Is a Holding Deposit binding or refundable?

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    Worried Mum

    No six month break clause!

    Son & Girlfriend viewed several flats, went home to ponder then phoned to ask LA's to email them the Application Form for property x.

    They filled this in, specifying the six month requirement and specifying the address of property x. Posted the App Form off and transferred the £240 'Holding Dep' via bank.

    LA's admit App form has six months (even tho' they have so far not sent a copy thru) by says Landlord only ever lets for 12 month periods).

    LA's letter which son & girlfriend did not receive - but which they've now received a copy of states clearly rental terms lenght of contract etc and acknowledges receipt of Holding Dep. Goes on to ask for £740 by a few days later to show 'Good Intentions'.
    LA now states that they would not have agreed to the appointment where the 740 was handed over if they had known that six months was required as 'that landlord never does six months.

    Looking at the LA's website it clearly states that Holding Dep is required with Application form on a property which, when received secures property 'subject to contract'. It also clearly states that a Deposit is required on signing of Tenancy agreement. No-where is there anything about an advance payment to show good intentions.

    I think they'll go for it. Many thansk for your help.

    Comment


      Originally posted by worried mum View Post
      1.07pm - LA says they sent letter stating 12 months; asking for proof of ID and asking for Advance Payment. Son says they never received this.
      Originally posted by worried mum View Post
      6.10pm - ...the Application Form for property x. They filled this in, specifying the six month requirement and specifying the address of property x. Posted the App Form off and transferred the £240 'Holding Dep' via bank. Nothing ever received to suggest that TA was going to be any different from what they requested on the application form.....

      LA's letter which son & girlfriend did not receive - but which they've now received a copy of states clearly rental terms lenght of contract etc and acknowledges receipt of Holding Dep. Goes on to ask for £740 by a few days later to show 'Good Intentions'.

      The application form in itself is clear evidence that the contract your son was willing to enter into was six months for that particular property. If the agent knew this wasn't possible, agent should not have taken the money.

      But does this missing letter from agent (now received) also state that the fixed term of the TA will be six months, or 12 months as you say they originally claimed? (I assume agent emailed this to your son this afternoon? - any reason given for not providing a copy of the application form?)

      Tell your son to keep copies of all the paperwork he has in a safe place and print out anything sent by email now (in case of future hard-drive crash). Also keep detailed notes of phone calls with dates/what was discussed. You never know what might be needed in evidence. All letters sent from now on, keep a copy and post first class by signed-for delivery or a free certificate of postage.

      From the sound of it, he has a good case to claim all the money back. But it's important to be very clear and coherent when presenting a case - the story you have told today has come in bits and pieces, and was a bit confusing initially with gaps in the story...and unnecessary information such as girlfriend having to travel X miles with her Mum - the relevant information in legal terms is that girlfriend paid £720 on such-and-such date and was given such-and-such a receipt.

      Might be an idea to buy an up-to-date book on small claims procedure, there are a few on amazon.

      And when your son sends the letter before action, include in it a request for a copy of the application form (and mention previous requests). Then, if agent fails to provide it, it will show they are being unreasonable and this is important for the court to know.

      Comment


        we always give tenants guidances notes to sign which clearly set out what the money is for and how much, if any, and under what circumstances they would get a refund.

        If they have not given you anything which clearly states you will or will not get a refund I would argue the point with them until you get at least 1/2 back if not more.

        Comment


          Agent wrongly withheld holding fee

          Good news at last! I am pleased to tell you all that a visit from a Trading Standards Officer did the trick. It was proven that the £50 we supplied the agent with was NOT holding any specific property, therefore they have had to return this to me. It has taken almost a year to get this money back. I am glad I persevered with it and I am also very grateful for the help I have been given from people in this forum, you’ve all been great. Thank you!

          Comment


            If so inclined, your father should request a subject access request on himself under the DPA 1998. It will cost £10 (max charge the agency can impose by law) but will compel the agency to disclose all data it holds on him.

            This should help you get to the bottom on why he had failed the reference check... or more likely reveal that their comments had no actual basis....

            Comment


              No compo unfortunately, but I am pleased to get the £50 back. Hopefully, it will teach them a lesson. They were probably hoping that I would give up and let them get away with it, but they were wrong. I have not contacted the agent since getting the money back and I am not sure whether to send her a final message or not. I will think about that...

              Comment


                Holding deposit paid by T to Letting Agent- effect?

                Hi all,

                I viewed a house about a week ago, i told the agent of the property there and then I would like to proceed with obtaining a tenancy agreement on this said property. The manager of the letting agency asked me age, annual income, profession and said he would need to seek the approval of the landlord. The next day the manager called and said all is good and he had approval and we are through to the referencing stage... He asked me at this point if i would be able to move in within 3weeks. I said that this would be impossible as i need to give my current landlord one month notice... so we agreed the date and i paid the agency fee of £176. I then handed notice to my current landlord as i knew i would not have any problems with credit checks and reference. A few days later the manager called me again asking me to go to the agency to hand in my identification. He then asked that i go and meet the land lord at the property. I agreed as i thought it couldnt do any harm in meeting the person who i would be dealing with as soon as my contract would begin. Then at the property the landlord began threatening me and trying to put me off renting the property, he changed the deposit to 2months instead of the one month as stated in the advert. To cut a long story short he refused me as a tenant. he has given no reason why. I have also found out that it had been advertised with another agency for £50 more a month, I am now in a situation where i will be homeless if i am unable to find a property in 3weeks. Where do i stand? I know it was silly to hand in notice but seeing the agent was pressuring me to move so quick i thought there wouldnt be any problems.

                thanks in advance for any advice.

                Comment


                  All you can really do is ask (or demand) your money back from the LA and move on. They are not allowed to keep it.
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                    All you can really do is ask (or demand) your money back from the LA and move on. They are not allowed to keep it.
                    ok i get that but still doesnt seem right. i secure a house than landlord for no reason refuses me?

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by benard View Post
                      ok i get that but still doesnt seem right. i secure a house than landlord for no reason refuses me?
                      Unless you and the LL have signed a contract, I'm afraid you cannot insist he gives you a tenancy.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        Nevermind ill phone solicitor and find out. i signed contract with agency which landlord gave permission to deal with his property. therefore the way i see it landlord should be responsible for any damage caused to me. im having to rent a property i do not want because of having no where to live. most sign contract the day they move in does that mean landlord has the right to say no whenever they feel like it?? this type of twats doesnt deserve to own a property.

                        Comment


                          Have you asked the agent for a refund of the money (which I assume was taken as a holding deposit)?

                          On finding accommodation, in practice would you want to rent from an unwilling LL? Unfortunately the only practical solution here is to find another property to rent. On the bright side, you've given your notice, so your ability to move in quickly will be a bonus to other LLs.

                          Comment


                            Several largely similar questions on separate threads have been merged into this thread (hence the repetitive nature of answers).

                            Comment


                              Reference bit iffy

                              Hi

                              I showed a prospective tenant round my flat and he filled asked to elt it. I had other enquiries but decided to go with him. I asked for the cost of the referencing and a holding deposit of £100 deductible from the first months rent.

                              The reference has come back with the recommendation that payment be made upfront or a get a guarantor.

                              I am uneasy now as not sure I want to take on a problem. (Still being out of pocket by £3k from the last tenant). He did email me to say he had a possible guarantor if needed.

                              My questions are these: if I refuse him on the grounds of his reference will I need to return holding deposit? If he has offered to give details of guarantor am I obliged to go through with it? If he didn't pay would I then need to chase the guarantor for the money through the courts if they didn't pay either?

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                                The OFT frown on this considerably. Neither Landlord nor Agent can withhold applicants money if tenant fails to proceed even if it states that is the case; only "reasonable expenses" can be deducted. If the applicants were to reappear and demand their money then I would be writing out a cheque. If they were to take advice from the TSO you might find that the landlord would be in some diffculty retaining the money, and the agent could be referred to the Ombudsman if they are members of a redress scheme.
                                Paul, can you give us some examples of what might be considered 'reasonable expenses' please? Am I right in saying that the fact that the property was taken off the market for X days is not something you could charge the prospective T for even though they dropped out before signing a Tenancy Agreement.

                                The reason I ask is that it is very common practice amongst the LAs in my area to charge 'non-refundable holding fees'. I know what the OFT thinks of the term 'non-refundable'. Perhaps 'holding' stands for 'holding a gun to tenant's head'.

                                Thanks in advance

                                Comment

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