Watch Out for Cowboy Letting Agencies

2 12 2012

My partner and I recently moved out of one property and are now in the process of getting out deposit back. We’ve been informed that £105 is being taken off for professional cleaning services!!! While the tenancy agreement does say that they can take this money off us to make sure that the property is in the same standard as we received it in, we never received it clean in the first place! The letting agency fully agree that we received the property in a disgusting state and paid us £85 to clean it ourselves – after telling us that it would take some time to get a cleaner in so we wouldn’t have been able to move in for a few days! Because we took the compensation, they say it means that they can take the money off us.

I hear stories all the time about letting agencies taking money from the deposit for unfair reasons. We’ve had money taken off us in the past from another letting agency but we had no way of proving that they were in the wrong. This time we definitely do! Especially since they have agreed that the gave us the keys while the property was in a disgusting state! Compensation means that they acknowledge that but certainly does not mean that they can break the tenancy agreement afterwards.

After doing some research into the letting agency – you know what, I’ll name them! Blackwells Letting Agency in East Kilbride – I’ve found that they don’t actually have a research. They only operate through! I really wished I’d have looked into this before agreeing to rent the property from them because I definitely wouldn’t have bothered. There are also no reviews about them online at all, which makes it very difficult to check if they are reputable.

For anyone looking into Blackwells, I’m going to tell you not to bother for numerous reasons:

1. The fact that they are breaking the tenancy agreement. We handed the keys back with the property in a much better state than they gave it to us in. We made sure the cupboards were cleaned out – we found spatulas in cupboards when moving in!!! – and even cleaned the loft hatches out where leftover food from previous tenants was.

2. They failed to fix a leak coming through the roof for eight months. They claim that the landlord would need to have a reasonable amount of time to rectify the problem – are you really telling me eight months is reasonable? We couldn’t turn the bathroom light on because the leak from the roof was coming through the bathroom lights! Surely eight months is not reasonable when health and safety is involved.

3. They talked about charging us for broken skirting boards that we never reported. These were broken when we moved in and had poison mouse traps behind them (with dead mice in that decayed while we were in the house because we didn’t know about them!). Surely, it was reasonably to assume that they knew about it. They haven’t mentioned about the cost of this coming off our deposit so I’m guessing they’re backing down on this one.

4. They never informed us that the deposit would be moved into a deposit holding scheme. The money was moved and we were only informed after numerous emails and a call to find out about why we had not heard about our deposit after six weeks! Now I can’t even find the company online that they tell us the money has been moved to!

Next time, I will definitely do my research. I will find out about the letting agency before even thinking about handing money for a deposit. For this one, we will be disputing the amount that we will have taken from us. Please do your research so that you do not suffer from this problem. I’m doing a law degree through the Open University so I know about tenancy agreements that they have to stick to their terms or else the agreement is voided but not everyone is so lucky. If there are no reviews online and they do not have a website (especially in this day and age) please stay away, no matter how lovely the property is. There is something better elsewhere!



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