I rented a property via Blackkatz two weeks ago now. Upon viewing the flat and immediately being urged to pay a deposit, Blackkatz immediately began harassing me to sign the rental contract, provide references, and make payment of the full 1 months' rent and deposit. I advised them that I would first like some information from them about the property and the landlord and sent them a list of queries (who is the landlord, how long have they known him, do the utilities work, etc). I was told by Lauren Dean that this was not her job, they were not managing the property, and they did not know the answer to most of the questions. I asked for another viewing of the property but Blackkatz said they could not arrange this with the landlord. She said that I had to sign the documents urgently. I would get the information with my ¢â‚¬Ëœmove in pack' on the day I moved in, i.e. after signing the contract and handing over all of the money. I asked if Blackkatz could send my questions to the landlord (since I had no way of contacting him myself) but did not get a reply other than that I had to urgently sign the documents. I went into Blackkatz' office, where John Curry gave me the answers to some of my questions in the presence of Lauren Dean. One of my questions (made both many times in writing and also verbally) was whether any building works etc would be carried to the property (such as to the facade) or the adjacent properties in the near future. John assured me that no works would be carried out. He said that the basement flat next door was being renovated but this was practically finished. Upon that information, I signed the contract and moved into the property. A week later, I came home from work to find the entire building and those next door on either side covered in scaffolding up to the roof. The landlord initially said that this had been arranged for months and Blackkatz should have told me. Blackkatz said that they did not know, they had asked the landlord my questions as I asked, and anyway it had nothing to do with them as they do not manage the property (bearing in mind they had expressly told me there would be no building works, and I was not even a tenant when I asked the questions and had absolutely no way of contacting the landlord myself). I would have to speak with the landlord. When I asked who had asked the landlord my questions and when so that I could take up the matter with him, Zia Anwar said that he could not remember. After I complained to Blackkatz and told them I would make a formal complaint and Zia had spoken privately with the landlord, the landlord changed his story and said that he had decided months ago to paint the neighbouring property but had decided on a whim [i.e. without any notice to his tenants] to paint my property. Either way, at the very least, Blackkatz had known that scaffolding was going to be put up on the house next door the week after I moved in but had lied to me. It is my belief that they just did not bother to ask the landlord for the information I requested and they and the landlord are now trying to cover this up. I have found it extremely difficult to get any kind of response from Blackkatz, particularly Zia, who apparently is supposed to deal with these issues or from the landlord himself who refuses to meet with me. Blackkatz say this has nothing to do with them as they don't manage the property (regardless of the fact I entered into a contract in bad faith because of them). There are various issues with the flat (it has taken a week to get a working shower), my windows do not lock so anyone can now easily enter my flat via the scaffolding, I now have workmen standing directly outside of my windows when I get home from work, my entire flat smells of chemicals from the works outside, there is dust all over my kitchen, and neither Blackkatz nor the landlord will do anything about it. Blackkatz have also given my deposit to the landlord, who refuses to provide me with proof that he has placed it into the tenancy deposit scheme. It took many emails to get Zia to confirm which regulatory scheme Blackkatz belongs to so that I could make a complaint, and many requests for Blackkatz to send me their written complaints procedure. Whilst Blackkatz may provide a good service to landlords, it is my experience that they just do not care about tenants. They take their ¢â‚¬Å“admin fee¢â‚¬Â and that is it.
What agent could do to change your mind?
- Not lied to me.
- Actually asked the landlord my queries such as whether they utilities are all working, if building works are going to be carried out in the near future, etc rather than giving me false information.
- Not pressured me into signing a contract (which was made in bad faith) before answering my questions and carrying out proper due diligence as I requested.
- Properly deal with my concerns rather than ignoring them or brushing over them.
- Not hand my deposit over to a landlord who refuses to provide me with proof that he has placed it in the tenancy deposit scheme.
- Carry out proper checks of the landlords on your books.
- Do your job properly with care and concern for the tenants as you are legally required to do.