Had a number of poor experiences over the two-and-a-half years renting with R&L. Some highlights would be:
- Reporting that the front door wouldn't lock when I needed to leave immediately. I was given details for a repairman by G and told to call back if he was not available soon, so that she could try and find us someone else. I called back and explained he was not available for 6 hours and, rather than acting quickly to resolve the situation, she asked if I had booked him. After explaining, again, that I needed to leave urgently and reminding her that she had told me to call back if the repairman wasn't available soon, I received a huffy and almost confused response, whereby G explained that 'she could try', went to another room, and came back to report that there had been a repairman in the office the whole time who could be with me within an hour. To reiterate, her response to an urgent request was that she couldn't be bothered to get out of her chair to look for a repairman in the office, and she was happy to fob me off with waiting for hours.
- We later had more issues with the door after the landlord thought he had fixed it. I was told by G that she and the landlord were "confused" and "didn't get it," and was given the contractor's number and told I was going to have to sort it out on my own. This was after I specifically asked if I should be present when the door was being fixed so that I could explain what was wrong, and was told 'no, they're professionals, they won't need your help'.
- Access to the property was prone to knee-height flooding after heavy rainfall which caused our bins to float off and prevented the postman from delivering to us. When we asked if the landlord could do anything about this, we were told by G, "That's just what happens when it rains." Our concerns were only passed on to the landlord because we insisted that she did so. After dealing with the issue throughout our tenancy, we were told by a neighbour that it was going to be addressed within a month of us moving out.
- Check-ups on the property every five months, often at short notice, and regular calls at weekends. We eventually requested that R&L stop calling us after we received multiple calls a week from G for minor issues. For example, tried to explain why we found it a bit inappropriate to call us on a Saturday afternoon to tell us that the landlord wanted the lawn mowing soon when an email would have sufficed, and were told that she was merely making a "friendly courtesy call". Still not sure what is friendly or courteous about calling your tenants on the weekend with instructions. Despite requesting email-only contact, we continued to receive calls semi-regularly, and e-mails were often only sent to one of the two tenants.
- Rusted/broken garden tools left at the property when we moved in. Contacted R&L to ask that they be removed from the inventory or for the landlord to provide new ones. We received a patronising explanation from G that actually landlords don't provide garden tools, that they would have been left by previous tenants, and that we could do what we wanted with them. When the landlord later turned up for something else, he told us that the garden tools (which we had at that point thrown away) had actually been his. Thankfully he did not take issue, but it was clear that R&L were happy to avoid having to contact a landlord and make up information.
- We asked if we could have smart meters installed at the property (which only stands to benefit the landlord) and were told, "No." No explanation provided, and no sense that they had thought to explain the benefits to the landlord.
- Similarly, we asked if we could have a break clause after two years of being good tenants, as we were looking to buy a house. We were told, "No." When we went back - perfectly politely - and asked out of curiosity if we could enquire as to why it was a no, we were told that the landlord wanted long term security, "which is perfectly reasonable." So we weren't even allowed to enquire as to the landlord's reasoning on a decision that affected us more than it did them without being spoken to as though we were trying to create problems. We weren't saying it wasn't reasonable, and we couldn't have known whether it was reasonable or not because they weren't willing to provide any sort of dialogue with us without being pushed for it.
- After some time, we requested not to be referred to G anymore, and were told R&L would try. There was no interest in the fact that we considered our service to be so bad that we were requesting a different advisor, and in fact someone went out of their way to email us to tell us that they thought she'd been doing a great job. I was interested to see on their website that they do actually have a complaints procedure, and that we were not referred to this at any point. Frankly, given the response we got, I'm not sure there would have been any point in complaining.
- They showed no interest in regulating the landlord who, at first, frequently showed up at the property with less than 24 hours notice, sometimes with no notice at all.
- Complained about thick black mould behind a very large and heavy wardrobe in the property, and were told that this is why we shouldn't store large furniture against the outer wall of the property. It was not our wardrobe, it was the landlord's, and it was the landlord who had put it there, but for some reason we were held responsible for this.
- Received very miserable service when we went to hand the keys back in, from a woman who rolled her eyes at me and answered the door wearing a mask that said, "Will only remove to drink wine".
- Requested that L ask the landlord to look over the property before we handed our keys back in (as he was doing remedial work at the property anyway) and let us know if it was okay. I suspect that she did not do this (messages were frequently not passed from ourselves to the landlord), as after being told that the landlord was happy with the condition of the property, they appeared to change their mind after we handed over our keys and charged us for professional cleaners for what would have been - at most - two or three hours' work. R&L didn't attempt to mediate this with the landlord, despite our having sought landlord feedback on the state of the property beforehand. Instead, we were criticised and treated as though we were trying to default on the payment.
We generally felt treated as though we were nuisance tenants who should consider ourselves grateful that our landlord allowed us to live in his property. We have rented through other agencies before, and although agents have prioritised the landlord as their main client, we have never been made to feel that the letting agent doesn't care at all whether the property is safe or a positive experience for us to live in.
For an agency that claims it is 'proud to employ the most experienced and professional group of people in the area,' they could stand to review how they communicate with their tenant customers. Even if all of the above issues were the fault of the landlord, R&L failed to act as mediators and came across as needlessly curt or unprofessional as a result.
There were odd moments of good service from other staff members, but not enough to override the bulk of it. Overall a very unprofessional service, and we are relieved to now be out of it.
157 days ago