/ Home & Energy

Have you had issues with letting agents?

Our investigation has uncovered rental properties in poor condition, vital safety information being missed on top of financial stresses. Have you experienced similar issues with a rental property?

After we sent undercover researchers on 30 property viewings across England and Scotland, we’ve discovered that renters are being continually let down by letting agents.

20% of the properties they visited had problems with damp, while none of the agents were able to commit to fixing it. A major concern was also the lack of knowledge on carbon monoxide detectors – a potentially lethal issue.

Should renters really have to put up with these issues through gritted teeth?

Repairs: a leap of faith

Misrepresentation of how and when repairs would be done is another issue facing renters. Our researchers rated eight viewings as ‘poor’, finding that a common response to their questions was ‘it should be done before you move in’.

On multiple occasions, responsibility was brushed off onto the landlord with no specifics about who they were, or what their approach was to repair requests.

Property expert Kate Faulkner told us that work required should be made conditional as a special clause in the tenancy agreement. But if – as with many letting agents in England – you have to hand over a holding deposit before seeing a final contract, tenants still have to make a leap of faith.

Share your nightmare stories

With false advertising, heating and hot water issues and unclear admin fees contributing to the problems, the last thing you’ll want is a viewing that feels rushed or pressured, but that’s exactly what some of our researchers reported.

There are clearly real issues with letting agents showing prospective tenants properties that aren’t up to scratch, and it’s unacceptable that basic questions about important issues such as boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms are going unanswered.

We believe tenants needs to be given clear and accurate information before moving in, and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service.

We’ll be publishing a report on whether the sector is working for consumers later this year, so we want to hear your stories. Have you faced any of the issues mentioned in our investigation?

Let us know in the comments below, or email us at conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Comments
Patrick Taylor says:
3 July 2018

Given “generation rent” a good subject to be covered and I hope that the way that rental works in other countries can be used to advantage in this thread.

Perhaps Which? could examine the biggest private landlords in the UK and give them a rating to help prospective tenants.

As it applies to Scottish landlords https://www.unlockthelaw.co.uk/landlords-scotland.html scroll to getting your property ready -the repairing standard . Due to past history of “slum ” landlords in Scotland local councils /regional councils are pretty strict especially in Glasgow as a city turned around from many slum areas . Bad landlords are highly publicized and action taken even to the point ( in Glasgow ) of many compulsory purchases by the city council when landlords ignore the warnings . this sunk in eventually when those types of landlords lost financially.

In London the chances of ending up with a rouge landlord has always been higher than finding a genuinely good one. Also watch out for what the letting agents tell you about the area your thinking of moving into, a lot of bad landlords can be found in the rougher parts of town. https://www.localarearesearch.co.uk is a useful street check app to find out information about London areas.

Yes BB my second landlady just off Tooting Broadway centre kept on snooping into my personal papers in my suitcase and then started asking personal questions , the female who was with me wasn’t amused by that so we ended up moving .
She used to position her son at the outside door to watch for my motorbike coming into the road ( Garratt Terrace ) .