* * update: see below * *
Ruth, Jess and Charlotte recently took up a rented property in Bethnal Green through Victorstone Property Consultants, paying £3,451 as rent and deposit. After they had only just moved into the house, Victorstone fell out with the landlords over the fees they would take, the landlords decided they wanted to get out of the letting, and changed the locks.
Ruth, Jess and Charlotte have managed to get some money back from the landlady, but the landlady had never been transferred the full amount, because Victorstone had subtracted their fee. Victorstone initially tried to mislead Ruth, Jess and Charlotte, implying that all the money had been transferred to the landlady. In fact they intend to keep c.£1200 of their money for a completely failed deal. They now are trying to take no responsibility for the situation.
We demand simply that Victorstone give Ruth, Jess and Charlotte back their money and pursue whatever dispute they have with the owners of the property. At no point has Victorstone, or the landlords implied Ruth, Jess and Charlotte have done anything wrong, yet Victorstone are holding more than £1200 of their money, which they need to get a new house.
Ruth, Jess and Charlotte were dealt with by Victorstone’s Shoreditch branch:
53 Hanbury Street
London E1 5JP
t: 020 7426 5411
f: 020 7377 6750
Update Friday lunchtime:
Over the past few days a number of people have been visiting, calling and emailing Victorstone to try and get an answer as to why they’re holding onto the money.
When we first spoke to Victorstone they had given us the impression that the Landlady had all the money, obscuring the fact they had taken over £1200 in fees.
When we pointed out to them that we knew where the money was they began to explain their position that this £1200 is not actually Ruth, Jess and Charlotte’s, but it somehow temporarily became the landlady’s money, despite her never having it, and Victorstone have taken it off her, despite the fact that Ruth, Jess and Charlotte gave them it.
When people told Victorstone what they thought of this, they got replies like this one from Louise Brooks – louise@victorstone:
To whom it may concern:
Please be advise this is now a legal matter which I do not believe you have any
involvement in, should the tenants need any assistance we have informed them they
will need to contact the landlord.
T: 020 7426 5411 E: louise@Victorstone.co.uk
Shortly after this Victorstone started saying they’ve contacted the police because of the complaints.
Yesterday 3 people went down to visit Victorstone to try to clarify their position and complain about how it was being handled. The response from Victorstone was astonishing.
Here’s a report from one of the people who went:
Three of us just went down to the
office in Shoreditch. We bumped into Kabbie in the street and asked
his manager’s name (Nabil). We went into the office and asked for
Nabil, explaining that we were there to complain and find out why
Ruth, Jess and Charlotte haven’t been given their money back.
We were made to stand in the lobby
while staff came out and told us they were going to call the police
for harrassment (referring to our approx 10 emails of complaint
received this morning). A middle-aged man came out and though he
wouldn’t give us his name he said he owned the company. The staff
said as we weren’t tenants they wouldn’t discuss the matter with us.
We said this was okay and that we only wanted them to listen to us.
The man became hot-headed and said he
was going to call the police. We said we were fine with him calling
them. When he came back from his phonecall to the police he kept
raising his voice whenever we said “Why don’t you pay them back,
it’s clearly their money”. We also asked whether the police felt
he was overreacting.
Clearly feeling the pressure the man
was told by his told colleague, “Calm the fuck down man, what the
fuck do you think you’re doing?” who then led him away. The
colleague also said “If you don’t leave now I’ll fucking throw you
out myself.” Asked whether that was a threat, the colleague said
“Yes it is a threat.”
Essentially we did nothing but try to
get our complaint heard, telling them they had stolen money and
should stop being thieves and just pay it back. They threatened us
and called the police in return. Clearly Victorstone don’t take
kindly to being complained at.
We’re pretty shocked at how Victorstone are dealing with this. Their excuse for holding onto the money is weak to say the least, but their response to complaints is laughable.
Wouldn’t it just be easier if they just payed up?!