My experience with Martin and Co initially began reasonably well with a viewing of a well presented property I soon made an offer on and will be leaving in the near future. As such the process was relatively painless until I was handed a few additional documents to sign, one in particular detailing that a person signing may not remain at the property beyond the agreed tenancy period without an agreement between themselves and Martin and Co. Another document detailing that they would attach the exact details of the scheme into which my deposit would/had been placed. Information legally required within 14 days that I have never seen, rather illegal.
Contract law allows a contract to exist beyond the length of the contract given that the terms of the agreement are pertained to by all parties involved. After further investigation this is clearly a method by which Martin and Co attempt to enforce continued signings of lease agreements, read into that what you will.
The rental period itself went without any issue until Martin and Co decided that they would ignore the terms of their own agreement, specifically that they will 'verbally inform' a tenant of any viewing with a minimum of 24 hours' notice.
Instead they determined that they would only use e-mail, which given the mere couple of days' notice I do not see to be acceptable means of direct communication. Furthermore the arrogance of staff to assume that they could simply ignore my wishes and the availability of the property for viewing was extremely insulting.
The staff that dealt with the matter refused to withdraw the viewing despite my having advised them that they would be disturbing me (I was working night shifts at the time) and that I could not allow anyone into the property without my presence as some of my possessions are restricted by law and I am bound to ensure their safety and location.
I was forced to paint the situation very obviously to them and remind them that they do not have right of way and that they should have consulted me verbally beforehand rather than approach the matter with the ignorance of assuming that they could behave as they wished and make an appointment with a potential new tenant that they could not in all reasonableness had committed to without my prior involvement, all this despite my offering to make the property available at a later date which would have caused me financial loss due to my working arrangements.
As such I made the prudent steps (ironically on moving in) to ensure that an internal surveillance system was installed, something they seemed to ignore at the time and I would have made use of in the event of them entering the property without my prior agreement.
This behaviour alone is disgusting and not an attitude I have ever experienced from another letting agency or land lord, and I have been renting for over a decade. That was not the end of the sordid affair however as I had made the acquaintance of the landlord during the rental period and had discussed remaining in the property beyond the date of the rental period, an extension if you will.
The landlord had agreed to this verbally and we do share a cordial acquaintance as I have allowed him into the property, he has observed, and commented upon, that I have maintained the property well and has been most glad of this. He was especially helpful when the boiler partially failed and ensured a timely repair.
Not being a landlord I do not know where the power of the letting agent begins and ends but as such I would have expected an agency to discuss with the landlord if an extension would be granted or not and if the landlord consents to such things.
As such they ignored the landlords wishes and denied a single months further extension to my rental period, the landlord had agreed to this and he was forced to inform them (again by e-mail, they don't appear to like two way conversations) to extend the period, all after they had tried to book a 'checkout' for me. Again without sufficiently informing me of the details (e-mail once again).
That ranks somewhere between utter incompetence and total bare faced arrogance. As such I will never use this dire excuse for a supposedly professional letting agency ever again and urge anyone reading this to severely reconsider any association with this branch, who seem to be obsessed with finances and nothing more.
So to finalise this review you may have noticed I have highlighted e-mail a lot, I have also pointed out the inability of these people to contact a tenant via the contractually specified means of a verbal method. Well in fairness they did call me, once, ever since beginning the tenancy.
The purpose of the phone call as to mention that my rent had not been paid as my original direct debit had expired as I was staying beyond the original length of the tenancy agreement. No problems there I made the payment immediately and had it all tidied up within two hours (bank transfer).
So they know how to contact me, they are legally bound to maintain records of client details and they seem to be able to use them also, when it suits them.
I have also noted that this group has not supplied with me with details of the scheme that my deposit is in either, so in conclusion:
In conclusion I urge all tenants to avoid Martin and Co Whitefield at all costs for illegal practices and total disregard of contract.
What agent could do to change your mind?
They could not have changed my mind after the events detailed in my review. The behaviour and attitudes demonstrated are unacceptable in any industry and I sincerely hope that Martin and Co Whitefield are held to account in as many areas of misconduct and incompetency as possible.