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About Hippogriff

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  1. My experience during 2021 was that timber has gone up in price... significantly. For me I was talking about two things - one was fencing material from Howarth Timber - I bought it in two batches... the first time what I bought was £44... the next time, exact same order, about a month later - it was £69... I remember the prices clearly because the first was just under the contactless limit and the second... er... wasn't. I also ordered some PSE beech online... and it was ruddy expensive. At one point it almost seemed cheaper to buy rough sawn and a frikkin' thicknesser to go with it (and the future). The fencing stuff was quite rough and I spent a long time sanding it all down to look its best... I could've run it through a thicknesser in about 15 minutes... a Triton TPT125 is less than £300 if you get it right.
  2. Possibly... one of the main points of an Insurance-backed guarantee is that if the original tradesperson retires or becomes a bus driver or whatever, you have a distinct route to getting satisfaction... however, I would also think you shoud've been given some details of the scheme used back when the job was done... I don't think it's generally up to you to go chasing-around, trying to find someone or some company who might not even exist still... you should already have the details you need to progress this... so your question is kinda incorrect in the way it's asked... you'd not get the Builder to pay... you'd claim on the Insurance that was, hopefully, set up. I fear you are talking about something else... like you think you can claim on his business Insurance from when he was trading... that I'm not sure of.
  3. The part of Handsworth I know is a mix of older houses (terraces that are many decades old) and some new builds - Barratt did a big estate across from the ASDA. Most of those new builds wouldn't reach £300,000... more like £200,000 for the majority - 4 bedroom properties with garage. At the right time of day you can be in the city in 10 minutes, at the wrong time of day... 45 minutes. There's also Waverley, which is strictly Rotherham, but many house builders operate[d] down there... and it's basically the same travel situation into Sheffield. Both are worth checking-out unless the idea of new build puts you off.
  4. Likewise, an Agent cannot / should not have a blanket ban policy on pets either. While they may think it's easier to "just say no" they act on behalf of the Landlords and it could easily be the case that a Landlord is fine with pets... even encourages them... so the instructions from all of the Landlords they work for could never be the same - so they should always, ideally, take the request to the Landlord for consideration... in practice whether that happens is another thing entirely. Through my years of letting property I have found that Tenants with pets often stay longer than those without. This is something that I encourage. It's been years since I was happy with Tenant changeover periods being short. The average length of tenancy in England is still (I believe) around 18 months... for a Landlord that means every 18 months you're hit with effort and cost... which (as we are all lazy) I'm sure we'd like to avoid. If a pet influences a Tenant to stay on, and there are no other issues, then I'm enlightened and I'm all for pets.
  5. I should've come back to this... it seems that the email address - council.tax@sheffield.gov.uk - does actually still work. It's just that there's no automated response that acts as a receipt. I actually got a reply from a real person ten days later. I tried the online contact form, but I never received anything back from that angle - maybe they tied both my requests together... or maybe that went into a black hole. I don't know.
  6. A Landlord who has failed in basic administration tasks like a) Gas Safety Certificate, b) Deposit protection and, now, c) EICR deserves everything coming to them (my view as a Landlord myself) because there is no excuse. In reality, though, suggest you forget the GSC tardiness and the expected lack of a EICR. Apart from your own personal safety (sic) there is nothing in it for you. The Deposit is another matter. A small windfall should be coming your way if you wish to progress... the Landlord appears (from what you've told us) to be liable for a penalty of between 1x and 3x the value of the Deposit x the number of tenancies you've had... don't just assume it's one tenancy if you've re-signed annually. You would need to go to Court to make this happen without agreement. But it is a black-and-white, open-and-shut case - if the Landlord didn't protect the Deposit then the Court must award a penalty. The good news is that this goes to you (probably because of the pain and suffering you experienced). Note I said without agreement - the best way would be to inform your Landlord of your intentions (at the right time) and get them to settle... knowing they will lose if they go to Court. Then note I said at the right time - most people would generally wait until they've left a property - you have 6 years to initiate your case - but you may prefer to let the tail start wagging this particular dog right now (ignore the previous comment about who is in charge)? It does not matter one jot if the Landlord has returned your Deposit, it was still not protected (correctly, in time or at all)... that remains true, forever. For mould, condensation etc. it is actually often the case that these issues (unless proven to be a building issue - in that there is adequate heating, ventilation and insulations) are down to "Tenant lifestyle". As with other items... if your intention is to move then who cares? Your big win is the Deposit.
  7. Hullo, I know, for sure, you used to be able to write an email to council.tax@sheffield.gov.uk to explain to them why they were doing things wrong, again. And when you wrote to that email address you'd get an automated response, which could act as a receipt, and they'd probably (hopefully) action the email... always outside their own timeframe, of course. But, it was a good way of writing to them, getting proof you had done so, and putting something to bed. I've written to that email address and now you don't get an automated response... clever of them, huh? ...so you don't have any actual proof they received your email. I suppose there's a Contact Us form nowadays? I don't generally prefer those as they try to limit what you can send over... a normal email is what I like. Does anyone know if there's a valid external email address nowadays? Background is that they're harassing a full-time student Tenant of mine. Not my job to get involved, but I have already told them, last August via email (as I do every year), about him for the upcoming year, and he's also provided University evidence himself, so they either didn't get that, they've ignored it or they are on their pretty standard fishing expeditions. He's getting a bit upset because they're talking about scary things like "recovery action"... I've told him they cannot make him pay Council Tax, no matter how many letters they send. He'd prefer to hear it from them. 😄 I told him that'll never happen... they'll just go quiet and move onto the next opportune target.
  8. This is - quite simply - a claim of how you'd like the world to be, nothing more. Trust me, I'd like it too... but it probably won't turn out like this. The reason people are getting up to speed slowly with this is because it's currently such an unknown, and people are lazy, apathetic or just have other things on, like trying to keep their jobs etc.. We've all heard horror stories of Leaseholders being presented with bills for life-changing sums of money. We're all preparing ourselves. However, right now, we just don't know. What we do know is that every single party involved in any way will try their hardest to pass the buck... whether that be Leaseholders, Freeholders, the Buildings Insurance, the original Developer, the Architect, the Council, the Government... all will do their utmost to shirk responsibility and I feel a bill will head the way of Leaseholders, I'd bet on it. For the time-being it's probably unlikely you'll get more people joining pressure groups and suchlike because they're in the dark right now. Sure, people are finding they cannot remortgage, and they cannot sell... and there's this dark shadow looming on the horizon... but the fact is the Inspectors who need to do the work to estimate the costs are in short supply so many buildings do not yet even have an idea of their exposure. Add to that the fact that we are in the middle of a sheep (herd-like) mentality where all these buildings that were considered "safe" for many years and now inherently "unsafe" because of one, single - terrible, terrible - incident, in our case, 200 miles away. The idea of increased vigilance, improved technology and smarter procedures just doesn't seem to be enough to consider the risk reasonably remediated - we all have to go the whole hog! That means time. Time will tell. Once people are being presented with these life-changing bills you will get a build-up of steam. For now, most people are waiting to see what drops in their lap... and, even then, it will be particular to a person... a £10,000 bill to someone might be life-changing, to someone else not. A £50,000 bill is where it starts to get really troublesome! For now you'll likely have Management Companies making claims on the Buildings Insurance or the Building Guarantee - and you'll have those organisations fighting tooth-and-nail to reject them, on any premise... even if you filled out the (almost always individual) claim form incorrectly! I reckon most Leases will have been written very carefully to point out how something like the building structure has been demised to each apartment - a ludicrous notion if you think about it - but possibly one of the mechanisms (happy to be corrected) as to how others are trying to wash their hands of this situation and pass on the costs to Leaseholders. For me, I would be happy if the costs were split between Government fund, some Insurance and Leaseholders... but what's more important is that things start to get moving... not because of the sudden increased risk of fire and death... but because of the uncertainty and the way these properties are now effectively mothballed. I am saving money now, rather than putting my head in the sand.
  9. Sadly. Delivered. I dunno, feels expensive, I agree - but where locally can I get it for a lot cheaper? That's my problem. I want stuff I can work with readily, not having a thicknesser, jointer etc.. This beech PAR should get me half way there.
  10. Well, I bit the bullet and ordered 2.4m of 19mm thick beech PAR from a website... total cost is £35, £10 of that being delivery... it's not what I really wanted, but I can't complain as I hope that it'll allow me to make some progress with my little project - I'll need to get a better strategy for the future. Dunno what the lead time will be... probably some time in 2022. 😉 Thanks for all the suggestions. I would really have preferred to go somewhere and see and select the wood I'm buying... now I can get whatever... hoping it's not cupped or bent out of shape or damaged in transit.
  11. Possibly. I was looking at a well-reviewed Triton model (TPT125) that came in at a reasonable price... but everywhere seemed to be out of stock of it. It's quite an investment when you don't really know what you're buying... most of my other gear is Makita, but a Makita thicknesser is mega-money. I'm looking for lengths of 13mm thick, 170mm wide beech... not because I'm fussy... because my road is full of beech trees, and also carries that name, so it had meaning. On this occasion I may need to bite the bullet and purchase some 19mm thick, 170mm wide 2,100mm lengths of beech online (£33 each)... I have no bandsaw (or thicknesser) to thin them down, so what I make will be extra sturdy. 😲 Engaged, but dropped them an email from their Contact Us page... their stock list on the site implies not, but you never know.
  12. They are, but only have thick sawn boards... not PAR.
  13. For any amateur joiners out there... people who like making knick-knacks and boxes and furniture and suchlike... where could you recommend going to see and buy your wood? What I specifically want is some Beech PAR... I doubt I can wander down to Wickes for that, it's mostly pine there I think... but the online places which allow you to specify your size seem to add massive premiums for what they call small orders - like one site added a "Small Order Charge: 115.99" to an order of a few metres of Beech PAR costing around £34. 😀 I found another site with more reasonable prices and delivery of £10... but they don't do the thickness I want (need) for my rabbet router bit to work with... 13mm / half-an-inch... they come in at a standard 19mm and I do not have a thicknesser (yet). As I'm only just starting-out with working any hardwood, where would be a good place to buy (as and when Lockdown restrictions permit, of course)?
  14. Some noise from events in the park... not this year, obviously. Sometimes issues with youths.
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