We have been at our rented property with Countrywide for 2 years. In that time we have had excellent dealings with the landlady and do not really have an issue with the Durham office as they are pleasant to deal with.
However it is Countrywide itself that is the issue. Initial fees were excessive so I managed to get them to reduce them (credit checks etc). After 1 year they decided to charge almost £200 to have the tenancy extended (again I got them to reduce this fee) and we took a further 6 months due to the fact I may have had to move due to work. After 6 months they again came back to ask for a further £200 or so to re-new the lease agreeement. I asked them for a reason for this amount of money to which the answer was curt and dismissive. In the end we said no and went onto a montly rolling contract.....no fee paid and have had no problems at all!!
Now we come to move due to needing more space and Countrywide have said we have to pay £24 for them to supply a reference to the new letting agents. Their reasoning behind the charge is that "You signed a contract and by doing so accept any charges like this one - All our other tenants are happy to do this".
There is nothing in the contract to obligate us to pay ad hoc fees, no fee structure is posted on their site nor was it supplied in a letter of notification when the tenancy was signed or on any renewal or monthly roll on term. It seems Countrywide want to charge for EVERYTHING even if it is not listed in any legal way.
Our new agents charge a one off fee for everything and renewals are free.
We will NEVER use Countrywide again ..... avoid as they are a rip off company.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Countrywide should be more transparent and reveal ALL charges at the outset of the tenancy. Also WHY is there such an exhorbitant fee every time the tenancy is renewed. All it takes is a printing of a form and it signed, a 5 minute task for which a moderate fee of ‚£20 would be more apt if anything at all.