Apr 19,2015
By: 'Fiona'
Apr 19,2015
4 people found
this helpful
Absolutely appalling. As I had had a bad experience with another agency who had not been able to get maintenance done, I used this as a test. Hazel Wray (M.A.R.L.A.) came around to view my flat and made a lot of promises about getting a list of necessary maintenance done during the void before the new tenants moved in. She also assured me that their maintenance was managed locally and that she had a handyman on call who could come around and do it.

Although there was a gap of several weeks during which the property was empty and there was nothing whatsoever preventing the maintenance from being done (which I had said that I was willing to pay for in advance if necessary), she did nothing whatsoever about it apart from making promises which she had no intention whatsoever of keeping. These promises were made solely to get me to sign her contract.

Unknown to me at the time, my next tenants (who had also had a bad experience with their previous agent) had done exactly the same thing, and she had also agreed a list of maintenance with them - all of it specifically to be done before the start of the tenancy.

Hazel assured both of us that the maintenance would be done, and then (just before we both signed the lease) that it had in fact been completed. This assurance was given solely to get us to sign the lease, without her having the slightest intention of keeping the agreement. I was back home 400 miles away at the time. As soon as the tenants moved in, they saw that none of the work had been done at all. Deliberate lies had been told to both of us, just to get us to sign the lease.

It then turned out that, far from their maintenance being managed locally, it was in fact managed from Norwich. Not surprisingly, their maintenance service was abysmal. They started off by demanding that the tenants should take time off work to be at home while the maintenance was done - although the whole point of having the maintenance done DURING THE VOID was specifically to prevent that. Their incompetence resulted in necessary legal processes not being completed and my insurance being invalidated.

They knew at the beginning that I had instructed several other agents and would go with whichever one let it first. So they pretended that they had had an offer, just to get me to dis-instruct the others. One of the dis-instructed agents told me that they had seen Hazel showing my property to another prospective tenant after this. Weeks later, they told me that the original (non-existant) bidder had dropped out and that they had found another taker. They also let my property to tenants who turned out not to have references - a fact which the insurance company made a lot of fuss about later.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Either honour any promises made by you in order to get an agreement or else don't make any promises which you do not intend to keep. In either case, stop telling lies just to get clients to sign.
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Comment on agent fees
Months afterwards, after following their complaints procedure, they agreed to refund my fees. That was 5 years ago and I am still waiting.
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Roger Platt

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