I rented a property with 6 friends during our 2nd year at University. When we viewed our house we were told that it would be left in a clean and habitable state for us to move into in September 2010. The current tenants warned us that the downstairs bathroom didn\'t work, but the agents assured us that it would be getting fixed within the next week or so and would therefore be in full working order ready for us to move in.
When we moved in it soon became evident that they had lied to us. The house was in a disgusting condition, the skirting boards were black with dust and dirt, the bathrooms were filthy and the kitchen required hours of elbow grease before it could be considered remotely safe to cook in. Not to mention the HORRENDOUS damp, and the \'UNSAFE\' notice on the gas boiler that had miraculously appeared before we moved in. We also found mouse holes, and a number of other problems. Fortunately we documented all of these upon moving in, and made a list to take to the agents (as we had been told to do if there was a problem).
Not to mention that they didn\'t ask us to sign a contract - but this turns out that it was because they had photocopied the signatures we signed on the RETAINER for the house and stapled them to the back of a default contract that we had not been given to read!
Whenever there was a problem we would go straight to the agents and inform them, asking for it to be seen to. On more than one occurrence we were told that we should not tell them about any maintenance problems as \'we just let the properties\' - and were told to contact our \'landlord\' (Kam Patel) directly. The final straw was when the toilet in the basement (the one that we had been reassured had been repaired!) started to overflow with raw sewage - we immediately went into the office to ask them to deal with it immediately as it was a health and safety issue and the 2 staff members listed above LAUGHED at us and basically said that it wasn\'t their problem. Frankly you could get better customer service from untrained monkeys than those two.
The saga continued throughout the year, each time leaving us less and less impressed with the service we received - we had to get the city council involved, and even then it took long enough for our \'landlord\' to sort things out.
I say \'landlord\' because, at the end of the year, it suddenly emerged that our landlord did not own our house - instead he managed over 200 properties which he let through Tenant Network on behalf of his relatives. They tried to use this guise to take our deposit - even though we made sure to leave the house spotless (a far cry from the state that we found it in!) and had not damaged a thing. Thankfully we argued our case and received our money back, but it really was the final straw.
In short, I would choose to live on the street in a cardboard box rather than using this agency again and would urge any prospective landlords or tenants to look elsewhere as I have heard nothing but bad things from other students who have rented from them. NEVER AGAIN!
What agent could do to change your mind?
Fire the two incompetent and rude idiots manning the desk and employ someone with some brains, dedication and compassion who can master the art of customer service!
Don\'t accept substandard properties from dodgy \'Landlords\' who are really just managing multiple properties for friends/relatives - goodness only knows how legal this side of the business is (and believe me, we had a barrister on standby ready to investigate that for us!) !
If you say that the property is cleaned over summer then do it. In fact, clean it anyway. It should not be the new tenants responsibility to have to clean up after previous tenants.