It is of no surprise that Lesley Greaves estate and letting agents are not participating in the \'Transparent Agent\' scheme.
My partner and I were tenants in a property managed by this agent for twelve months. At the end of the tenancy and after we vacated the property, we were presented with two claims totaling £440.00 against our initial deposit which was being held by a deposit protection company.
The first claim for tidying up the garden which measured approximately 12 square yards was £220.00, and a second claim of £ 220.00 was for cleaning the carpets, which, incidentally, the condition was noted as \'Fair\' on the check in inventory and \'Fair\' on the final check out inventory.
We asked for sight of the receipts for this work and were presented with a quotation from the gardening company for £220.00 including VAT and what appeared to be an invoice from a carpet cleaning company again for £220.00.
Because we had moved to a property close by , we were able, with the permission of neighbors to look over the fence at regular intervals to see if any gardening work had been carried out, which it had not.
As it happens, the owner of the cleaning company is an old friend of mine, so, my suspicions aroused, I contacted him and asked if he had actually carried out the work at the property, and he said no. They were asked to quote for the work, which they did, and submitted a quotation but never heard any more. With further investigation, I found that the owner of the gardening company was a close personal friend of an employee at Lesley Greaves and that the gardening company are not actually VAT registered.
This story ran in The Guardian Newspaper money and property section; and needless to say Lesley Greaves did not attempt to continue with the fraudulent claims after publication.
The gardening company has since changed names, and the cleaning company are no longer asked to quote for work, but my friend really isn\'t that bothered because - in the past he was asked to submit quotes for many end of tenancy cleans from this agent but was never successful. And I am still considering taking further legal action against this agent