Row aside, consumers need protection

AFTER READING the latest report concerning the property licensing furore in The Resident last week, John Perrins, a Briton from the Midlands, who arrived in the Algarve with his family earlier this month, chose to speak out over his recent negative experience of renting a property here. The Perrins moved here from Florida, their home for the last two years, and enrolled their 12-year-old son in the São Lourenço International School in Almancil. They recently began renting a house in Santa Bárbara de Nêxe.

“I read the article with interest,” he said. “But I am afraid I am speaking for the consumer. I am all for a clampdown by the authorities and greater controls being put in place to regulate the standard of rental property. This is due to the fact that my family and I have just had a very unpleasant experience here in the Algarve.  

“We rented a villa through a well known real estate agency in Almancil (The Resident is unable to name it for legal reasons) and we have been subjected to an absolute nightmare – two weeks of sheer hell.”  

John Perrin told The Resident that the property was not fit for habitation and that, after just two weeks, he and his family were forced to move out and find alternative accommodation. He has also had to consult a lawyer in order to get a refund from the agency.

“The house was filthy, dirty, the kitchen and walls were covered in mould, but the problems did not only extend to a lack of cleaning – nothing in the house seemed to work properly. Water would not come out of the taps properly due to the extreme calcification,” John explained. But it gets worse … “When turning the gas on to heat water, there was a major leak because the pipe seal had perished.” It also seems there was a problem with the electricity supply. “If we turned on the lights, used the cooker and tried to watch TV at the same time, the electricity would fuse and everything would go off.” The final straw came when, following a heavy downpour of rain, the entire kitchen flooded.

“My wife Linda labelled it ‘the house that Jack built’,” he said. However, it was no laughing matter and when the Perrins complained to the agency, they were told, “welcome to Portugal, this is not our fault”.

John Perrin was then forced to consult a lawyer who told them he thought it was unlikely that the agency held a licence to rent the property; after all it was clearly completely unsafe. After threatening to report the agency, the Perrins were told they would be given a full refund of their rent and deposit.