Apr 16,2013
By: 'Dr Duritz'
Apr 16,2013
5 people found
this helpful
I am very disappointed to report that our experience of using A Flat in Town as a managing agent for our rental property in Edinburgh was a disaster. Our property was rented out using their full management service for almost two years. Although the company found us tenants quickly, and we received rent payments on time each month, at the end of the tenancy we discovered a number of serious issues had been ongoing. When we took back possession of the property, which the company had told us was in appropriate condition for transfer back, we discovered thousands of pounds worth of damage. The company had provided assurances that they were carrying out regular inspections during the tenancy. We requested to see the inspection reports and these were not provided. We discovered that the tenants had been smoking in the flat and that this had not been dealt with by the agent during the tenancy. There was significant damge to one of our internal doors,damage to some of our furniture and blinds, widespread evidence of smoking (despite this being prohibited by the tenancy agreement), bloodstains on the walls and missing items from the inventory. The company had failed to keep track of the items on the inventory and so, for instance, when we asked where our bathroom blind was, they couldn\'t account for it. They eventually had to ask the tenants who told them it had broken and they \'didn\'t want to bother us with it.\' Surely the company inspections should have picked up on this, and, more worringly, the smoking. The flat was also infested with mice when we took back possession of it. We also discovered in one of the hall cupboards that the tenants had been trying to grow drugs and had attempted to interfere with the electrics in the house to wire up heat lamps. This damage had also not been discovered in inspections.

We had to fight quite hard with the company for them to admit that the condition of the flat was unacceptable. Eventually, they agreed and used the tenants\' deposit to pay for repainting, cleaning and repair works. The most disturbing part of our experience was that we had agreed with the company that the tenants would hand back the keys on a particular date and we had told our insurance company that the tenancy ended on this date. This was a Friday and we were later told by A Flat in Town that they had, without our consent, allowed the tenants to keep the keys over the weekend because they apparently wanted to continue cleaning the flat so it was suitable for handover. This invalidated our landlord insurance because the insurance company rightly asserted that the damage may have occurred over this weekend period, after the tenancy had technically ended. We were exasperated by the attitude of the company and at times they were offensive in their dealings with us, with one staff member making rude personal comments about my partner.

Unfortunately, I consider that the company failed to handle our property and all administration relating to it with due diligence and care. They could not produce inspection reports for the property when requested which we found most worrying. It seems clear to us that our management fee was largely wasted. We consider that the agent was negligent and that our property was put at risk. We took legal advice and eventually managed to get the company to pay us a small sum to cover some of the damage. We were so sick of dealing with them that we left it at that. Frankly, we should have taken it further and put a claim in through the small claims court. I note that at the time this occurred the company was not part of any voluntary regulatory bodies such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). In our experience, it is important for landlords to have the protection of such bodies as they offer support in the event of dispute. We have another rental property which is managed by a large firm who are part of ARLA and A Flat in Town\'s service simply does not compare with the professional and direct approach of our other agent. I would urge landlords to enquire about membership of voluntary regulatory bodies when choosing a managing agent. We would have been grateful for the support of these bodies during our dispute with A Flat in TOwn.

In summary, we consider that we had a very poor and extremely costly experience using A Flat in Town. I urge any landlord considering using this firm to go elsewhere and, specifically, to go with a bigger name who is part of an industry regulator.
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By: Dr Duritz
May 07, 2013
I have read the response by A Flat in Town to my review and offer the following additional opinion:

- in relation to the 'maintenance issues which then pile up and are presented to the landlord at once' I consider that this is an unfortunate choice of words in that no issues were 'presented' to us. We were told our flat was in acceptable condition and when we arrived we were left to discover damage on a scale that was truly staggering.

- I note that the respondent asserts that our complaint was taken seriously. I consider that it was not. I see that problems are attributed largely to one member of staff but I also consider that the Directors could have dealt with our complaint more effectively. For instance, they could have met us on site and inspected the damage, problem by problem. This would have allowed them to explain to us the issues they were facing. Although they responded promptly and in detail to our letters, they initially disputed many of the problems we raised. On handover day, I asked for someone to come out to the property but this request was declined. I consider that a site meeting would have made the resolution of the issues much easier.

Letting and managing is tricky, I get that. And, I also get that tenants sometimes do awful things and even employees drop the ball sometimes. By far the biggest issue we had with this company was customer service. We all make mistakes and things go wrong, but the measure of a good service is often in how you deal with these issues.

There are many lessons to be learned from this tenancy. I notice that since my negative feedback, a positive review for this firm has been posted. We were warmly recommended to use A Flat in Town by a personal friend of one of the company Directors. We are therefore greatly saddened by the costly problems and dispute that ensued.
By: A Flat In Town
May 03, 2013
This let ended almost 3 years ago and unfortunately it was not the smoothest let that we have managed. The let had been fairly straightforward until the move out (although the tenants had clearly concealed a few issues that were only apparent once they had vacated, eg the smoking which had not been picked up on due to open windows at each inspection) and sadly the move out day itself was mismanaged by one particular member of staff who has since been dismissed. In addition, there can be irritation at the end of any let if a tenant has not mentioned a number of routine maintenance issues which then pile up and are presented to the landlord all at once. There were a few of these mixed in with the problems and this compounded the issue.

The landlord complained about the move out at the time and we took this complaint very seriously, organising repainting and repairs etc with each problem being fully discussed and dealt with appropriately.

We are accredited with Landlord Accreditation Scotland and adhere to a strict code of practice. We carry out all our work to best practice guidelines.

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A Flat in Town

36 East Claremont Street Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh

0131 652 7393

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