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Fair do's

Up in good time this morning to get myself looking respectable for the arrival of the Fair Rent officer, which was just as well as he arrived 10 mins early. Landlord didn't bother coming, which suited me, as I could say whatever I liked in his absence. I explained about the heaters not having timers, making the system less than fully useful, and added that they'd been installed by order of the council. I said he could see the paperwork if he was interested, which he was, so I dug out the Minded To Take Action notice which he read. The rent will only be increased by more than 15% if the landlord can show he's done substantial work to improve the place, However, being ordered to install the heating in order to make the place legally habitable, is not quite the same, and he's less likely to be granted an exception.
  There was an awkward moment in the games room. The Landlord doesn't have an inventory, but the Fair Rent people do. The officer asked about the table that was supposed to be in there - the table I gave to Ed and K. Before I could answer, he remarked that there were supposed to be three chairs too, and supposed that furniture got moved from room to room over time. I agreed heartily, pointed out one chair, mentioned there was another in the bedroom, and three in the living room. This satisfied him, and table and chairs were marked as present. I think he was slightly distracted by the collection of toy horses, which he commented on.
   We discussed how the  fair rent and the maximum allowable rent are worked out. He kept emphasizing that the rent cap might not apply and that I shouldn't worry about it, but I'd like to have an idea of how high it could go, even if it doesn't. So now I have to wait while he does his sums, takes away the number he first thought ot, considers the added value of the (sort-of) heating (and the circumstances of its installation), the non-functioning smoke alarm in the kitchen.etc. I forgot to ask when I might get a decision, but it's likely to be within a couple of months - probably sooner.

Nothing more I can do until then, so back to studying Blakes 7, and finishing up at getting the games room sorted.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
28th Jun, 2008 04:35 (UTC)
Is this a furnished flat then? If it isn't, what does it matter where your furniture is?

What are you using for B7 study? The DVDs and some reference books?
28th Jun, 2008 11:48 (UTC)
It is listed as a furnished flat, and the Fair Rent people have an inventory. However, I have a lot of my own stuff too - all the bookcases, computer desk/chair, 2 bar stools, armchair, small tables/cabinets etc. Some of the other fittings are my property too, not supplied by the landlord - freezer, washing machine and previously, heaters.
I tell the Fair Rent people which are mine, so the landlord doesn't look more generous than he is, and Fair Rent man checks his inventory to see that what his list says the landlord has supplied is still being provided. The inventory is done on a room by room basis, so the FR officer was checking his list that way. He expected to see a table in the games room because his list said there was one there, but when he didn't see it, he assumed it had been moved elsewhere in the flat and marked it as present.
(There's a small table in the hall of unspecified ownership, so I can claim that's the one missing from the games room if necessary)

As for Blakes 7 (a much more cheerful subject), I'm watching the dvd's and taking notes. Also referring to 'Liberation', Attwood's Programme Guide and 'B7 The Inside Story' to clarify plots, background, locations, production and names spoken on screen that I wasn't sure about. I've used some of the data on places like Judith Proctor's webssite - that has a handy list of locations, for example, so I can check on some of the more notable locations, like Oldbury on Severn Nuclear power station.
28th Jun, 2008 20:54 (UTC)
I hope the Fair Rent stuff works out.

I have 'Liberation' and 'B7 The Inside Story'. The latter's great, and 'Liberation' is excellent for names, even those uncredited, but their opinions are often deliberately strange. Have you looked at the Sevencyclopedia on the Hermit site? That's also a great reference tool.
28th Jun, 2008 11:26 (UTC)
I wish we had fair rent officers back when I was renting, I live in the UK incidentally, the last flat I lived in had a small, at least 15 years old electric element fire in the living/dining room and that was that. The only winter I was there I came home eat quickly and went to bed where I had a duck down duvet and a small fan heater I bought myself just to keep warm. We did have laws stating what a furnished flat should contain but the regulations merely stated "a form of heating in the main living area" so the landlady was not breaking the law just bending totally out of shape. You had to be sitting directly in front of the fire less than 6 inches from it to get any heat from it. This was all about 30 years ago now I think the law has been tightened up.
28th Jun, 2008 12:02 (UTC)
I think the Fair Rent was introduced in the Rent Act of 1977, when it applied to pretty much all tenancies, I think. Tenancy law was changed in the late 80's, when the shorthold assuraed tenancy was created. This gave more power to landlords, and tenants less security than before. Now the Fair Rent only applies to tenancies created before January 1989 - I squeaked in by a matter of 5 months.
Sheffield council has got a lot better in the last 15 or so years about protecting private tenants, and ensuring that standards are maintained. I've found them very helpful in the last few years.

But I fully sympathise with your experiences in that flat. I've lived in a couple of pretty ghastly places. It's not fun waking up with ice on the inside of your bedroom window, is it ?
28th Jun, 2008 16:40 (UTC)
No,nor was having to get up in the middle of the night to empty the bucket that was catching water because the snow had dislodge the slates and she took her own sweet time about getting them fixed. I just missed the fair rent act, I bought my own house in 76 because I was so tired of bad land lords.
28th Jun, 2008 20:48 (UTC)
I've never had water coming through that badly, but I did get a splendid crop of squishy brown fungi growing on the ceiling of the games room here, before the landlord gave in and had the house re-roofed.

His initial reaction was to pull down the loose (from the damp) lining paper on the section of sloping attic ceiling they were growing on, bringing the fungi with it. This, he said, would be enough to resolve the problem. Needless to say, they were back within a couple of days. I scrubbed the area with bleach solution and that worked as a stopgap till he repaired the roof.
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