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350 pound holding deposit withheld for couple hours

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I viewed a flat yesterday morning for a rental.

I made a payment of 350 pound and was told the property would be taken off of the market when I make an offer.

I was also told the money would be refundable if the landlord does not accept my offer.


At the end of the day I made an offer of 340pw. The landlord refused and counter offered 350pw.


I declined that and the agent suggested 345pw as a compromise.

I told him to see what the landlord said, but had yet to discuss with my brother, who i was renting with.

Having discussed with my brother, who was unsure about 340pw to begin with, I called the agent and told them my brother was not happy with 340 and we wanted a refund. By this point, the landlord had not confirmed whether he would accept 345pw as he had to speak to his partner as well.


So all in all, the offer was only live for a matter of a few hours, it wasn't confirmed and since I made the deposit,

I know the agency still had the advert live and had made at least one viewing, directly after mine so it wasn't really taken off the market at all.


However, the agency are trying to retain the full 350 pound as compensation for the landlord.

I thought the deposit was to cover reasonable costs incurred? It's not like it was off the market for a week. And besides, there had been no agreed and confirmed offer.


Do you have any advice to get at least part of the money back or is there no real hope in your opinion?


many thanks.

Edited by twinkleman
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In my experience once you give a holding deposit you can kiss it goodbye, whether it's a private landlord or agent.

Most likely in the estate agent's t&c there's a catch.

Whatever you were told is just hearsay.

Of course you could try to recover the money through the courts, but I doubt you will ever see a penny regardless of the outcome.

It's a dirty game and it's called rental.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Hopefully someone here will have an ace up their sleeve and find a way to help you.

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I doubt the LL will see any of your holding deposit

Perhaps an LBA to Manager will release it

Online ads cannot be taken down at will if placed on Zoopla etc

IMO LA was right to do another viewing the same day or even next day as you only made your offer 'at the end of the day'. and you were still in negotiations with LL, who had not yet rejected your latest offer when you cancelled your interest. So tech YOU failed to proceed, and under LA's stated, & understood T&Cs your holding deposit was forfeit.

I am all for negotiating but for £5 a week??

I think the LL had a lucky esape if your weekly income is that tight!

Sorry, but a hard lesson learned.

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It wasn't for financial reasons we did not want to proceed, we were using that as a reason not to. Thing is, it wasn't an offer on our part at any point- the only offer we had made was the 340 which was rejected.

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I assume they must be part of redress scheme, as I saw that it's the law for them to be so. I haven't asked which one yet though. I'm awaiting a reply on a polite email I wrote stating my points.


There was practically no paperwork at all. All I have in writing is the receipt for payment and some texts saying the landlord hasn't confirmed whether he'd accept 345. I read a similar case where the agent refunded because they had not provided any holding deposit written requirements.

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Did you sign anything, or fill in any forms?


I am currently helping a friend. In his case, he signed an "agreement to obtain references" and he wasn't given a copy of the document (until he wrote and complained). In the small print of the agreement there was a list of fees which I will argue is not sufficient basis for the agent to charge the fees.

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This is probably going to upset someone, but here I say it: Independent estate agents are the car dealers of the property market.

Once you give them a penny, forget about it.

Of course there are good and honest independent agents, but I still have to encounter one.

Even a ccj will not stop them taking the money and carry on.

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