Myself and my partner found and fell in love with a property on right move.com, and then sadly realised it was with Andrews.
Despite our wariness (we were advised by friends and even the taxi driver who dropped us off at the property to not bother going with them ) we went to look at the property, which was everything we wanted and needed for a longer term of letting.
As my partner is self employed and cash in hand, we were clear that his credit rating meant that my parents would sign as guarantors for the full amount of rent and so would be subject to a full credit check (they have both worked for 26+ years and are home owners so this shouldn\'t be an issue.)
Credit checks went through on myself and my partner, and my partner failed as he has a CCJ (for a student loan). He is currently paying this off, but was not aware it had gotten to the point of a CCJ and since speaking to both groups involved, has realised this was due to a miscommunication of address. They sent us a confirmation email saying that he had not defaulted on any agreed payments (as he put forward a figure a while ago and has been paying it off monthly ever since) and they are happy with him.
Two days before we got the keys, the landlord pulls out due to this. Despite having guarantors for the full amount of rent, he is a first time landlord and so says he is \'uncomfortable.\'
Our contract for our apartment ends next week.
This joke has cost us the price of hiring a van, a full days work - my partner is a tattooist and booked the day out which has cost £70 an hour 11-6. AND. Our holding fee of £350.
I have spoken with CAB and Trading Standards and both directed me to their housing advice:
\'A non¢â‚¬â€œreturnable holding deposit
This is charged when you agree to rent a property, but have not yet signed the tenancy agreement. This deposit is usually deducted from the security deposit when you move in.
You should make sure that you want to take up the tenancy because if you change your mind, your holding deposit will not be returned.
There may be circumstances when you are not able to move into the property for reasons beyond your control, for example, your reference was not satisfactory or the agency has increased the rent. In these circumstances, it may be unfair for the agency not to return your holding deposit. You should seek advice if this happens to you.
If you have paid an administration fee and/or a holding deposit and the landlord chooses not to go ahead with the tenancy, the Office of Fair Trading Guidance states that you should receive a refund of all pre-payments. If the agency will not return your payments, you should seek advice.\'
The last two paragraphs are relevant to us. When I pointed this out to staff member Natasha she was less than helpful and continued to repeat that I signed about a holding fee. I did not sign that if the landlord pulls out for no reason (we have guarantors who were happy to sign for the full amount of the rent) that we allow them to keep the holding fee for the house. We would not have handed over a penny if it was not for the fact that we were reassured by members of the team that with a guarantor, there would not be a problem as guarantors are in place for people who may not have the best credit history (we thought my partner would have nothing anyway as he doesn\'t really use his bank account.) to reassure the landlord. Andrews as an agency have done nothing to help, nothing to try to secure the home (we have since been told by other agencies that you can pay rent upfront, etc. This was never offered as an option to us.)
My partner and I were promised contact and of course, this has not happened. The manager Sara- something - I don\'t know her surname as she hasn\'t bothered to get in touch yet - was supposed to email this morning. I have now made it clear I am taking this further, and she is going to call this afternoon. I do not hold much hope for this happening.
I find it absolutely disgusting that £350 was taken from my partner and myself to hold the property, and due to the landlord backing out (regardless of reason, it is the landlord that has said no NOT us), they find it fair to keep it.
I want my money back, obviously, as we have now had to start the house hunt again and our contract ends very soon.
None of this is good enough. Their service is awful, they\'re rude. They don\'t understand how to deal with complaints and simply refer you to their manager, who is never there.
Do not go with Andrews, unless you enjoy handing over hard earned cash and never seeing a property for it.
I would be interested to see what somebody higher than Sara- something has to say, because at the moment I am with the masses in Bath who will put people off even bothering when Andrews is mentioned.
What agent could do to change your mind?
They could give me my holding fee back as it is unfair to keep it.
They could also be more helpful over the phone. On top of this, they could have offered us options such as a bigger deposit, rent upfront. They chose not to do any of this.