Complaint straight to ARLA?

by LordOf TheManor

14:40 PM, 2nd October 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Complaint straight to ARLA?

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Complaint straight to ARLA?

A friend had all his referencing completed by an ARLA agent who insisted on the whole professional shebang…. just as they should, as I would expect to happen.

Pity this standard didn’t apply to the property they were representing! On move in day my friend found the previous tenants’ wet double mattress still in the flat. It stank, as did the rest of the flat which hadn’t been touched since the previous tenants left 10 days before. The landlord appeared with carpet cleaning kit only on the day of the new tenancy and gave instructions about not putting any furniture down until the floors were dry. They were heavily stained and still are, plus they still smell badly.

The flat was full of flies and in serious need of a deep clean. My friend put in 3 hours of hard graft with the landlord attempting the same before my friend gave up. He moved in the next day…. without the help available had he moved in as planned.

Sink was blocked – couldn’t use it nor could he get his laundry done. No hot water – boiler needed a new element. Flies….. oh those? Landlord said they were ‘cluster flies’ – nothing to worry about!?! Flat was still unfit for purpose in the second week of the tenancy. The landlord eventually got the blockage sorted and the element replaced. The smoke detector is still on a wall next to a light switch, not where it should be on the ceiling.

Inventory? Not done. The agreement refers to the ‘inventory & schedule of condition’ in several places with the onus on my friend to pay for an exit inventory when he leaves. In the end, he clerked the flat himself and sent a letter firmly setting out his disappointment to the ARLA Property Letting Manager as the rent is being paid to them, not direct to the landlord.

ARLA’s response? ‘Nothing to do with us!’ ‘We’re not managing the property so sort it out yourself with the landlord’.

Really??? I thought ARLA’s mission was to raise standards in the letting of properties – so I must have that wrong. Even if they are not managing the property, surely they should see the merit in having a property they represent being fit for habitation? If it’s not them, who should ensure the ongoing obligations of the parties concerning the condition and safety of the property?

Double standards, if ever there were any….. ARLA happy to make money out of the tenant’s fees but represent nothing that’s worth anything to him!

As for the ARLA paperwork – best to say it’s their lookout not his!! Of what they did send, I, personally, wouldn’t wrap my fish and chips in it.

LordofTheManor

Editors Note:

Please see ARLA complaints procedure below and Click Here to view their page:

Complaints Process

Propertymark agents must meet higher standards than the law demands to be members of Propertymark but if you do have a complaint you can follow this process.

1. Use the agent’s internal complaints procedure

Ask the agency (or browse their website) for a copy of their internal complaints procedure, this will outline how to make a complaint to the agency. Make your complaint in writing, keep copies and ask them to confirm in writing:

  • The name of the person at the agency who is handling your complaint.
  • What they propose to do to resolve your complaint and when they’ll do it.

You should receive a response within 15 days of making your written complaint.

2. Contact the relevant independent redress scheme

If your complaint has not been resolved by the agent, you are confident that your issue has been understood and that you have given the agent a fair chance to resolve it then you should contact their relevant redress scheme.

Estate agents and letting agents are legally required to belong to a government approved redress scheme. The primary aim of these organisations is to independently evaluate evidence of complaints. Check the agent’s website to find out which scheme they belong to. More info…

3. Send your complaint to Propertymark

If step one and step two haven’t satisfactorily dealt with your complaint then provided the agent is one of our members you can send your complaint to us.

We will investigate

We will investigate complaints against our members where there is evidence the agent has breached our Conduct and Membership Rules. Examples of this are:

  • Failure to use an internal complaints procedure
  • Misuse of client money
  • Failure to uphold high standards of ethical and professional practice
  • Failure to protect and promote clients’ interests
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Failure to answer correspondence
  • Any act of dishonesty or conviction of a criminal offence.

We cannot investigate

  • An agent who is not a member, use Find an Expert to see if your agent is a member
  • Complaints about tenancy deposits

Make a complaint

To make a complaint against one of our members and to help us begin our investigation, please complete our Complaint Form.

Complaint Form

What happens next?

What happens next will depend on whether or not the complaint is to be set down for a disciplinary hearing. Some cases do not require a hearing and you will be informed of the outcome in writing. It may be that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the complaint and the case would be closed with no further action.

In cases where we consider there to be sufficient evidence a disciplinary hearing will take place.
More info…



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:42 PM, 2nd October 2018
About 3 weeks ago

I hope my editors notes in the article regarding ARLA complaints procedures help.

Michael Barnes

20:58 PM, 3rd October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Have I got this right: This was a tenant-find only service to the LL by the agent, and the agent is saying "condition of the property is nothing to do with us"?

LordOf TheManor

12:52 PM, 4th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 03/10/2018 - 20:58
Yes, you've got that right, Michael.

Barbara Gwyer

13:06 PM, 4th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Of course all of this should have been sorted out by the landlord before the tenants moved in, but I do wonder how come these tenants didn't notice any of this and say anything when they inspected the property in the first place?

LordOf TheManor

13:57 PM, 4th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Barbara at 04/10/2018 - 13:06
The property, a one-bed flat, was viewed in July while it was still occupied by a Romanian couple who had tenanted the flat long enough to procreate two children in it. On leaving the flat they were returning to Romania permanently and had their flights booked for mid-August.

The date for my friend's tenancy was 01 September. The landlord assured him that the void period gave her plenty of time to turn the flat around. Turns out in the void she did absolutely nothing at all!

My friend works 55-60 hours a week i.e. long days and didn't think it was something he should be checking up on. He took the landlord at her word! The ARLA agent asserted their authority over the tenancy e.g. meet their strict referencing requirements or no tenancy would be granted.

That's fair enough... but at no time did they say they hadn't inspected the property or checked with the landlord that any between tenancy maintenance/cleaning had been undertaken. At no time did they say that this was my friend's responsibility to check up on. It was implied that they were in complete control at all times.

My friend paid this ARLA agent £125 for referencing which he easily satisfied. In return, on the day of his move, he got the keys to the previously described filthy flat, badly photocopied and incomplete paperwork plus an out-dated tenancy agreement short on vital information++.

A firm but polite letter to the ARLA agent notifying them of the landlord's failings (as well as their own!) elicited the following response:

'Thank you all received. Please make sure you inform the landlord as we do not manage the flat'.

Looks like they've washed their hands of it.... Whose standards are they working to???

LordofTheManor


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