I have been with Horizon for two years, at two different address. Both as bad as each other. One of the landlords was V Al Khafaji. The list of things wrong throughout each tenancy just keeps growing.
Both had mould problems; the kitchens were disgusting; the house wasn’t cleaned properly, yet blamed us when moving out for it not being clean (it was spotless). The second house had rats, cockroaches, holes in the floor. The bed broke, there was a leak in the kitchen, a hole in the extension roof that was apparently ’fixed’ during lockdown (they lied).
All in all, don’t rent from horizon unless you like constant contact with their automated email and a shoddy manager that cares more about her Bentley then human lives.
John Winter is outstanding! Any problems are solved straight away with no questions asked or having to worry about paying for damages. They treat you like adults unlike most agencies, very easy to contact and they’re always making effort to keep the house up to scratch. The gardener comes round regularly to maintain the garden and they send people round to do things like ensuring the electric is working. [This is, in fact, a legal requirement] Ollie is a superstar who keeps everything under control.
James Douglas are absolutely atrocious. I have been a student for 5 years in Cardiff and have even been with the notorious CPS (which, speak as you find – no problems at all). Now I rented through James Douglas – which was a big mistake. They are honestly all cowboys who work there, they have no idea of the property ombudsman and what they stand for. I have been living for over 11 months without a shower that gives out warm water, the process of chasing people to get things done is completely tedious. The shower situation is still not resolved and is unlikely to either, before I move out. They also manage properties through Seraph Management which is the same people who work at James Douglas, all in the same building and they will transfer you from one to another probably laughing whilst doing so.
JAMES DOUGLAS ARE WORSE THAN CPS
Deposit returned?: Still living at the hole in question
First problem: Mice We had multiple sightings of a mouse running through the kitchen and living room. When we emailed Kingston’s about this they sent out a pest controller. They said there was already poison under the kitchen counters which meant that this was an existing problem that the agency was aware of but did not inform us.
Second problem: Drains The shower drain was constantly blocked despite using cleaning supplies. This led to the bathroom being flooded and caused water to run down the walls into the living room and flooding that room too. Also, the drain the back garden was constantly getting blocked which caused an awful smell to go into the house.
Third problem: Attic Bedroom Upon moving in there were already water marks on the bedroom wall (which I took pictures of). Throughout the storms the water marks got bigger and rain water actually started to leak from the roof into my room. I emailed Kingston’s who sent out a worker who ‘fixed’ it but then another storm happened and the same thing happened again. This time more workers were sent out and the problem seems to have been resolved, but the water marks are still all over the wall and mould has grown on them. When emailed about this they said they’ll send someone out to repaint (this never happened despite me informing them I have asthma)
Would not recommend.
Deposit returned?: Still living at the hole in question
I have lived in a John Winter house for 2 years now and have had a really good experience. I would recommend them so highly. They are kind, friendly and super helpful. The two properties I’ve stayed in are well kept, clean and cosy homes.
Slightly disappointed with the handling of coronavirus, our house is completely empty and we’ve not had much communication regarding money issues that people may or may not have but that’s a small issue. I am thankful John Winter’s team, especially Ollie the maintenance manager who was always there if we needed him!
CPS scammed me and my friends, it was our first time living outside of uni halls and they used that to their advantage.
As soon as we moved in there was a leaky gutter and I reported it several times over the following months. Water began leaking through my window and created mould all over the walls, which grew on my bedding and all my belongings. I had to stay with a friend as I have bad lungs and the room was deemed a health hazard by an independent mould inspector that my parents paid to get done as CPS continued to ignore the issue. Photos attached.
Finally, after 5-6 months they decided to repair the gutter and fix the mould (that was my fault for not alerting them soon enough?!) The work was supposed to take no more than a couple of days, but it turned into a couple of weeks and then a month for the room to be habitable again. In this time I had to remove all my belongings from the room, my bed frame was taken apart and the mattress up against the wall as they moved a CEMENT MIXER in and had several workmen in the room daily. There was absolutely no way I could function or sleep in a room without a bed or privacy, and so I continued to stay at my friends house. They offered me no compensation for this time, they did not provide me with alternative accommodation and they harassed me constantly to pay rent (the only reason they started the work was because I stopped paying rent until they fixed the room). It was a recurring issue with previous tenants, one of the workmen told me that years of mould had been covered up with paint year after year.
But CPS still pointed the finger at me and caused me incredible stress during my studies, I had to seek mental health support and I was physically unwell too from the damp/mould. Eventually, the room was fixed but the relationship with my flatmates was gone and I had been bullied by CPS to pay rent for a room that I couldn’t live in for months. I had been homeless for a couple of months at this point. I found someone else to fill the room and had to pay additional contract change fees (£150 to cross out my name and add a different one! Scam!) [As of September 2019 this is illegal!]
They gave me my full deposit back. Not sure how much was taken from the remaining housemates / my replacement but I was just so glad to be rid of them. I ended up paying CPS over a grand for the time I was effectively homeless including contract changing fees. It really ruined my second year of University and I would really ask anyone thinking of signing with them to reconsider. The house will turn to shit in weeks of moving in. They don’t fix anything. There weren’t even beds/mattresses for the first week of renting the property at FULL RENT. It was so dirty on the first day we moved in. They’re rude and aggressive and called me a liar despite all the photos that proved I wasn’t making up there was a damp problem (even more sinister when you consider how many times they painted up that same mouldy bedroom). They manipulate their reviews by sponsoring sports teams and getting team players to give false 5* reviews posing as tenants to muddy the clearly very negative reviews from honest tenants. Avoid CPS at all costs.
Paul Biggs owns 19 May Street. Amazing landlord! Got all our deposit back no question, really nice guy who was happy to sort out issues when they arose. Stayed for both of my years! We found him through CPS Homes in 2017!
The property is a one bed flat, the £560 pcm not including bills. Fairly decent, all things considered – took four months to send an inventory, but otherwise brilliant. It only took a weekend to get a washing machine fixed. But they’re good with communication and getting things done. From what I’ve heard about other agencies, this is one of the not so awful ones!
Deposit Returned?:Still living at the hole in question
Rented a house with Cardiff Student Lettings in 2nd year and 3rd year – we couldn’t be bothered moving. Overall we were pretty happy with the agency. They responded to all our issues within a few days, apart from a broken blind which just stayed broken but we lived with that. They always gave us plenty of notice before viewings
(Something I really miss now being with CPS who gave a 10-minute warning on a Saturday at 10 am!- but that’s another story.)
The house itself wasn’t the best and I was constantly ill due to cracks in the walls and black mould. We had an incessant slug problem which when I completely lost it one morning over, they came and put some polyfiller down which helped a bit… They fixed everything very cheaply if they could do it themselves they would, so a lot of stuff was very haphazard. It was quite a cheap house (£285 pcm and then 300 ) for a 4 bedroom so overall we thought it was decent. We got all of our deposit back minus £50 in total but that’s ok because we did cause a bit of accidental damage.
Overall would recommend as the team were always friendly and helpful.
[Unfortunately, this reviewer doesn’t know the name of their landlord. Whoever they are should be ashamed, as mould can have serious health effects and landlords should never let this happen.]
From 2018 to 2019, I stayed in a 7 bedroom house. Good size for what it cost but there were some evident issues that needed fixing; namely the backgarden was covered in weeds, the front porch step was broken and coming loose and various patches of mould around the house which we asked to be sorted before we moved in. Only the weeds were sorted, the front porch step was fixed multiple months later after a complaint of the wobbly slab and to my knowledge they’ve never sorted the mould problem despite one of the tenants being asthmatic. Other than that, we were happy to move in despite the general bumps, scratches, dents and stains to be expected when we moved in that were not caused by us.
The issues arose later. I’ll even say, we did require some deductions. One of the tenants put a hole in the kitchen wall but no one admitted to it. Some bin bags were left in the front garden after moving out due to excess waste we weren’t able to get rid of. And there were some little things here in there that were just not able to organise. So a reasonable deduction we expected. CPS tried to take us for more than half of the deposit. Some of which were the reasonable deductions expected. The rest were either grossly inflated (like £40 to remove a coffee stain from a desk) or outright not caused by us. They were unable to produce an invoices for more than £800 of the £1500 they tried to take. We had to fight tooth and nail for our deposit back through the deposit protection service, managing to claim a portion of the deposit back.