Been Let Down? Share your story

Have you had a bad experience with a letting agent? If so, please post your story in the comments section below. We’re gathering stories from the many let down renters across the UK to show agents and the government that it’s time for change.

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11 thoughts on “Been Let Down? Share your story

  1. I’m moving out of my shared house and to put the new housemate on the contract, it costs us £168. That’s gone up from £120 a year ago. For the new housemate moving in, that’s an extra £108 on top of the deposit and first months rent. We questioned the letting agency as to why it’s increased so much and they said they now outsource their tenant referencing so it costs more. Insane!

  2. When I moved into a flat in Stamford Hill in 2006, the letting agent (lets, for the sake of argument, call them Sheldon Bishops of 222 St Paul’s Road Islington) asked for a £150 ‘security fee’ on top of the usual deposit (one month’s rent) and signing fee (about another £100). When I asked what ‘security fee’ meant, they explained that it would pay for an inventory and that they ‘highly recommended’ we get one because ‘this landlord could get difficult when it comes to returning the deposit.’ In the criminal world, this is called protection money: thugs collect it from ordinary people by talking up the threat from their even more (supposedly) thuggish masters. Yet somehow, if you wear a suit and use some headed notepaper it becomes a perfectly acceptable practice.

    • Was the security fee refundable or was it to cover the cost of an inventory? They’re right in saying an inventory is recommended as it protects you from the landlord just claiming from your deposit for things that were wrong with the flat when you moved in but £150 is steep and in future you should ask to be offered a few more quotes.

  3. Top tip: Some letting agents will not give you the name or contact details of your landlord, because that way they can cheat more money out of you (often, landlords have no idea that their tenants are having rent increases and bogus fees forced on them). You can get around this by looking up your address at the Land Registry (http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-ownership). For £3 you can download the title register, with the landlord’s full name and address on it. Then you can contact them directly and cut out the middle man. Often, tenants find that the person who has been threatening them and calling themselves the landlord is not actually the landlord at all.

      • If your Landlord is on a fully managed service with their letting agent. Would it not breach data protection for the Agent to surrender that infomation.

      • In Reply to Jack – No it isn’t as under the provisions of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, tenants of dwellings in England & Wales, who make a written request to an agent, have a right to the landlord’s name and address.

  4. We moved in November 2012, and found that all the estate agents we spoke to were charging hundreds of pounds in fees, we ended up turning down a flat as they wanted over £600! In the end we took a flat through an agent that lied and said they didn’t charge fees, then ended up paying over £500, with them claiming they hadn’t understood us when we asked them! Of course we had no choice as this was a few days before moving and they would have kept our deposit anyway if we hadn’t paid up. We are not well off at all but in a better situation than many people and couldn’t afford it but at least could get the money, I don’t know how people worse off than us can manage at all.

  5. I had a terrible experience renting a flat through Keatons for three years. The flat was lovely. So was the landlord, who wanted to meet us before we signed our tenancy. However Keatons’ badly organised administration, unprofessional standard of communication and slow response to broken essentials in the house was unacceptable. Here are a handful of examples we faced during our time with them:

    Example 1: Our kitchen sink tap came off. It was a mixer tap, so we lost both hot and cold water in the kitchen. The initial response from the plumber was immediate, (as there was water gushing everywhere). However after he closed off the kitchen water, it then took Keatons three weeks to replace the tap. We had to do our washing up in our minature bathroom sink. After much chasing, the response Keatons constantly gave was that they needed consent from the landlord before doing the work. It turns out the landlord was on holiday abroad for two weeks and hadn’t checked her emails from them. But at what point do Keatons say, ‘ok, it’s been too long now, we’ll take action and fix this?’

    Example 2: Our boiler broke during Autumn, meaning we didn’t have heating but still had hot water. After around 10 emails and phone calls where we were passed around ‘central lettings’ and then to their maintenance dept and back to our local branch where we initially lodged the problem, this took over a week to be fixed.

    Example 3: When we renewed our 12 month contract, Keatons said ‘this will be your final tenancy year, as the landlord wants to return to live in the flat next year’ and they duly served us a section 21 notice for 12 months down the line. Fine, at least 12 months is plenty of notice. Fast forward 10 months and we’d already started looking for a new flat, they ask us if we want to renew. We said, ‘well you said the landlord is coming back’. To which they had no recollection, nothing on file, no record of even writing to us with the letter saying the landlord wanted to return to the property. Until I went down to their office in person with a copy of their letter, to which they said ‘that must have been an admin mistake’. We didn’t renew. And I will never rent with Keatons again.

    • Seems like you did have a bad experience, never nice to hear about.

      Though I must play devils advocate for your first example. This is a tricky situation as a managing agency can not just rock up to a property, do something and then charge the landlord without his consent. The only time they can is when it’s considered an emergency. If they had fixed the tap without consent from the landlord then, on their return, the landlord could have refused to pay as they didn’t sign of on it!

      In that instance I’d say it’s the landlords fault for going off on holiday and not even bothering to spend a few minutes a day to check emails.

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