I had a horrible experience trying to rent a property through this agent. Found the 2 bed property in Battersea advertised on Gumtree, arranged a viewing and decided to proceed. Went to the Utile Dulci office in Earls Court, no official office, are based in the basement of the Andrew Lister office. Highly disorganised, paperwork everywhere. Was told had to pay holding deposit in cash or cheque, no card payment facilities. Gave deposit and felt instant dislike from agent, he questioned our low income, although easily enough to cover rent, and asked if I was aware of having to pay bills.
During the process of getting the Tenancy Agreement together was treated in a highly derogatory manner, agent was rude and abrupt. Agent was only contactable through a Hotmail Email account so still unsure of authenticity. Although we provided every piece of documentation required including references stating our exemplary tenancy history and proof of income, had many obstacles put in our way. Was asked for a guarantor although we provided references from previous Landlords. Agent showed prejudice against the fact that one guarantor was from outside UK, although my friend, who he had met, is Irish and so her family are also Irish. Although agent is French and Landlord is Spanish. There was no stipulation that guarantor had to be from within UK in Tenancy Agreement.
We also had to have a clause added to Tenancy Agreement stating the requirement of a legal Guarantor as no reference was made to it in agreement but a signature was required at the end. Assumptions were also made regarding transactions of our bank statements that simply weren't true.
We were told that our application was "high risk" and then the next day that the Landlord didn't want to continue with us. I sent an email asking for an explanation and explaining any statements in his email that had been made about our application that were mistaken or incorrect. Had no reply and then two days later saw the property listed once again on Gumtree, although our holding deposit was still with the agent. Called number listed on the advert and was told by his colleague that it was the Landlord's decision to relist the property and only our agent can take it down. I explained that I had tried to contact him to no avail.
Received a reply the following day from agent saying he was sorry but it was the Landlord's decision and he is to return the holding deposit to us. Said that the current tenants had suddenly decided to stay and the Landlord prefers that option. We gave our details for the payment to be returned but asked for our documentation back and for postage and loss of interest cost reimbursed as a goodwill gesture for inconvenience, as we had given our notice on current properties. This request was ignored and the deposit returned. When I queried this with him and said we may have to take our case further, as we had been mistreated and he had been completely unprofessional, received an abusive reply in which he refused to pay us any administration costs as he "knows his rights" and admitted that it had been his influence that had swayed the Landlord's decision not to proceed with us and this final request had "confirmed his suspicion."
Do not do business with this agent Julien Pitras, he has no communication skills or compassion towards individual circumstances. Made things as difficult for us as possible and let all decisions be swayed by his own prejudice.