Keylet were pretty good at first, and helped us negotiate a short-term let on a house in Splott. The landlord was Richard Roberts and the house was 142 Moorland Road, Splott. It was a nice house, and was actually one we’d already visited when we were doing house viewings for buying our house. There was a huge crack in one wall, indicative of serious subsidence. Keep an eye on this crack, we’ll see it again. We saw the crack, said that there’s no way we’d buy a house with subsidence, and moved on. How curious to be living there whilst our house purchase goes through!
We had a few nice months there, then our house purchase went through and we made the arrangements to move out. One morning, a week before our moving day, I went into the garden to put some scraps on the bird table and noticed something yukky in the side yard by the kitchen… used toilet paper! The drains were backing up. Not a problem, this happens, we contacted KeyLet using their website reporting system and they sent someone round who tried to jet it. No luck. He said that the drain must have collapsed further down, and he demonstrated that when he fired the jet the water (and sewage) backed up out of the manhole he said was under the decking – you could see the water and sludge coming up between the decking planks. Keylet decided that this meant it was Welsh Water’s problem, and put in a request to them. The next day (day three now) Welsh Water came round and the first thing the chap said to me was “I’ve been here before”. Turns out he’d been here for the same issue a few years back and the drain had collapsed in the garden. He put the camera down and showed me… you could see that the blockage-to-sewer bit of the drain was bone dry, there hadn’t been any water down there in ages.
Later I put in a request to Welsh Water to get a copy of all the historical requests on the property. So Welsh Water batted it back to Keylet, who sent someone else round the next day, and decided that he couldn’t do anything because he’d have to lift the decking to get to the manhole cover and he needed permission from the landlord for that and he went away again.
The next day, day five, two chaps came back and lifted the decking and discovered not a manhole but a sinkhole, with a huge space underneath, seriously huge. This had been going on years. The drain was completely collapsed and there had been lots of soil erosion. The whole thing was a giant sludge of years of human waste, a literal open sewer. The landlord had the problem a few years back and instead of fixing it they put decking over the hole, and that is almost certainly why the property had subsidence.
I was a little upset by this but not entirely surprised. Keylet agreed to arrange for cleaning for our goods in the garden that were now spattered with mud and shit, and we moved out leaving the property empty but our rent paid until the end of the following month. Over the next few days I returned to the property to arrange cleaning, collect mail, and nose at the repairs. It was immediately obvious that the repair was not being done properly. I did some internet research on the issue and spoke to a chap I know in the business and the garden should have been opened right up. Somehow they managed to repair the collapsed drain without any evidence of opening the hole up more to get an actual drain pipe in there, or any sign of hardcore or other filler going in. Still, maybe they managed to get it done properly but I doubt it. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get Keylet to get our garden stuff cleaned and they’re trying to get me to remove it. In the end they provided us with a giant huge unmanageable tarp to put in our car and a hand steamer for cleaning it… a steamer rated for use indoors only. It was the most passive-aggressive response to our request imaginable. Like, they accepted it was their fault our stuff was covered in shit but they were going to do their best to ensure it couldn’t be cleaned properly!
Oh yeah, and when I visited to take final meter readings there was a chap plastering over the giant crack. I expect that some poor sod has brought the house and will first learn of the subsidence when the back of the house falls into a giant hole in the back garden.
I did some research and realised that we couldn’t sue because the standard of evidence is too high and the price of legal representation is too steep. It would cost us thousands to get, at best, hundreds. But we did discover that Keylet hadn’t protected our deposit because why would they bother with something like the law, so we filed a court case and they settled before the case for a few grand. Remember kids if you don’t have a protected deposit then you get 2-3 times the amount from the courts.