I don't know where to start. Clearly we doubt the phrase 'customer service' is on their list of don'ts when they train their staff if they even train them at all, other than to tell them that the bottom line is profit maximisation for as little effort as possible. It was not clear to us that the things which would normally be included in a 10% management fee are charged as extras and other things which were supposed to be done were not done until they were reminded of them (eg gas certificate, periodic inspections, inventory). A detailed inventory had been prepared and provided by us but they refused to use this as they 'outsourced' the checking in/out process to an outside company! This was charged to us for £80 and £60 respectively and despite several phone calls and emails requesting copies of the report none was ever received. The first tenant they found stopped paying their rent. What a disaster, they said that they could not do anything. When it was clear that the tenant was being paid rent allowance directly we had to tell them that they could apply to have this paid directly. These tenants were also in breach of their agreement by having a dog (more of this later). When the time came for them to finally move out (still owing rent) Martin & co did nothing to help us remove them and even suggested that we let them stay on even though there was no chance of getting the rent. Of course once they did move out Martin & co made sure that they took all their charges from the deposit owed and had cleaning done at inflated cost. There was nowhere near enough deposit to cover the rent owed but they took their money leaving us £500 short!
We were renting a house at the time and our letting agent was appalled when we told them about Martin & co's working methods. Unfortunately as we were in the middle of moving house ourselves and they found another tenant we let them manage the property again and were it not for the fact that we live so far away from the property we would not have gone ahead with them but felt we had no choice. Also, at this stage we were unaware of the state the house had got into, due to their incompetence, as we did not get a chance to visit it and do our own inspection and maintenance as we would have liked.
For the next year maintenance jobs kept coming up to be repaired at inflated prices with the same problems repeated. This rang alarm bells but they fobbed us off saying jobs had been done. When we finally got to see the house when the second tenant left we were appalled. The previous tenant had cracked the bathroom sink (how doesn't bear thinking about) their dog had completely ruined the laminate in the conservatory and chewed the stair carpet, some curtains were filthy and marked. The garden shed was full of rubbish left by the first tenant which we had paid to be removed the year before! At this stage the elusive inventory from the year before was produced with details about these items! Other items were missing, proving that the original inventory had not been checked if it existed at all. Yet, periodic inspection reports had stated that the house was in good order, clean and being looked after. Clearly nothing was ever checked by Martin & co staff and certainly not the maintenance work eg we had just paid for a leaking central heating pipe to be repaired and the plumber had ripped open the boxing around it and just left it, they offered to get someone else to repair this at further cost of course. All the maintenance people we got in (including the plumber who had always done our repairs before) were appalled at the high cost and poor workmanship. Our conclusion is that Martin & co use incompetent contractors or that the contractors know they won't be checked and take advantage. This experience has put us off ever using letting agents again, I know there are good ones out there but we won't take the risk again. My advice is to avoid this one like the plague and check reviews and get other landlord testimonials if you can before signing a contract.