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Hello I'm new to this forum so please bear with me,

 

My daughter has recently moved into a property and now the landlord is selling up so she needs to find a decent house near her daughters school and nursery fairly quickly,she has found a house she likes and has paid a holding fee of £150 which the agents said will be refunded if she's unsuccessful(verbal not written down) my husband and I lent her this money and have agreed to lend her an additional £200 to make up the deposit she needs and act as guarantors for the rent. The agents in question have now said another couple who are employed are interested and its up to the landlord who he chooses, she is a single parent on benefits so we are guessing the landlord will choose the couple. My concerns are A. the agent shouldn't have taken her money in the first place if they weren't actually holding the property for her and B. What if they don't pay it back? We only have modest savings and cant afford to lose that money or lend her anymore if it isn't returned so she could end up homeless or in some dump. So my question is what do we do next and how long do we wait until we complain? I just have a bad feeling shes just been ripped off and in turn it will be us as it was our money, and don't know what to do for the best.

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Hi cally67, and welcome to CAG! :-)

 

You are saying the letting agent is possibly dishonest. Why do you think that? Have you heard that this particular agent is dodgy?

 

Are they a sole trader, or part of a large chain?

 

The agent has to act for the landlord. The landlord may have told him to accept your daughter's deposit, but had reservations because she is on benefits and told him to stall for a couple of days to see if he had more offers. If someone else approaches the agent and makes an offer the agent has to pass that offer on to the landlord, otherwise they can be sued.

 

The landlord may choose to take the employed couple as tenants - it will depend, I would think, on the references they supply.

 

Landlords usually want the property let as soon as possible, so it should take only a few days for the other couple's references to be checked. I wouldn't think the landlord will sit around and think about it. You need to call the agent tomorrow and ask if the landlord is taking up references for the couple. If not, why not?

 

In the meantime I would keep looking for other properties. The agent will have to repay your £150 if the property is let to another tenant or if they don't accept your daughter as the tenant. Unless you have very serious worries about his business it shouldn't be a problem to get the money back.

 

DD

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A. the agent shouldn't have taken her money in the first place if they weren't actually holding the property for her

 

That's the disgraceful bit. £150 for nothing is a lot of money for some people. In effect they have tied your daughter in to wait for them, but if your daughter finds somewhere else in the meantime she risks losing the money.

 

and B. What if they don't pay it back?

 

The agent should not have accepted money without providing paperwork to explain what the money is for, the terms under which it will be returned and a list of any other fees.

 

Unfortunately they have the money now, and you have to hope that they will either offer an agreement or pay it back quickly.

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thank you for your replies, she didn't get the house and we have the money back, but I am still annoyed they took a holding fee and allowed other people to apply. x

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So pleased you have the money back, but please blame the landlord and not the agent!

 

Why?? the LL didn't take the "holding" fee and then show other people around.. The LL exercised his right to choose who lives in his house..

 

The agent is the one taking money under false pretenses.. luckily in this case the OP got the money back, but how many times have we heard of agents collecting holding fees and not returning them for whatever trumped up reason?

I am not a solicitor :!::!:

 

Most of my knowledge came from this site :-D:-D

 

If I have been helpful in any way at all .............. Please click my star..... :-(:-(

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The agent is instructed by the landlord. The landlord wants to protect his position because if in the week he is waiting for references the applicant decides not to go ahead because they find somewhere else, then the landlord has potentially turned away other possible tenants and in the meantime he's lost a week's rent. That is why landlords ask agents to obtain a holding deposit - because they want to know the potential tenant is committed. However, if they are not completely satisfied with references/guarantors they can ask the agent to keep the property available to be viewed by other potential tenants.

 

In many cases a landlord will instruct more than one agent, so if Agent A has the potential tenant and takes the holding deposit he will still show the property IF THE LANDLORD INSTRUCTS HIM TO DO SO because he'll know that even if he does stop showing, Agents B, C and D will still show the property and if his first applicant doesn't get accepted then he's up against other agents to find an acceptable tenant.

 

You may not like this, but at the end of the day it's the landlord who instructs the agent on how to proceed with potential tenants.

 

I agree there are some dodgy agents - it depends where you live obviously - but generally large well-known agents will always return a holding deposit if the tenancy does not go ahead.

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DD, most LL instructiion for agent is not much more than 'Find me a suitable T prepared to pay £xx pcm to rent my property from '. Holding fees etc are normally a matter for the LA-T agreement. Only if this fee is demanded by / paid to the LL, should he be liable IMO. This would need clear instruction in the LA-LL Contract on how it is to be applied/repaid.

Agents tend to use property websites for advertising, and these are published in the public domain.

Ethical LLs/LAs should clearly state the 'property is 'under offer' and you will be No 2 in the queue' before taking a holding deposit and explain under what circumstances it will be returned/retained. It is then for prospective T to decide whether to pay it.

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It depends on the landlord. Where I live the landlord may well ask for a holding deposit and this is passed on to the landlord if the prospective tenant changes his mind thereby potentially losing the landlord a week's rent.

 

The OP's daughter was apparently the first applicant so presumably at that time it wasn't under offer and she wasn't No. 2 in the queue. The agent took a holding deposit which was returned when she was not granted the tenancy.

 

As you say, the prospective tenant has a choice as to whether they wish to pay a holding deposit or not. However, the landlord is not bound to take a prospective tenant just because they have paid a holding deposit. They too have a choice

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