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Holding Deposit Non Refundable - Father Deceased

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I wonder if you may be able to offer some advice?


I have sadly just lost my father due to an unexpected death but we were actually in the process of moving my Dad into the same apartment block as myself so he would be nearer to some family. My father had reduced mobility but by no means was he poorly or on deaths door.


My Dad had paid an admin and referencing fee (£125) as well as 50% of the rent (£350) as a holding fee. We did not yet have a moving date as the flat was still unoccupied plus there was work to do on the flat once the current tenant had moved out. No contract had been signed as we were just in the stages of referencing etc and waiting for a contract to be sent.


I informed the agency immediately after learning of my fathers death and have since enquired about the money paid. The agency are refusing to refund the deposit (I understand to an extent that they would hold on to the admin fee but not the deposit for the landlord).


The first reason given is as follows :


The administration fee and referencing fee has already paid for the cost of the work we had done. The remaining monies has to compensate the landlord for the time the property has been off the market and the risk of now having a void period. The landlord had accepted the tenancy based on our recommendation which was unknown to the fact that Mr EDIT was poorly.


I then explained that my father's death had nothing to do with him being poorly as he was perfectly well (I can have a doctor to certify this) so to say that the Landlord would not have accepted him otherwise appears irrelevant. To say that these fees are to compensate the landlord does not seem fair as the flat was not even available yet and my father was still waiting for a moving date, It also appears that either the agency have not even bothered putting the flat back up for rent (two weeks since i informed them immediately after my fathers death) or it has already been leased out as there is nothing on their website. The agency will not confirm this fact either way. I then asked them to send me their T&C's.


The invoice for the holding fees that they sent my father stated the following conditions :


The administration fee and referencing fee is taken with the holding fee to secure the option to rent the property. Once your application has been accepted by the landlord, should you withdraw your application, fail to complete the online application within 24 hours of payment to secure the property or not move in on the agreed date, the above fees are not refundable. All fees are only refundable should Accord or the Landlord wish to reject your application. Should your credit reference indicate any outstanding CCJ's and/or bad credit history and your application is rejected, only the holding fee is refundable, the administration fee and referencing fee are non refundable. Please note that this payment is in advance and does not constitute a tenancy or offer of tenancy but is proof of your serious intention to proceed.


The agency then said in an email :


We would treat this (the death) as in any other circumstance where by an applicant is not able or does not want to proceed.


Is this correct procedure? I would think that a death is slightly different than just an applicant not being able to or does not want to proceed.


To be honest, we are not worried about the money but my father certainly would not have left it at that if this was not the correct procedure. I would like to know where I stand from a legal viewpoint.


I hope this information explains my position, I am willing to provide further details if necessary.


Any advice you may have would be welcome or perhaps you could suggest who I could contact if I perhaps have a case?


Many thanks




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Firstly sorry to hear about your father passing away.


You mention that £350 was paid as rent or 50% thereof and that the tenancy agreement has not been signed. Do you have a receipt from the agency as to what the £350 is mentioned as being? Does it specifically state holding deposit and how this is held or does the receipt state contribution to 1st months rent or similar?

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Thank you for your reply.

It is a receipt which states "Holding Fee" which represents 50% of the rent. I have tried to attach a copy of the receipt for you so you can see. The total rent was £700 and the remaining 50% was due once he signed a contract and was ready to move in.

This is the only written confirmation he had, the rest was done via the phone.

Thank you


Accord Lets.pdf

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Hi and welcome to CAG.


I have unapproved the attachment as you have left personal details in it. Can you go hide those bits and then repost.


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Genvieve, sorry for your loss. Glad to hear he was a kindred spirit - not wishing to let 'it' go.


Lets see if we can consider what sort of letter he may have thought a suitable response.


1. The admin & ref fee has gone since most of the work has been done

2. The forfeit holding fee should be refundable or used for rent once T commenced, so this is main focus for response -


"Please note that this payment is in advance and does not constitute a tenancy or offer of tenancy but is proof of your serious intention to proceed"


Payment in advance - of what? Part rent?. No rent is due before before commencement of T and you say no start date was agreed and no TA signed.


Letter to LA Head Office for MD, copy to LL,


Dear Sir/Madam,


Thank you for your sensitive explanatory email of .

When I last spoke to my father, he still intended to occupy the property on a date yet to be provided by you, after the renovation work was completed. Due to your delay we have had to source alternative accommodation for Mr Albarin, because of the UK law on preventing lawful disposal of a body, following his demise in the interim.

This was notified to you before any move in date was arranged.

Whilst the need for a holding deposit as proof of serious intention is accepted, it has been held in Court that holding deposits are fully refundable unless applied to a Ts rent after commencement of Tenancy. (citation anyone?)


Since no commencement date for tenancy was arranged, I require you/LL to return the Holding deposit of £350 within 14 working days or accept this letter as my Notice before Action.


Yours sincerely,

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Hi GAlbarin


Your new PDF is fine and readable minus personal details.


a couple of things concern me about this document:


* the Receipt has "Credit Referencing: £75.00 - But the Invoice has "Credit Referencing: Is not Filled In - BUT they have put this £75.00 down on the Invoice as "Inventory Fee: £75.00


* the Invoice has "Deposit: (6weeks) £1050.00 but besides this a written error has been scored out - Should this error not have been initialed by both parties?


The document also point out that they are Regulated by FSA and RICS

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I would just like to update everyone to say VICTORY!!

Mariner51 your suggestion of a letter worked a treat. I only needed to send it in an email and after a little more back and forth, they have agreed to refund the holding deposit of the rent.

Thank you all for your assistance. The internet really has opened up a wealth of knowledge and assistance.

My father would be proud of this.

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