Can I officially complain about letting agents or is this "normal"?

(8 Posts)
DaphneCanDoBetterThanFred Wed 21-Sep-16 10:09:33

As they are shit, frankly and as much as I want to shriek at them I don't think it will actually help. Grumble grumble.

So, points of rubbishness:
Feedback from property inspections is never passed on to letting agents. I have to follow up with countless phone calls.
Phone calls generally get ignored.
Wait months for even simple jobs to be carried out.
Quality of work is shit. Contractor repainted bathroom for us this year with cheap crap paint which is now covered with water streaks - where he painted is also patchy and you can clearly see undercoat all over, then a few brush strokes of top coat in a couple of places, that's it.
Called assistant manager as landlord is finally thinking of replacing heating. We first talked about it years ago, nothing happened. She did the property inspection this year and finally agreed it's really substandard and needs changing. 3 months later, one guy comes round to do a quote. Never hear anything more. Chasing up results in them saying "we'll get in touch with the landlord" then never getting back to me. If I ask to speak to the assistant manager who saw the state of the house she's "not at her desk" and never calls back. If I ask anyone else there for help, they just never get back in touch.
We've been waiting 2 years for them to replace a broken, sharp bath panel.
We're now going to have to endure another shitty cold winter with no heating in bathroom or kitchen as no one will get back to us.

Is this all normal? What the hell can I do to get them to do anything? I can't visit them in person as their only office is 45 miles away and I work full time.

I've just found on their website that they are a licensed agent with the National Approved Lettings scheme - should I threaten to contact them or just go ahead and do it? Or just put up with it?

We've been here over 5 years and their contact, willingness and general standards have been ridiculously low. 3 months wait when we moved in to replace a carpet that stank of dog and made DS physically sick. 6 months to fit an extractor fan in bathroom, leaving us with a mould filled bathroom for those 6 months. Months of waiting for even small repairs. We do as much as we can on our own, but there are now jobs we can't do like replacing heating.

What would you do wise mumsnetters?

(I know moving house would be the sensible option but we've been here 5 years, and they can't increase the rent more than a certain amount each year, so the rent is comparatively low. Similar properties in our area are now £200pcm more expensive than our lovely craphole as we moved in just before a property boom. It's shit.)

daisygirlmac Wed 21-Sep-16 10:14:25

Firstly can you try and speak direct to your landlord? You can request his address if you don't have it or for £3 you can look it up on the land registry website if the letting agents are just going to arse about with your request.

You could try a written complaint to the agent, if they're part of NALS or Ombudsman they will have to follow a formal complaints procedure (which should be provided to you following a written request)

Thirdly you can involve the council to enforce repairs - there will be a specific person/team who deal with this and will be able to inspect your property and start proceedings to get repairs done

DaphneCanDoBetterThanFred Wed 21-Sep-16 10:35:19

Thank you - good ideas. Is this normal for Lettings agents I wonder, or are these ones really useless? I have friends and family who rent and seem to get things fixed with a week or two, and calls answered promptly, but I don't know which is the exception!

Right, I'll try calling them again a few times this week and if there's still nothing, I'll try a written complaint.

I'm not sure about contacting the landlord. He's never seen the inside of the house, seems to have no idea what's inside it and I get the feeling he just doesn't care, which could be what's holding the letting agents up - but they need to be honest with me about that and get him moving.

It's a private rental, so I'm not sure the council will get involved. I don't think any things unsafe, just bloody cold sad

Wish me luck!

JustGettingStarted Wed 21-Sep-16 10:38:42

I would guess it is the landlord who is unwilling to pay for the repairs. After all, if you move out, he can rent it for significantly more money.

I really don't know what you can do, but it sounds awful.

daisygirlmac Wed 21-Sep-16 10:48:30

I'm an estate agent and we do lettings as well and your agents are being shite!

The council will absolutely get involved with private rentals so it might not be a bad idea to start the process with them as it will likely take a while

specialsubject Wed 21-Sep-16 11:09:40

many agents do minimise work by not passing on request and ignoring calls - but this sounds like it is your landlord that is also the problem.

If you are worried about being evicted for calling in environmental health - that is now outlawed. As in 'the judge will reject a possession claim'.

demand your landlord's contact details. And if you rented a place with a heating system, it needs to work. It may be cheap but that still applies

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Wed 21-Sep-16 11:12:45

Sounds totally normal.

Renting is shite.

DaphneCanDoBetterThanFred Wed 21-Sep-16 17:36:52

Small success! Finally managed to get hold of the right person at the letting agency.
Re the heating, part of the delay was the first contractor not giving the quote back for a long time. A second contractor is being sent to do a quote, but they're not sure when, so are chasing for me. So for a conversation that started in May, we're doing pretty well! /sarcasm They don't seem to chase these things at all confused

The problem I have though is that whoever I speak to at the agency comes across as a really lovely, helpful person and I find it quite hard to get angry at them. And I'm sure they're doing their best but they seem to have to useless contractors who have no respect for getting things done on time, a landlord who couldn't seem to care less or want to be involved.. But it still ends up with me in a crap house.

Anyway, she's pushing for him to sort out the heating here as a priority so we'll see how that goes I guess. Thanks for the perspectives and advice here. smile

And yes, renting is shit, but when our plumbing broke on a bank holiday weekend and we got a plumber out the same day (their emergency line is much more efficient than the normal line!) we didn't have to pay the bank holiday emergency call out rates. That did feel lovely!

(Quick tip for anyone in a similar situation - get the company names and numbers of any contractors they send. Always ask the letting agents which company they're sending. If jobs don't get done you can then call the company direct and see if the job was never passed to them by the letting agency or if the company themselves are being useless/slow. It's how I've got the last few big jobs done, by, er, doing the Lettings agents job for them... Ok, that sounded better in my head grin )

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