Reading the reviews on this page and based upon my own experiences, I suspect Black Katz are excellent when everything goes right with a tenancy but as soon as you have any problems - everything falls apart. We moved into our tenancy at the beginning of August and have faced numerous problems, most of which we are still trying to resolve four months later. All those that have been resolved have either been because we have gone directly to the source (i.e. the council) ourselves or through constant chasing.
Below are a list of some of the issues we have faced/are still facing:
* Our moving in time was delayed to allow for a deep clean and inventory. The deep clean was never done and the inventory took over six weeks to be sent to us, rather than the week originally quoted. On moving in only one of the two sets of keys could be found by the agency - we had to go out and get a second set cut (though we were reimbursed) and the back door key was not found for a further two days. Simple information like which companies dealt with the bills of the property was also not provided, so we had to do all the running and chasing for this ourselves.
* We should have been informed of what deposit scheme our deposit was registered with within 14 days of payment, nearly five months later and after many requests, we still have not received this information.
* Having assumed that Black Katz had checked the legal status of our property we were shocked to discover, by contacting the council ourselves, that the landlord had not requested permission to change the house into two flats and had not registered the change of use. We ourselves have had to inform the council of change and have had to organise new council tax band ratings for both properties. Originally Black Katz had suggested on behalf of our landlord (who appears to be permanently out of the country and unreachable) that we paid the council tax directly to our landlord in addition to our rent - this would have in all likelihood left us, as the tenants, in breach of the law and the request should never have been passed on to us.
* Similarly it appears that health and safety checks may not have been performed adequately. It took numerous prompts to receive our gas safety certificate, there is no evidence of PAT testing within the flat and we have reason to believe there may be a major fault with the wiring in our kitchen, providing a potential fire risk. For example, one of the plugs, when switched off, does not stop stop the flow of power. Despite reporting this a fortnight ago, the problem has still not been investigated.
* On top of which we have an ongoing mold issue (the advice has been that we should keep our windows open), there are a wealth of smaller maintenance issues and a general poor quality of finish to recent refurbishment work (for example no grouting was put between the tiles in the bathroom, which has led to the inadequately laid tiles cracking) - which I believe is seriously risking our deposit return in the future through no fault of our own.
* Some of these smaller issues I have not even reported, because every time we have contacted Black Katz we have been given the feeling that we are the ones being problematic. The general standard of customer service from the Camden office is poor. We have consistently been left out of the loop regarding what is happening; despite reassurances by email that problems will be dealt with they have been promptly forgotten; and on at least five occasions we have been assured someone will call us back, we are still waiting on all five calls. When this poor service has been highlighted to Black Katz, the reason given on each occasion has been that the member of staff dealing with the issue has left or was temporary. As well as leaving us with the feeling that we are being passed from pillar to post, it also is not an excuse for our problems not to be dealt with. We are paying the company, not an individual staff member, for service and if high turnover is an issue, there should be systems in place to minimise the affect on customers.
Nearly five months after moving in, we are still facing a constant battle to get these issues resolved. I am currently seeking medical advice for stress caused by the tenancy and legal advice to discover if we can end the contract early. As I work in Residential Management myself for a major London university, I would be appalled if we had provided this service to our students and the only relief is that I can now recommend that they do not take out a contract with Black Katz themselves. I would highly recommend that people do NOT let with the company.