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Apr 24,2012
By: 'Bubbles'
Apr 24,2012
1 people found
this helpful
have rented before, but never have I witnessed so many hidden charges involved in a rental company.

There was a £120 legal fee before we even started, then £65 per person for referencing. Even though I am a homeowner, and make over £30,000 a year, Russells decided that my place of work had not provided enough data about my salary for me to move forward with the letting (this after 2 weeks of waiting and not hearing anything). They then decided I needed a guarantor and they wouldn't let me move forward without one. My mother happily completed the forms and sent them in. To be told that the address on the forms were incorrect and there would be a further delay as the postage forwarding service wasnt as fast as normal mail! Every single stage of the process has been slow, and 4 weeks after viewing the house there has still been no confirmation that we will get the house we want! The company is in no hurry to do anything other than take costs from us - as I needed a "guarantor" they took another £65 from us for the referencing, even though when I spoke to my HR director, he was willing to pass on the salary information that made the need for one redundant. Considering they charge £65 a reference, you would hope that Russells would at least proceed and complete them accurately!

Also, the "deposit" is a joke. There is no way that you can get the whole of it back, which to me questions the title of "deposit". 15% they keep, as a bonus for them, and there is a compulsury charge for cleaning when you leave the property, no matter how tidy you have left the place. For the 3 bedroom property we are renting it is £150! This is not fair as I can guarantee I will not leave the place with £150 worth of mess!

So, thats £675 of charges for me as a tennant. This company is money grabbing as I know, from experience as a landlord that they take a huge management cost the other side too! We are stuck with this company as the house we want is far better than any others we have seen, but if you can, avoid Russells!

In summary: slow, lazy, money grabbing and useless!
What agent could do to change your mind?
Not been a money grabbing, slow, useless estate agent!
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By: dim
Dec 15, 2012
Yea ... 10 years ago I rented through Russels .... moved into the home on the friday, and on the monday there was a 'for sale sign' erected ... this was not mentioned at the time of signing the contract ... perhaps because I spoke with a foreign accent?

then .... 6 months later, our contract came to an end (during the contract, we had people in and out viewing the property) ... It was like a 'show house'

Before we moved, we had professional cleaners clean the carpets and the house .... The owner of Russels came and done a final inspection (military style) .... without saying a word .... we then had hundreds of pounds deducted from our deposit for cleaning (those were the days that agents could hold your deposit indefinately)

we needed the money as we needed the money for the deposit of our next property .... so we let him take the money off so as to use the remainder, or else we would have been homeless

and a few weeks later, it was 'rumoured' that the owner of Russells' mother in law owned a cleaning company and the money taken away from our deposit was paid to her???

if true, how convenient???

Ali Baba and the 7 thieves is what I say .... I have never ever forgotten (or forgiven) , and Karma ALWAYS come back to bite you if you take advantage of the vulnerable
By: unhappy tenant
Oct 12, 2012
I entirely agree with the previous tenant(s). Russells are money grabbing, inefficient, hard-nosed and break the rules, totally without any scruples in respect of the tenant and break the rules (showing an estate agent around without my permission). The Ely office staff are rude and aggressive.
By: Russell's
May 10, 2012
I reply to this posting as follows:-

The posting is inaccurate and set the record straight as follows:-

1. Our fees are very transparent and are all listed inclusive of VAT on our application form which all tenants complete before making any commitment to a property at all. They have the option at that stage not to proceed any further. The application fee is £65 per person and very competitive with other agents. This is taken at the application and referencing stage. If an applicant is accepted as a tenant after successful referencing there is legal charge for the tenancy agreement which is £90 not £120. It is not an up front fee and only payable when a tenancy is agreed.

2. We have a duty to our landlord client to ensure that tenants are capable of meeting the monthly rental payment on an ongoing basis. Due to an impending change in the applicant’s personal circumstances, her income would drop and she was advised at the outset that a guarantor would be needed. The applicant’s employer took ten days to respond to a reference request and confirm the change in circumstances. The applicant’s partner (i.e. a co-applicant) is a student on a low income. As such the level of income was insufficient to meet the criteria required. The applicant was therefore asked to provide a guarantor.

The company moved offices late last year and unfortunately an old guarantee form was sent from an individual’s PC and not the server. We acknowledge the error in this case and accept responsibility for this. All old documents have been removed from PC’s. A forwarding facility is in any case in place, to ensure we receive all mail sent to our old offices.

3. The deposit is protected by the Tenancy Dispute Scheme. The assertion that Russells keep 15% is wholly inaccurate and totally untrue. If tenants leave a property in good order the whole deposit is returned, less any other agreed fees and charges. If a tenant leaves with significant dilapidations or damage which are identified after check out and discussed with the tenants, (with the tenants having the option to dispute and the matter to be referred to the TDS), an administration charge is made. This is clearly outlined on the application form. An administration charge only applies in the case of work being required at the end of the tenancy which is the tenant’s responsibility. It covers staff time in dealing with matters that are not the landlord’s responsibility. It is not 15% of the deposit and is a small charge based on the cost of the works (if any) required. If a tenant leaves the property as they find it with no damage or dilapidations over and above wear and tear there is no charge. An end of tenancy cleaning charge is made. This is a fixed cost. This fixed cost is well received by tenants as it enables them to budget, leave a property without having to worry about cleaning and also avoids disputes at the end of the tenancy in relation to cleaning costs. This cost is for a full commercial professional clean of the property and includes carpets. The costs are all clearly on the application form and fully transparent.

We believe that the tenant/applicant in this case has not yet started the tenancy. The applicant has the option to withdraw from the tenancy and, if this is the choice of the tenant, we will refund all fees already paid in full, as a sign of good faith.

We operate a complaints handling procedure which is approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors of whom we are members and also belong to the Ombudsman for Lettings Scheme. If the applicant wishes to make a formal complaint the applicant is entitled to do this and any complaint will be fairly dealt with, rather than anonymously making unjustified and inaccurate postings. Alternatively, I would be pleased to discuss any problems face to face.

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Russell Residential

100-102 Regent Street Cambridge

01223 521152

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