Working outside London much of the last year, I rented my house in the capital through supposedly reputable, but in reality appallingly inept, lettings agency Felicity J Lord. This ditty documents my (frustrating) experiences over the past year.
In my opinion, it’s been not merely the worst estate agency, but in fact the worst company of any description I’ve ever dealt with: F J Lord seems bumbling and clueless to a level barely imaginable in today’s competitive environment. (Including, at the actual time of writing, failing to return any of four calls inviting them to ponder on whether they should, on the final day of a tenancy, perhaps be performing certain acts related to their business.)
Anger and frustration have long since been replaced by a sense of resigned shaking-head acceptance. So to reflect the cloud-cuckoo approach to business practiced by this most Alice-in-Wonderland of property companies, I’ve put my complaint in verse. (To be read in the meter of that Gilbert & Sullivan classic, The Modern Major General’s Song from Pirates of Penzance.)
Felicity J Lord: A Modern Major General Lettings Catastrophe
It started with a contract, and the little bit of paperwork
For Residential Shorthold, simple job for any lettings clerk
But even as the doc was signed the future trouble reared its head –
Mistake in rent (I noticed) proved the contract hadn’t been re-read.
In truth the indicators of a possible catastrophe
From people too incompetent to double-check a Spelling Bee
Had been there from first viewings as the designated agency
Drove up and waited shyly to inform him they’d forgot the key.
Then as the Tenants signed their names the problems start to pile up,
We say we’ll take a 5% upfront and then take twice as much,
Calls left hanging and our anxious landlords kept on tenterhooks
It takes six weeks from fault report to get us in to take a look!
Our left hand never has a clue what righty might be doing now,
The smallest task resulting in a constant escalating row
We keep our landlords so frustrated many let the errors pass –
Perhaps that’s why we say hands-on: we need both hands to find our ass.
As if to prove our Agency is unfailingly blooper-prone,
Each month we write in error to the owner of the letted home.
No wonder that our landlords think from F J Lord they should take flight –
We’re so inept it takes twelve months to get a direct debit right!
Yet through it all we have the cheek to charge the highest fees in town
To us a landlord candidate is little better than a clown
And when they ask to justify what they see as extortionate
We smile and say effectiveness is not a part of our remit.
The grossest errors and mistakes; throughout it all we take our fee,
As if we were a shining Modern General Lettings Agency
But competence remains a word that we do not epitomise,
We understand some customers just give up and emit loud sighs.
Since Britain’s in a triple-dip you’d think that all its companies
For customers would kiss the air and fall gratefully to their knees
But F J Lord exists on oddly non-converging business vector –
Servicing its customers more badly than the Public Sector.
And so today the disgruntled composer of this witty verse
Phoned F J Lord in tears of joy with words that needed no rehearse
The tenancy is ending and there’s no more painful work to do
F J Lord of course seemed shocked, as if it didn’t have a clue!
So that’s the story (with perhaps a pinch of gentle poem license)
Of F J Lord, whose tasks are hardly on a par with rocket science
Handing viewings, signing forms, and thenceforth just collecting rents
An easy job description, done with laughable incompetence!