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Letting Agent Holding Deposit


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Hi,

 

 

I have recently put down a holding deposit of 500 GBP on a flat which I was hoping to move into in early January.

 

 

The agency I went through said they would contact the landlord immediately

so that he could make a decision on whether to accept us as tenants,

and then they would proceed with referencing checks thereafter.

 

 

We were told that if the landlord rejects our tenancy offer we would have the holding deposit returned,

but if we failed the referencing that we wouldn’t.

 

 

We are confident we will pass the referencing, but the problem is,

almost 2 weeks later, the landlord still has not made a decision (the agency says they can’t contact him).

 

 

With our moving out date approaching we really need to know whether tenancy will go ahead

as we don’t have much time to look for somewhere else

and could be made homeless otherwise.

 

 

So my question is;

 

 

is there a time limit on how long the landlord can take to make a decision?

Or is his failure to respond or make a decision a breach of contract on his part?

 

 

I feel like I’m going to have to make a decision between potentially losing 500 GBP

or risking homelessness due to the landlord’s dithering.

 

 

The agency has not actually been the most responsive either, taking days to return emails informing us of this.

 

P.S.

I’ve read elsewhere that if referencing is failed and the landlord therefore decides not to proceed,

that the holding deposit should in fact be returned,

but our agency has told us this is not the case.

 

 

Can anyone confirm this?

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Hi Carrickter

 

I am going to move you to your own thread as you have asked this on someone elses thread that is over a yr old so that you get specific advice for your issue.

 

Its administrative so nothing for you to do.

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Hi Carrickter, best if start a new thread.

However, if they (agency or LL ) decide not to proceed for any reason, they must return your holding deposit as it is anticipation of actually renting and should also come of any future payments.

Unless you signed an agreement that some of it would be used for reference checks. which by now they should of done?

You need to get this sorted asap as you cannot wait until the last minute and then lose it.

If they unable to confirm one way or another you should ask for deposit back immediately.

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Hi raydetinu

 

Sorry moved the OP to there own thread so have moved your post to OPs thread

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Hi, thanks for your replies.

 

We signed a rather basic document that stated we would have the deposit refunded if the landlord said no,

and wouldn't have it refunded if we he said yes and subsequently failed the reference checks

(which I've since read would be unlawful according to the OFT).

 

 

But there was nothing in the document that related to what would happen if the landlord failed to reply,

or caused a significantly delay by replying late.

 

 

In my opinion, the landlord's failure to reply in a reasonable time frame should constitute a breach of contract.

 

 

But I'm not sure if a court would see it the same way.

 

 

I haven't been able to find any info specifically relating to 'reasonable time frames' or 'failure to reply'

so I was wondering if anyone had any specific advice that I could arm myself

with before making a request for a refund from the agency.

 

Thanks, Paul

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First check with agent that you have passed the checks, then responsibility will fall solely with LL, and as such you will have a valid contract for the flat and if he then turns you down, you could sue for compensation as well as your holding deposit.

If Agent has not processed checks then ask for money back now, so you can move on. If they wont return, you could also tae them to court.

Make sure you do all requests, discussions in writing or email, so you a trail with dates etc.

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It would be worth you checking up on whether the agent is legitimate.

 

£500 is a lot of money for a holding deposit.

 

A standard method of operation of some criminal agencies is to take a holding deposit then string people along till they give up.

 

Does the agent sign up to a redress scheme - someone to whom you can complain if you are unhappy with agent?

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a holding deposit is to ensure you carry on as agreed and dont cause the landlord/agency anty wasted costs. As you have been rejected then no contract can form so you get the money back. Any paper you signed saying otherwise is an unfair term of a contract and is thus unenforceable so again you get your money back.

It seems as though the letting agency is trying a fast one and hoping that your ignorance will allow them to keep bluffing and keep the money. A sharp letter giving them a fixed time to return your deposit (it never was the agents money-either LL's or yours) or legal action will be taken will alert them to the fact you arent giving up.

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As neither the LL/LA are moving onwards with this & are not responsive to you, I'd go get your money back & go elsewhere. (Totally agree with ericsbrother here as above).

 

As you could face bigger issues later on. Esp when trying to get repairs sorted or your deposit back etc....

 

£500 as a holding deposit is high to me, as I've been in private rented using LA for years.

 

Usually what happens here in my part of Essex is; I see a house, go view it & if it's what I'm after, I would pay the Referencing fees (around £300+ here) but no holding deposit. As none needs to be taken as I've paid for referencing.

 

A few days later I get told if I passed & agree a moving in day & on that date I pay my 1 month rent, 1 month deposit & sign contract & get given the keys.

 

I've found that all LA vary, from those that charge fees for everything they possibly can, to those that charge the minimum.

 

There are very good, good, bad & very bad LA out there. Some are very helpful in getting repairs sorted out quickly & others who send their own bodge job person.

 

Now I've been doing this for years, I now judge an LA on their initial contact & if they very responsive & helpful, I stick with them. If they aren't, I'm off pretty sharpish!

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every single minute of it!!

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