Eric Clarke Estate Agents in Farnworth, Bolton
Review of rental of - 81 Edward Street, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 7HL
Front Door – The front door is faulty, the door doesn’t latch and blows open therefore I had to constantly lock it behind me. I reported this on day 2 of moving into the property. Somebody came out to have a look and Eric Clarke said it would cost around £1000 for a new mechanism. I said I wasn’t happy I have to continuously lock it as I had to young children and if for instance I forgot they may get out onto the main road. The staff at Eric Clarke made a joke of this and said at least by locking it no one will get in after me to rob me or walk in unexpectedly. I never heard anything further after reporting this.
The door also had a loose panel and a split down the side where it looked like it had been forced – My father filled it to prevent draughts and stuck the panel.
Porch – The porch is rife with damp and mould where the wall paper is has crumbled and peeled, I have had to throw away many clothing items that had been hung up that have been ruined with mould and the stench.
I once had a take away delivered – The Asian man who delivered it quoted ‘that smells like some good green your smoking’ – The porch mainly had a strong stench of cannabis when you opened the front door. Unsure whether the stench was the damp or someone nearby was growing a cannabis farm in the lofts as there was always a funny smell that came and went sometimes stronger than other times. I constantly had to use plug in air fresheners and candles.
Lounge – The main wall to the left – Rife with damp patches, bubbling damp and purple stained mould – Tried everything from airing the windows open, having the heating on, continuously painting with all types of paint including damp proof paint. Never fully left and came back again within weeks. The whole of the lounge is full of damp, I can’t point out a specific part as it on every wall, looks as though it’s from a certain height where a damp course has been done. I have taken photographs. There was a putrid stench on one of the other walls around the skirting boards as to where my couch was situated, when I was watching TV it was so strong it would get on my lungs, I could not pin point where it was coming from but that wall was also stained purple with damp and mould. I pulled my couch away continuously as it was marking it with white powder/mould and I bleached the walls continuously, purple fluff and dust gathered daily. There was the same sort of things in all corners of the room and the chimney breast crumbling in places when touched.
Fire – Old fashioned gas fire – Looked dangerous, never used.
Carpet - stained, purple patches of dampness coming through.
Blinds – Tobacco stained colour didn’t come clean after taking down and machine washing them - and failing to pieces
Kitchen – Cupboard near rear door hanging off – reported this many times -constantly propped it back up, possible replacement or simple screw needed. Main wall rife with damp, when I signed up from the property the wall had large wet patches which the lady who showed me around advised it was because no one had lived in it for that long and would go – apparently they had had a £1000 ventilation system fitted in the loft which would dry this out quite quick – I took her word for it. The wall was painted time and time again, even changed to a darker colour to try and disguise but it always came back in places.
The wall never did dry out fully. It got worse especially around the back door where my dad sealed up as it was wet with rain getting in and spreading. I have paid extra on electric bill to dry out someone else’s walls for someone else’s problem in someone else’s property, I’m sure this is something you’re not prohibited to do when renting a property?, I was assured by Eric Clarke it has a low usage of electricity of around £7 a year – firstly a noisy system above my children’s bedroom that started every night, all night you would imagine would cost more so I questioned this with my electricity supplier who told me on more than one occasion this would be constantly burning electric and dismissed the £7 a year comment as ridiculous.
Never once have I ever been given any contributions. I have repeatedly asked for the past 2 years for this to be switched off as its above my children’s room and gets louder at night and obviously I’m paying extra cost of my bills – Eric Clarke have never done so.
Eventually after around 18 months of reporting the problem and painting coat after coat to try and cover I had a damp proof course done. However they only did it so high so after a week or so it was back. It also came back in random patches and spots but mainly around the door. The damp proof course clearly didn’t work. I was told by Eric Clarke to keep an eye on it for so many weeks; I continuously reported this over and over again along with all the other rooms. Nothing further got done. I decided to withhold my rent to see if something would then get done as I was so angry and annoyed and stuck. I was then told without paying my rent nothing will get done but nothing was getting done when my rent was paid either. Furious!
I was also informed by a family friend who works as a contractor for Eric Clarke and has been to my property that the landlord has 4 other properties and will not pay for any work/repairs to be carried out in them either.
I constantly had to sweep and hoover where the wall was crumbling daily. Having guests at my house was embarrassing and everyone commented on how damp it was and the stench, and that I should get Environmental Health involved or go to Citizens Advice or instruct a solicitor as it was unfit to live in especially for kids.
Eric Clarke seemed to have an answer for everything and wasn’t willing to see my point of view, some of the staff there was just down right rude and unhelpful. If I could have afforded a bond to move into another property I would have been out sooner but it was impossible whilst paying rent and bills on a low wage – a catch 22 situation!
Towards the end of 2015 I was off work sick due to injury where I was only receiving statuary sick pay so I fell behind on the rent. Eric Clarke constantly sent me letters and texts but couldn’t grasp my situation this added extra stress to me, they posted letters through my parents property (guarantor) before driving off fast without letting my parents explain my situation – They wasn’t interested in what I had to say they just constantly harassed my 70 year old parents – One of my parents has recently had 2 heart scares and been in hospital. They did not need the extra stress over a couple of hundred pounds worth of rent owed, or from some bailiff they got involved. Pathetic! -It could have been resolved without that.
The whole kitchen was a yellow stained colour and there was spreading damp in the corner facing under the stairs and around the light fitting which was wet and crumbling.
The sink units had what looked like rat droppings – see pics, and a strong damp stench when opened I had to use Yankee candles to try covering the smell and washing my pots before using.
The wall where the washer was plumbed into was wet damp and showing brickwork.
The boiler had a random pipe the size of a pea shooter which went out to the outside wall which poured hot water like a river down my garden. The rear garden metal shutters lock faulty had to perfectly align up to open and lock them which was tricky.
The back door sometimes got stuck and was difficult to lock/close.
The kitchen ceiling has large cracks all over it and water comes through the ceiling when the shower is used so I’ve had to use pans to collect it, and have very quick showers, baths were out of the question – reported, nothing done. Tried resealing many times which didn’t really help much. Also when I walked down the stairs one morning a chunk of plaster landed on my head. I worried when showering the bath may come through the ceiling.
Hall stairs & landing – Creeping damp in areas mainly around the tops. Décor unfinished and disgusting also. Blue stained old fashioned carpets all through. Front Bedroom – The front bedroom has wallpaper hanging off all around all the tops/ceiling of the room and wet/damp stained wall paper patches. I did once have someone come and look at this. Apparently the problem was down to leaking gutters. I’m unsure if anything was done from the outside but it never appeared to get any better inside and the walls where brown with damp. This still didn’t explain the damp patches above where the bed in-between the fitted wardrobes and other areas?
The panel to the right of the rear wardrobe was broken and propped up. This collected major dust and was full of gravel and rocks behind that I constantly had to hoover up. I never reported this as I didn’t think it was important. Wooden flooring badly fitted also in the bedrooms.
Bathroom – Badly fitted bath which when the shower was used it leaked through to the kitchen ceiling which my father constantly sealed, and there always a black scum like substance around the water taps and shower head, unsure if this is a united utilities issue?
I constantly had to bleach the bath and tiles from the build up.
I used the shower one time and it wouldn’t turn off and the stop tap didn’t work! - Rang Eric Clarkes out of hour’s number numerous times, left voicemails, texts etc. As it was a weekend – No answer! It took Eric Clarke a full day to get back to me and come out and it was leaking heavily through the ceiling, they stopped my water and agreed they would replace the shower after much persuasion but it took around a week to do so with no water.
The bathroom light was an old fashioned sealed unit. The bulb needed changing, neither I nor anyone I know could get the cover off to replace it – I was told it was up to me to do so by Eric Clarke. I worked for the council in Repairs & Maintenance and I knew they sent out electricians especially to sealed units it wasn’t a straight forward light fitting. In the end I had to get my own electrician to change it.
Rear bedroom – Loose flooring, old fashioned décor – No other issues. Loft Hatch – Came home one day and it was wide open. As I mentioned earlier I think someone may have been doing something suspicious in the adjoining lofts and had maybe entered my property. I advised Eric Clarke who appeared uninterested and told me to call the police.
Rear Garden Fencing – Panels rotting, advised Eric Clarke who said they would speak to the landlord about replacing, they was rotten, grey weather damaged and literally falling to pieces. Eric Clarke finally got back to me and said the landlord advised it’s up to next door to replace and the landlord wouldn’t replace – Next door’s property was empty but I had seen the owner come and go sometimes doing repairs. Eventually the next door neighbour did replace the middle panel as Id caught him one day and explained what my landlord advised. He wasn’t happy! - The other 2 panels weren’t in much better condition but it was a start and would keep my privacy and people getting in.
I think I may have covered everything – If I think of anything else I will add at a later date.