If you need evidence that you should use Home Run or union approved letting agencies, “Elite” Properties are all you need. The misleading and dire management from Elite meant that our 12-month tenancy was more than enough for us, and we moved to a far cheaper and better managed house that we found through Home Run.

Warning signs went up, literally, when we moved into the property to find there was a rather sinister notice on the gas meter reading “imminently dangerous, do not use”. During a visit from the gas company – when we learnt that our boiler was not about to blow up – we discovered that the house did not have a valid gas safety certificate, nor a carbon monoxide detector. One had to wonder what our £165 (each) agency fees covered.

We also had to have the locks changed on the back door as we couldn’t open it. We had to have one added to the bathroom door. Little bit awkward. The downstairs shower didn’t work for the first five months of our tenancy and only got fixed after we presented them with an ultimatum. We pointed out that we were paying for two showers, and if we were unable to use it then they should reduce our rent. Needless to say it was sorted quite quickly after that.

Our inventory stated we would have a television: that television sat in our front garden waiting to be collected for months from the beginning of our tenancy. One of the windows in the pantry in the kitchen was broken, but never got fixed. One of the rooms was stricken with damp; when we brought this up with them they did nothing to deal with the damp problem, which might have been acceptable were they not now trying to charge us money out of our deposit to treat the damp.

We weren’t provided with a hoover, despite it also being included in the inventory. We were told towards the end of the tenancy if we did not maintain the garden, we were at risk of losing some of our deposit, yet no gardening equipment was provided until we told them it would be impossible for us to weed the incredibly overgrown garden with our bare hands. Plus the garden was not in a fantastic state when we moved in.

For the first six months, communication was incredibly poor. In order to get through to our landlord, we had to first message Elite – it got us nowhere. In February the property management was handed over to the landlord, surprisingly making life no better. We still dealt with Elite properties in order to speak with our Landlord; I’m not entirely sure what difference the change made.

Ultimately, we’ve left the house still fighting for our deposit through the Deposit Protection Scheme, potentially very much in debt to our gas supplier due to the archaic method of heating the house (back boiler) and with the knowledge that, no matter how nice the house looks, it is always safer to rent through a union-credited agency – because rest assured, if an agent isn’t union-approved, there will be a damn good reason for it.