The accidental landlord: roller coaster ride courtesy of scary agent

Victoria Whitlock encounters an efficient saleswoman whose pleasant demeanour is hiding a much darker side
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This is going to sound daft, I know, but I appear to have accidentally hired a scary letting agent. She's pretty and petite and looks about 13, but underneath her butter-wouldn't melt demeanour there's a Rottweiler.

I'm not really sure how or why I agreed to let her market my flat and, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that I did. She asked to see some photos of the place so she could work out how much it was worth and I expected her to call me back with a guesstimate of the rent, but next time she rang she had four people ready to look round. She'd also placed details of my flat on all the major property websites.

I was simultaneously impressed and alarmed. The flat isn't an easy sell because it's on a housing estate, there's not much living space and there's only one bathroom for four bedrooms, so to get so many viewings so quickly was great, but she hadn't even seen the property, she admitted on the phone that she didn't know the area, and we hadn't even discussed her fee.

I agreed to let her show the prospective tenants round the flat, but told her how much I was looking for in rent and said anything she achieved above that she could take in commission. I think she sort of agreed, but we still have nothing in writing.

As I've had problems in the past with agents lying to viewers (one told a tenant he would have access to a garden which didn't belong to the flat; another told a couple the place came furnished when I'd specified it was to be let empty), I insisted I accompanied her on all the viewings.

At first the agent seemed quite pleasant and she was certainly efficient. All four viewers turned up promptly, which was a surprise to me because I get a lot of no-shows whenever I advertise privately for tenants.

The first two were a total waste of time as they needed to move next week and my flat isn't available until mid-September.

The next two viewings went well: the agent was persuasive, talked up all the good points and brushed over the negatives, but both girls wanted to return for second viewings with the people they would be sharing with. And that's where things got uncomfortable.

The agent told each of them that if they wanted the flat they would have to make an offer and pay a deposit. I interjected, saying I thought it was better to wait until their prospective flatmates had seen it. If looks could kill, she would have incinerated me. She warned one girl, then the other, that they risked losing the flat to a higher bidder.

I told them I hadn't received any other offers and they should take their time I think at that point the agent wanted to hit me. Later, I tried to explain to her that I didn't want to bully anyone into taking the flat because I'd have to deal with their complaints. Plus, they might move out quickly and I'd have to go through the whole process again.

She didn't listen. She rang a couple of hours later to say she'd succeeded in persuading one of the girls to pay a deposit, which was subject to her friends liking the place. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster I'm out of control but I don't know how to get off.

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