I looked forward to returning to the GMV and 1st Avenue came recommended by a friend as both reliable in terms of appointments and viewings and for managing properties.
Having had a horrible experience with Conran Estates upon moving first time around a few years ago, 1st Avenue seemed like a perfect fit. During the viewing stage, they were brilliant: punctual, professional and always ready to provide alternative options. No qualms in that respect whatsoever.
Having left a damp flat in West Ham, I was excited about moving back and found a great-looking flat in the GMV. The holding deposit was place and the signing process began. Some questionable clauses in their standard contract raised some issues, with an automatic rent increases after 12 months a particular bugbear. But this aside, again, communication was brilliant and the referencing process was good.
On move-in day, the co-ordination team were very accommodating - delays with my van rental meant a delay in signing the contracts on our part but we were ran through them thoroughly and given an extensive tour of the flat.
Unfortunately this is where problems arose. 1st Avenue claim that they have the best professional cleaners in the business - this is hyperbole at its best. The fridge was not cleaned and we were told that the cleaners do not clean under objects (a no move policy) so there was dust under the sofas and in-between the nooks and crannies of fixed units.
Not a huge problem - we cleaned the uncleaned parts of the flat ourselves but the statement on the 1st Avenue welcome pack that upon move out, should you decide to clean the flat yourself, you\'re likely to be charged by 1st Avenue for their cleaners anyway.
One considerable issue was the broken balcony door - the seal on the main window pane had come loose, the pane itself was away from the frame and the balcony door was damaged. We were told the door was unlockable and that this would be fixed asap. To 1st Avenue\'s credit, the door lock was fixed promptly.
But after a few weeks in the flat, the breeze and noise from the damaged door/pane became an issue and we went through due 1st Avenue process to have it fixed. Bearing in mind it was a particularly cold winter and heat was escaping through the window, we found it incredible that it took six weeks for 1st Avenue to arrange for the door to be hung properly and for the glass to be sealed.
Another issue was a stiff door handle that was difficult to open. We were assured this wouldn\'t be a problem but a day later, we were locked out of the flat. After some persuading the following day, we were able to recover the locksmith costs from 1st Avenue.
To date, the level of service 1st Avenue has (failed?) to provide as letting agents has been massively disappointing. Very good at keeping lines of communication open and sending apologetic emails but for the costs they\'re charging both us and the landlord, I\'d expect much better.
Estate agents - good experience.
Letting agents - must do better.
Time in property: 3 months.
What agent could do to change your mind?
This is the most expensive flat I\'ve lived in and I\'ve not received the expected standard the 1st Avenue-driven increase in rent should receive.