Letting agents are being accused of failing tenants, after a small group of cowboy agents showed prospective tenants around mouldy properties and failed to inform them about safety details during viewings.
Undercover researchers from consumer group Which? carried out 30 viewings across the UK to assess the conditions of a sample of rental properties across England and Wales.
No fewer than six of the properties had damp, while another had a damp stain on the carpet but the agent claimed not to have the “technical expertise” to work out whether it was an issue with damp.
Eight of the 30 viewing were rated as poor in terms of the answers provided by the agents on general property maintenance and repairs, along with their explanation of holding deposits.
Which? said it was concerned over the standards of safety information provided on the viewings, with half of the agents unable to provide any information on the property’s boiler, while most lacked knowledge of carbon monoxide alarms.
The consumer champion said fees for security deposits and administration were explained better, but warned these ranged from £20 to £400.
Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services for Which?, said: “There are clearly real issues with letting agents showing prospective tenants properties that aren’t up to scratch. It’s unacceptable that all too often agents can’t answer basic questions about important issues like boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms.
”Tenants need to be given clear and accurate information before moving in to a new place and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service.”