rotten and the walls had extreme damp. The wall tiles were removed to assess the damage of the walls, and these were never replaced, meaning we could never have a shower – for around four months.
We were left to dispute being held responsible for the rent during the gap between our agreed exit of the property, and the new tenant arriving in November. This tenant was the 53rd to view the property – a two bed flat in Canonbury in one of the nicest areas of North London, a sign of how bad the flat’s condition was.
There was nothing we could do. I’m still angry about this two years on – we were utterly utterly ripped off. A disgraceful and shameful episode.
4. Cockroach infestation and running water problems
By TDG1982 – stayed here from 14th July 2011 to 15th November 2012
Throughout my 16 months in this place there were cockroaches all around the kitchen, and it was so torridly hot in the kitchen (I broke sweat regularly) it encouraged further problems with insects laying eggs. My flatmate had been there for ten years and he’d seen no change the whole time. Throughout the whole 16 months, nothing was done by the housing association to make improvements. The carpets were also filthy.
The worst thing though was being without running water for a total of 14 days in the middle of summer due to burst pipes. We were washing in bottled water and living in our own sewage (dirty dishes, unflushable toilets) for what seemed like forever while they glued the pipes up only for them to burst again within a few hours rather than pay for replacements. Each day they left notes assuring us it would be fixed by the next day, with a pack of bottled water if we were lucky. It was one of the most appalling renting experiences I’ve ever had and I left soon afterwards fully expecting further problems.
5. Felt like I was living in the worst hell….
By caligirl – stayed here from 26th February 2014 to 14th June 2014
This flat is awful. We came from the US and were tricked by Marsh and Parsons to take this flat (the only other flat they showed us had a landlord who hated Americans and wanted a year’s rent up front).
First off, the landlord didn’t disclose that the living room windows were falling apart. How can you discern what is damage and what is “vintage charm”?
Even worse to boot was that I came home midway through a repair appointment and discovered that the landlord had opened and gone through a box we had. He had also entered our flat w/o notice (there was no emergency to justify)
Supposedly we received it with a “professional cleaning” but we discovered mountains of cat hair and food still stuck on the plates. No matter how much I cleaned, I always felt like I lived in a crack den!
During the inventory check out process, the actual inventory clerk from Let Check Inventories (some hag named Gita) broke the shower panel and she was going through the flat and blamed us
If it looks like sh-t, it mus be sh-t
6. Landlady is perpetually short of money
By ChrisM – stayed here from 12th June 2013 to 17th December 2013
The landlady is perpetually short of money so asks you to pay early with the promise of an imminent re-decoration and fixes to things like the oven and missing blinds. These don’t happen.
At least one room is also only borderline large enough for HMO purposes.
7. My bed was full of black mould
By tank – stayed here from 1st July 2012 to 1st February 2013
I discovered that the whole base of my bed was full of black mould. I complained to the landlady and explained to her that I had been feeling ill in that room for months, but had not understood the reason, up until now, and asked her to replace the bed base. She refused, and only agreed when I then told her I would be forced to vacate because of my deteriorating health.
There was a space in the wall next to my bed that was supposed to be converted into another closet, but the project had been abandoned. It was full of debris and rat poison. At night, I could hear them scurrying around, and when I approached my landlady and said there were rats in the walls, she answered by saying “Oh not again. But, not to worry, it’s only mice.” She did nothing to try to eradicate the problem apart from telling us to clean the kitchen more properly. The year before, a rat had built a nest in one of the kitchen cupboards, and still seemed to lived there, as it once ran over my housemate’s foot.
Even after the base had been switched in my room, I still felt ill, and later discovered that the inside of my built in closet was ridden with mould. The landlady didn’t think it was a big deal and mocked me to my housemate for bringing this up with her.
I told this woman to her face, and I’ll repeat it here: She does not care about the welfare of her tenants or the fact that this property has a lot of problems (condensation and dampness being #1). The presence of rodents does not phase her even though there are holes and cracks in the floor and wall that these can easily get in through. I would NOT recommend ANYONE to stay in this place unless it goes through major renovations. If I could give it 0 stars I would.
8. Handy man was working, sleeping and smoking in the flat.
By veronique – stayed here from 15th August 2009 to 15th February 2014
When we moved out, our landlords forced us to pay the rent while a painter / handy man was working, sleeping and smoking in the flat. This had been organised by the estate agency although they denied it at first. Nobody would have informed us of this fact but they could not hide it when I came back to our flat ten days after our move to pick up the mail.
9. The electric heater set on fire over night
By blinkandmiss – stayed here from 17th June 2009 to 17th June 2011
Sadly the building wasn’t designed to be occupied by people night and day. Condensation issues on the windows and metal window panels would cause damp regardless of season. Metal is a conductor so all the heat you did manage to create with the useless heaters would go outside. The electric heater set on fire over night, the landlord and agent didn’t really care. The fumes from the fire luckily woke us up otherwise who knows. Walls are paper thin, so we heard all the arguments from our neighbors on a regular basis. Hot water would only last for one shower, no good if you share as a couple. Not really a safe part of London either.
10. We lived with a hole in the side of the flat
By JaxFrost – stayed here from 3rd March 2012 to 22nd February 2014
This place (the basement flat that is) has terrible soundproofing. You can hear the neighbours up stairs yawning in their bed. The landlord will also expect you not have any wear and tear in the property and he’ll charge you for anything at the end of the tenancy. I repainted the place sanded the floor, did the garden and had it professionally cleaned and he still charged me for installing sky. We also lived with a hole in the side of the flat for a long time. Do yourself a favour and don’t rent this property.
*some posts have been edited