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Recovering a Holding Deposit from a Lettings Agent

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Hi folks


OK, here is the scenario:



  1. Saw a flat, the next day called agent to say I liked it.They asked for a holding deposit of nearly £500, which I paid.
  2. After paying this holding deposit, they sent me the next day information about references they would require and stated the terms of the holding deposit. That being, if I failed the credit check, they would keep £100 but return rest. If the landlord pulled out, they would return all of it. If I pulled out, I would lose it all.
  3. They also included a credit check form to fill in for a company called MARAS - I have never read such an invasive credit check form. It asks for my address for the last 3 YEARS and my employment for the last 3 YEARS! Ridiculous but I filled it in anyway as best I could.
  4. Once they realized I was a freelancer, they asked for a guarantor. I refused as (i) I don't have anyone who could act as one (ii) I am 36 and work full-time (permalance) so why should I still need a guarantor in life? My credit history is very good and I've never missed a rent payment in years, actually, ever! They said fine.
  5. The landlord's rep said that he wanted instead of 6 weeks rent as deposit, he wanted 2 months. I begrudgingly agreed as it's a lot of money to have sat in someone else's bank account earning them interest, not me.
  6. After much reference checking hell and back and forth, they finally agreed to let me the place under these new terms.
  7. So then, they finally sent me through the contract. I noticed that the 6 month break clause section was not filled in with the dates of the earliest I could give notice so I asked them to correct this and a few other things I did not agree with. They made all the changes but completely removed the break clause section. When I said I needed it back in, the letting agent said it was a mistake he sent that contract as that was a template for someone who has been there over 1 year already and that there was in fact, no break clause of any kind for the first year.
  8. For me, this completely changes the commitment I am making. I always assumed there would be a break clause as there has always been one in every contract I've signed over the last 15 years of renting. It is not definite I would exercise the break option but I want it in there as I might want to go abroad in maybe 8-12 months time, or even just move if I don't like living at this place (first time living alone in a studio flat)
  9. What can I do? I have decided not to take the place as it's too much money and commitment for a whole year. So much could change in that time. Can I get my holding deposit back? Yes it is now me telling them I don't want it under those conditions but I didn't find out until the day before I was supposed to move in, i.e. when I finally got to see the contract T&Cs.
  10. Also, the terms of how the holding deposit would be handled were not sent to me until AFTER I had paid it. This seems a little tricksy on the part of the letting agent.



Advise please!


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Hello and welcome to CAG.


I'll move your thread to the lettings forum here and I expect the guys will be able to help you.


I'll leave a short term link here for you.


My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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Hi malthus - you've already found it. hb just moved your existing question. hopefully someone will be along shortly who can help you.

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller


"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett


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