I have had a wide, and pretty much universally bad, experience of Cardiff's letting agents and can confidently say that Imperial are the worst. Initially, the sales experience was pleasant enough, as it usually is, however, as soon as the agency fee was handed over the customer service disappeared.
A number of issues arose almost immediately, stemming mainly from the lack of communication between Imperial's two offices. The requirements for signing the lease changed from being shown around a property to signing, the promised furniture only materialized after a complaint was made, the property had to be professionally cleaned after we had moved in, again after a compliant, workmen would regularly let themselves in without notice, new prospective tenants were being shown around two months into the six month lease and, finally, the bond was repaid two weeks later than agreed time limit.
The above list represents the main issues that we had with Imperial over the six months of our tenancy but is by no means exhaustive and doesn't cover the general rudeness of a few of their staff. However, possibly the most serious issue arose at the very start of our ¢â‚¬Ëœexperience' when we came to sign the lease and pay our deposits. As an unregulated industry, and due to bad experiences in the past, we were uncomfortable giving Imperial guarantor details as they have no recognized standards of data security. Instead of providing these we offered to pay the rent for the entire lease in full, some £3600, but, unbelievably, this was declined. Instead, Imperial requested a further £200 in cash to go in their safe until we got guarantor details to them. We refused to do this, not understanding how £200 in the safe could possibly be better than the entire lease paid in full, apart from the fact that the £200 would be ¢â‚¬Ëœoff contract' and therefore would not be governed by the terms of the lease. We eventually provided basic guarantor details and advised our parents to watch their bank accounts very carefully for the duration of our tenancy.
I can only give my honest advice to anyone thinking about using Imperial; unless you absolutely love the property, don't. Even if you do love the property, I would suggest trying to find out who the owner is and approaching them directly to save yourself some money and a good deal of hassle. We eventually got everything sorted, mainly due to our experience of dealing with other agents and my partner's legal training, but it was never easy or pleasant. I am sure there are a number of rants on this site but I have had a number of bad experiences with letting agents and this is the first time that I have been compelled to write a review to warn other tenants.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Nothing would make me change my mind aboput using Imperial again.