“Piece of advice: DONT MAKE ANY OFFER STRAIGHT AWAY!!!
Most reviews will tell you, once they have your money, professionalism is out the window.
Let me tell you how it went.
We waited for almost forty minutes past the arranged time, no biggie the weather was gorgeous, and we checked out the neighbourhood.
They turned up in a car, two agents for the viewing and THEY ARRIVED WITH SOME CLIENTS IN THEIR CAR... kind of fishy if you ask me, but being the naive student couple, we are, we rolled with it.
After what was no longer than 4 mins of being showed around a fantastic and affordable property, we went outside, sat on a BENCH and went through paperwork as "its best to put forward the offer early as the property won’t be on the market for long", BUT WAIT THERES MORE! They ask you to put down one weeks’ worth of rent, in our case this was £340; which is a lot when you are a student working part time flipping burgers, literally signing away almost forty hours of hard work to a company that will eventually wave your money in your face, hoping you commit all the way so that you do not lose out on your own hard earned money.
I decided to take it on the chin and run (I did ask for it back of course but to no avail). I'd advise you to do the same, here’s why:
1. They had all our contact details on the sheet used to sign away £340, and still misspelled my name and emailed the wrong person in my partners stead, with mildly private information contained in the email.
2. They called me and shouted, "HELLO MR , we are calling about your late payment!" the second instance of mishandled personal information. Poor bloke, yikes.
3. When confronted about the above they didn’t apologise or seek to rectify it, merely aggressively defend their professionalism, ironically.
4. Despite the price being stated on the website we were made to feel as though we were bidding for the apartment.
5. We were told that as students we could pay 6 MONTHS UPFRONT or have a UK based guarantor. On the dreaded holding agreement Julia (the person who showed us the apartment) had written for us that we'd put forth 6 months upfront despite us saying we'd prefer the guarantor option.
6. When I tried contacting Julia, she'd reply with voice messages. I guess I’m not worth the professionalism after my money has been put forward.
7. I have been hung up on by their Islington office twice after being put forward to voicemail twice, yes, I’m persistent.
They will hire very nice and bubbly characters to sell you on their customer service. They are possibly employing strategies like having two viewings at a time to simulate urgency in order to get you to sign the holding agreement, I highly advise you not to. Once you sign the holding agreement, they as a company, have now got guaranteed money out of the property AND leverage that they will not hesitate to use against you, good luck. Even their manager, Elizabeth told me that she encourages them to push clients to sign the paperwork on the same day as "the properties do not last on the market for very long....”
Sorry to ramble but in short: Landlord or tenant, just run the other way and pick someone more reputable. If the property is irresistible, read through the holding agreement or kiss your money goodbye. I feel sorry for anyone who finds themselves in the same situation as my partner and I.