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London: Flat Hunting Nightmare

My current housing contract is nearing an end and so my friend and fellow blogger, Pascaline, and I started looking for a place to share. We found a place with Alpha Accomodations that showed promise and potential - but was in dire need for a deep cleaning, paint job, etc. - in North London and put down a holding deposit. A week later the nightmare of all nightmares began when we were shown the flat having been promised that the landlord had started repairs and a deep cleaning.
O dear were we in for an ugly surprise to see the place was just as dirty and a shambles as it had been during our previous viewings. The painter had literally JUST arrived to start on the paint job and it had been a week since our deposit had been submitted. We very unhappily went back to the office and spoke with the manager at Alpha Accomodations who told us that the landlord had refused our requests the week before and this was the first we were hearing about that or else we would have been moving on long before now.
O and here is the real kicker - the agency, Alpha Accomodations, told us last Friday that they had returned our £300 holding deposit and it would show in our accounts by end of day. We walked away and lo and behold the money did not appear in our accounts for 6 days and not until we had collectively called their offices at least a dozen times.
I am glad I have my money back and excited that Pascaline and I have a place to rent but cannot recommend highly enough that any other Londoners AVOID Alpha Accomodations. They are not to be trusted.

Good luck flat hunting!