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Mar 30,2013
By: 'Former tenant'
Mar 30,2013
0 people found
this helpful
I\'m not sure who is to blame within Wilkinson Byrne, but my experience was one of total disorganisation and a lack of responsibility. They clearly have too many clients, or they do not have the necessary skills and talent to manage the number of clients they have.

For my two and a half year tenancy the only set of keys which existed for the property were my own. Neither the landlady nor the letting agent had a set of keys for the flat. At first, this amused me. But after having to take numerous days off work whenever anyone other than me needed access to the flat, it obviously became tiresome. They had ample opportunity to get keys cut over the course of the two and a half years - most notably in December when I was forced to stay off work and in the flat for 48 hours straight to wait for a recurrently elusive plumber to arrive to fix the heating. I suggested they do so at this point, but they never did.

Of course, this also meant that I had to arrange to be home from work to allow viewings of the flat for the tenants who were to replace me. Naively, I did this as a favour to them, waiting in on one Friday night for a scheduled viewing at 8:30pm, only for the prospective tenants not to show up. Not their fault - I had stupidly agreed to do it for them - but this is what happens when you don\'t conduct the relationship on a formal basis.

Things took a slightly more sinister turn a week prior to me moving out, while I was out of London on business. (I had already told them the precise dates I would be away.) They contacted me by phone, and I was told during this frantic and worrying call that it was my responsibility to get keys cut for the estate agent and get them to their office by the end of the day, in order that prospective tenants can be shown around. This, of course, is utter nonsense, but is symptomatic of the overall lack of accountability I experienced. Perhaps this was partly my own fault, as I always paid my rent on time irrespective of whether they were fulfilling their side of the agreement. (The cooker was broken for the entire two and a half years I was in the flat, even though I told them on at least four occasions about it. Furthermore, I know for a fact that a gas safety check was not properly carried out for the last 16 months I was in the flat. How do I know this for sure? Because nobody could get into the flat without me being there, of course). They had perhaps become accustomed to me doing their job for them, and had come to think that this was how it works.

After a personal email from the landlady, expressing concern at the uselessness of WB and concern that their disorganisation would lead to her property being empty and personally asking that I take responsibility, I arranged for the keys to be available close to their office (they refused to come to me at work for them) so that they could collect them and have them cut. Again, I did this naively. One and a half more days off work and wasted.

I could write much, much more, but after renting in four different cities over the course of the past 15 years I have become used to the base-level poor service to be expected from landlords and letting agents. Usually, it is not a problem. But Wilkinson Byrne took it to a new level.

My advice for any future tenant with WB would be to make sure EVERYTHING is conducted in writing (email), and that at no point you do "a favour" for either WB or their landlords/landladies. If you do, they will undoubtedly take advantage of this. Finally, something I wish I had done more - read your contract carefully and withhold your rent should they not be fulfilling their contractual responsibilities. Do not, as I did, simply settle for the quiet life, as they will take advantage of you!

Better advice would be to avoid them altogether.
What agent could do to change your mind?
Done their job properly.
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By: Wilkinson Byrne
Apr 03, 2013
Dear Mr Dinnis,

Thank you for taking the time to review our service on allagents.

I would firstly like to address your comment that we do not have the necessary skills to manage our properties. Wilkinson Byrne’s ethos is and always has been centered around exceptional customer service and organisation. We would invite you to read some of the other reviews on this website as the general consensus amongst our landlords and tenants is that the Management team are more than capable of managing properties and delivering the correct levels of service and professionalism.

As you correctly claim, neither the landlady nor ourselves had a copy of the keys for the property. Therefore we would have had to rely on you to supply us with the key to get it cut. We would have taken this expense on ourselves and had major difficulties in getting you to compromise on this matter. The flat was occupied by yourself for 2 ½ years and we feel in that period of time, there would have been a chance for us to resolve this matter with minimal disruption to all parties. You state that you gave us an opportunity to collect the keys from your work, however if I remember correctly you were actually working in another part of the country at the time. I feel most people would find a 4 hour round trip would be a huge inconvenience and would leave us at risk of neglecting our other properties for almost a full working day. The ‘ample opportunities’ you claim to have provided us were uncompromising and always on your terms.

You mentioned in your review that your one regret is that you did not read your tenancy agreement thoroughly enough; firstly, our tenancy agreements are standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements and therefore the tenants’ obligations are the standard obligations you would find with any contract/agency. I feel I must draw attention to the fact that your tenancy agreement states you are obligated to allow entry for viewings should this be necessary, once the correct Notice period has been given to you. The same applies to engineers, Agent representatives wishing to carry out quarterly inspections, and perhaps most importantly, Gas Safety visits. We have on file the last 3 years recorded Gas Safety Certificates and so this would actually dispel your claim that you were renting a property without the necessary legal paperwork. This is an accusation we take very seriously, and we would be willing to provide evidence to the appropriate organisations in order to set the record straight on this particular matter.

We have numerous third party contractors that can also confirm, if need be, that appointments were arranged with yourself in order to get both small and large maintenance issues resolved at your request; on more than one occasion these appointments were not kept by yourself. This caused a lot of inconvenience and expense to these individuals, and we have never exercised our contractual right to charge you for these abortive appointments.

As you will recall, your consistent detailed emails to the landlady informing her that works had not been completed were totally unjustified; you will remember, Mr Dinnis, that you apologised in writing after you realised that the landlady had copied us in on one of your emails expressing her concern as to why works had not been carried out on the thermostat. In actual fact, the works had been completed and you admitted you did not realise you needed to flip the switch to turn it back on. Therefore this particular situation is irrelevant as both ourselves and the landlady HAD fulfilled our contractual obligations promptly.

We agree that correspondence between ourselves and our clients should always be in writing, and we actively encourage this.

Lastly, your comments advising future tenants to withhold rent is totally unacceptable and irresponsible, as this would have great implications on our landlords and tenants alike, and would place people in direct breach of their contract.

We are of course very disappointed that you have felt the need to communicate your frustrations in this manner, however please rest assured that we do value all feedback on this website.

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Wilkinson Byrne Estate Agents

8 Turnpike Parade Green Lanes, London
Greater London
N15 3EA

0208 888 0022

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