A landlord who tried repeatedly to get a letting agent to disclose its charges has taken his business elsewhere.
The landlord, with a property in Newcastle-under-Lyme, wanted to draw up a shortlist of agents.
He emailed most of the agents in the area to ask for fees information and says that only one – Bridgfords, part of Countrywide – refused to do so.
Instead, the firm insisted that it would need to meet him.
In the email exchange, which spanned June 2 and 3 and which Eye has seen, the lettings negotiator responds to the landlord’s initial request by asking to meet him either at the property or in the branch.
The landlord answers by saying he needs details before organising a meeting, “as I wouldn’t want to waste your time”.
In a subsequent email, he said: “All of the other agents have sent me their fees without requesting a meeting. I’m not prepared to meet an agent who will not disclose their fees beforehand. I’m not making my decision based on price … but it would be useful to compare prices to draw up a shortlist.”
The negotiator does offer the landlord a phone call with the manager, but the landlord responds: “I cannot understand for the life of me why you will not tell me your charges. Please do not reply unless it is with your fees.”
The correspondence then concludes.
We asked Countrywide for a comment and Margaret Longden, managing director of Bridgfords, said: “We strive to provide the best service and encourage potential landlord clients to meet with our lettings agents to discuss their individual circumstances and requirements.
“We see this as a benefit to potential landlords since it enables our letting agents to fully understand the landlord’s needs and provide informed advice about the right service for them based on those needs.
“Whilst we do have set landlord packages with set fees, we take pride in being able to tailor our service to meet the individual needs of landlords, and the fee can be tailored to reflect the level of service taken out by the landlord.
“If a landlord is unable to meet with one of our letting agents we are able to send them our standard fee structure.”
* Changes have been announced to the board of Countrywide. Sandra Turner has quit and Jane Lighting and Richard Adam appointed as non-executive directors.
Lighting was chief executive of Channel 5 Broadcasting, while Adam will also become chairman of Countrywide’s audit and risk committee from August 1. The changes come ahead of Countrywide’s new chief executive, Alison Platt, taking up her role on September 1.