Disdain for estate agents goes back a long way in the UK, and this disdain is probably greater now than it has ever been. Estate agents feature regularly in polls as one of the least admired of trades, right down there in the gutter along with politicians and tabloid journalists.
A brief reminder of my situation, I retire from the London Fire Brigade in March next year, when we will be moving to the Maltese Island of Gozo to live.
Now I did not want to retire and then sell my UK house, I felt that this is a job to get out of the way well ahead of my leaving date. The house is duly sold, and we complete the sale on this coming Friday. So Gill and I needed to find rented accommodation for the remainder of our stay here in the UK.
Due to the circumstances that surrounded the sale (I won't bore you with the detail here) we only had 1 week to find a property to rent, subsequent visits to all the estate agents in the area to find a rental available immediately, only came up with 5 possibility's, we promptly viewed all 5, one of which we decided that we liked.
Following the viewings Gill and I went home to discuss what we had looked at, we were desperate and had only found one flat that we liked and if we could not find anywhere to live we would be homeless, desperation indeed, so first thing the following morning we called the agent to confirm that we would take the property that we looked at the previous day, the agent said he would contact the owner just to confirm that the flat was still available and would call me back.
One hour later I got the call, yes we could rent the flat but there would be conditions attached. The agent would be allowed to attempt to sell the flat on the owners behalf during the 6 months that we would rent it, he could throw us out at any time by giving us 1 months notice, and just to top it all he was going to add another £25.00 to the advertised rental price, when I challenged the agent that he had advised the flat owner of our challenging situation and they together had come up with these proposals he flatly denied my claims and advised me that those were the conditions and I should take it or leave it, I told the agent that I would get back to him within the hour.
After several desperate phone calls to Gill and a few calls to friends we found a private let, which is a 3 bedroom house and only £50.00 more than the 2 bedroom flat, so we won't be homeless after all. Nothing could have given me more pleasure at that moment in time than to be able to call the agent back and tell him to poke his flat (with the rather dubious terms attached) where the sun don't shine.
This corrupt and dishonest industry desperately needs better regulation and perhaps, like in the United States, estate agents should be required to have a better qualification than a sharp suit.
The agent in question operates in Borehamwood and already has a very dubious reputation for Sharp practise. I will not name the agent here however they take there business name from the British peerage system.