“Please learn from my mistake!...”

Apr 14,2018
By: 'Ella'
Apr 14,2018
7 people found
this helpful
Based on my experience of renting from Portico, a Portico managed property, for a year between selling and buying flats, I will never again have any dealings with this company. I will not sell my flat through them when the time comes, I will not rent my flat through them, should I need to, and I would not even look at a property on the market through them.

I had to wait four months longer than I should have, a total of five months, for the return of my deposit, based on the terms and conditions of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement that I, and the landlords, signed with Portico or Edmund Cude. I was charged a check out fee of £176.40, as per the terms and conditions of the AST, yet I was advised by Portico that, under the same AST, the terms for the landlords were guidelines not responsibilities or commitments. Eventually, after I raised a dispute with the TDS, 10 weeks after the end of my tenancy, Portico advised me that there would be some reductions to my deposit. After they knew I had gone to the TDS, Portico/the landlords decided they wanted £153.40 for mostly fictitious issues which they could not evidence. Last week the TDS advised that they have awarded £53.40 for four lightbulbs to be changed, a pair of curtains to be removed and some leaves swept up in the garden.

Portico had two properties on the market in the area that I wanted to rent. My preferred one they let to someone else, even though I agreed to pay the full asking rental price up front for a year. I don't know if this offer was presented to the landlord, but I made it in good faith. I was then told someone else had offered and the landlord had chosen them, even though they were offering to pay less than me. I probably ought to have heard alarm bells then, but I didn't, and I was desperate, so I moved in to the other one, paying premium rent - £1800 a month - for a two bed basement flat in Parsons Green, two payments of six months' rent up front.

The problems started almost immediately: the front door wouldn't close, so my contents insurance was invalid, and I felt unsafe after the flat next door was broken into. When Portico did eventually address this, the way they fedback the findings of the guy they sent was really patronising: “the door had warped slightly allowing it to be blown open in high winds” where I had photographic and video evidence that this was not the case, it simply didn't close. I strongly suspect that I was labelled a dramatic, problem tenant after this, as my calls were rarely answered.

• Two months wait for the inventory/check in report
• Washing machine engineer attending the property without notice
• No light in the kitchen for nearly five weeks through an electrical fault, from 29 June to 7 August. I had to offer to pay myself to get Portico to deal with it.
• Attempts to make me to use their preferred cleaning suppliers for my end of tenancy clean (at a charge of nearly double the market rate) with ominous statements that other cleaners would be unlikely to perform to their standards and thus I'd lose the money from my deposit if I didn't use their preferred and excessively costly ones.

The previous tenants had mentioned that they had lost some of their deposit to pay for the garden to be cleaned up before I moved in. The property management team at Portico made no effort to clean up the garden at all, in the year I lived there. They then tried to charge me for exactly the same, when I left.

The only positive thing I have to say about my experience with Portico is that the manager of the Parsons Green branch, Mariana Propotopapas, is tremendously professional and exceptionally reliable. When I escalated issues to her she did try to resolve them or put me in touch with someone who might be able to. She really ought to be at a better agency: she's far too good for this one.
Comment on agent fees
Extortionate given the standard
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