Another rant about scumbag letting agents

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JoT
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I'm not really asking for help here, just letting off steam somewhere where it will be understood.
For the past 8 years or so my husband and I have been using a local letting agency, on a find only basis. They've (almost) always found us good tenants, so we've tried to overlook the fact that their back office is diabolical. Over the last couple of years, though, we've started getting complaints from our tenants about how they've been treated, which worries us as we like to maintain a good relationship with our tenants.
The most recent tenancy change, in October, was due to our current tenant being moved abroad by his company. He gave 2 months' notice and the letting agent found new tenants on the first day of looking.
Fast forward to when the new guys are due to move in - despite constant reminders, we've still had no paperwork, no draft contract, no service agreement, nothing. They were due to move in on a Wednesday, on the Friday we went to the office demanding the paperwork - they huffed and puffed but found it for us. They wanted us just to sign everything and were disgruntled when we wanted to take it away to check. Saturday morning we returned to the office with a list of changes we wanted to be made (some mistakes, some more serious), saying we would be in Wednesday morning to sign the changed paperwork and let us know if there were any issues.
Wednesday morning we turn up to be told they weren't going to change certain things - the one that got us in particular was the clause that said if they were sued for anything (quite likely imo) we would cover it !! In the end we wouldn't back down and just left, with their promise to try to sort it out.
Back home we got in touch with the new tenants who'd been told "minor delay" and when letting company decided they weren't backing down either we bypassed them and drew up a contract with the tenants (not before letting agent had been on the phone to them bad-mouthing us).
Now we're not unreasonable - we know they found the tenants for us - and decided to pay their 7% finders fee for the 6 month contract they'd found the tenants for, though we first deducted the refund we were due for the previous tenant moving out early. Not enough apparently - they've managed to forget the amount they owe us and have issued a Court Claim against us for some minimum amount they specify in the Service Agreement THAT WE DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO SIGN! They claim that the previous SA is still valid, even though in the past they've insisted on a new one every time we've changed tenants.
Are we going to pay? What do you think? :-)
20/11/2013 16:09

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