Myself and my flatmate moved to Fizzy Hayes after the owner of the house we rented in Harrow decided to sell and invoked the break clause in our contract, landing us unexpectedly with 2 months to move on what should have been a further 6 months on our contract.
We had been at this property a number of years and the last time we’d looked for somewhere to live in London it had been a bit like the Hunger Games chasing rental properties, so initially were quite daunted.
However we quickly discovered that there are now an ever growing number of build to rent developments that offer flexible renting arrangements with added extras, designed for people in our situation and realised that property searching in our case had become a lot more advantageous to the renter than it once was.
I’ve done everything from renting a dingy room over a pub in Stratford, to rooms in house shares with communal kitchens where I had no say on who I lived with, and though my last place had been a share of a proper suburban home, (not just a room), with people I knew, that was well furnished, comfortable, in a nice area, we still had to juggle the property owner and letting agent to keep them both happy, live very much in the decorative style and taste of the property owner, tolerate slow repairs, often coordinate those repairs ourselves, and could not plan ahead because we were never certain if our yearly contract would renew or the break clause would be invoked.
What we liked about developments like Fizzy was having the option of a three year contract, (which we took), not having to deal with a letting agent, fast repairs, living accommodation of a good high spec standard in a location that worked well for us, and a rental experience that was professional, felt more like we had some control and were valued as customers.
My experience of private landlords is that they often think they are doing you a favour by letting you live in their properties when in fact you are paying them for a service.
There is no ambiguity with Fizzy, this is their business, it’s a professional arrangement and it’s in everyone’s interest for that to work to everyone’s satisfaction.
At the same time as we looked at Fizzy, we also looked at Tipi in Wembley, which is a similar company and development, which we liked, we seriously considered, but opted for Fizzy for a number of reasons.
Firstly the apartment was bigger yet more affordable. Not just the main living/kitchen area, (which is a very good size), but the bedrooms as well.
If you’re sharing a flat with someone who isn’t your partner the size of the bedrooms is more important than if you’re a couple, because aside from your cohabiting space you both want a good bit of private space as well.
My flatmate has two sons and when they come to visit I want to give them as much space without me in the way as possible. The bedroom I had in our old place was tiny, so that always was problematic. Now my room is a liveable proper space that I don’t mind spending time in when I want, or need, to.
Equally my flatmate paid more of the rent in our last place so he could make use of the back room as his own little den for his gym equipment, playstation etc. All that needed to be incorporated into his new bedroom, which he has been able to do comfortably.
What we also liked about the bedrooms is that there is an equal trade-off. My flatmates bedroom is slightly larger with a spacious en suite bathroom, my room is still a good sized double bedroom, (both rooms have fitted wardrobes), but also has a balcony, and the shared shower room is directly across the corridor from my room, so is as ‘almost en-suite’ as it could be.
A particular feature I like in the bedrooms is something I first thought was nonsensical in that one of the two sets of patio doors in both rooms open onto a lattice brickwork making them initially seem pointless. However in the heat of summer they give really effective ventilation combined with privacy without the need for air conditioning, and, when its too damp to dry outside, work well for airing clothes in your room.
(The flat does come with a small utility room that includes a washer dryer but I prefer to dry my clothes naturally whenever I can).
There are two balconies, (mine and a shared one off the living area), that are a lot bigger than what we saw at Tipi, (or any of the developments I’ve noticed around Hayes), and in the summer effectively become added rooms to the property. We have space on the shared balcony to have a large table and chairs, (which in the summer becomes our dining room most nights), and on mine, (the same size), a sofa and planters, (as well as, when the weather is right, a drying area for clothes).
The development itself has a lot of good shared space with other residents including gardens that are closed access, safe and secure for families who want somewhere for the kids to be outdoors, and includes a play area, and a 10th floor roof terrace, that was a big selling point for us, with views towards the City, Heathrow, Harrow and Wembley, and, (certainly currently), is the highest residents roof space in the area.
It gets great Sunsets!
There is also a residents ‘party room’ and the lobby’s to each of the four blocks are designed as additional lounge areas.
In truth, when it came to additional indoor space for residents Tipi did more than Fizzy Hayes on this, (including kitchens and dining areas for large numbers of guests, a viewing room, and lounges), but we quickly determined that though those seemed impressive, we likely wouldn’t use them much over our own personal space, and for what we’d pay in rent at Tipi to have them available we’d probably opt to spend that money doing things in London with friends rather than hang around and socialise with neighbours in our building.
That said Fizzy actively encourages socialising amongst its residents. It runs events and activities throughout the year and provides a residents app to promote communication, keep everyone informed, create clubs, and generally instil a sense of community.
It’s a good idea, definitely has its uses, often works, but like any form of social media can backfire and there have been occasions when the app has gone into meltdown between residents, leading to the occasional very public spat, (which can be either annoying or entertaining), meaning there have been situations when some comments on the app rather than encouraging me to meet some of my neighbours has had me thinking … “yeah maybe I’ll avoid you”, (though that’s actually quite a useful heads up in itself)?
Obviously that’s caused by individual residents failings rather than the fault of Fizzy who have always been quick to intervene and try and rectify situations when these occasional, (and they are occasional), things happen.
In this, we have the Bob’s, who are the onsite building management team and very much your go to people for advise on the building, local facilities, getting parcels delivered, (they will take parcels in for you and notify you on the app), sorting problems, reporting faults, answering queries, arranging events and organising repairs.
I suspect as residents we can be an entitled and pampered bunch so it’s to their credit that they do this generally with a smile, a lot of patience, and willingness to answer queries and sort difficulties.
As someone who use to wait days before my landlord responded to me, the convenience of having people on site to advise is much appreciated.
The other thing we favoured about Fizzy over Tipi was location.
We both work in West London so both developments are good for our jobs and though superficially the novelty of having a stadium view and access to the bars and entertainment facilities in Wembley Park seemed like something you’d want, the more we thought about it, Hayes as an area actually has things you really need for day to day living.
Good selection of shops you will regularly use, banks, takeaways, health facilities etc. Most of which, (currently at least), are very affordable.
The bars, restaurants, entertainment facilities you can travel to, and again, with Crossrail eventually being available, Hayes is well placed to get you there, (also some of those things are currently being built in Hayes too).
Now we’ve lived there for a while it’s worth noting that the flats insulation and sound proofing are excellent.
We live near an airport and next to a railway!
Planes are a distant rumble but in our case trains go right passed us three floors below!
However we hear nothing when the triple glazed windows and doors are closed.
On that point, proximity to the railway might be a problem for some re noise when the doors and windows are open, (personally I quite like the coming and going), but that’s really down to individual perception.
Our flat is right on the railway, but there are blocks further back.
We ourselves are quite noisy, so was concerned how that might reflect with flats above and below us, (though thankfully in our particular layout not actually directly next to us), and I’ve made a point of tracking down neighbours in relevant flats to find out if they can hear us and now tend to think the flats are sufficiently well built not for us to be annoying anyone, apart from one Bank Holiday Weekend when my flatmate had his subwoofer very loud and his window open!
(We were NOT popular on the App that day)!
Insulation too I think is good. We’re just coming into winter so not certain how it will be when the temperature drops below zero but the combination of sunlight that shines into the flat through the large amount of floor to ceiling windows, (we’re lucky in that our flat has a double aspect), combined with the concrete walls and triple glazing has me thinking it will hold the heat in and we are yet to use our radiators.
Think it’s important to say that though these places are often promoted as for ‘young professionals’ they work just fine for other demographics too.
I have friends who have young families and if they were in the rental market I’d be actively encouraging them to move in, as I think its a safe and welcoming place to raise young children.
Me and my flatmate are both the wrong side of 40, (me quite a bit), and it turns out amongst neighbours we’re not unique in that.
Work wise I work in digital media, my flatmate works for a haulage firm and is a part time Uber driver, and I’ve encountered mechanics, engineer, Doctors, teachers, and quite a lot of airline cabin staff, so a diverse mix of occupations.
We pay £60 each for secure underground parking of our two cars, not everyone is happy about how dusty the car park gets, (it has this last weekend been cleaned), it doesn’t bother me or my flatmate, who, in part, relies on his car for his business and seems to cope fine without it being an issue, (so again, up to individual perception).
Worth being aware if you don’t want to pay for underground parking, parking in Hayes is very difficult, the traffic wardens are ruthless and to the best of my knowledge Fizzy Hayes residents aren’t eligible for the Hillingdon residents parking scheme.
One of the selling points of Fizzy that they go heavy on is that they are pet friendly!
THEY DEFINITELY ARE!
Neither me or my Flatmate have lifestyles that are suitable for having pets so it’s a benefit we don’t have a need for, but having dogs as a regular thing around the development isn’t something that’s causing me a problem and I often think it probably adds to the community feel of the place.
What is good is that you can hang things on your walls, (on the understanding you fill the holes in when you leave), and the sense that we can actually make this flat our own and a home rather than it being someone else’s property we’re looking after!
This has been good for both of us and encouraged us not to go with the furnished option on the flat, (which you can do for an extra £100 a month), but instead furnish it between us very much with the security of knowing we have a long term lease and a general agreement that, (baring unforeseen circumstances), we’re happy enough with Fizzy not to be considering moving any time soon.
Please tell us what you like and dislike about this area:
Hayes is an area undergoing redevelopment and will likely see plenty of changes over the next few years.
At the moment, (Nov 2019), there are a lot of building projects underway for new amenities, entertainment venues, (including a Cinema next to Fizzy), and other similar property developments.
It’s urban, culturally diverse, perhaps less well off compared with other parts of the City, but the upside to that is that its very affordable at the moment for general amenities and shopping with a busy high street that incorporates within walking distance of Fizzy, an Asda, Tesco, Lidl, Iceland, Post Office, Banks, Sports Centre with swimming pool, lots of smaller privately owned retail outlets, eateries, takeaways, Doctors, a youth centre, and a couple of basic, rough and ready, pubs.
Fizzy is 5 minutes walk from Hayes and Harlington station which has a regular train service to Ealing Broadway and Paddington, or Heathrow and Reading, and is on the Elizabeth/Crossrail line which, when it opens, will provide direct access to Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.
Heathrow airport is a 10 minute drive away with regular bus and train services available to it.
The Canal allows distant cycling access to Paddington, and Camden, there is a park/recreational ground nearby, a nicely landscaped modern business centre, the Global Academy school, Hillingdon Hospital and a new climbing centre/gym that is actually attached to Fizzy.
Some residents I’ve spoken to think it’s a bit rough. To me I’ve lived in rougher places and think it’s just a little edgy and reckon Hayes as an area is aiming to have a bit of a Dalston vibe to how the community develops with a mix of established community and ‘young professional’ migration.
With the coming of Crossrail, Hayes is a frontier town, developing accommodation and amenities to encourage new settlers and currently is in the early years of that!
Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:
Sky is an ongoing issue in Fizzy Hayes.
There was a mistake made by the developers meaning the building wasn’t equipped for Sky Q. It’s not an easy thing to fix but it’s my understanding it is being looked into, and I’d imagine eventually will have to be rectified before Sky Q becomes the only option for subscribers.
We checked before we moved in that we could get Sky and were told we could, but I don’t think the Sky Q situation was really explained to us in that we would have to downgrade back to HD.
In truth, had we known in advance that might have been a sticking point, especially with my flatmate.
In retrospect if we’d let that one thing stop us from going with Fizzy that would have been our mistake as since moving in the benefits are more significant than this one tiny foible and even my flatmate, (who initially was a bit unimpressed with the Sky situation), has changed his attitude and now sees this a very minor niggle over everything else that we both like so much.
How has the building management responded to any problems or issues you have raised:
Very well. We had some minor snagging niggles with the flat at the start which given it was totally new and we were the first residents was fully understandable and expected and these were dealt with quickly and efficiently.
We’ve always found the Bob’s helpful and accommodating and have no complaints.