What’s reasonable? It depends on the person involved, what is acceptable to one may not be to another.
One of the most important aspects of my job when I worked for a city insurance company was meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Nowadays despite individuals’ behaviour and the growing trend of not caring about consequences, I continue to believe there is still such a thing as good customer service, no matter who is supplying or receiving it.
Perhaps I have high expectations, although over the years I have had to adjust and sometimes lower these, but when I am relying on and paying a significant amount of money to another to ensure the house I rent meets a reasonable standard, I hope and expect that person to do all they reasonably can to ensure the accommodation and facilities are not below standard. I also expect their customer service to reflect the client/agent relationship commensurate with their fee.
Sadly when it comes to renting, the client/agent relationship is more often than not loaded in favour of the agent. For instance, when viewing 3 of the properties we have rented in the past, before I had even got half way round the house it was pointed out to me that I had to make a quick decision because there was a queue of people waiting to look at the property i.e. hurry up, stop wasting my time, if you don’t want it I have someone who does.
On another occasion, after having lived in the property just a couple of days, I noticed some damp appearing on the wall. I was told to draw around the area with a pencil and monitor it to see if the damp patch got any bigger. The agent showed no interest and made no contact after this, even though you would have thought they had a duty of care to the landlord let alone the tenant.
At one property I kept a snagging list and after one week I gave the list to the agent; it included a broken dishwasher, kick boards that had no fixings so each time they were touched they fell over, a broken toilet seat, shower and towel rails hanging off the wall, light fittings that didn’t work and blocked guttering. Other than the blocked gutter (that evidently hadn’t been cleared for years) the response I received to everything else was
“You knew what it was like when you took it on…if you are unhappy with this, then really you need to decide whether you wish to stay…”
Reasonable? Clearly they thought so, but not to me. However, with the veiled ‘take it or leave it’ threat, I soon realised there was little point in trying to improve the various things that were wrong and I had niaively thought any reasonable landlord would put right.
But not for the first time I have been proved wrong and for all the years I spent putting the customer first and encouraging staff to exceed customer expectations, with a few exceptions, that level of service does not seem to exist in the house letting world and the tenant is left feeling they have no right to complain even when something is so obviously wrong.
In the meantime I continue to focus on the light I think I can see at the end of the renting tunnel and perhaps when I reach that point and I no longer need the services of the letting agent, I will make a different list for them, this time headed