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.