Venmore mistreated two tenants in Wavertree. The agency ignored repairs for six months, stole part of the deposit without any evidence and tried to unlawfully increase the rent. Renting with Venmore is a nightmare. You have problems from the very beginning and this is the case with these two tenants. Before moving into the house, the tenants were asked for six months’ rent in advance, fees and a deposit, a total of almost £4,000.
Once they paid, Venmore just started delaying the agreed start date and their previous tenancy expired before they even knew the date. Finally, when they moved in, and after cleaning everything and doing minor repairs, the fridge and freezer stopped working. The agency ignored their complaints for six months.
Tired of this situation, the tenants decided to move out of this property and not to renew the tenancy but stayed a couple of months while looking for a new house. Venmore charges a fee if you renew your tenancy and there is a clause in the tenancy by which they increase your rent if you don’t renew your tenancy. The tenants didn’t accept this increase and never paid it as it was unlawful.
So, finally, and after a lot of persistence, Venmore withdrew its proposal to increase the rent and accepted it should pay a very small amount of compensation for the fridge problem. The tenants had already found a house, so they accepted the compensation just to move on. However, Venmore tried another way to take more money from the tenants; they decided to take a small amount from their deposit without any proof or evidence, and despite the house being in much better condition than at the beginning of the tenancy.
It was such a small amount of money that you might think it didn’t deserve any time being spent on it. But this wasn’t about money; this was about stopping the agency stealing the tenants’ money. They started by claiming their whole deposit back and asking the agency for any evidence for their deduction. They never showed a single piece of evidence but continued to refuse to give the money back.
The tenants sent dozens of emails and tried to contact the deposit scheme and the Property Ombudsman. These were useless, and it took days to receive any response, which was always the same: ‘We are looking into your enquiry; this process can take several months, you need to fill in this form, and now that one, and this other one again’. So the tenants decided to open a dispute against Venmore in conjunction with Liverpool Solidarity Federation.
They were quite interested in making their problem public and are quite sure that it is not an exception, but quite common with agencies around the city. So, they felt it would be quite interesting to open a dispute, to put pressure on the agency through making their practices public and to share experiences with other tenants.
As soon as Venmore received the letter from SolFed, they accepted they should pay back the whole amount of the deposit. The situation is clear; they didn’t have any evidence about issues with the state the house was left in, nor any proof that they had done any jobs in the house. The money taken from the deposit was for the agency, not for improving the house. The tenants had their money back six months after they moved out of the property – six months of making calls, sending emails, filling in stupid forms…
It is quite simple. If everyone accepts these little issues just because it doesn’t seem worth fighting them, they will become more and more common. These tenants faced Venmore and are now quite interested in sharing their case and contacting other Venmore tenants. If you have any problems with Venmore or any other agency in Liverpool, fight back and contact us for support.
Join the solidarity network. Join the Solidarity Federation.