I have some complaints against Oak Valley Residential lettings (estate agent). This estate agent deals in Erdington/Sutton Coldfields area of Birmingham.
In the week before finalising the property from Oak Valley when I asked a member of staff (who works with Oak Valley), that I want a copy of agreement to read the terms and conditions, they told me that they don't have one. They told me that I have to pay full tenancy deposit of £650 (+debit card charges of £1.50) to get the printout of the agreement. Even after paying deposit I was not allowed to take home copy of agreement and have to read it in their office. I believe it is unfair to take deposit from prospective tenant just to give them copy of the agreement.
When I moved in on 8th June 2009, a member of staff was at the property for signing of the agreement. They asked us to sign the inventory list immediately. They said the check in process will not be complete without signing of the inventory list. We were not given a chance and time to check whether inventory list is correct. I had to sign on the inventory list since on same day I had moved my luggage from Leeds to Birmingham and I had no other place to go. Now in deposit refund dispute they say that I was told to handover inventory list in 2 weeks time and I signed it immediately of my own free will.
There were shortcomings in the property like
-Bed and Mattress mentioned in inventory list was missing
-broken and unusable cupboard. Drawers had no base.
-Property was in really bad condition with - fungus in washing machine, dust on sofa/carpet, soiled carpet. Later I was told that I get property 'as it is'!!
-only mattress provided was of very poor quality. We could feel the springs of the mattress. Oak valley agreed that it is poor quality and suggested that I can buy new mattress and take it along at the end of tenancy!!!
and there were many other issues...
Response from Oak valley for our complaints was extremely negative. After many emails and calls from us they sent the person for repairs (after more than a month) with condition that they will spend only half day for purchase and repairs. Person they sent repaired only few items and majority of issues were left unattended. Broken cupboard was never repaired saying that it is non-urgent issue. Oak valley maintained that we get the apartment as seen in viewing even though agreement mentions that we get apartment and articles in it in good condition. But while leaving they expected us to clean everything. Even though we had kept apartment in extremely clean condition they have deducted £135 from deposit for reasons like soiled carpet, crayon scribbles on wall, iron marks on carpet which were not observed during checkout inspection and were not mentioned in the checkout form.
When agreement mentions that deposit has to be refunded within one month from end of tenancy it took 1.5 months (2 months after checkout) and many reminders to finally get partial deposit refund.
Tenancy agreement is heavily in favour of the landlord. There are only 3-4 items in Landlord's obligations like fire insurance, repair of exteriors, deposit refund in a month. There is no mention of many of landlord's mandatory obligations like repairs/safety of boiler, room heaters, electrical equipments (it did not have inspection tags) etc.
These guys showed me the garden in viewing but didn't show the garbage dump 5 feet from home.
I feel that most of employees of Oak Valley are very rude. I found their attitude extremely unprofessional. In case you have to go with them I will suggest - read agreement carefully, don't sign inventory list immediately, view every small details in the property carefully at the time of viewing only, get written assurance from Oak Valley that house will be cleaned before you move-in, take signed copy of the checkout form.