Monday, 9 November 2009

Your Name's Not Down - You're Not Coming In

Last week, I emailed my Letting Agents stating firmly but politely that they mustn’t come round if I was out. They had (if you recall) left a hand delivered letter on the floor in the communal hallway giving 24 hours notice of a summary inspection.

So there I was bubbling with righteous anger, having cancelled appointments and set aside waiting time (the LA’s allowed themselves a whole day, not even specifying morning or afternoon).

I did some work, typing very fast (I do that when I’m angry) and was speaking to myself in a high-pitched angry voice when, at about ten am, I received an email: they weren’t coming round after all.

How thoughtful of them to them let me know. Were they aware I had complained about my house-keys being passed around like free newspapers? “The office manager is aware of it,” apparently, but not so aware as to apologise.

I reminded them that despite being furnished, there is no shelving or cabinets in the bathroom, so everything is piled up on the floor: not nice, not really hygienic, and so easy to remedy.

But here’s the trap: if I plough ahead, I could be hammered for repair fees. I pointed this out when the LA visited last time (I just the leave the door on the latch for them now) when their response was: “You could buy something yourself.”

I am reasonable. I bought my own towel rack, and I have a clothes rail, since for many landlords, ‘furnished’ is a vague and whimsical term. But drilling into a wall was not the way forward, as I’d lose my deposit (yes, I think I think I’d get it back after a court case, but even so…)

I have as yet received no reply to any of my queries.

So here then, is a thought. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a friend owns several large houses. And let’s say that my hypothetical friend, knowing that I was flat-hunting, had asked me to report on Letting Agents, in a mystery shopper capacity: you know, tell him how they treated me so could select a firm to manage his property portfolio. Let’s say that he wanted them to be fair to tenants, having (hypothetically of course) been a private tenant for years himself. Not wanting to work with a company who abused, disdained and trampled on the rights of residents, he wanted nice people, fair people, to oversee his houses.

And let’s just imagine that I’ve done just that, ensuring that the Office Where The Nasty People Are didn’t get the gig.

It’s sort of a motto of mine: never shaft people unless you’re willing to accept the consequences. Not for one minute do the spiny sharks ruling my world imagine that I have any standing in the world, or that I am willing to stand up for my rights (they believe that renters, like slugs may be eradicated with impunity.)

Be careful who you pick on - very careful. You never know who can bite hardest.


Dave said...

Your "friend" will have more luck finding the "good guys" in hell. I have never met a nice Letting Agent. And thats not bloddy suprising cos they are a bunch of aragent ar*eholes who hate poor people!

RenterGirl said...

An excellent point, well-made will wise words. And yes, they are found in Hell. But they will have rented the space: "Bijou seething hell-pit, excellently appointed, no sinners, no smoking no pets."

RenterGirl said...

"‘furnished’ is a vague and whimsical term" - brilliant and exactly the truth. I recall in London living in a converted dovecot off Baker Street - where the owners had discovered IKEA. There were shelves! There were drawers! There was even a cupboard! The sofa and chair were not broken or just ancient. And all the appliances worked. Ok it was the tiniest place I've ever lived in, but I will credit that landlord for fitting the place out properly and it clearly hadn't cost much.


RenterGirl said...

Sorry Shoe - I accidentally deleted your comment. Thanks for reading!

another_pleb said...

I have a theory thatanyone with the word, "Agent" in their job title cannot be trusted. This goes for travel, estate, letting, secret, literary and any other type you can think of.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I have to draw your attention to this quote in the Guardian article. 'Figures in the official Rugg review into the private rented sector suggest that 76% of private tenants were very or fairly satisfied with their landlord.'

Our own records show not a single unresolved dispute before or after the TDS came into force. Of course that doesn't mean there haven't been disputes. But with negotiation, the use of a qualified and independent inventory clerk and polite conversation a dispute can be reoslved to the satisfaction of all concerned. I know we're not the only agent with this enviable record and when I hear local horror stories they ALWAYS involve non regulated agents. Got to be a lesson there.

All the best

Ann P