Friday, June 15, 2012

176 Crown Street–Top Flat Left

Property of Ian Beveridge, 188 Route de Villaroland, 73210 Aime, France:, +33608627940

Managed by: JFK Property Management  Ltd.

June 2012 Update

The apartment became vacant for the first time in several years at the beginning of December 2011 – unfortunately the timing was bad being just at the start of a heavy program of winter work so I was not free until the following May to visit the apartment. The apartment failed to be let out again even at a low rate but the property management assured me that there was no need for me to return to Aberdeen to sort it out. With the place still empty in May 2012 the opportunity came to return to Aberdeen to carry out any necessary work. A work period estimated to be one week ended up being three weeks and the place was a shocking mess – explaining totally why it could not be rented out. JFK Property Management is not totally to blame – because they took over the apartment in the middle of a tenancy and had no clear idea of the initial state and inventory – though despite several consecutive tenancies no inventory or control was ever carried out.  JFK Property management do however need to improve significantly in terms of maintaining standards of hygiene and cleanliness. The only consolation is that legal firms operating as letting agencies are generally far worse, less intelligent and far less responsible.  Both Aberdeen Considine and Ledingham Chalmers are criminally bad – but what lawyers aren’t? The worst period so far was when my rent was not transferred to me from JFK for an extended period of 18 months. Invoicing is generally irregular and unprofessional – but some of the most important issues that can be handled by a middle-man operation seem to be covered relatively well. For all of the above reasons and more the details of the apartment will now be kept updated online and a direct line of communication between the occupants and myself will be necessary in future. The apartment will not be permitted to degenerate in such an uncontrolled manner in the future – no more finding the place filthy, beds sawn in two, mattresses filling the attic, unauthorised subletting, objects broken and stolen and vital aspects of the apartment permitted to become dysfunctional. There will be a guide here to help with the running of the flat and an online inventory demonstrating a correct level of cleanliness and the general condition.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is generally where the most attention to hygiene is required – but where the least is exercised. Some of the photos on this page show the horrendous state of the kitchen discovered recently.


The cooker (unbelievably) is new and has only been used by the last occupants. They occupants actually illegally attempted to withhold rent to ransom me into replacing the old cooker due to the oven not being completely reliable. I was repaid by finding the new cooker in a total mess – having to clean the oven with a chisel. The worst part is that JFK should have spotted this and not returned the deposit until cleaning charges were deducted. If I were to bill JFK for the 11 hours of scrubbing needed to clean the cooker and surrounds it would cost them almost the equivalent of a new cooker! Next time that will be done.



The cooker has mostly been returned to it’s original condition but I ran out of time with the oven. There is still some caked residue in the oven that can only be removed with more time and hard work – however it is fairly minimal. All the residue that could be removed in reasonable time with hand scouring has gone. The best way to clean all the interior aspects of the cooker is with using stainless steel souring pads and elbow grease. Chemicals don’t work.



When pulling out the cooker to clean around it be careful not to pull hard on the short gas connection. There is a safety chain but it was attached to the the cupboards and when I discovered this had been added it was by almost pulling the cupboards off the wall – so it is left disconnected. Just a little care permits the floor coverings to be protected too during this manipulation. There are side plates at the rear of the cooker which make returning the cooker into the space slightly tricky – but with attention it is not difficult. I’d recommend cleaning around the cooker once every few months to keep the kitchen fresh.

The front panel of the cooker can’t be scoured with stainless steel pads because it removes the paint indicating the gas control levels. – but this part is not exposed to high temperatures so can be cleaned normally with detergent.

Extractor Unit

The extractor unit above the cooker works with a filter and does not send the air out of the building – so the filter needs to be changed frequently. Failure to do so generates a foul, smelly mess. JFK Property Management permitted the previous occupants to leave this is a totally horrific state. Next time JFK will be billed if this happens. The occupants were clearly unconscious of their own extremely low level of hygiene – and JFK was no better. The extractor currently has a new expensive charcoal activated filter which should give good service for about six months of regular use. There is a spare cheap basic filter stored beneath the sink. I left that there about seven years ago and nobody used it – that’s how filthy people unfortunately are.



The extractor unit had to be dismantled internally to clean because the fan mechanism was dripping with fat. The level of negligence here defies belief in this day and age. I’d expect to see this perhaps from severely mentally retarded people or junkies – but otherwise it’s just pure ignorance. The cleaned and repaired extractor is seen below…


The screw-in light bulbs in the extractor unit have been replaced. New ones can be bought inexpensively at B&Q at the Bridge of Dee. One of the external plastic light covers has been damaged – but this unfortunately cannot be replaced. The retracting glass at the front had a broken clip so that it would just hang loose and this has been repaired. The switches for controlling the unit seem to be on their last legs but still work okay. It is easy to open the unit, clean and change the filter or bulbs – by using the clips on the sides of the under-surface – so there is no good reason for allowing a build up of filth.


Dirt and grease accumulate especially on the flat cupboard surfaces above the cooker and on all the tops of cupboard doors. I sanded and re-varnished all the doors with a harder form of satin varnish so hopefully this will help with keeping them clean and protected. There was a bizarre amount of “scratching” of the wood around the knobs – where long nails apparently were biting into the wood every time a door was opened – so I ground down the worst of that to bring the wood back to a smoother – hence more easily cleaned surface. All the loose knobs were tightened and can easily be maintained by removing the screws that hold the cupboard drawer facing in place to access the screws holding the knobs.


Cleaning: Much of the grease had to be lifted using the stainless steel scourer pads – even from the cupboards – though it’s not necessary to use a great deal of pressure. Some of the drawer faces are not perfectly recovered due to the intricacies in design but they have been varnished again to make cleaning easier.


The light coloured slats at the base of all the cupboards were thick with grease stains. They pop off for easy cleaning!

Baskets and Gas Meter

The baskets beneath the sink also attract grease and although intricate the wiring does need to be cleaned. The lower basket tends to get a little bit broken due to it often being shoved up directly against the gas meter – but this is a known issue. Keep the slightly damaged basket at that level so that the other ones don’t suffer the same way. The gas meter and emergency shut-off valve are behind the baskets – which is partly why the baskets are there to permit easy access.

Airing Cupboard / Central Heating Control / Hot water

There is an airing cupboard above the hot water tank - it can be useful for drying small clothing items in the winter. This slats are not fixed to permit access to the tank so be careful to avoid losing stuff down between them – there is access below from the sink unit but it’s a bit awkward. There is a thermostat control for the hot water here linked to the central heating plus a shut off valve for the central heating water – if draining a radiator for any reason etc. – and the central heating pump is in the background. The reservoir for the central heating is up above in the attic, along with the gas boiler.  In the drawer next to the cooker there are a couple of wing type bleed keys for removing air from the radiators. There is also a separate immersion heater in the tank so water can be heated with the central heating switched off. I’m a bit uncertain at the moment which switches control which system so that should be verified with JFK.


The wall switch on the left is the light above the sink, the electronic central heating timer is next. The third switch from the left is the power to control the central heating and the fourth switch (to the inside) should be for the electric immersion heater built into the hot water tank – but I think this may have been changed and that might now be the switch under the sink unit  pictured third on the right above ( also this now possibly disconnected switch may be upside down!). Check with JFK if necessary. The small box beneath the others is a fixed telephone connection. Note that the hot water tank is warmed by both the central heating (Gas) and immersion heater (electricity) – though most of the time the immersion heater can be left off. The shower unit has it’s own independent water heater. There is a complete drainage vent for the central heating and it is beneath the floorboards in the middle of the interior hallway right next to the front door. For this reason the boards are held in place with screws – so they can be easily removed. There should be a copy of the operation manual for the Danfoss Set 1E Central heating control system in the drawer beneath it between the sink and the cooker.

Washing Machine (Garden)

The garden behind the building is shared and clothing can be hung out to dry – but it’s a bit of a climb up and down stairs. For any questions regarding the garden ask Alistair Johnstone on the ground floor – he is very helpful and takes good care of the basement and garden. You can even ask him about planting in part of the garden if so desired. I have asked JFK not to send anyone in the context of “gardener” because the previous one simply destroyed everything with weed killer and created an almighty mess according to Alistair – who I have no reason to doubt.

To keep things simple the washing machine is also a dryer  - but this is an expensive solution to drying so it should be used sparingly. The machine is now very old (27 years) but also very reliable – so please continue to take good care of it. The external door opens by gently PUSHING it! The latch has been broken several times by people trying to forcefully pull it open. The external cover is missing for the washing powder compartment and the control selection display is kept in a drawer beside the cooker. New machines might be prettier but they certainly won’t be so reliable.  The washing machine is on the left and the door opens with a gentle push in the middle of the right hand side.

There is one setting for the washing machine that goes automatically on to drying – “G” on a half load. The dryer timer is set using the other knob closer to the centre of the machine. The complete online manual can be found here: Occasionally it is necessary to empty the drain filter on the bottom right of the front of the machine.

Work Tops and Sink

To protect the worktops I have left a strong cutting block and a glass cutting plate. The previous cutting block was larger and solid maple but it was stolen also with the cast iron pans. Because JFK Management never did any inventories through several different occupants it’s impossible to trace the thief – but this will not happen again.

If the fridge or freezer need to be taken out or replaced for any reason then it is necessary to remove the wood surrounding the worktop – which is screwed in place with the screw heads covered with screw on decorative caps. Once this is removed the end of the worktop nearest the window canbe lifted. There is a piece of wood on top of the freezer and another frame beside the washing machine to give support to the worktop and prevent it from sagging in the middle over time. The refrigerator has been changed twice in recent years and the last time it was not fitted correctly. Instead of using the screw feet to adjust height on both sides at the front some idiot stuffed linoleum cuttings beneath the left front foot to try to level it. In addition there was something left attached to the base of the door which stopped it from closing properly – all of this has now been corrected. If the washing machine needs to come out then the refrigerator needs to be removed first and then the washing machine pushed across towards the middle of the worktop – the wooden strut to the right of the machine being removed first. The worktop is firmly attached to the boards at the end and once the machine has been moved to the right the worktop can be unscrewed from the end boards if necessary.


The sink was a mess in May. The wood surrounding was impregnated with black mould and someone had made an ugly attempt to use white silicone mastic and nasty white plastic around the edges of the sink. I removed all of this – sanded, re-varnished and reassembled the wood and added a protective border of anodised aluminium around the edge of the sink that is easy to keep clean.


The chrome blank plug on the front of the sink covering the alternative tap hole was missing and water allowed to run through damaging the the structure below. The blanking plug has been replaced with a new one. Also the large filter plug in the central sink – which is used for catching vegetable bits when cleaning and peeling – was found in the airing cupboard and was filthy. A good scrub with a stainless steel scouring pad and it came up like new. It is used to catch bits of stuff that can cause blocked pipes!

Kitchen Lights

The lights mounted above the worktops are supposed to be spotlights but people have put a variety of different sort sorts of bulb in them and even though thy don’t look so good I’ve left them that way. The essential think is that they work. There is a central lamp over the kitchen table which needs to be cleaned from time to time as it collects dust and airborne grease. This lamp shade was filthy. Altogether there is this central light and there are lights above every work area – the cooker extractor unit having lights integrated. If the lights happen to trip their circuit breaker for any reason then they will all go out as they are all on the lighting circuit (except the cooker lights!). They can be reset at the electricity meter in the hall way above the entrance door.


Windows and Blinds

The windows open all the way around so that the outside faces inwards for cleaning. All the exteriors have been freshly treated for protection and the wind insulation seals have been checked or replaced as necessary. When cleaning the windows try to reseat by hand (very easy to do) any seals that come loose – it can prevent a draught and loss of heat when the winter winds pick up. The blinds are easy to operate and protect against the often blinding sun as it sets in the West each evening. Please avoid sticking tape or anything else around the borders of the windows to try to prevent draughts. This generally makes no difference in a building constructed in the 1800s and the windows are already very good quality. I had to spend a lot of time cleaning rotten old glue from the mahogany to get it back into shape.


Kitchen Walls

The kitchen walls are coated in wipe-able silk emulsion. They probably won’t survive a very intense scrubbing but certainly respond well to a sponge and detergent.

Seating and Kitchen Table

The kitchen table surface was an amazing mess. Goodness only knows what people have been doing on it because this only happened recently. I had to sand it back to the bare wood and re-varnish it. I also accurately levelled out the base so that the table sits horizontal on the sloping floor (yes, 1896 construction!) It’s made obvious that to keep the table level the grain of the wood and the cross of the base together point towards the window.


The seat around the window space and also been sanded down and varnished – it had suffered the same degenerative abuse.

Fridge, Freezer, Extras

I used to supply high quality cast iron pots and pans plus a full 24 piece dinner set and cutlery. They were all either stolen or broken so I’ve had to stop doing this. There is a set of brand new but relatively cheap stainless steel pans in the cupboard – they work very well but the handles get hot and need a glove or kitchen towel for handling. They will not survive being burned dry on a gas hob.

The fridge needs very little maintenance. On leaving the apartment (end of lease) it needs to be switched off and the door left open. The switches for all of the appliances are above the main worktop – the appliance switcher are on the right on the wall - in the same order as the appliances beneath the worktop.


The freezer needs to be defrosted occasionally to function efficiently and when leaving the apartment. There is risk of flooding from defrosting so it needs to be attended to and something placed to collect water at the base below the drainage point at the front dead centre. Despite the flat being vacated early December 2011 I found the freezer jam packed with ice and still running at the end of May 2012. Thanks for the electricity bill JFK Management Ltd! Does professionalism get better than this? Yes!

The doors on the freezer compartments are a bit weakened and damaged from people yanking them out against the ice build up – through never defrosting. Would people do this to their own property?

There are some electronic goods supplied – a toaster, electric kettle and microwave – but they are not part of the essential fixtures because they are always easily abused to the point of breakage or disappearance. I’m leaving them there but if they stop working or you don’t like them then you should supply your own. There is some cutlery and some remaining crockery and mugs plus a glass and steel coffee filter. 

Attic, Water Tank, Gas Boiler

The attic can be used to store non valuable stuff – but please don’t use it as a dump and don’t make it a fire hazard. The boiler has a permanent gas pilot flame. If you need to check the boiler (white box) then it’s quite difficult to balance the front panels on it. The catches have been broken by others – but it can be left off if necessary. My stored belongings for the flat are beneath the blue tarpaulin – including carpet pieces etc. The open door in the picture above is the access to the attic and a key is supplied. The previous occupants left the attic completely covered with junk so that is was difficult to even move. This included furniture from the flat which had been vandalised – the single bed having had one side sawed in half and then a piece of wood being used to join cover this with screw points protruding towards the mattress by about half a centimetre. The single mattress was dumped up here along with two one double one and it had to be thoroughly cleaned. All duvets, pillows, bedclothes, cushions, curtains, towels etc were found up here scattered around. Some were washed and recovered the rest binned. For this reason no bedding materials or towels are now furnished. The curtains may be changed if the originals are correctly stored in a safe place.


The door beside the attic is a small storage cupboard which is reserved for holding the tools and materials (paints etc.) necessary for working on the flat  - this is the only space I reserve privately for maintenance purposes – no personal material is kept there and it is a small space.

There is a brush in the attic beside my stored belongings for sweeping it and keeping it clean.

Please ensure the lights are switched off when leaving the attic – I believe the wall switch is upside down. There is a separate light fitted next to the boiler.

To the left of the boiler is the cold water tank. This has an overflow which has dripped from time to time and the ballcock may need to be bent downward to stop this. Alistair Johnstone on the ground floor usually sees the drip from the overflow pipe and warns about it – you can see the small overflow pipe at the junction between the two drainage pipes in the image below. The tank is loosely covered in insulation so make sure it is in place over the winter. Old metal tanks like this accumulate sediment which is found in the local water so you may find that when the hot water fills the bath it looks brown. If this happens then the tank should be flushed for the loose sediment at the bottom to be removed. This can be done by first closing off the water supply.


In the hall outside the flat there is a valve for completely turning off the water supply to the flat. To flush the water tank turn this off then simply empty the hot water by running the bath tap fully open. The sediment can be scooped out of the bottom of the tank then when the tank refills after opening the water supply let it run for a while with the bath tap open to continue to flush though. This gets the water clean. If this becomes a problem I will change the water tank sooner rather than later – apparently plastic tanks don’t appear to have this issue – but I’m not convinced because the issue is with the Aberdeen water supply. Perhaps the newer designs simply prevent sediment build up automatically by allowing a more complete drainage of the tank.

Outside Hall

There are three long life low wattage bulbs in the landing area outside the flat door. One has a switch in the interior and the other two are left on permanently. I just replaced all of the bulbs because none were working when I arrived – though the neighbour on the top floor should also take responsibility for this but never does. There is a door mat with “Top Floor Left” carved in the rubber beneath it. The large photograph in the hall belongs to me and surprisingly it has survived many years in this spot – one of the few things not to have ever been broken. There had been cracks and water damage from a leak in the roof which has been repaired - above the photograph and below the light. This has been filled in and re-painted to look tidy. The upper hall  - the part in blue and white was pained by me. Please do not allow anyone to change any of  this without my permission. The cleanliness of the upper level (top two stairways) is the responsibility of the top two flats – though nobody seems to bother with the filth these days and cleaners sent through JFK are worse than useless. Scrubbing the lino with detergent makes it clean. There is a mop and bucket in the small bedroom and a spare mop head beneath the sink – though this is better use in the kitchen and bathroom.



There were five problems with the bathroom – none of which JFK Property Management had notified me.

For reasons largely unknown to me the bathroom had been re-tiled - by request. I’d found the request to re-tile strange as the tiles had previously been fine and the grouting maintained correctly. The new tiles are fine but previously there had been a glass shower door and it had vanished. JFK has completely failed to respond to me over this issue. No shower curtain or anything had been put up to replace this. I installed a pole and shower curtain that is machine washable. The curtain unclips at the top with large plastic clips. Compression on the pole is controlled by turning the fitting on the side nearest the shower unit. There is not a lot of force used to tighten the pole so as to protect the wall and tiles.

The shower head holder pole was mounted through the tiles and into the wall – but it was literally dangling loose because the rawlplugs had failed. This must have been evident during installation! I purchased a new support and used more appropriate plugs in the same holes. The shower head and hose are both replaced as the hose had been leaking at the joint. I forgot to collect photographs of this because it was the first job I did on returning to the flat and I was a bit shocked by the mess and amount of work needing to be done.

The overhead skylight was thick with green mould and had to be cleaned, sanded down and re-varnished and the surrounds painted. I purchased a new extendable pole to make manipulation of the window easier. Currently there is a very small air vent left open – which is the first click when pulling down on the handle. This can be completely closed by pushing upwards on the handle. The pole is stored in the corner behind the bathroom door.


The first image shows the current position of the window handle – slightly open for circulation. To open the skylight further you need to pull down on the right side of the handle. As the window tips downwards the hook will become trapped so once the window is properly opened it’s necessary to switch the hook to the left side of the handle to continue opening the window further. Closing is a simple push upwards on the metal handle. The extendable pole is light and long enough so that no chair or stepladder is needed.

The wood surrounding the bath was originally cut to slip into place above the linoleum. When the linoleum was replaced recently wood was placed beneath it to give a smooth surface making the flooring thicker. The workmen were too lazy to trim the pine slats so they cut the flooring short and simply bunged everything up with white silicone. Tradesmen get paid too much and do bad quality work. It’s not pretty but it works for the time being. Part of this issue is a box that surrounds the pipes coming from the toilet. It was lying in bits on the floor – impossible to put in place because it had never been adjusted either. I reconstructed this box and fitted it correctly. The box is needed because there is a valve there that requires access. I can’t quite remember but I think that the valve isolates and cuts off the kitchen water supply. The box is not fixed in position and can be lifted out. It’s constructed to slot in accurately and for all the gaps around the edges to be filled. Please note that there is no seal where the box meets the bath and the recessed shelve behind the taps so try not to let excessive water run down there.


The previous occupants installed a plug socket wired from the interior light above the sink. This had been done by twisting wires and using masking tape behind the wall light!!!! I have no idea how long this had been there for and was never informed. Worse still they had bored screws into the mirror frame to support the socket.


I realise that people might do this sort of thing due to the growing need to plug in devices in the bathroom so I reconnected with proper connections and a secure fitting for the sockets. The wiring is through the low power lighting circuit so it can’t be used for devices like a vacuum cleaner. There is no earth and I’m not even sure if that meets legal requirements so I may have it removed or disconnected – but it should be okay for small devices that have two pin plugs (with the appropriate adaptor) that normally use no earth anyway. If you use it then please use it with this in mind and only for running small devices – it is only active when the light is switched on. Once again I’m missing photographs here of the bathroom in its final state.

The bathroom floor mat was missing so a new one has been

Inner Hall

The inner hall connects all the rooms but needs very little maintenance. There was a colourful, durable and attractive rug in the centre of the hallway but that disappeared and had been replaced with very cheap ugly ones.  A new rug has been put in for both warmth and to brighten the hallway.


There is a door stop for the front door to limit the range of opening so that it doesn’t crash into the box for the electricity meter. The electricity meter box has a removable front panel which is held in place by both magnets and a wooden interior slat which forms a lip. Take care not to put the panel on upside down with only the magnets holding because it is easily knocked down – especially when the door stop is missing (it was missing when I returned and the panel landed on my head because it was upside down!). The floodlamp just inside the entrance has a new bulb. This bulb like all the others can be found at B&Q Bridge of Dee if it needs to be replaced. Please always replace with the correct bulb – they are not expensive – even for floodlights.


The small light shade is held on with bolts top and bottom so it’s a bit fiddly to access. This needs cleaning on the outside as it collects dust easily.

The electricity meter is left switched off when the flat is vacant (though JFK has failed to do this) and the mains switch needs to be activated to have power. If you use a chair from one of the bedrooms then be sure to stand near the edge of the chair as they are not designed for standing on – though I have reinforced them to hopefully cope with it. All of the chairs were either broken or with multiple loose parts when I returned – but they have all been repaired.

When I returned to Aberdeen it was to discover the door lock had been changed. In fact the original had been broken internally and the handle also broken (they were found beneath the sink). None of this information was passed on to me through JFK even though they had the correct keys. So arriving in Aberdeen after a tiring 2000km drive it was a bit annoying to be locked out. The front door key has never changed but the occupants are leaving the security door open for the post during the day – so be careful with house contents insurance, although there has never been theft in the building other than in the unattended basement area.

Avoid putting tape on the blue door paint as it can lift the paint when removed!


The basement is available for use though I don’t recommend storing anything valuable there. Place goods on the wooden beams and away from the walls to avoid dampness and seal in an airtight container to avoid rusting or iron or muskiness in paper. Use a padlock. The cellar is fourth from the left as you face the doors. Take a torch because there is no lighting in the cellar. I think originally it was designed for loading coal into from above for storage. In the house there are fire places and chimneys but they are all covered over.


Large Bedroom

The mattress is new and premium quality with “memory foam” and has no need to be turned. To help take care of it there is also a new high quality “Silent Night” anti allergic and waterproof and machine washable cover. The previous mattress had been installed by a friend not so long ago but it was clearly cheap rubbish and had to be thrown out. To get rid of any large objects, instead of dumping them in the attic, load them into a car or van and drive to Tullos Industrial Estate a few kilometres away where there are skips available for public disposal. The site is slightly tricky to find  - it is on the green arrow in the map below…

View Larger Map

My recommendation for bedding and towels is Pontons Homecare just around the corner on Union Street from the top of Crown Street. Opposite the Kentucky Fried Chicken – South side of the street. They have great deals. The headboard had been broken and the wooden slats were loose so this was secured and reinforced at the back. The fixings at all the angles were also tightened and secured. None of the pine needed to be re-varnished in this room but the table surface was marginal and I’d probably have done it given more time. The seat was broken in the middle due to people standing in the middle of it. I put reinforcement in but it’s recommended to stand close to the edges if used this way. The solid kitchen chairs can be stood on in the middle. The pillows have been thoroughly washed but you might be better with your own and just storing them.


The carpet has been cleaned. The skirting boards were remarkably dirty with a sticky residue and had to be properly cleaned.  The overhead light shade had migrated it’s way into the sitting room so it was brought back and cleaned before installing and a new wider ring added to hold the shade in place and accommodate the wider modern eco bulbs. The tulip painting was found in the attic and the Van Gough print seemed to have survived without trouble. The walls and ceiling needed some touching up but their condition was okay. One of the cupboard doors does not seem to be sliding properly freely but I didn’t have time to look into it. There was nothing obviously wrong with it though it used to slide better.

The previous occupants had a satellite dish installed just outside the window and annoyingly had several holes drilled through the mahogany frames and another through the wall into the sitting room. I would have refused this because I thought that they were having it installed for the sitting room and was not informed otherwise. They covered over the other holes with sticky tape which I removed. I’ll ask JFK Property Management to use some window putty to properly and cleanly fill the holes. I know nothing whatsoever about this satellite dish and what system it is, but the box with it is in the sitting room. There must have been a short connecting cable going through the wall – so I left the hole open in case it is needed again. I really don’t want any more holes bored anywhere.

Regarding the prints on the wall – if you don’t want to look at them then please store them at the back of the cupboards and not in the attic. Do not remove the prints from the frames and replace them with others – there has already been a lot of damage caused by irresponsible people doing this in a negligent way.


Small Bedroom

The small bedroom had a double bed in it that didn’t belong there. The mattress is now in the waste skip at Tullos and the bed itself dismantled and beneath the blue tarpaulin in the attic. The small bed had been left unprotected in the attic and had to be sanded down and varnished. One side of the bed had been sawed in two and crudely put back together in a dangerous way. I grinded all the protruding screws flat and cleaned everything up. The corner joints were reinforced to eliminate movement and noise. The mattress is old but orthopaedic quality and it has been mainly used for light weight children and with a protective cover on it – so it is still fine – but it had to be cleaned. There is a new “Silent Night” anti allergic, waterproof high quality cover on the mattress. There was a lot of cleaning from tape residue around the windows and the weather seals had to be re-seated on a few windows. Other than painting and cleaning there was little to be done in this room. The carpet was cleaned. The light switch fitting was secured as it had become loose.


Cleaning equipment including “Mop and bucket” and vacuum cleaner are currently stored in the cupboard in this room. The mop can be stored in the attic if necessary but the vacuum cleaner is compact enough to be kept in one of the cupboards indoors without too much inconvenience.

The desk top was sanded down and varnished.

Sitting Room

The sitting room was in almost as bad a mess as the kitchen! All of the walls and ceiling were re-painted and the wall mounted shelving was removed temporarily to do this properly. The carpet and leather suite were cleaned. The pine wood shelve at the window was sanded down and varnished. The overhead lamp shade was recovered from the bedroom and reinstalled with a wider support ring for holding eco light bulbs. All of the woodwork was cleaned. The curtains had been replaced by cheap ones that were too short – the originals being found up in the attic. I bought new curtains that are machine washable and the correct length. Be careful if ever removing the curtain bar because there is a tendency to pull the plaster off the walls – though I greased the pole where it enters the plastic retaining cups to help prevent this from happening. The curtains can be easily unclipped from the rings for washing. There are new plastic clips so they are strong and well designed – but best to remove them from the curtains before washing.


There is an old style Sony TV in the sitting room and another large Samsung TV stored in the attic beneath the blue tarpaulin – they are for general use but not furnished as an obligation on my part. If you use your own TV then place this one carefully beside the other one in the attic. (It’s really heavy so be careful taking it up the attic stairs!)


The is a coffee table and magazine stand also in the sitting room. The shelves are wall mounted to avoid the issue of uneven flooring in the old building  - many old buildings like this have this issue – the further back in time you go the less horizontal they are and the lower the ceilings!


The large 80cm x 50cm glass panel (Klein print) was broken and has been replaced with a plastic glass which although harder to break can be scratched much more easily. If this framed print is taken down then please take care how it is stored so as not to damage it in any way.  Not only was the glass broken by the previous occupants but the print had been taken out and when returned there was bluetack stuck between the glass and the print – once again JFK spotted absolutely nothing. The small Klein print suffered similar abuse and is permanently torn.



The main cushions were completely missing and the orange ones were found lying about in the attic. The orange covers are not supposed to be machine washable but on their own at low temperature they seem to wash fine in the machine. The cream cushions are new and are machine washable.


Recently parking has become a problem due to the local authorities placing parking meters everywhere to increase taxes and control over the population. You can still park for free over at Deemount Gardens about 500m to the South, but otherwise a parking permit can be bought from the local authorities situated at the East end of Union Street.


Items indicated in Yellow are extras


  • Zanussi WD 9091 washing Machine (Door marked near latch, cover missing from powder compartment, instruction panel kept in drawer)
  • Zanussi Freezer  - clean and defrosted (each compartment inside with a basket and door – one or two doors partially damaged)
  • Whirlpool Refrigerator – relatively new – clean all over
  • New World Gas Cooker - sparkling clean inside and outside – sides included (minor residue on the oven walls)
  • Zanussi Overhead extractor – clean all over and inside with new charcoal activated filter
  • ElectricToaster (cancel button broken)
  • Electric Kettle (Lid not attached)
  • Microwave Oven
  • Two solid pine chairs – old but okay
  • One solid pine table – levelled – freshly sanded and varnished top surface
  • One blue plastic medium sized bin
  • One glass worktop protector/cutting board (New)
  • One oversized solid wooden cutting block (New)
  • One set of three stainless steel pans with glass lids (New)
  • Overhead kitchen light with long lead – clean all over.
  • Blinds on each window (slightly sun faded – left one slightly frayed on one edge).
  • Linoleum in good condition and clean (One mark in front of refrigerator)
  • Cupboards and drawers freshly cleaned (check top surfaces above cooking area and at the side of the cooker) and varnished – knobs all present and secure
  • Walls and ceiling clean – paint good condition – Crown silk emulsion paint is wipe-able (crack on wall above the sink from subsidence)
  • Pine seating area has flat surfaces freshly sanded and varnished – clean and smooth.
  • Surrounds (skirting) beneath cupboards all present and clean
  • (3) Baskets – white coated wiring clean (one slightly broken where is sits against the gas meter)
  • Assorted crockery and cutlery (plus fully intact unit for storing them in the drawer)
  • Coffee pot with filter on lid – good condition
  • Worktops – clean  – reasonable condition – one notable gouge on the front worktop left of the cooker
  • Electronic central heating timing unit – functioning – good order
  • Various electrical sockets and telephone socket all secure and in good order.
  • Central heating radiator and thermostat in good order
  • Thermostat for hot water in good order
  • Assorted light bulbs in the worktop spotlights
  • Bulbs functioning in the overhead extractor
  • Spare extractor filter and mop head beneath the sink (various cleaning products)
  • Anodised aluminium sink border - held in place with silicone (New)
  • Pine wood sink surround in good condition – sanded and re-varnished
  • Tiles and grouting behind cooker clean and in good condition
  • Sink in good condition with central plug/filter clean and rubber plug in main basin. Chrome effect blank plug on empty front tap hole
  • Panels inside sink unit partially swollen and affected by frequent wetness (may ask JFK to apply ‘threadseal’ to the plumbing joints)
  • Fire door in good condition and clean inside and outside – round brass handles intact and secure
  • Windows cleaned inside and outside



  • extendable pole with hook for skylight manipulation  - stored behind door(New)
  • Wide shower head and hose (New)
  • Adjustable shower head holder (New)
  • Adjustable shower pole and machine washable, soft, white material shower curtain  - large plastic clips (New)
  • All walls clean and skylight access and tile borders re-painted. Crown silk emulsion paint is  wipe-able (Silk is more resistant to water than matt)
  • Two pine shelves -  above toilet one above sink
  • Toilet seat strong, clean good quality (slightly loose right securing bolt – hand turned)
  • Light switch cord intact and shower switch intact
  • Electric shower unit functioning and clean
  • Tiles and grouting clean (New)
  • Pine towel rack above central heating radiator
  • Pine toilet paper role holder
  • 2X Pine toothbrush and glass holders either side of sink
  • Mirror with wooden border – good condition
  • Power socket controlled through light switch
  • Bathrobe holder behind door
  • Blue bathroom floor mat
  • Linoleum in good condition and clean
  • Sink and toilet in good condition and clean
  • Bath clean but enamel worn and slightly stained
  • Box covering the toilet pipes and water valve intact, waterproofed and correctly fitting
  • All pine panels surrounding the bath present and intact
  • Pine skylight clean, sanded and re-varnished
  • Small mirrored wall cupboard intact – mirrors partially worn
  • Door in good condition inside and outside – round brass handles intact and secure


Sitting Room

  • Three seat cream leather sofa  - cleaned and border re-stitched. Several damage marks photographed. General wear of leather surface at the left end. No major issues
  • Two seat cream sofa – cleaned and border re-stitched. Wear okay
  • Carpet clean, revived and stains mostly removed – otherwise in good condition
  • Walls and ceiling freshly painted – wipe-able Dulux matt emulsion
  • Skirting boards clean
  • Door clean and good condition inside and outside – round brass handles secure
  • Pine wall shelving clean and intact (old violin)
  • Large 80cm by 50cm framed print – plastic glass (New)
  • Small Klein print in glass frame – print slightly torn (photo available)
  • Standard TV antenna socket slightly loose
  • All other sockets secure.
  • One small hole in the wall for passing a satellite TV extension cable
  • One extra small hole in the window frame (may have it blocked by JFK cleanly with flexible putty)
  • Pine window shelve sanded and re-varnished
  • Window weather seals secured in place and one missing seal replaced
  • Windows cleaned inside and outside
  • Machine washable curtains – as per photographs (New)
  • Matching fabric curtain holders – brass hooks mounted on wall
  • Cane magazine rack – good condition
  • Bamboo and glass coffee table – good condition and clean
  • White machine washable cushions (New)
  • Orange cushions – not officially machine washable but OK if washed separately in “non-fast colour” cycle
  • Sony TV (and remote control) on TV stand and satellite receiver
  • Central heating radiator and thermostat in good condition
  • No extra holes in the wall and no pin holes in the wood


Large Bedroom

  • Carpet cleaned (relatively new – with wood underlay) Good condition – a few light stains
  • Double bed. Joints reinforced and headboard slats secured.
  • Premium quality memory foam mattress (New)
  • High quality mattress protection cover (New)
  • Two pillows
  • Skirting boards clean
  • Wall paper has scuff marks and tears but all have been touched up with paint. Loose edges secured
  • Ceiling has movement cracks but special flexible matt ceiling paint has been used to cover the cracks
  • All walls and ceiling clean – wall paper and ceiling wipe-able (no smokers thankfully)
  • Curtains clean but slightly sun faded. New plastic clips
  • Gold chord curtain holders with tassels  in place with hooks on the wall
  • Desk with two drawers – surface marked and close to requiring to be sanded down and re-varnished. Joints secure
  • Linen basket with cotton liner – good condition
  • Reed waste paper basket – good condition
  • Pine bedside table – good condition
  • Wide reed overhead light shade with eco bulb – clean
  • Small bedside lamp with eco bulb – working and clean
  • Built in cupboard, wardrobe and drawers – clean. One door not sliding as well as it should.
  • Van Gough framed print – good condition
  • Tulips framed print – good condition
  • No extra holes in wall except one painted over on the blue wall left of the window


Small Bedroom

  • Carpet cleaned
  • Single bed – joints secured and head/foot boards sanded and re-varnished
  • Orthopaedic mattress cleaned
  • “Silent Night” high quality mattress protector (New)
  • Walls re-painted (Dulux matt emulsion)
  • Pine bedside table – good condition
  • Wallpaper cleaned and loose edges secured
  • Small blue bedside lamp – slightly discoloured due to overheating (probably had a too powerful bulb inserted)
  • Skirting boards clean
  • Sockets and switches secure
  • Built in cupboards clean
  • Overhead reed lamp shade and cable clean and eco bulb
  • Window surrounds clean and window seals secured
  • Windows cleaned both inside and outside
  • Lighthouse framed print in good condition
  • Electrolux 1800W compact vacuum cleaner with fittings in cupboard
  • Mop and bucket in cupboard


Interior Hall

  • Large ‘duck blue’ coloured shaggy rug (New)
  • Floor boards okay – deep blue floor paint.
  • Large whale framed print – good condition
  • Door flood lamp (New bulb)
  • Door clean and in good condition both inside and outside – mixed door handles – mortice lock
  • Brass letter box in good condition
  • Door stop (renewed)
  • Electricity meter door cover – corners chipped due to falls – otherwise okay
  • Electricity meter internal plastic cover clean and transparent
  • Walls okay but perhaps slightly dusty – hard to clean properly with the textured surface
  • Skirting boards and door surrounds all clean
  • Central light shade clean and intact with bulb working
  • Pine surround long mirror in good condition
  • Pine wall mounted clothes rack in good condition


Exterior Hall

  • Paint on flat door, private storage cupboard and attic door in good condition (avoid putting tape on the door as it can lift the paint when removing!)
  • Door mat – marked beneath as “top flat left”
  • large framed image – below landing light – belongs to me
  • All the light fittings visible from the door belong to me and I have replaced all the light bulbs
  • Linoleum was still needing a scrub when I left – but I ran out of time. (JFK cleaners are not doing a proper job – yet they get paid for this!)
  • Linoleum and railings are secure
  • Wall paint is clean and skirting boards cleaned (paint touched up)
  • Damp damage induced cracks above the framed image have been filled in a re-painted. Original roof damage was already repaired.



  • My side of the attic is cleared and brushed clean
  • Blue brush kept there for sweeping up dust
  • My belongings are below the blue tarpaulin – Single cream leather seat, double bed (dismantled), samsung TV and controller, white TV stand, carpet bits, spare worktop material


  • Fourth from the left – empty


  • Not a clue – ask Alistaire Johnstone ground floor – clothes hanging is possible


List of Jobs Done – May/June 2012

  • Main windows protected - sand, clean, 2 to 3 coats of stain - Ronseal Deep Mahogony.
  • Wet rot cleaned out and mastic fix
  • Velux window mould cleaned, sanded, varnish protected
  • Attic emptied and cleaned up - 3 double mattresses to Tullos waste skips
  • Cellar cleared completely and cleaned
  • Storage cupboard cleaned out.
  • New double mattress bought and installed
  • Single mattress cleaned
  • Double bed dismantled and moved up to attic
  • Cement hole at curtain rail fix point
  • Wash two pillows to see if products will bleach them
  • Repair latch for washing machine door.
  • Purchase shower head and support and install.
  • Purchase and install shower curtain and rail.
  • Purchase steel pots, rug, chopping board and worktop protector, double mattress protector, 2 cushions, new mop, hand brush and hand shovel, new curtains for sitting room.
  • Bought extendable.pole.and attached hook for Velux control.
  • Bought door mat and 3 hall lights 10 yr one screw (above photo) two bayonet - installed. Lamps cleaned.
  • Bought filter for cooker - Curries
  • Bought industrial angles for small bed.
  • Dumped final car load of waste at Tullos
  • Sanded and varnished small bed headboards
  • Cleaned and varnished dismounted upper kitchen cupboards.
  • Wash another 4 pillows.
  • Assembled small bed.
  • Made support blocks for each corner.
  • Sanded and varnished sitting room window shelf.
  • Wash all remaining sheets and duvet cover.
  • Dismount wall shelf - sitting room
  • Paint entire sitting room
  • Clean window sitting room window frames and windows
  • Clean leather suite
  • Re - mount curtain fittings and pole
  • Change.curtains at Homebase - buy single mattress cover, carpet cleaner, 60x80 plastic glass
  • Add seal to sitting room window and fix another loose one.
  • Replace glass and clean print.
  • Clean inside other Klein print.
  • Clean skirting boards
  • Clean wall shelved and remove stuck paint and plaster.
  • Mount wall shelves
  • Photograph exterior windows and cellar.
  • Clean extractor and all grease off shelves.
  • Replace extractor filter
  • Buy bulbs for extractor
  • Wash cushion covers
  • Photograph sitting room
  • Fit extractor filter
  • Repair grip for extractor window
  • Clean support screws for extractor
  • Change bulbs in extractor
  • Clean and varnish all lower cupboard doors
  • Buy sanding paper, lamp shade holder, multipoint.
  • Drain water, dismantle kitchen hot water tap and clean out mechanism.
  • Clean gunge out of water tank. Flush tank.
  • Bend ballcock to stop overflow dripping.
  • Sand kitchen table
  • Varnish table.
  • Clean large bedroom light shade and put it up.
  • Dismantle add hoc wiring in bathroom
  • Door knob repairs - using washers.
  • Second coat of varnish for table.
  • Paint around tiles bathroom
  • Multipoint in bathroom rewired and re mounted on wall instead of against mirror.
  • Rebuild and modify bathroom pipe access cover
  • Fill in cracks in hallway and sand down. Clean to see what needs paint.
  • Buy wire holder pins, two more wide light shade holders, anodised alu strips for sink.
  • Stripped sink surround removing pine.
  • Sand and varnish pine plus wood from pipe access in bathroom
  • Paint outside hall and retouch with silk.paint.
  • Seal with PVA glue parts in hall where colour comes through
  • Re-glue box for pipe access.
  • Re-paint ceiling spots in big bedroom with silk paint.
  • Sand and varnish desk top for small bedroom. Second coat sink surround.
  • Buy paint for door, more sanding pads, touch up paint for bedroom wall paper.
  • Re-paint hall with silk emulsion.
  • Touch up skirting boards in external hall and paint pipe cover white. ( bathroom)
  • Second coat for desk.
  • Re-install all pine around sink.
  • Paint touch up external doors.
  • Final touch up of hall white wall
  • Touch up blue walls.
  • Re-install pipe box in bathroom
  • Install alu sink protection - cut manually - mastic/sealant
  • Buy sander and plane and some wood.
  • Sand window seat and varnish.
  • Paint attic staircase
  • Damp proof patch in hall
  • Paint door plinth and floorboard ends
  • Pull out cooker and clean behind
  • Clean all cooker inside
  • Final coat hall touch up wall above sink.
  • Hang photo hall
  • Clean sink
  • Correct and clean kitchen light
  • Pull out cooker and stain support
  • Pull out fridge remove bracket impeding door and release screw wheels.for adjustment, clean lino surround. Remove entire worktop for this.
  • Clean grease off microwave
  • Clean toaster - scour metal
  • Clean metal plug for sink with scouring pad
  • Clean kettle
  • Second coat of stain
  • Touch up corners of walls
  • Defrost freezer
  • Emulsion small bedroom
  • Clean walls and woodwork
  • Clean windows
  • Hang curtains
  • Clean carpet
  • Install furniture
  • Fix light socket
  • Attach loose wallpaper small bedroom
  • Clean beneath sink
  • Remove bars below lower cupboards and clean them
  • Clean interior of freezer.
  • Fix loose bulb in extractor
  • Clean inside airing cupboard
  • Clean kitchen windows
  • Clean kitchen walls and surrounds
  • Clean kitchen floor - removing paint.
  • Wallpaper big room paste and paint
  • Paint ceiling patches again
  • Double bed fix
  • Three chairs repaired
  • Skirting cleaned and cupboards
  • Window cleaned
  • Curtain catches replaced and hung
  • Paint touch up skirting boards
  • Clean carpet
  • Clean kitchen sink
  • Clean fridge
  • Move stuff into storage
  • B&Q for sink plug
  • Clean gutter and push back slate
  • Wash hall floor and remove paint stains. Spot that door stop is missing because meter cover falls on my head - it was upside down too. Hole will now need painting on floor.
  • Paint holes
  • Fit sink plug
  • Fit rug in hall
  • Clean bathroom
  • Sew up suite
  • Buy and install door stop
  • Buy and install flood lamp

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