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I found a place that I liked and paid an £800 holding deposit to an agency. They sent through an acceptance document and T&Cs confirming the move-in date, the deposit taken, rental ammount etc. but this was all 'subject to contract'.

 

This was 6 weeks before we were due to move in. 2 weeks later we got an email from the agent saying that the landlord wanted us to move in 3 days earlier than agreed. We said no becuase we already had an overlap between the old and new rentals so we didn't want to pay extra rent. A week later we got another email requesting that the move in date be changed and we refused again. One week before we were supposed to move in we got another email saying that we had to change the date or 'the deal is off' and we also got a phone call saying we should move the date or they would refund the money.

 

We took a day off work and saw four properties and luckily one of them was fine so we took it there and then. We told the agent to refund the money.

 

Surprise, surprise, that evening they emailed us with the contract we'd been waiting for for five weeks! At this point we told them that they had already backed out of the agreement and they should refund the money.

 

They have refused to refund the money claiming it is non-returnable. Clearly this is ridiculous. I've now exchanged several emails and they have said that it is non-returnable and also that it is out of their hands becuase it is up to the landlord to release the money.

 

Is the landlord really responsible for the holding deposit? If we go to small claims should we prosecute the landlord or the agent?

 

It is so clear that they are in the wrong I can't believe that they are even trying to hold on to the money.

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For info, I've made several calls and the CAB tend to be helpful, but the information provided is often quite general and maybe not enough to really resolve the problem. I phoned ConsumerDirect who gave me the number of CommunityLegalAdvice (0845 345 4345). If you qualify you can get free legal advice from them - I don't but they did supply the details of several solicitors in the area that specialise in this area of law and one of them runs a free workshop that you can just turn up to and is not means tested - apparently these are quite common.

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I assume you paid the agent and received a receipt from the agent?


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Just the doc as mentioned in the first paragraph which states the amount taken as a holding deposit.

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You have no receipt?


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Like I said we have a document and we paid by visa debit. A reciept is not necessary.

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I'm not saying its neccessary, but if you handed over £800 I would expect a receipt - ESPECIALLY if you paid with a card.

 

Anyway.

 

This is the agents responsibility not the landlords. If you paid using Visa Debit, you could potentially use the Visa chargeback scheme.


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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We paid online by bank transfer and the headed doc acknowledges the payment so that's as good as.

 

Tried visa but I guess because holding deposits are a grey area they wouldn't refund the money.

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You have now stated that you used a bank transfer, and visa debit - which one was it?


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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What does it matter that isn't what the question is about.

 

I'm inclined to believe that it is the agents responsibility but I'm not sure we know that for sure. Why do you think it is?

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I appreciate that is not what the question was about. However, it affects:

a) Avenues to reclaim the money

b) Establishment of contract.

 

I am positive it is the agent as your contract is with the agent. Simple as that.


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Ok well the confusion came about because it was my girlfriend who actually paid but when I checked with her she had made the payment by online banking. She phoned the bank to ask if they could reverse it but they said no. It was over a month ago, not sure if that's relevant.

 

The agent claimed that they were waiting for permission from the landlord to release the money - you doubt that then?

 

I've thought all alongthat the agent had made a mistake because I find it hard to believe that a landlord would go back on his word one week before the tenancy is due to start. My guess is that the agent got confused telling the tenants one thing and the landlord another and are simply trying to avoid paying for their mistake. Could turn out to be even more costly though.

 

If I issue them an ultimatum of return the cash or small claims it should be to the agent rather than the landlord then? Is it possible to just claim against both and then see what a judge says?

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It is absolutely possible that the agent are awaiting the release of money from the landlord.

 

However, this is not your concern.

 

Your ONLY arrangement and contract was with the agent. As such, it is the agents responsibility to return money to you in this situation.


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Finally got the money back. It took about 15 emails and ended with an ultimatum of pay up or I'll take you to court and attempt to recover any legal costs incurred on top of the original sum. After a couple of days they paid the money. This was the second time I threatened court but after the first I agreed to give them some extra time to contact the landlord.

 

It's an absolutely disgraceful way to behave and I'll be sure to warn as many people as possible about the conduct of this agent.

 

Thanks

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Well done, good result.


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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