I too am absolutely appalled by the way my tenancy was handled with Manning Stainton. I moved into a £750 per month property in Weetwood and should have known from how the actual contract was handled from the outset that there was to be trouble ahead. First up was a lady called Grace, she called the day before I was to move in to pose the question ¢â‚¬ËœWhat day are you moving in?' she was rather shocked when I told her it was the very next day and that I was standing surrounded by packed boxes.
She told me not to worry, although very strangely was shouting down the phone' stop screaming at me or else I'll put the phone down' ¢â‚¬â€œ in fact I repeatedly told her that she was on speaker phone and everyone I was with could hear her shouting whilst I remained calm. So, I was then passed on to Patric, who didn't answer my contract queries quite so well, in fact he had little knowledge of contract he was supposed to be asking me to sign. I was then passed on to John as he was to be my contact during my tenancy. So when I arrived at the property to find a disgustingly dirty house I of course phoned John. He told me the property had been cleaned but then sat empty from November 2011 until April 2012 and informed me that cleaners go in when a tenant vacates, but not before the next tenant moves in. I told him I had to spend the night there so I did most of the cleaning myself, there was dust everywhere, kitchen cupboards were sticky, dead bugs on every windowsill, the windows were all filthy, there were metal shutters locked infront of every window and no-one seemed to know where the key was!
The oven was filthy, and worst of all the boiler didn't work (it had been turned off for so long) and there was black mould all down two walls and the windows. In fact I moved a wardrobe to see the extent of the damp and as I did lots of dirty socks fell on me ¢â‚¬â€œ lovely! They did have the cleaners come back and bleach the mould from the walls and some windows but they did little else. I was told the mould was caused by the property being vacant over winter, that ventilation and heating would ensure it didn't return. The truth is that one whole wall of the property was built behind shrubs and trees and would permanently throw up damp issues if anything was attached to it. It's a pity that all my clothes and shoes were in the wardrobe attached to that wall as within 5 months they were all ruined from the damp. Manning Staintons refused to believe there was anything wrong, in fact they gave me a report to say the damp was caused because I had put too many clothes into the wardrobe and shut the door!! I ended up clearing all I owned into the living room and living without that bedroom ¢â‚¬â€œ if you entered the room you would cough as the damp spores were apparent in smell and throughout the air.
And this is where my story becomes similar to the other complaints on here, in fact I knew from how I was being treated that they would make up some kind of excuse with my bond. I was finding it hard to get hold of John and he would take 7 days to return my calls or emails and seemed uninterested in what I had to say. So, I made a little video, after 4 hours of intensive cleaning with the help of my family we stood back and inspected a house that was cleaner now than how it had been found. So I picked up my iphone and began videoing, I videoed the shiny sinks, cleaned carpets, not a speck of dust ¢â‚¬â€œ in fact I even gave a few sweeps of the duster here and there whilst on camera. I then waited for the inevitable. They told me that I would have to wait, that they would do an inspection the following week, and then low and behold a week later I get a letter stating that the house needed to be professionally cleaned. In fact a few of the ¢â‚¬Ëœissues' raised included ¢â‚¬Ëœdust on the bedside cabinet' ¢â‚¬â€œ the same one that I showed myself dusting when I vacated.
The staffing problems all seem to stem from the lettings staff not actually knowing who their colleagues are, I spoke to Claire (yes another member of staff!) she deals purely in check outs and informed me she had not spoken to John, I told her that I had been in an email conversation with him and that I would leave the property cleaner than when I found it. She told me she doesn't speak to the other staff ¢â‚¬â€œ which I found strange. I took the entire matter to their main manager who let's just say ¢â‚¬Ëœtalks in clichƒÂ©'s' he's all ¢â‚¬Å“I hear what you're saying but¢â‚¬Â and a lot of what he says doesn't actually get you anywhere at all. In fact when he first spoke to me he was rather aggressive, insiting he would stand by his staff, asking me why I hadn't been present at the exit interview, telling me even though I wasn't invited I could have requested to be there ¢â‚¬â€œ he was turning things around, laying the blame on me and not any of his staff. He told me he had never received complaints of this type, that he wouldn't be in the job if his staff were so petty on these matters. I told him I had been unhappy throughout the whole process, that his staff were rude to me and that I had evidence that Claire had not acted appropriately and he simply said his staff would never do that, that if this was the case he would have words, I informed him this was the case but yet again he turned things back on me. He told me that I could have requested to be there at the check out, I told him I was told I couldn't be there. I even reminded him that I had copied him in on an email with John before I checked out where I state I had lost all confidence in Manning Stainton and thought they may try to knock money from my bond. I did point out that maybe at this point someone should have invited me to the exit interview. He agreed that I should have been told.
In summary I have found every member of staff at this agency to be utterly unhelpful, rude bordering on aggressive. I have felt bullied, ignored and totally let down on a rental of a rather expensive £750 per month. In contrast I had rented through Morgans agency for three years prior to moving with mannings and found them to be the polar opposite. They were friendly and helpful and seemed more together as a group of colleagues so if you spoke to one person you knew the next would know your details. On moving out with Morgans I was invited to the exit interview, I walked round the property and the Morgans agent even thanked me for leaving it so clean!!
Finally, when I spoke to the manager of Manning Stainton lettings he did try to pass the buck on to the landlord, he said they could only act of what the landlord wanted. I then pointed out that Claire (an employee of Manning Stainton) had compiled the report that was sent to the landlord which stated the house was unclean and therefore it was Mannings and not the landlord that was responsible for my deposit of £860 being withheld. On the 13th November I received the final cleaning bill of around £96 ¢â‚¬â€œ this bill had been passed to Claire on the 1st November, so Mannings had been sitting on it for 13 days before showing me their findings. But if John was right then Mannings would have sent the cleaner in after I vacated anyway, apparently they go in after every tenant ¢â‚¬â€œ but in this instance they decided to charge me.
I'm now taking this to dispute, I know I will eventually get my money back, but what if I really needed the money now ¢â‚¬â€œ I do feel sorry for those who need their deposits back quickly and therefore cannot afford to fight. In fact I feel so strongly that I am now speaking with others who have had the same experience with Mannings, I've been in touch with a journalist from the Yorkshire Evening Post and think this could throw up all sorts of irregularities with their business practices. I would fight for Mannings to insist (as Morgans do) that tenants be at the exit interview. This would solve the entire problem and would have lead to me getting my entire bond back within weeks of me vacating.
I will post this on all the sites I can find, if it stops just one or two people being taken in by these untrustworthy letting agents then I will feel a little happier. And if anyone is thinking of renting 23 Weetwood Avenue please don't ¢â‚¬â€œ it's terribly damp, will cause you to be unwell and you'll probably get a cleaning bill at the end of your ordeal!!