So, we’ve been having trouble with our landlord, well, actually the letting agent, so I thought I’d blog about how useless they are so that people don’t use them! Relish Residential is their name, incompetence is their game! Beware.
Here is the (very very long) story of the problems we’ve experienced.
We lived in Northamptonshire, and were needing to move to Darlington. A friend looked round this house for us and decided it met our criteria. She was right! It’s a little small, but fits the budget and isn’t in the horrendously horrible part of town! Relish residential sent us all the paperwork for referencing etc, which we duly filled in and sent back to them. We had some issues with getting them the ID they needed as we weren’t sure about sending it in the post. Their suggestion was that we “pop in with it”.
- Problem number 1: No understanding of the geography of Britain.
So we explained that it was a little too far to “pop in” and would it be ok to show them the ID on the day we moved in. They said this would be ok. We also arranged with them that on the day we were moving in, I would collect the keys and sign the contract, so that DH could arrive later with the truck.
We sent an email about a week before the move asking them to confirm we were ok to move on the right day. Their reply said yes, no problem. We arranged I’d meet them at 4. On the moving day DH rang them to again confirm the arrangements. This time they said they had no record that we were moving in that day. We informed them that the emails received from them suggested otherwise, and they agreed. However they then said that we hadn’t signed the contract and therefore couldn’t get the keys. They said that DH had to sign the contract as he was the one with the income and therefore with the reference checks done for him (a fair point, but their earlier agreement had been that I’d sign it!). So DH (on the moving day when we were supposedly busy packing the truck) had to go into his old work, receive a faxed copy of the contract, sign it, and return by fax. Sorted, we thought.
- Problem 2: Rubbish at sticking by what they’ve agreed, and generally rubbish at communication.
So, I arrived at the house by 4pm, armed with ID, various paperwork, and a six month old baby! I was met by Gill, who seemed nice enough and let us in. The house was a tip. Footprints on the lounge windowsill, stains and muck on the carpets, uncleaned kitchen and bathroom, and furniture still in the rooms (we were renting unfurnished). When our friend had looked round the house they had assured her it would be clean and empty when we moved in. Oh, and no gas or electricity because the meters had debt on them. I had to put £25 on the electric key and £10 on the gas before we could have heat or light.
- Problem 3: They don’t check the properties before letting them out.
Gill was confident and collected to start with, but soon became very apologetic about the state of the house. She rang Relish’s standard contractor, Robert, and asked him to come round and move the furniture out. This was after asking whether we could move house tomorrow instead (err, no, we’re moving from Northamptonshire, have hired a van, and recruited busy family members to help us), could stay somewhere else overnight, or wanted to move into a different house for 3 months. Strange.
Anyway, Robert (more about him later) came and removed the furniture. Hooray! Myself and my mum (and ds) went round to our friend’s house to borrow her hoover, then went to Morrison’s to buy cleaning wipes and rubber gloves. Armed with these we set about cleaning (the room DS was going to sleep in first as it was getting late). The rest of the move went fairly smoothly, van arrived, unpacked etc. A few days later they did come round and vax the carpets for us.
Then, a couple of weeks after we’d moved we noticed that the wall in the lounge had water running down it. A large canvas picture of ours was ruined. The shower above was leaking somehow. We rang Relish and they said they’d send someone round to have a look (it was a Saturday and we’d planned to go out). Robert came, with his plumber, Danny. They had a look and decided one of the pipes needed replacing. So they went away and got parts, and then came back and fixed it. They also re-did the sealant around the bath. This all seemed fairly efficient and effective.
A few other minor problems occurred, the plumbing for the washing machine wasn’t correct, something under the sink was leaking, something to do with some wiring, no smoke alarms were fitted, the built in wardrobe doors were off their runners etc. Some of these DH sorted out, some of them Relish did. However they consistently missed appointments where I’d stayed in the house because they’d arranged to come. I never received phone calls to let me know they weren’t coming, and when they did turn up they often didn’t manage to fix the problems.
- Problem 4: They don’t communicate and expect you to be in whenever they happen to turn up.
Some time later we realised the shower was still leaking, and that the ceiling was going soggy. We rang them again, and were told not to use the shower for the time being. Robert and Danny came round again, can’t remember what they decided the problem was this time, but anyway they fixed it, and then sent a plasterer round to redo the ceiling. Between calling them and this being finished approximately a week passed. At least once an appointment was arranged for them to come round which they missed, without a courtesy call to say they couldn’t make it. After the Ceiling was plastered Robert popped round to check the work. I pointed out that there was a water mark on the newly plastered ceiling which he attributed to salt in the plaster separating from the water (something along those lines anyway).
- Problem 5: They employ incompetent contractors to carry out work.
Anyway, 7 months down the line, the shower still leaks. They have been round to fix it 3 (maybe 4) times so far. Last time they replaced the waste pipe I think, that goes from the sink, under the bath, and past the loo. The plumber used my nice white towel to soak up the dirty water left in the pipe (stain still there) and didn’t tell me he’d used it. On tuesday night I noticed a big water bubble in the wallpaper after my shower. DH rang on wed morning and suggested they use a different contractor to fix it this time. Relish arranged to send someone round on wed afternoon. No-one came. DH rang again on thurs morning and was told someone would be at the house at 6pm. No-one came. DH rang AGAIN on fri morning and was told that Robert (they hadn’t changed contractors) couldn’t come today but would ring on Saturday (today) to arrange to come. Guess what, he didn’t ring. Grrrr.
- Problem 6: They really annoy their tenants by being incompetent and not taking their advice
I’m all for being gracious about mistakes, but when it’s this many it just winds me up. Do your jobs properly.