I would not recommend Swetehams to my worst enemy. Any one who is looking to rent a home do NOT use the Chester Swetenhams. My partern and I were looking for a home to rent in chester with our daughter.
Our first point of contact with Sweetnams was Amanda from the Chester office who in turn put us in contact with Marie, her superior, who we met to view the property. We inquired as to the charges we would need to pay in terms of admin and the like. We were informed that we would need to pay a reference checking fee of £100 each, a deposit, and first months rent upfront. We were assured that these were the only charges we would be required to pay.
We were also told on this viewing that a number of issues we had with the interior and exterior of the house would all be resolved. Amongst these were the tidying of the front and back garden and the removal of the building refuge (including bricks, slates and broken sheets of glass), the tidying of the interior and the finishing of the laminate and the repairing of the back door. We were told that these problems were required to be resolved under the basis that we were obligated to ¢â‚¬Ëœleave the property as we found it'.
We were then told we could move in on the 12th of September. This date was confirmed numerous times over the phone in the weeks that ensued. We then began the checks that the agent required.
Arrangements were then made with our landlord to make our final day of occupancy the 15th September. As would be expected in these circumstances we hired a van and three family members arranged days off work for the 12th of September. I myself also took a day off work to move.
We then began to experience problems with communication and the overall service of the letting agency. We were told several different things on several separate occasions about the same subject. Numerous people would contact us about problems they had carrying out the checks for example, however, each individual that contacted us had a different reason for what the obstacles were.
I rang the office on Friday the 7th of September and spoke to Amanda in order to confirm that I would be there to pick up the keys on the morning of the 12th. It was only at this point that I was informed that the landlady was not in the country and that it may not be possible to move in, but that we would be kept abreast of any development. We were also were told that not only may we now not be able to move but that we would now be incurring extra charges. Charges that had never been divulged to us before this time.
On the 12th of September we began the move, as we had not been told otherwise by anyone at the agency. I called Sweetnems to say I was on my way and it was only then I was told I would not be able to move in. Amanda told me we could not move in due to the house not being ready and needing to confer with the landlady who was on her honeymoon.
I, my partner and most importantly my disabled 2 year old daughter were left homeless.
One week later on the 19th of September we were told that the landlady had given her consent and had moved all of her possessions out of the house. We were assured that the property was, at that time, of a standard for us to move in. we were told the property had been checked (which we had paid £80 for) and only discovered this was not the case when Amanda was challenged on the basis that there was no checklist of the fixtures and fittings that had been checked.
When we moved in we discovered that none of the afore mentioned issues regarding the condition of the house had been tackled. The back garden was appallingly unsafe (including piles of slate and broken glass), I had a bad incident with a damp and soaked socket in the garage and my daughter (who as previously mentioned is disabled and has trouble walking) fell over some broken raised flooring. The overall condition of the interior was deplorable, the kitchen alone took 7 hours to clean.
To make matters even more distasteful all of our problems moving into the property seem to have been avoidable. Speaking to the landlady she informed us that she had no issues with us moving in and that she had already given her consent. She also claimed to have no knowledge of what Amanda or Marie were referring to when they told us she had possessions in the property. The landlady herself appeared to be very upset at the actions of Amanda and Marie.
The unnecessary or previously undisclosed charges we have incurred are as follows; additional reference checking fee of £100, property checking fee £80 (which actually was not mentioned up until the day prior to us moving in.), preparation of guarantor deed £80, cost of tenancy agreement £210. As well as these the charge we incurred from the van hire company of £180 as we had nowhere to store our furniture and possessions.
This has been a very unfortunate affair and to be frank I and my partner feel we have been mistreated and for want of a better phrase ¢â‚¬Ëœripped off'. At no point during this process were any of the staff at Sweetnems helpful or informative. Specifically the lack of communication and the lack of professionalism displayed by both Amanda and Marie was shocking. It was primarily their shear ineptitude and incompetence throughout the entirety of the letting process cost me and my family both time and money and resulted in much stress.
DO NOT USE SWETENHAMS
What agent could do to change your mind?
This has been a very unfortunate affair and to be frank I and my partner feel we have been mistreated and for want of a better phrase ¢â‚¬Ëœripped off¢â‚¬â„¢. At no point during this process were any of the staff at Sweetnems helpful or informative. Specifically the lack of communication and the lack of professionalism displayed by both Amanda and Marie was shocking. It was primarily their shear ineptitude and incompetence throughout the entirety of the letting process cost me and my family both time and money and resulted in much stress.