This isn’t quite my usual type of post, but I’m in need of a platform: a place where I can post this content and then use the link as a point of reference. Unless you’re planning to move to Barcelona and have the misfortune of almost renting a flat from ‘Fincas Fuster’ letting agency, this entire post will be of absolutely zero use to you. It’s unlikely to be even slightly entertaining to read, unless you’re some sort of sadist.
In the Beginning…
image via YouTube
This tale of cunty behaviour begins in summer of 2017. My partner and I had just moved into a temporary flat in Barcelona while we searched for a more permanent residence. We were still adjusting to the seemingly arbitrary charges that Spanish letting agencies use for new tenants. For example, if you’re paying 800€ for a flat, then they charge you that amount purely as a fee, along with other charges that are slightly more understandable (e.g. administration costs).
After viewing several flats, and with time running out for us, we settled for one. It was a little bit small, but it had a lovely terrace and was affordable. We had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong with the flat, or that the Fincas Fuster letting agency is essentially owned by a scam artist. The problem with renting a flat in Spain relates to their completely moronic bureaucratic system. At this point in time, I had a job but none of the necessary documents, such as my NIE (essentially a national identity number), whereas my partner had her documents but no job.
This meant that Fincas Fuster needed extra deposit money, to the sum of 6,000€+. We understood why this might be necessary, and while it was, and still is, a gut-wrenching amount of money, it seemed to be a common enough practice as we’d encountered in when enquiring into other flats.
We also met Albert, the owner of the letting agency. I don’t feel bad using his name. He was charming, had a good sense of humour, and seemed completely empathetic of our situation. I thought he looked and acted a bit like a Spanish Ryan Reynolds. Until the last couple of months, I naively believed that this man was doing his best to help us.
image via Daily Sabah
We signed the documents, acquired the keys, and moved into out new flat. No inventory was taken. When receiving the keys, we weren’t shown around the flat or told about any problems. Fincas Fuster made no mention of its cleanliness, the contents of the flat, its functionality, etc. Originally, we had been shown some blurry photographs and asked to sign and say that these represented the condition of the flat. We were never given a copy of these photographs and they didn’t include any text related to some of the rather immediate problems.
I’m going to dive right in and simply list each of the problems. The first set of problems mostly took place within the first couple of days, but I have included some additional related problems which happened slightly later. The second set took place after a month or so.
The Initial Problems
image via ConversionXL
The mattress on the bed (which had been covered by a sheet and duvet when we viewed the flat) was red and yellow. We were genuinely concerned that someone (or multiple people) had been murdered on the bed. Words can’t describe how gross this thing actually was. You see mattresses that have been on the street for days or week that are in better condition than this one. In Barcelona, there are people on the street who genuinely had cleaner mattresses than us. We just used a mattress protector, but we always felt incredibly disgusted while using it.
The owner had left bits of wood lying around in various parts of the house, mostly in the kitchen. Not to mention he’d also left hair in the bottom drawer of the cupboard under the sink, and the drawer itself was warped and damaged (important for later). We had to clean the entire flat from top to bottom, and if it had been cleaned, it had been done poorly. I’ve moved into student flats that have been cleaner than this one. The handle for the bedroom door was actually so broken that part of it was sitting on top of the cupboard.
The toilet was leaking into the flat below. A problem which had been happening prior to us moving in, and yet was never once disclosed to us before putting down our deposit. Not only was it leaking into the flat below, but it was also leaking into our flat, creating a smell which got increasingly worse over the following month.
The annoying thing about this was that the letting agency didn’t even apologise for having not mentioned this. Instead, they acted as if we were fully aware of the problem. We even had to pay for the work to be completed, and while we were reimbursed financially, this is just another example of the general incompetence displayed by Albert (the owner of the letting agency) and Fincas Fuster.
A separate problem developed as a result of this: the repair man broke our toilet seat while moving the toilet in and out of the bathroom. When we went to Fincas Fuster to reclaim the money we’d had to pay for the repairs, we mentioned this to Albert who assured us that it would be fixed (it wasn’t, and we were charged for it upon leaving).
The washing machine was unreliable and stopped mid-wash several times on its first few uses. This was particularly annoying because our contract meant that the letting agency wasn’t responsible for replacing appliances, and so a broken washing machine at the start meant we either had to buy a new one or live without it. The fact that it was already broken means that either the owner already knew it wasn’t fully functional, and therefore added it into the contract to avoid having to pay for it, or zero checks had been completed in regard to the functionality of appliances.
The doorbell to the flat didn’t work, and the buzzer on the ground floor frequently broke. This meant that on several occasions, we had to walk down 5 flights of stairs to collect packages, food deliveries, or let people in.
Problems #6 & 7
6) None of the windows locked, like literally none of them.
7) We quite quickly discovered that the fuses would go under any of the following circumstances:
-Using both the hobs at the same time,
-Using the oven and a single hob at the same time,
-Using the washing machine and the air conditioning/heating at the same time,
-Using a hairdryer and any one the above items at the same time,
For a brief period, using none of those things caused the fuses to go, including the power for the fridge and freezer, which leaked into the flat. When my partner messaged Fincas Fuster letting agency owner (Albert) about this, he told her not to message him unless it was an emergency.
In theory, I completely understand his point. However, contacting the Fincas Fuster staff by any other means than directly through Albert proved to result in nothing being fixed and our problems being left unsolved. Anna, one of the ditzy members of staff, would frequently forget about whatever had just been discussed days before.
After the First Few Days
image via YouTube
The roof of the bedroom began leaking significantly. Luckily, it didn’t rain too often, but when it did, we were collecting buckets-full of water. The leak was right above the wardrobe where all of our clothes were. It took 6 weeks for this leak to get fixed. Due to this ridiculous length of time, the leak spread across a large section of the roof.
The damp roof and walls led to mould growing everywhere, including on our bed, clothes, and shoes. The damage to the walls wouldn’t be fixed for several months, meaning that all through winter we had to keep windows open and/or spend a fortune turning on the heating as we only had a heater in the living room which was down the hall from the bedroom. Unsurprisingly, the letting agency made to effort to assist us in any way. They certainly didn’t offer to contribute to bills. By this point, we had realised how empty their apologies truly were.
However, this led to Albert and the Fincas Fuster letting agency revealing something else to us: the roof above the living room had leaked just before we moved in. This relates to another problem that appears later.
The terrace had started leaking into the flat below. They tried to blame us, implying that we hadn’t been keeping the drain unblocked, but this was absolute nonsense as they then redid the entire terrace which wouldn’t have been necessary for a blocked drain. Besides, there wasn’t actually anything in or near the drain. The only thing that went down it was rainwater and water from the washing machine.
During this repair work, the owner’s plants (of which there were 15+) were moved into the living room for what was supposed to be 3 days, then 5 day, but ended up being a week, all just before Christmas. I have a severe and debilitating phobia of spiders, and within 5 minutes I’d had to kill 5 of them. I can’t describe the constant stress I was under as a result of this.
Just after the above point, around January or February, the shutter to our terrace jammed. We could close it, but it only opened halfway. This had happened a few times, and there’s no way to get into the mechanism without ripping a panel off the wall, which we obviously weren’t going to do. We’d managed to get it wiggle it free before this point, but this time we couldn’t. Our contract states that we must make the agency aware of any problems within 7 days, and so we did. Again, this will be important later!
The walls in the living room, which as I already mentioned had been the spot of an earlier leak, were beginning to rot. Our walls looked like they had cancer! A man was eventually sent to paint the living room, the bathroom, and the bedroom. What did he do? In about 30 minutes, he scraped stuff off the walls, painted over them, and left. He didn’t go near the bathroom and only did one wall in each of the other rooms. This was NOT a solution, and all the parts that had been painted over soon turned yellow and began peeling in the same manner as before.
The sink in our bathroom started leaking, apparently into the flat before. Fincas Fuster didn’t even acknowledge that there was a problem or suggest their desire to find a solution (despite our immediate e-mail telling them as much) until it became a problem for the flat below sometime later. Did they fix it? Not really. After several visits from insurance people, a man with a hammer and a blowtorch patched it up, leaving a horrific mess in our bathroom, stopping the flow of hot water almost entirely, and leaving the mouldy shelves rotting away.
Remember I’d mentioned the warped sink drawer? It turns out that it was from a leak in the pipe below the sink. It was a relatively small leak, especially in comparison to that of the bedroom roof, but over time the bottom drawer simply couldn’t absorb any more of the water, which is when we noticed it. Clearly this had been a problem prior to us moving in, and yet Fincas Fuster had clearly completed little to no checks relating to the condition of the flat.
You’re probably wondering how many of these problems were resolved. Well, out of 12, a grand total of 3 problems were fixed, and never in a timely manner.
Beyond the Confines of the Flat
image via OSXDaily
Sadly, and somewhat horrifically, this only covers some of the problems that this letting agency put us through. I’m now going to mention some of the problems we had with them that weren’t directly connected to the flat itself.
Additional Problem #1
On several occasions, Fincas Fuster notified us that people (whether it be workers, Albert, or someone else entirely) would be coming over. We’d be given a time, would get up (having cleaned the flat), and would wait for these people to arrive, only for them to never show up. On several occasions, we’d be hanging around the flat for hours before contacting the agency. When asked, they simply responded with, “sorry, I forgot”, or something similarly incompetent.
Additional Problem #2
The stairwell and entrance corridor of the building were a mess. The day we moved in we were told that it would be getting fixed. Did it? No, it got half fixed, and this only started a couple of months before we were due to move out. An incomplete job is something we experienced several times with Fincas Fuster. Incomplete or half-assed word was no longer a surprise when it came to the solutions offered by this letting agency.
What was a surprise was coming home to find the entire flat (and I mean literally every single room, item, and wall) covered in dust due to the morons neither notifying us that work would be getting done, nor doing anything to shield our flat from the ridiculous levels of dust created by their literal destruction of the stairwell walls.
Don’t even get me started on being hit by falling debris from walls that were being torn apart by workmen who looked no older than 15. The letting agency and these “men” seemed to have some sort of working relationship as they were always the go-to guys to “fix” any of our problems. Despite this, Fincas Fuster (who were of course fully aware that this work would be getting carried out), made no effort to warn us about this.
Additional Problem #3
When the owner of the flat (who was using Albert and Fincas Fuster to rent out his flat) visited our flat, he was truly apologetic. Albert was quite obviously embarrassed by the state he’d allowed the flat to get into, but despite many apologies, he actually did nothing to make up for it. By this point (as it was in the final month of us living there), I suspected that Albert wasn’t the kind man he made himself out to be, and so, I recorded the entire visit on my phone. He mentioned over and over again that none of these problems were out fault, and that more should have been done on their end to fix them.
In the End
image via YouTube
By the time we were moving out, it was a welcome and exciting day. With so much money resting on our deposit, a list of problems, and a clearly shady company (or at least an incredibly incompetent one), we were nervous. We’d considered consulting a housing lawyer early on, after the first 7 or so problems, but had decided against it, putting trust in the idea of human decency.
Signing out of our contract, Albert of Fincas Fuster didn’t mention any charges. In fact, he stated quite clearly that we wouldn’t be held responsible for the shutter. The one question we wanted answered was, “when will we get out deposit back?”. The response? “15 days at the absolute maximum”. 21 days later, with nothing in sight, and no word from the agency, we contacted Albert and Fincas Fuster to learn more.
At this point, we discover that Albert is holding us responsible for the mattress, the oven (which wasn’t damaged at all), the toilet seat, the rug (which we’d rolled up and put under the bed because it was disgusting), the shutter, and cleaning costs. Bearing in mind that we were told to “leave the flat as clean as we found it” and yet left it drastically cleaner. It’s also worth noting that while the shutter was broken, we didn’t break it, it broke. We didn’t do anything to it other than open and close it like any other shutter.
You can imagine the sheer stress and concern we feel at this point, having already moved out of Spain and with no way of actually challenging the Fincas Fuster letting agency. I’d love nothing more than to contact a lawyer and go after these people. We lived in conditions that were not liveable, and other than apologies, no effort was made to make up for this. But in reality, it would cost more than we’d gain, and the effort and stress would be horrific.
With no other course of action, and with a growing rage towards Albert and Fincas Fuster, I feel that all I can do is warn other people. I’m going to include just some of the photos I took, but if you are with this company and have had similar problems, please contact me. If you’re considering renting from this company and wish to know more, also feel free to contact me. I’m happy to send all the videos and photos I took, as well as provide further explanation on any point I’ve made thus far.
Just when it all seemed to be over, I tried to leave a negative Google review on the ‘Fincas Fuster’ page. My review has since been taken down which is frustrating, to say the least. However, I noticed a couple of things far more disturbing than that.
Since leaving, Albert had been in touch with us. He claimed that what happened to us wasn’t his fault. He claimed that he did everything he could to help us. He claimed that due to what we went through, he was no longer working with the owner of the flat, whose name is Luciano.
Now, you might be wondering what the above image is. This is a response from Fincas Fuster letting agency to a Google review. Throughout it, you will spot various contradictions to the tale that I’ve just shared with you.
There was never any doubt on our end or on theirs in regards to their failings. Did we see any compensation? Absolutely not. We barely had our problems fixed!
This gets worse given another review, one from Luciano himself.
For some reason this one didn’t translate automatically, but it reads as follows (thanks Google translate):
“Some professionals. I have known them for 8 years and for my part they are clear, honest and try to solve all the inconvenciences that occur. I am not writing much but when someone deserves it and I can recommend it is great!”
Now, I have audio recordings of Luciano (the owner of the flat) stating quite the opposite of this when he told us that he was ashamed of the conditions we’d been left to live in.
image via EFF
Why have I written any of this? More than anything, to vent. For the last year, we laughed and joked about how terrible Fincas Fuster is as a letting agency, but now that we’re actually being robbed as a direct result of their incompetence, it’s not funny. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting!
We suffered through mould, dust, leaks, accessibility issues, crumbling walls, power cuts, false promises, deception, horrific smells, incompetent workers, just as incompetent letting agency staff, lies, and more. I wouldn’t wish our experience on my worst enemy, and that’s without the financial burden that living in one of the Fincas Fuster letting agency’s flats comes with.
I expect nothing to come from writing this. I would love to believe that by having this story out there, floating around on the internet, that somebody searching for information on Fincas Fuster might just stumble across it. Maybe that person will read what I have to say. Maybe they’ll look at my photos and videos, and maybe it will lead them to think twice. In this unlikely scenario, that person might just save themselves stress, time, and money. How? By choosing a better, more competent, less cunty letting agency than Fincas Fuster. If nothing else, I’ve managed to get all my thoughts and experiences out of my own head slightly!
My plan is to upload some of the photos and videos (you’ll find some below). I took these during my time living in the abomination that was a Fincas Fuster letting agency flat. This will likely be done via YouTube. Albert (the Fincas Fuster owner) may play the victim, but he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In truth, whether he’s a bad person or not is impossible to know. At the absolute least he is dangerously incompetent. When people’s health, livelihood, and finances are put at risk because you can’t run your own company, that’s an indication that you need to make some changes. He complained to us on several occasions that while he feels bad, he “needs to feed his kids”. Yet, he still profited from our situation, while we still lost money.
1 Week of This
Dust Without Warning
Leaking Sink & Toilet
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