Nov 28,2012
By: 'LH'
Nov 28,2012
2 people found
this helpful
The living room carpet in the flat fitted very badly and generally not in good condition. Whitegates staff agreed it needs replacing - I said I\'d replace it and fit the carpet if they would negotiate a discount from the first month\'s rent.

Paintwork throughout the whole flat needs redoing as it is yellow due to previous occupiers being smokers. The flat smells strongly of cigarettes.

There is no shower rail.

There is no drainage pipe for a washing machine, despite there being taps plumbed in.

I asked for these issues to be discussed with the landlord and sorted before I commit to the property. I had to insist on having an additional note put onto the the application form to state that if no suitable agreement was made over this, I would be able to pull out and have a refund of my apparently non-returnable £150 admin fee! Whitegates want everything from me in writing and signed to cover them and the landlord leagally. Sadly, this isn\'t reciprocated without some discussion or demand on the part of the prospective tenant and no safeguards are in place to protect me if things go awry. They actually told me to trust them when I asked for something in writing to say the £150 would be refunded if no agreement could be met. Unbelievable.

I has been almost 2wks since I applied and I\'ve had verbal confirmation that "in principle" the landlord has agreed to some kind of discount on the rent for the living room carpet and for me to purchase paint. They have also told me that someone will fit a drainage pipe for a washing machine and a shower curtain track will be fitted in the bathroom. As of Friday afternoon, the fittings hadn\'t been complete. In addition, I have still not had any answer from Whitegates as to how much the discount will be and they have still not confirmed this in writing, despite repeated requests from me and promises from them for that to be done.

I viewed the flat on Friday 23rd November for the second time and the member of staff who attended was 15 minutes late and had rung the wrong number to inform me - the second time they were late. Frustrating for me in the extreme when the appointment had been made and confirmed for 4pm and because I was stood out in the freezing cold with a young child waiting for them to turn up.

They said it may be worth getting a quote for the whole flat to be re-carpeted by Whitegate\'s preferred carpet fitter. I agreed this would be better than me having to shampoo the existing carpets and have the living room replaced on its own. Whitegates said they would organise the fitter to attend and provide a quote. When the quote becomes available, they will also contact the landlord with a proposal to "contribute" toward the cost. I said I\'d reserve judgement until I have a quote. We also discussed the possibility of my having access to the flat prior to signing the contract, but before having carpets fitted in order to re-decorate without worrying about getting paint on new carpets. They said some landlords were fine with this, others not, but it would be worth asking the question. I\'m still waiting, five days later.

I emphasised my desire to reach a conclusion due to the time of year and my need to find somewhere to live as soon as possible and well before Xmas. The money is waiting in the bank and I\'m in a position to move virtually immediately.

Having heard nothing again from Whitegates since the visit on Friday, I rang yesterday (Tuesday) morning and left a message for the member of staff dealing with this to call me back. At 4:20pm after no word, I rang again and asked about progress. They assured me the carpet fitter had a key and was going into the flat to measure up that afternoon. Whitegates would press for a quote to be submitted by close of play Tuesday or today (Wednesday) and that they would then contact me with more info. I asked if they\'d been in touch with the landlord about the keys? Not yet. I also reiterated my need for an email to confirm everything in writing.

It is now almost 7pm on Wednesday evening and I have heard nothing from Whitegates by phone or email, yet again. I am sick of chasing them and wasting time on calls that aren\'t returned and no progress from staff who don\'t seem particularly interested in expediting my need and willingness to move in as soon as possible. I have the money, I can move immediately, the flat is empty. How hard can it be?!?!

I assume the landlord pays Whitegates irrespective of whether a tenant is occupying the property, so there is patently little incentive for them to follow up with me or rush anything unless being chased.

So far, it has been an unnecessarily slow and frustrating experience for me and I still haven\'t even signed a contract yet! It doesn\'t instill confidence if they can\'t even be bothered to sort out pre-sales before I even sign up as a tenant. Calls are never returned. Two appointments have been attended late by staff. I constantly have to chase and then follow up with more calls when no action is taken and despite promises from Whitegates. I receive no feedback or assurance from Whitegates that anything is being done to progress my prospective tenancy.

I am very unhappy with the poor service and lax attitude from Whitegates, Halifax. I am in the process of finding out the name and contact details of the property owner. It seems only fair to inform them how frustrating it is for someone ready to move to be stymied repeatedly by the letting agent who seems to have little or no incentive to actually do anything without being constantly badgered by me. If I owned the flat, I\'d want to know Whitegates were doing everything possible to fill a property that has apparently been unoccupied for around two months. It will be one week on Friday since my references were cleared by Whitegates and it doesn\'t seem like I\'m any closer to becoming a tenant than I was to begin with.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Turn up to appointments at the time allotted instead of saying \"I\'m running late\". If I can turn up on time, so can they. Lack of punctuality once is acceptable. Twice is unprofessional. Return calls when they are promised!!! Not once has this been done so far! Don\'t leave the prospective tenant waiting from Friday to Tuesday afternoon with no news, only to tell them when they ring that you\'ve done half a job. Be more professional about paperwork and putting things in writing to protect the tenant. This isn\'t a one way process just for the benefit of Whitegates. Expedite the process when the prospective tenant is ready to move. Why does it need to take several days to make a phone call or send an email???? Be more communicative! It takes 30 seconds to call me and say what has or hasn\'t happened and I wouldn\'t be so bloody frustrated. Send an email. Again, seconds to do, but it shows professionalism and keeps the client happy. It\'s not rocket science or difficult. Please, please pull your fingers out and do the things you are supposed to do as a letting agent in the timescale suitable to the client. Without a significant and immediate change in the way this is currently being dealt with by Whitegates, I would be very reluctant to deal with the company again. I will NOT recommend them to anyone who asks for my opinion.
Attached Files
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By: Whitegates
Nov 29, 2012
Dear Client

May we start with an apology. We are extremely sorry that you feel disappointed with the service you have received from our team. We have taken all of your comments on board and as per our earlier telephone conversation we assure you that we are doing all we can to rectify all of the issues that you have raised.

The issues that were noted at your initial viewing were put forward to the Landlord along with your request to amend them. We appreciate the concern you had when paying the fee up front prior to this, however it is our policy that until the application fee is paid we will continue to show other perspective tenant's around (therefore putting you at risk of loosing the property). Yes the application is non refundable because we source the referencing out to a company for which we are charged.

In your case we did not begin the referencing until we had the authority from the Landlord to go ahead with the work. The fact you had paid the fee simply prevented the property from being let to someone else. We hope this explains how we could refund a non-refundable fee if we had needed to and also reassures you that we remain honest at all times.

We confirm that contractors were immediately instructed to obtain quotes for the maintenance that is required and we have been awaiting for the documentation back from them.

We do however acknowledge that we could have communicated with you more effectively, therefore keeping you updated. We are sorry you have felt neglected during this process.

We also apologise that we were delayed on appointment and you were forced to wait for a short period of time. The number you had provided was no longer in use and so we failed to make you aware that we would be slightly late.

Finally we would just like to make it clear that Whitegates only take a fee from the Landlord when it is tenanted and so we have every incentive to find suitable tenants for all our vacant properties.

Again we express our sincere apologies and we hope to move forward from this in a positive manner.


Whitegates (Halifax Team)

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Whitegates Estate Agents

9 George Street Halifax
West Yorkshire

01422 345721

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