October 2010. That's when I first found a studio! Almost a year ago!!!!!!! And I'm still not in... I'm more than a little frustrated.
So I found a place advertised with Lovelle Bacons in Grimsby. Had a look around and decided it was perfect! Big space, little office, kitchen area, toilet, parking. Perfect. I negotiated a deal with the landlord to fit some shutters and went ahead with the planning application for change of use. OK, that process took a while but I got there. I asked the estate agent (Lovelle Bacons if you missed it) if I needed to sign anything or pay a deposit to secure the proerty and was told no, get the planning approval then we'll talk lease. At this stage you can probably work out the end of this little chapter but let me fill in the gaps anyway...
So I put my (expensive) application in and waited for it to be approved. Naturally I was in contact with the estate agent throughout. Once it was all granted I contacted Lovelle Bacons once again to get moving with the lease only to be told that the person I was speaking to had left the company, hadn't written anything down and that the landlord had instructed them to let to someone else. That brought the mood down!
Apparently what Lovelle Bacons did wasn't illegal, but in my opinion it was unethical and definitely unprofessional. Still... you don't get a reputation like theirs by accident.
So I started again. I looked at a few and found one. Not quite as good as the first, but in a better area and with a reputable agent. I agreed a rent and started the process. This time I got the lease sorted first and arranged for an agreement to lease subject to everything going through smoothly.
I won't labour the point, but the process officially started on 9th May. I was told it would take 4 - 6 weeks to sort the lease and agreement. It's now nearly 4 months. I have no idea what has been taking so long or why it has been delayed, but solicitors are now on my naughty list along with estate agents.
All being well, I get the keys tomorrow. I'll believe it when I have them in my hand though. Watch this space...