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Rental bidding war after application fee taken - advice needed

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I have recently been looking into moving from my currently rented house into another.

 

I spent a lot of time looking for a suitable house and they seemed to disappear from the market faster than I could find them.

 

I finally found my ideal house, ticked all the boxes and is perfect for what I need.

 

I was the first to view the property the day after it came onto the market, as I left the house after the viewing another couple had turned up to view it.

 

The house was excellent for me so I phoned the estate agents and was told that if I wanted to apply for it and could get my completed application to them with the application fee then they would accept no other applications.

 

I drove to their office to pick up the required forms, filled them in that evening and returned them to the office as soon as it opened.

 

The estate agent confirmed that the couple who viewed it after myself had requested the application forms by email but they had not yet returned them so I was first in the door!

 

The agent accepted my application forms and I paid the application fees - that was me happy.

 

As I drove past the estate agents on my way home I noticed the other couple walking in so I waited around, they were in for a short time - the agent made a phone call and then they walked down the street smiling - not what I expected to see afterall; I'd been told that no more applications would be accepted once they had one in and the application fee.

 

I waited for the agent to call me, which they did - asked me a few questions about my work and so forth and said they'd call me back.

 

An hour later I was phoned and they told me that the landlord had gone with the other couple as they said they might want to buy the property after 6 months.

 

I was very annoyed with this as I was told that this couldn't happen; I complained to the agent on the phone and asked if there was nothing I could do - I was told that if I could make a better offer then she would go back to the landlord so I did.

 

A little while later I was told that the other couple had also increased their offer so I was in a bidding war from here - I was fuming at this point and told the agent to come back to me with a figure that would secure the property and stop this war.

 

They returned my call shortly afterwards with a figure that I agreed to; I really wanted the house and I could still afford this even though it was a fair bit more expensive.

 

I'm wondering if the agent has done anything illegal here and if I can do anything about it - at the end of the day I did get the house I really wanted but I have had to pay through the nose for it which I assumed couldn't happen.

 

Can the agent accept another application legally after accepting another?

 

Any help or advice here would be appreciated.


-- wUK --

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