Nightingale Shott: avoid the landlady from hell!! Watch
My post had numerous responses, both from other former tenants and from property owners who had entrusted their house to Harveys Property Service, and whose experiences seemed similarly negative as mine had been. However, my post quietly disappeared from this forum, suggesting that there is somebody who would prefer you to not read it. Since censorship is probably the worst way of dealing with problems, I am reposting it once more.
Househunting season is coming near, and so I thought I should assist the RHUL community in avoiding the year-long misery that my housemates and I went through in dealing with our lettings company. And since that company rents out a fair number of houses in the area, this might be of value for quite a few people!
After several years as a postgraduate student at RHUL, I had to move out of halls and look for private sector accomodation. I decided to look for shared houses in Egham and Englefield Green, and finally opted for a room in a very nice house in Nightingale Shott (which was quite dirty during the viewing, but we were promised that would be rectified by the time we'd move in). I didn't know any of the other housemates before, but they were all more or less fine.
The one who was absolutely not fine, however, was the landlady - enter Helen Harvey, of "Harveys Property Service", whom we soon came to know as the landlady from hell. Obviously, nobody expects landlords to be their friends, and it is natural that they rent out houses for a profit and not for charity, but there is a limit to how much abusive behaviour one has to tolerate from a landlord.
The first encounter with the landlady was weird. She bragged how she had kept all the deposit from previous tenants, at the same time as telling us that she was friends with all her tenants and would be our "mum away from home". Fine, nobody's perfect.
Then some common nuisances - we moved into a dark and dirty house because the landlady had not organized the cleaning and replacement of broken lightbulbs that she had promised us, and the promised desks were not there either. However, she fixed that after about a week of us nagging her.
More sinister, she soon tried to pressure us into signing another contract to replace the contracts we had made individually with Mulberrys, with significantly worse terms. (As a side note, Mulberrys were eliminated completely from that new contract, in clear breach of the original contract with Mulberrys.)
She also tried her best to convince us that for our own convenience, we should let her handle the utility bills for us, simply paying her £50 per month and person - which is about twice the actual cost! Later we were told by tenants in other houses rented out by her company, who had agreed to this arrangement, that she kept telling them that they had to reduce their water and electricity usage, and that otherwise she would need to charge them more!
We quickly learned that Helen Harvey doesn't like any resistance to this kind of idea, and that she immediately resorts to aggressive posturing and threats that she will keep our deposits at the end of the year, as well as the announcement that for any breaches of the contract she would go after us "within the full extent of English law".
The only one who does breach the contract routinely, however, is Helen Harvey herself. She took to showing up at the house unannounced and letting herself in whenever she pleased, in clear contravention of the contractual term stating that her visits should be at a time mutually agreed upon and announced at least 24 hours before. Any encounter with her was invariably unpleasant - if the other party to the conversation is not fully submissive, she will immediately raise her voice, glare at them, and issue a stream of threats, basically using the whole catalog of classic bully behaviour.
Close to the end of our tenancy, we made the interesting discovery that Helen Harvey was not actually the owner of the house, contrary to what she had told us, because one day the bell rang, and in front of the door was a very nice and well-mannered gentleman who came to "resolve some issues". In short, he had made a contract with Harveys Properties that they would let out the house he owned, paying him the rent earned minus a service fee, but he then found that while they kept charging him for all kinds of repairs that they claimed to perform on the house, they never paid him the rent income at the contractually agreed time. He told us that he always needed to request the rent from Helen Harvey many times before he received it, and that she treated him in the same kind of confrontational and bullying manner that she used on us! He seemed the kind of person very eager to avoid conflict, but he was so frustrated that he had finally decided to take his house away from Harveys Properties.
There were many other incidents of a similar kind, but the above should suffice. In sum, I can only advise prospective tenants and house owners alike to save themselves a lot of headaches and wasted time by avoiding Harveys Properties - there are plenty of more respectable agents on the market!
I and my flatmates are all RHUL students. They offered no service after we moved in!! We got lot of similar experience like post before, such as ''Helen Harvey herself. She took to showing up at the house unannounced and letting herself in whenever she pleased, in clear contravention of the contractual term stating that her visits should be at a time mutually agreed upon and announced at least 24 hours before. Any encounter with her was invariably unpleasant - if the other party to the conversation is not fully submissive, she will immediately raise her voice, glare at them, and issue a stream of threats, basically using the whole catalog of classic bully behavior.''
I highly recommend DO NOT sign contract with them. Terrible agency.