Leaders Ltd www.leaders.co.uk Review

★★★☆☆
2.8 / 5
47% of users recommend this
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Guest's review of Leaders Ltd www.leaders.co.uk

★☆☆☆☆

“Absolutely the worst estate agent that I have ever had...”

Written on: 28/10/2018

Absolutely the worst estate agent that I have ever had to deal with. I would not have taken the property that I am in if I had known in advance all of the fees and the terms that come with it.

They start by pressuring you into paying them the holding fee and the processing fees by telling you that other people are interested in the property, etc. - that's pretty common.

Their fees are not common, though. They describe their fees as "middling", but the truth is just that they are very expensive and they have lots of hidden fees later on.

For example, weeks after I first paid the processing fees, they then told me that I am responsible for things like paying a cleaning company to clean the windows outside the property. They include in their information pack a document called "How to Rent" from HM Government that states "The landlord must maintain the structure and exterior of the property", and I've never been responsible for cleaning the outside of the property in any other place that I've rented, and yet they still insist that it is completely normal that tenants pay to clean the exterior of the property.

As others have mentioned, they also charge a check out fee at the start of the tenancy. Again, this was not made clear until a couple of days before I moved in, so I was coerced into paying this as well. I have never been charged a check out fee by any other estate agent, so for them to claim that this is a perfectly normal fee is just not the case. They claim that they charge it at the start of the tenancy because sometimes tenants leave without paying it, but the truth is just that there is a ban on fees to tenants coming into place soon, so they are collecting the fee now before they are banned from collecting it in the future.

They also constantly try to sell your personal information, and trick you into consenting to excessive gathering and sharing of personal information.

For example, they try to forward your personal details on to Virgin Media because they receive a commission if you accept any of Virgin's services.

They also don't tell you on day one that you must pay for home contents insurance that includes protection of the landlord's fittings. Leaders have a sister company, Hepburns, that provides that very specific insurance, and they constantly try to trick you into forgetting to tick a box on different consent forms and data gathering forms that says "Do not send my details to Hepburns", and their websites constantly show you popups and and other information to try to direct you to Hepburns. You can get the same insurance cheaper from Admiral and probably others.

They pass all of the responsibility for your referencing to a company called Lettings Hub. Lettings Hub are the most invasive company that I have ever dealt with. Most companies perform a credit check on you and possibly request a letter from your company's HR department to confirm that you earn over a certain amount to afford the rent for the property, but Lettings Hub demand irrelevant details such as your marital status and they insist on your sending them full pay slips insecurely via their website. They force you to check a box that says that you accept that they may store and transmit your personal information insecurely via e-mail and that you will not hold them responsible for any leaked data. They even demanded that I tell them my office location so that they could check if my daily commute would be too expensive for me to be able to afford the rent.

Their contract is full of clauses that provide zero protection for you as a tenant, but allow them to charge further exorbitant fees for little or no reason. For example, one clause says that you must pay a cleaning company recommended by them at the end of the tenancy (and you must give Leaders the receipt as proof), but another clause says that if they are unsatisfied with the cleanliness of the property then they will take another cleaning fee from your deposit. How is it fair to force you to pay once and then claim that it wasn't good enough and then charge you again?

I discussed with them taking a very standard 12 month contract with a 6 month break clause. When the final contract came through a few days before I moved in, it said that there would be an 8 month break clause, not 6. When I challenged this point they told me that it would be a hassle to change the contract now and that the landlord would be very unhappy about it. This is simply dishonest and coercive on their part.

When I (begrudgingly) made the initial rent, deposit and check out fee payment via their website, there was an error, so when I went to collect the keys they told me that they couldn't find the payment. I showed them the confirmation page and a payment receipt and they were eventually able to track down the payment, but it's just another indication of how they are not careful with your personal and financial details.

When I asked who Leaders are regulated by, they proudly told me that they are regulated by ARLA, a body that had been partly set up by Leader's owner. I don't know the specifics, but that sounds like a complete conflict of interest; a self-regulated company is basically unregulated. You can contact the Property Ombudsman instead (which I am in the process of doing).

Leaders have demonstrated that they are expensive, dishonest and manipulative; they operate completely unethically, yet they make you feel like you are the one who is in the wrong.

Just avoid Leaders at all costs. Pick ANY other estate agent. If you see a property listed on RightMove or Zoopla, check if Leaders is the agent and keep looking for another property - it just isn't worth dealing with them.

  • Rent Property

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  • Burgess Hill / Haywards Heath

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