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  1.  (10686.1)
    Bring us your ontological queries. Bring us your relationship problems and the courage to be laughed at. Bring us your need to know that word, y’know the one, it’s on the tip of your tongue, what the fuck is that word, oh god oh god.
    Bring us your yearning for solutions to mathematical dilemmas, beer-related uncertainties, genitalia-piercing indecision and demands for perspective. Bring us embarrassing questions regarding the removal of blunt objects from nether regions – it’s for a friend, honest – and bring us probing global challenges about How Those Other Guys Live.

    Bring us research enquiries, cultural quandaries, opinion-baiting on relevant world events and Shit You’ve Always Wondered About.

    Ask Whitechapel – anything.

    And Whitechapellers? Be a brick and answer back, eh?

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    When posing a question, be sure and include a representative #hashtag. When answering a question, head your answer with the same tag.

    An example:

    Q. What is the true nature of the threat posed by the #UrethralAttackMaggots?

    A. #UrethralAttackMaggots.
    Horror, horror, only horror, pure horror, unmitigated horror, constant and endless horror, for those who Fail To Follow Instructions.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012
     (10686.2)
    #depositshurhur

    I'm moving out of a flat, into another flat. In a moment of despair at off-white monotony, I stuck up posters and maps using blutac. Now I am moving out, I'm looking to get rid of those greasy dark stains in suspicious four-cornered arrangements and hopefully get back as much of my deposit from Generic Scumbag Landlord as possible. Any tips, Whitechapel? The internet so far has told me about WD40, citrus based detergent, and something called sugar soap. Anyone have a recommendation?
  2.  (10686.3)
    #depositshurhur

    Definitely the sugar soap. It's like a spray detergent; painters use it to scrub down walls before rolling on the base coat, and it'll get just about any damn thing off your walls.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
     (10686.4)
    #depositshurhur

    Yeah, sugar soap should do it.

    Best of luck with the whole moving process - I'm going through it at the moment so I know how irksome it can be. If you're renting through an agency, ask them if they can send you a list of things that need to be done in order that you get a full return on your deposit. They might even be willing to send someone round at tell you what needs to be done. Both myself and friends of mine have been stung by agencies deducting money for cleaning before This time round we're hiring a cleaning company up front, with a view to slapping the agency with the receipts if they try and pull a fast one.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
     (10686.5)
    #depositshurhur

    I've kinda resigned myself to the fact I'll never get a full deposit back off anyone without arguing about it for far longer than I'd be willing to.

    Someone once took £100 off my deposit cause I didn't *iron* the sheets. The sheets that I'd never even used cause I had my own.
  3.  (10686.6)
    #depositshurhur

    There should be a tenants' advocacy service where you live. Check online, they usually have a FAQ section about your rights as a tenant and how to avoid getting robbed by the landlord.
  4.  (10686.7)
    #depositshurhur

    Just be careful with the sugar soap that it doesn't alter the colour of the paint; if they've used cheap paint (as is the wont of Generic Bastard Landlords) it'll be easily fuckupable.

    And I'd hire a professional company as well - I tried to do it myself once, thought I'd done a good job, and the bastards stung me anyway. I was utterly mortified that the report said 'carpet round toilet smells of urine', so much so that I had to get obscenely drunk to remove the feeling of humiliation.

    The deposit ought to be held independently now anyway, in case of disputes?
  5.  (10686.8)
    @JP Carpenter - 'carpet round toilet smells of urine',

    I think that's the problem right there.
  6.  (10686.9)
    #depositshurhur -- When I moved out of my last apartment they tried to withhold the damage deposit for a completely fabricated reason but I had no way to prove it. I received a letter in the main detailing how I can go about disputing it. It involved waiting 4 months or so and then calling in at an inconvenient time to have a conference call between me, the apartment owner, and a third party to decide if I should get my deposit back or not. I called in at the appointed time, the third party person came on the line, we exchanged two sentences each, sat in silence for 5 minutes, exchanged two more sentences, waited another 5 minutes and then she told me that I won because the other party failed to check in and therefore couldn't argue their case. They had to pay me back in full, plus $50 for them being stupid and wasting my time.

    Moral of the story: Even if you don't think you stand a chance at winning the argument, the other person might forget to show up.
  7.  (10686.10)
    #depositshurhur

    Had the same experience as W.S. taking the unspeakable sow who owned the house we rented in West Ryde to the tribunal. The place had literally cracked in half and started to fall down while we were sleeping one night. One of the bits of evidence we tendered was a fist-sized chunk of concrete that had fallen out of the underside of the verandah. We prepared well and she didn't show. Court staff came out with a big grin and said "Are you the people who brought the rock?"

    Yeah. We brought the rock alright. Damn straight. \m/
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2012
     (10686.11)
    Haha, @Kay, that's great!

    Thanks, everyone, for the helpful advice. Particularly @curb with regard to that 'list of things' idea; if we've agreed in advance all the things I need to do and I do them, then that's a much better place to be than three weeks later getting a letter telling me I failed to disinfect the underside of the windowsills or whatever.

    With regard to the blutac stains, I'll get some sugar soap and try it on a part of the wall I know will be covered up by the bed/wardrobe first, and if it doesn't melt through xenomorph-style I'll give it a go on the visible bits. Thanks to @Greasemonkey and @JP Carpenter on that score.
  8.  (10686.12)
    #depositshurhur

    My wife and I had to do the tribunal thing as well, after we moved out of our place in Sydney. Our lease had been taken over by a slum agency which refused to do any repairs during our tenancy, then claimed the full amount of our bond for all the 'damage' (actually deterioration caused by their neglect). My wife set up a telephone hearing with the tenancy tribunal, and the agent didn't show so we got our bond back.

    A few things we learned from the experience:

    1) Check the reputation of the agent or landlord before you rent.

    2) Photograph everything when you move into a rented place, then again when you move out.

    3) Familiarise yourself with your rights as a tenant. Most places have a tenants' advocacy organisation online, where you can find this stuff out.

    4) Always, always, ALWAYS read everything they give you to sign. Our slimy agent gave us a half-completed claim form for the bond, with no numbers filled in for the amount we were claiming back. This is illegal, and there's even a warning on the bottom of the form, telling tenants not to sign the form if it's not competely filled out.

    4a) The same applies when you sign your contract before moving into a new place. Read every clause, and don't sign if there's anything you don't like. (We turned down a kick-arse condo downtown because the contract had a clause allowing the landlord to do whatever she wanted with our personal information, and she wouldn't take it out.) If it's your first time signing a rental agreement, consider taking a savvy friend or relative along.
  9.  (10686.13)
    #findingphotos

    A fellow I know has lost most of his past throughout the years. He's got no photographs remaining of his mother, who died 40 years ago. His father was american military in Tehran when he married an Iranian woman, and they moved shortly after to Germany (and then possibly the United States?). Is there any way I could somehow access passport photographs or immigration photographs or something? Is there any way, if I knew her married name and her husband's name, to track down some photographic evidence of her existence for my friend?
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2012
     (10686.14)
    #FindingPhotos

    Pick an archive, any archive; walk up to counter; engage archivist; repeat.
  10.  (10686.15)
    My fiance is killing her Avocado Tree! Help me!

    We bought it a couple weeks ago, and it was about 4ft tall. It looked all happy, and then she planted it and it's gone all droopy. She has tried watering it a bunch, and occaisonally it perks up, but then it goes all droopy again it a couple of hours. What is she doing wrong? I have no idea.

    #nogreenthumb
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2012
     (10686.16)
    #nogreenthumb

    Are you sure the area where she transplanted it has enough nutrients? Try getting a bag of compost and and putting a layer of it over the soil, and see if that helps. If you use vermicompost, use less, that stuff is really rich in nutrients and can burn plants if too much is used.
  11.  (10686.17)
    @ allana - You speak as though archives are common as gas stations and that I have any idea what to do, what kind of archive, or anything of the sort. I did think that this whole internet thing might be of use in my pursuits. No?
  12.  (10686.18)
    #findingphotos

    Libraries. Public ones. Librarians have superpowers with the finding. They are seriously amazing.
  13.  (10686.19)
    #nogreenthumb

    Just a guess, but my housemate used to overwater the pot... er potted plants and they'd get droopy, so he'd (over)water them some more, and they'd get worse. So don't assume that more water would be better.
  14.  (10686.20)
    #findingphotos

    So, do libraries count as archives? :)