In short do not expect to get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy without a fight, even if you have had the flat professionally cleaned and everything is in order.
It has now been almost two months since we vacated our flat and on the day of our vacation we had professional cleaners come in to clean everything as this was recommended to us as a way to guarantee that no deductions could be made from our deposit (except for damage). I expected that it would take some time for the deposit to be returned as is the case with many letting agencies but I did not expect it to take this long. Several weeks after vacating the flat we got in touch with Braemore and after some confusion about who our property manager had been (because for some reason they had decided to change the manager a few weeks before we were due to vacate the property) we were told the right person to get in touch with. However to this date it has been impossible to get hold of Alan. Every time we phone he appears not to be at his desk and he does not reply to any messages that are left. It makes you wonder if he actually does any work or not. We also spoke to someone from the finance department and eventually figured out that although our flat had been okayed for the deposit to be returned somehow this information had not been passed on to the finance department. They had forgotten about us entirely. Since then we have been in touch repeatedly and each time told that we would be paid back. I rang a week last Friday and was told that actually we were due to be paid that day but due to a \'database error\' they would have to wait until Monday. It is now the following Monday and we have still not been paid. I tried to ring again a little while ago and there was nobody answering the phone in the finance department. We\'ll see how many days it takes them to get back to me if at all.
Braemore always appear to be very polite and helpful on the phone but off the phone nothing seems to get done. It should not be the norm that you have to threaten taking them to court in order to get your deposit back. They also erroneously tried to charge us for some damage that was present when we moved in and here is the icing on the cake: if they decide to withhold some of your deposit THEY CHARGE YOU for the service of taking your money - £4 "administration fees" per person. Can this be legal? Even if it is it is ridiculous!
I feel in my review I should probably try to present a balanced picture and discuss other aspects of the tenancy. In general they were reasonably competent in dealing with problems e.g. with the heating although at times we were left for days without heating whilst the problem was being resolved. At one time we were erroneously sent a demanding text saying we owed them money due to some sort of computer error.
In Summary: Reasonably competent so long as they are not required to take any action.
What agent could do to change your mind?
They could have paid our deposit back promptly and without hassle.