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kirstieb

Agents using wifes cleaning company- confkict of interest

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Hello, first time posting. My colleague has ended a tenancy with a Bristol letting agent, she has now moved out and the final check out completed yesterday. She cleaned thoroughly but was told that it wasn't clean enough and they would be deducting money for a professional clean. Nothing new here I am very aware, and it may not have been spotless when she left. The thing is: When she was told this I immediately advised to ask for evidence of the quotes they received and to look into getting her own quotes, plus asking for a receipt of the work done. This is when the agents advised the clean had already been done and when requested for the reciept sent an invoice for £120 from a Saxon Cleaning.

At first, I was unhappy about the fact that they had just stated the work had been done already and she didn't have a chance to get quotes etc, but then I did a little digging. . .

I looked up the company, which only had a facebook page (no website to speak of or reviews on Yell etc), and the ONE review was from about 3 years ago. So I tried calling the mobile number on the facebook page, which was also on the invoice so clearly an up to date number. The calls eventually went to voicemail in which a woman stated her name and to leave a message. I left two VM's and a text simply asking for a quote. 

The next thing was to check them out on companies house, and the woman who recorded the voicemail is in fact the director of the company. I then decided to have a look at her facebook ( or as much as was public of it anyway), and this is where the alarm bells rang. Her previous job was listed as lettings manager, so she knows the game clearly. I then noticed that she is married, to the SENIOR LETTINGS MANAGER OF THIS LETTING AGENTS. 

At this point, I still have had no contact from this company for a quote and it clearly appears that the only client for the company is the letting agents her husband works for. All reviews of the agents have a running theme of being overcharged for cleaning and no matter how clean the property is left they still manage to bill for professional cleaning. 

Obviously i have advised my colleague to raise a TDS dispute, but I feel there is more to this- its a major conflict of interest and how many more tenants are being ripped off by this company?

Basically, is this illegal? Is this just morally wrong? Who can i get to investigate this. Thanks for sticking it out to the end :)

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If she disputes that the flat required a professional clean she should ask the letting agent to return the undisputed portion of the deposit and say she is planning to submit a claim to her tenancy deposit scheme for the remainder. There are instructions on the tenancy deposit scheme website for how to do this, it isn't difficult. The burden of proof is on the landlord/their agent and the deposit schemes are generally sympathetic to tenants being unfairly charged.

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Thanks I have advised her to do that and written a response for her if she wants to use it. The main concern is the fact that the sole client to the cleaning firm is the agency, it can't bode well for any tenants 

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