1. Countrywide has some of the highest agent admin fees around to get into a rental property. Expect to spend serious £ £ £ .
2. There is no month to month rolling allowed at the end of our 12 month contract. This has been a nightmare for us as we are trying to buy a house while avoiding another costly contract.
3. Expect your annual lease renewal fees to double (ours went from £ 80 to £120 in 1 year). This is what they charge to print out and send last year's lease with a new date on it. Can you please justify this cost?
4. Our upstairs tap wasn't fixed for 6 months (issue with maintenance dept).
5. We received threatening letters about owing money (due to their accounting error). We spent £20 in phone calls and had to escalate the issue to head office to clear this up. That was because after 2 months of trying to get them to fix the error at our local branch, we were told quite bluntly that the amount wasn't worth their time researching to clear our account. After 4 months of stress we would appreciate an apology from Countrywide.
6. We are regularly treated with significant disrespect, even though we always pay full rent out of our bank account on time.
7. Our entire downstairs floor was covered in plaster when we moved in. I spent 2 weeks scrubbing floors. Our Dyson died on the upstairs carpet it was so dirty. It was really good that the windows were replaced (hence the plaster) but the property was not suitable for moving in. After waiting over a 10 days to see if they were planning to remove the mess outside, we had to call the council to collect a large amount of bin bags and loads of old carpet that we found on the path and stuffed in the back shed. (Just to add, the upstairs sink was hanging off the wall like a rotten tooth, and the entire exterior wall needs damp proofing ASAP.) An agency this size should keep on top of quality & cleanliness standards. Countrywide needs to prove why they deserve to charge high fees. Their quarterly inspections are slightly insulting in this respect and feel more like an invasion of quiet enjoyment.
Overall our experience with Countrywide has been beyond disappointing. One comes to the conclusion after reading all the complaints against them that staff training at Countrywide breeds a culture of blatant mistreatment of both tenants and landlords.
What agent could do to change your mind?
This is addressed in part to the branch but mostly to Countrywide as a whole:
1. Try to lower your administration fees
2. Try to lower your lease renewal fees and do not punish long term tenants by doubling them
3. Inspect the property before tenants move in to insure it is clean to an acceptable degree. Have all rubbish removed or a firm arrangement agreed.
4. I understand you have troublesome tenants, but you shouldn't assume all of us are miserable low-life troublemakers. Give us some respect.
5. Provide tenants the ability to write down complains themselves at inspection. This clears up miscommunications to the landlord.
6. Give the option of a rolling contract after the 12 month period. As you know this is already offered with other agencies.
7. Four inspections per year is quite excessive and constitutes a disruption of quiet enjoyment to your tenants that keep house and gardens tidy.
8. The words you use in your letters are threatening and in most cases unnecessary. This makes tenants highly defensive and increases hostility.