First up, if you are a tenant then you should be aware that the check in/check out 'company' 'Impact Services' has a very close and unexplained (we questioned them many times but they failed to explain how this could happen) link with David St James. It's not very cleverly disguised (It used to say on the owners Linkedin page that he was the director of David St James and Impact Services until we questioned him about this). What they did to us is they failed to fix any of the problems with the property whilst we were tenants and then tried to charge us for the 'repairs' at the end of the tenancy. Let me explain how you can prove this.
The first thing you might do would be to google 'Impact Services' but you will get nothing. If DSJ happen to forward you an email from 'Impact Services' you will see that they use the domain 'impact-services.co.uk' . This is your clue. If you look at this website it gives you an address for impact services. Now, this will be taken down by David, the owner, so you can also google 'who owns url' and input impact-services.co.uk and this will show you where this domain is registered which again will bring up the same address. If you keep this in mind and do a credit check on David St James (which the owner tried to claim was illegal and that we would go to prison for breaking the data protection act and he was going to get his team of solicitors on to us. Not surprisingly we are still waiting.). Don't be fooled, there are many companies such as Experian and Equifax who can do this for you. David St James are a limited company which means they have to file their accounts and the names and addresses of the directors becomes public knowledge. The Data Protection Act applies to individuals data. Anyway, on this credit check under directors you will see a familiar address. Doing a credit check on a company before dealing with them is important to protect yourself and I would recommend doing one on DSJ as it is not only the address of the director which makes interesting reading.
What this means for you as a tenant is that in court none of the evidence will stand up which is the reason reputable estate agents hire third parties to do the check in/check out reports.
Another tip for dealing with DSJ is to demand in writing the Landlords contact details. On our contract we were given just the names and an address as c/o DSJ. They legally have 21 days to give this too you and then you can explain any concerns you have to them directly. It is likely that the landlord will have plenty of sympathy as they will have experienced the level of service which DSJ provide and is fully detailed on the previous reviews.
One of the big issues from previous reviews seems to be the fact they fail to return deposits in reasonable time. An easy solution would be to download court form N1 and after filling this in, sending this along with a letter before action (which can be downloaded via the shelter website) to DSJ given them 2 weeks to return the money. If they don't commence the court action and they will be liable for the court fees. All this can be done yourself and you don't need a solicitor. (We didn't have this problem but I thought it might be useful for people to know how to proceed should they pull this trick)
Other issues you can expect as a tenant through this agency are: Very rude and hostile employees who fail to reply to emails. It took me a month to get my radiator fixed in the middle of winter with one horrible person in particular telling me that the maintenance team had 'more important priorities'.
The important thing to realise is not to ever use this company. If you are thinking of using them just try doing a credit check and read the other reviews on this site. You will soon change your mind.
And to the owner, it was not me who wrote the only review you have responded to on this site. As you can see my review was a lot more detailed. I also wanted to wait until we had our full deposit back, 3 months after we moved out. It took me 20 second on the phone to the landlord before they agreed to return the full deposit.
I would however love a reply to this justifying to anyone who may possibly be thinking of using you why you think it is appropriate to threaten people with ¢â‚¬Ëœcustodial sentences' based on wildely inaccurate information? Any 16 year old business studies student could tell you the Data protection Act applies to individuals data! What do your team of solicitors say about that? Or are they on their school holidays? I find it deplorable that anyone would conduct business in such a way. I have never in my life ever dealt with anyone quite as repulsive as you or your employees.
And anyone else reading this please ignore the 5 star reviews. They are quite clearly by David St James as two of them have the same IP address.