“I WISH WE HAD READ EARLIER REVIEWS...”

Mar 06,2019
Minithumbdown
By: 'Unhappy tenants'
Mar 06,2019
3 people found
this helpful
I wish we had read all reviews on various sites about this Letting Agent before renting a house through them. When after 15 months we gave up the tenancy, and the exit inspection was undertaken, we applied to the approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme company which held our deposit requesting that it be repaid. We were aghast and shocked to be told by LPS Scotland (Letting Protection Service Scotland), that Homes 4 U (Scotland) were requesting the entire £725 deposit plus seeking an additional sum of almost £500 to cover various costs for cleaning, a 50% charge for the complete internal redecoration of the property, gardening, replacing damaged and missing items, etc.
At this initial stage LPS Scotland advised us to speak to the landlord first and seek additional information on the charges levied including copies of the estimates/invoices before agreeing to them (LPSS) undertaking an adjudication of the dispute.
Not having the landlord's address noted in our Tenancy Agreement, which was actually contrary to paragraph 4.3 of the Scottish Government's Tenant Information Pack, we sought further information from Homes 4 U but they were unhelpful in a very brusque manner. They told us - (It's the landlord who has requested that we arrange for the work to be done and the decision has nothing to do with us). When we asked for the landlord's address so that we could ask for sight of invoices etc, they refused to give it. This of course was contrary to the relevant legislation. We later found the address on the internet on the Scottish Government's Scottish Landlord Register and wrote to her. As an aside it is surely very questionable for Homes 4 U to refuse to give an address that is freely available on the Internet. The problem for tenants is clearly to know where to look for information.
In response to my letter I was shocked to receive a somewhat threatening and abusive email from the Director of Homes 4 U chastising me for getting in touch. At this point we decided to leave everything in the hands of LPSS as further contact with Homes 4 U would probably just result in them sending more acrimonious emails.
Before we moved out we cleaned everything and also employed a professional cleaner to give it a thorough deep clean on top of what we had done. Luckily we took photos. Fortunately LPSS rejected the bulk of the cleaning costs sought by Homes 4 U and awarded most of them to us only keeping back a reduced amount for the cleaning of carpets as we had 2 pet cats (fair enough). We were also being charged for the cleaning of the fridge/freezer but luckily I had taken numerous photos of what was a pristine item which I submitted to LPSS. This charge was rejected by LPSS along with charges to clean down the back of radiators, cleaning the washing machine, etc. In respect of (Damaged items) we were being charged for repair of the threshold plate at front door which was (scratched and marked) and for a new toilet brush as the existing one was dirty. Homes 4 U were clearly plumbing the depths with this one. LPSS rightly rejected these spurious claims. As noted previously we were being charged 50% of the entire redecoration costs. This apparently included the costs of covering over holes in the wall next to one of the windows which we did not create. We were never shown photographic evidence of this but think that the holes were where a roller blind had fallen down during our tenancy. However this defect was not covered in the moving in report so it couldn't be proved that we had not created them.
At the exit inspection, the Inspector was quite glowing about the property and work my dad had done in the garden as compared to others she had seen but said the final decision rested with the landlord.
Incidentally we eventually became aware that the moving in report we were asked to sign was prepared for the previous tenant as many of the points listed were clearly incorrect.
The initial good service from Homes 4 U only lasted a few short weeks. Almost from the start we received letters informing us that the house was due to be inspected and that if access was denied we would be fined £35. This threat was also given when we were instructed to come in and sign new 6 monthly leases. These actions were clearly against the law with regards to Section 82 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, and Section 48 of the Schedule to the Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016.
Throughout our tenancy we had to keep reminding Homes 4 U about repairs that were necessary. The blame for them not being undertaken was always laid at the landlord's door.
We were unaware at the time that we should have been allowed to see a copy of the moving out inspection. We were never given this opportunity and just wish we had seen exactly what had been noted.
Eventually LPSS awarded us £397 from the £725. They disregarded the additional spurious charges as they were outwith their remit. However this whole process took over 7 months to be resolved. Thank goodness we didn't desperately need access to the £397 during this period.
Please, please, please - potential future tenants, do not use this Letting Agent company. If unfortunately you do then take photos of everything when you move in, and when you eventually leave, and make sure every small point and detail is noted in the moving in report as no doubt they will try and take you to the cleaners as they did with us.
Incidentally, Homes 4 U Scotland recently changed their name to Stephens Estates Ltd. Prior to Homes 4 U they were called Lets 4 U. Clearly Stephens Estates Ltd is a company to steer clear off as well.
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Homes 4 U (Scotland)

6 Glasgow Road Bathgate
West Lothian
EH48 2AA

01506 630 434

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