I used Atkinson Mcleod in the capacity of a landlord. The service I received fell way below what was agreed and in general I found their staff to be deceitful, ignorant and lazy. Key problems encountered included:
Failure to manage the collection of rent effectively: In a single year, the rent arrived late on 5 occasions, once by over 3 weeks. On each occasion I heard nothing from the Atkinson Mcleod until I contacted them myself. Despite paying Atkinson Mcleod to collect the rent, they never proactively kept me informed if the rent was not received from the tenants and they were slow in responding even when I contacted them.
Deceitful agents would tell me one thing and the tenants another: The flat in question came complete with roof garden and I was only interested in letting to tenants who would look after it. The letting agents told me the tenants they found had promised to look after it, but it turned out they never had even expressed any interest in the garden (I found this out later in discussion with the tenants). Unsurprisingly the garden was already ruined by the time I found this out. On another occasion the agent promised the next tenants they could install a Sky dish on the outside of the building without checking with me first. The flat is actually in a conservation area which forbids this. The tenants didn\'t find this out until after they moved in. It is interesting to note that my current tenants are just as unhappy with the service they received from Atkinson Mcleod as I am.
Hidden, disingenuous fees at every turn. I opted for the "Fully managed" option with a hefty fee up front, only to find that they wanted an extra £84 fee every 4 months to go and inspect the condition of the property. How can this be fully managed if the regular inspection of the property is charged for separately? Add on to this the £180 fee Atkinson Mcleod want if the deposit is disputed at the end of the tenancy which is hardly in the spirit of the tenancy deposit scheme.
Shoddy additional recommended services: I paid over £200 for an inventory for the property but after my own inspection a fair amount of damage had not been picked up. Even though I pointed this out to Atkinson Mcleod they failed to convey this to the inventory company before the time limit imposed by them for disputes. Ironically this damage I believe is related to work carried out by the cleaning company recommended by Atkinson Mcleod and instructed by the tenants. Castlewhite cleaners (make a note and avoid at all cost) thought it a good idea to bathe the chrome taps in the flat in industrial descaler and leave it on without rinsing, hence all the taps in the kitchen and bathroom are now ruined. I myself had to clean the property afterwards as the flat was strewn with loose hair and none of the rugs had been hovered or shaken out. The neighbours downstairs complained separately to Atkinson Mcleod as the cleaners threw so much water on the kitchen floor that it ended up draining through the floor and damaging their ceiling. Unsurprisingly for a company used to such shoddy work the cleaners are denying all responsibility.
All in all I have been left out of pocket and am actively prevented by Atkinson Mcleod from recovering the costs. It is little wonder there is a lack of quality rental property in London if agents act like this.
What agent could do to change your mind?
As my agent I expect them to help me with managing the property as that is what I am paying for. I don\'t expect to have to pay an endless list of fees and high costs for additional services only to find that there is no help or acceptance of responsibility when things go wrong. To pile on additional costs designed to either dissuade me from taking action against tenants to recover costs or to make even more money out of my misfortune is at best perverse, but more likely just down to a cynical greedy attitude. I only ask for fairness but what I am getting is anything but.