The rating is a little innaccurate here as I have to have at least one star.Anyway my experience with this letting agency has been absolutely awful.Before moving into the property I had to pay £545.00 for the application fee and deposit combined.As a student this is a lot of money , most agents would only charge £200 deposit and one wonders what the \'application fee\' is actually for if the property was found and applied for by the tenant.Upon securing the property I paid a summer retainer which is reasonable and standard for student properties where the student does not move in until september.The retainer was at half rent for the summer months which again is very reasonable.However again one wonders what you\'re actually paying for.I paid a £250.00 holding fee(which is deducted at the end) a £395.00 deposit and £295.00 retainer for 2 months and still was not allowed to move any of my things into the property.With nearly all student property agents , you are allowed to move your things into the property on a certain day , hand back the keys and pay the summer retainer.When I raised this concern at the offices I was told \'what if there was a fire and all of your things where damaged , who would you hold responsible ?\' this question alone did not put me in the greatest confidence as clearly the agent did not know the difference between content insurance and house insurance.
When I wanted to move in in September (I pay my rent on the first of every month , september is not a summer month so it is full rent) I rang the office to collect my keys , my messages where not passed on and basically I had to delay moving in by 3 days.Underwoods said that they where not aware that I had wanted to move in 3 days previously , which they wouldn\'t be as they did not pass on any messages.However although a minor inconvenience they did deduct rent for these few days.
Moving into the house is when the problems really started.I had been assured that the room had been cleaned after the previous tenant and was assured that it was in a fit state.When I moved into my room there where toenail clippings on the floor , large stains on the carpet , a red bowl with a mouldy cup in it , dirty clothes in one of the drawers, several stains in varying shades of brown on the mattress and on the main bed frame ,to sum it was an absolute sess pit.I contacted underwoods and informed them of the state of the room and they said that they where unable to clean it as they did not have the funds ( something which they should have checked before returning the last tenants deposit surely ?) and that I should do whatever I needed to do to make myself feel comfortable.Thankfully they did remove the mattress although they did refuse to refund rent for those few days that I could not sleep on the filthy bed arguing that this was my choice to sleep on the floor.
There have also been several problems with the house itself firstly there was a break in 6 months prior to my moving in , which I had learned about from the tenants , The door had not been fixed properly until now.This in my mind is an urgent security matter and far beyong a reasonable response time.Secondly the lock recently went bust , anyone could have broken in by lightly pushing the door, we notified underwoods immediately when it happened and they told us they had sent someone out to fix it.The next day , suprise ? it still was not fixed , I personally notified them the day after (I could not do this any sooner as I was working a night shift) and they basically blamed me for not notifying them sooner.Nonetheless they did send someone out immediately after my unpleasant phonecall.
Another problem upon moving in was the microwave which sent out blue sparks when turned on .Again we as tenants sorted the problem out ourselves by buying a microwave and notifiying the landlord directly.Dealing with the landlord directly seemed to yield better results.Additionally there where mushrooms growing in one of the rooms which was due to the shower above leaking through the ceiling.We were promised that the problem would be fixed in 2 weeks and that we would be able to use the shower room again.In reality it took 4 weeks.All six of us had to make do with the bathroom with detachable shower head for those 4 weeks.
Another word of warning is that in my experience I cannot speak for others , is that underwoods have not replied to my email complaints until recently.I would urge anyone to contact them by email and then phone them reciting the email verbatim or at least recording the phonecall.I propose that the reasoning behind not replying to the emails is to force the tenant to contact via phonecall , which is not recorded all of the time.Therefore when dealing with this agency leave a clear paper trail of evidence that you have contacted them.
Despite the rather long review , I am not someone who likes to complain as I think that everyone makes mistakes and people should be given a chance.However this chain of bad experiences is completely unacceptable and I feel that it is only fair and just that other tenants can avoid being treated in this way.