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View Full Version : help needed with flats ive just viewed..



Shelly24
31-03-2010, 10:15 AM
hi all,

i need a bit of advice. ive just viewed 2 flats and i can see myself being taken for a bit of a mug so need someone with a bit of savvy to steer me in the right direction!

these 2 flats are in a high rise block right on the seafront. the block itself was built in the 70s and from the outside is pretty nasty, the inside isnt much better and looks a bit like a hospital with cracked rendering etc. it has been updated, has fire doors and sprinklers and 2 high speed lifts installed.
there is allocated parking.

one flat is on 4th floor and has nice views. it has new carpet and lino and the bathroom is ok. The kitchen is tiny in a cubby hole in the hallway and is quite out of date and has no applicances. the heating is night storage however im told the landlady is putting in economy 7.
i have no knowledge of economy 7 or night storage. can anyone help me? im told they are both awful?
the windows on this flat cover the whole front of the living room and bedroom and slide right back (health and safety?!?) but im sure its great for the summer.

the 12th floor flat has even better views but really is stuck in the grotty 70's. the kitchen is like 1 free standing unit which is blue and the oven doesnt even work, then lino is disgusting and is peeling up. the bathroom is salvagable although im sure the boiler is not great. the heating is non existant although there is a huge heather thing in the front room, not sure if its economy 7 but thats the only 1. it has built in wardrobes in the bedroom and an old bed and sofa.

now the usual price for a 1 bed in my area is £325.
Im currently paying £285 for a nice studio but the location is horrible. this location is desirable but both flats are not perfect.

the 4th floor they want £368 a month which is a bit out of my budget really but is the better flat and the 12th floor they want £295!!! im sure the prices are based on the views but still, they block isnt great.

what would you do? im tempted to make an offer on the 12th floor and do it up but then im putting work into a flat which isnt mine and not sure if the heating is up to it.
i would like the 4th floor one but doubt they will come down to nearer the £300 mark.

help!

Charles19
31-03-2010, 10:49 AM
hi all,

i would like the 4th floor one but doubt they will come down to nearer the £300 mark.

help!

Ask them.

LL normally IMHO ask a little over what they would accept and they expect to come down a little bit. Or be delighted to get max asking amount.

Bet they would come down to £300...good luck!
Chas.

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 11:04 AM
1) Don't believe promises unless they are in writing

2) They both sound dire - are you sure you'd be happy here? There must be other flats around.

mjbfire
31-03-2010, 11:42 AM
I agree with Snorkerz,

I know a lot LL, need your rent money to do up flats, and it used to be the case that the deposit used to be used to this and then build up the deposit again, from the rent. Deposit protection stopped this unless you for the expense insurance schemes.

So they are unlikely to have the money soon to do the work, and if they got the money, why wouldn't you do the work (Minor Works in progress is ok, but get it in writting) prior to do viewings as you can ask for more rent.

So unless you are happy pay and do the work yourself, I would go for the better and more expense flat, but at a reduced rent. But have a close look at the rent increase section, as you could be paying the full amount in 6/12months time.

And if you go for cheaper flat, then make sure your deposit is protected and you get a written agreement on what, the quality and time scales for work, prior to signing anything or giving a holding deposit.

Have you seen an Energy Perforance Cert for the flats, which will tell you something about how good the heating system needs to be, if not ask for one

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 12:29 PM
Have you seen an Energy Perforance Cert for the flats, which will tell you something about how good the heating system needs to be, if not ask for oneThat's a good point - big 1970s windows could make the place very expensive to heat.

Ericthelobster
31-03-2010, 18:36 PM
im tempted to make an offer on the 12th floor and do it up but then im putting work into a flat which isnt mine and not sure if the heating is up to it.Really not a good idea. You'll probably only get a 6-month agreement, and if you get turfed out you have no leg to stand on with regard to the money you'll have spent on upgrading the place for the landlord.

We've heard horror stories on this forum about tenants who've done what you're proposing, then found themselves evicted so the landlord can put his now-improved property back on the market at a higher rate...

mind the gap
31-03-2010, 18:41 PM
Unless you are a fitness freak, or the property is in a luxury, multi-million pound development (which these do not sound to be), do not agree to take any property above the third floor of any block of flats if there is the remotest chance that the lift may break down. Think Orwell's '1984'. It will be out of order for months and you might have a varicose ulcer on your leg.

Shelly24
01-04-2010, 08:13 AM
thanks for your opinions..

about the lifts, they actually did break down a few years ago and were renewed as high speed lifts, there are 2 so hopefully both wont go down!

i made them sound a bit worse than they are really. the location is really really good. across the road from a high speed railway station, right on the sea front with amazing views, they are doing up the block with a new roof and a tesco occupying the downstairs shopping area and it has a key fob entry and security guard.

ive seen a few flats in there that are lovely but they are expensive. ive decided against the 12th floor one as i would need to spend a bit of money getting it up to scratch and its not my flat at the end of the day. ive offered £325 for the 4th floor one. they are going to let me know today. they wanted £368. not sure if they will go for it. will make sure i check the contract though to see if the rent will go up.
if it doesnt mention it can i ask for a longer contract or a clause in it to say it wont go up?

also can anyone comment on the eco 7 heating, i dont know how this works. im told there is no gas to the block so im guessing thats why it doesnt have GCH!

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 08:23 AM
Economy 7 heating just means that there are storage heaters (radiators with bricks in, basically)) which take in/store heat at night using electricity at the cheap rate, then they release it (no elctricity cost) during the daytime/evening (ie when you need it). Depending on the model and age of the heaters they can be fine in flats, although not always quite as flexible or energy effcient as the best gas central heaating for example.

What is the EPC rating of the flat you are considering? This matters! If a few hundred pounds a year makes a difference to your life, do not sign anything unless you have seen it! If the energy efficiency rathing of the flat is below 55% on the LEFT hand chart on the front page of the printout, then you will be even more out of pocket if you pay the higher rent for it ,as it will cost you a lot more to heat water and space than iof the rating is say above 70%. Old flats can be dreadful for this, but new and refurbished ones are often pretty good. Look at the likely cost of the year's energy bills too - it should state it in the EPC. I can't get the picture to appear in my post but if you click on the link below, you will see what a sample EPC certificate looks like, and what I mean by the 'left hand chart'. The projected/estimated energy bills for a year should be shown just below the chart. Hope that makes sense!

http://www.aobenergyassessors.co.uk/epc-assessment/epc/epc-certificate-page1.png

Shelly24
01-04-2010, 08:43 AM
thats great thanks. i havnt seen any sort of charts yet. i did ask if the boiler was serviced and they didnt know!
so what is a good price for heating for the year just so i know?

also what certificates should the flat have?

thanks

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 08:53 AM
thats great thanks. i havnt seen any sort of charts yet. i did ask if the boiler was serviced and they didnt know!
so what is a good price for heating for the year just so i know?

also what certificates should the flat have?

thanks

The LA/LL should be able to show you the Energy Performance Certificate for the flat(s) you have viewed. It is a legal requirement that this is made available to prospective tenants/purchasers of a property, so insist on seeing it. It will look like the one in the link I posted above, (except that the details will be the ones for the particular property you are looking at, of course).

It is really hard to say what a 'good price' for the heating would be' without knowing the exact size and layout of the flat. The cost of energy (for heating water, space and for lighting) in a property will depend on the property's construction, insulation, type of heating, whether there is double glazing, etc. The amount of the likely bills may or may not match youir idea of how much you can afford. If you have never lived alone in a flat before, it would be worth asking friends who do, how much they pay, to get an idea. The bottom line is that eventually all new-build properties should be carbon-neutral and thus cost £0 to 'run'. Large detached houses currently cost several thousands of poiunds annually to heat and light. Small flats are usually somewhere in between. I'm guessing that if your flat is sea-facing with big single-glazed windows it could be more than you think. Find out before you sign!

How much do you think you can afford for energy bills each week/year?

You should also be shown a Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) - and the LL is lalso iable for the electrical safety of the property, although he may not have a certificate for it as such. It is always worth asking for one, though. If there is a boiler (presumably for heating water?) then I would ask for that to be serviced before you move in as it will be cheaper to use if it is running efficiently.

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 10:50 AM
The EPC has a section to give you an idea of he cost of heating the place etc.

Page 1 - under the big charts - "Estimated energy use".

Be aware though, that those estimates were when the certificate was produced, which could be a couple of years ago.