I moved into a shared house which was managed by them after seeing an advert for a room on the internet. I had to pay some agency fees and fill in some forms before moving in so they could do reference checks. I still had not heard anything back from them a week before my move date and was also aware they had not yet contacted my current landlord who was acting as a referee so I phoned Bristol Residential lettings to see what was going on. They claimed they had done all the reference checks and I was fine to move in on the agreed date. Therefore I moved in on the date and was given a key by my new house mate.
Bristol Residential Lettings did not supply me with a tenancy contract. (Previously it had been stated that all 3 tenants living at the house would sign a 6 month joint tenancy contract.) The shower leaked quite badly and and there was some damage to the walls. I obviously did not want to be accused of having caused these later therefore I decided to go down to the branch to check they were aware of the damage and ask them for a tenancy contract. I was told the woman who manages the property (Melissa) was not in and no one else was able to deal enquiries concerning it. I asked if they could just give me a tenancy contract for me to look over, which they were able to do.
The tenancy contract made several references to a inventory document which describes the condition of the house including a clause that the house must be in the condition described in the inventory at the end of the tenancy. I assumed that they had just forgotten to give me this document so asked both my house mates if they had a copy. Bristol Residential Lettings had not provided either of them with a copy of the inventory. I emailed the Bristol Residential Lettings asking for the inventory document and also enquired about the existing damage to the property.
Melissa from Bristol Residential Lettings replied saying that I would probably be held liable for the existing damage to the walls even though it had been caused by former tenants (which made no sense to me). The bigger shock however was the inventory document which described the condition of the house was 4 years old, and described many things as being in a fairly different state to their actual condition. From speaking to my housemates it became apparent there had been quite a high turnover of different people living at the property. I replied to Melissa specifying that I thought a new inventory should be done to coincide with the start of the tenancy instead of using a 4 year old inventory document which was recorded well before any of the current tenants lived there. I also offered to annotate the existing one and provide photos of differences. Melissa didn\'t like either of these ideas and said that the property needed to be in the exact state specified in the inventory doc and any differences may cause money to be taken from my deposit. Strangely she also suggested I try to track down previous tenants and ask them to pay some money towards the damage.
I replied that these terms were not acceptable to me and I would be unable to sign the tenancy contract unless the state of the property was correctly recorded. Melissa and I then continued to argue about this via email for quite a while. Her emails became very angry and impolite. Since we appeared to be getting no where trying to sort this out by email I went down to the branch and spoke to her and another member of staff Gavin (who seemed significantly more reasonable and professional than Melissa) to try to resolve it. In the end it was agreed that I would give one calendar months notice and move elsewhere. In total I lived at the property 3 months.
While I know that most estate agents try to get as much money as they can I felt that the way Bristol Residential Lettings managed this property was a scam. To refuse to even document the condition of a property upon the start of a tenancy seems mad to me. I would definitely never use this agent again.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Treat tenants with respect instead of trying to scam them.