Advice Please: Letting agent problem

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Advice Please: Letting agent problem

    Hi, Having recently returned from working abroad for a year, I set about looking for a new place to live (in North London), having given up my previous rental property after over 7 years. I had a loan of a flat from a friend for a month in order to give me plenty of time to find somewhere, and after two weeks found a house with a garden (which I required as I have a pet cat). I made it very clear to the (High Street) estate agent at the time of viewing the property that I had a cat and was told that it was not a problem.

    This gave me two weeks before my friend was due back and before I was out on my ear, but as I had a holding deposit of £200 on the house I had found, and being confident that my references were satisfactory, and that I was due to move in on the day of his return, I stopped looking satisfied that everything would go smoothly.

    So, having been informed that my references were accepted I was due to go and sign the contract last Friday, when I received a phone call from the agent to let me know that the landlord had changed his mind and that he did not want a cat in the property. This was non-negotiable and I was left with only a few days to find somewhere, which has not been successful.

    I went to the agent today to get my holding deposit back, but when a piece of paper was thrust in front of me asking me to sign away any further rights I had, legal or not, I refused and the agent refused to return my deposit.
    As I have nowhere else to stay and cannot really afford additional costs to pay for hotel or short term accommodation, my options are very limted, basically I will have to go to Scotland to stay with my mother, which is hardly ideal as I am in my mid 30's and am self-employed, in a business that is very London-centric and this move will have a devastating effect on my future earning potential.

    My question is what course of action can I now take? Clearly, if they refuse to return my holding deposit then the small claims court is going to be necessary, but do I have any other claim against them? Expenses? Loss of earnings?

    Update: just got a call and they have agreed to remove the offensive wording which signs away all of my rights, but I am still peeved at the massive inconvenience and costs that this whole business has cost me. Any advice appreciated?


  • #2
    Regrettably, I don't think that there is anything you can do, now the agent has taken legal advice and promised to review the wording of his document.

    Some time ago I decided to put my holiday cottage on the market. It didn't take long to find a buyer and everything was set up for the sale. In the end I decided to withdraw the property and I am doing other things with it but the buyer is no doubt highly annoyed with me as he certainly had to pay for a survey to ensure he could secure a mortgage. These things happen.

    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


    • #3
      Letting Agent problem

      In my experience a holding deposit is paid to "hold" the property for you and to ensure the agents do not let it to someone else. It depends on the wording of anything signed when you passed the money over but normally if the Landlord pulls out for any reason, then you get the money back (Landlord has to reimburse the agents for any costs paid out for references etc). But if you pull out then you loose the money as Landlord will have to re-market or pay for your reference fees. As you are not in the wrong and have not pulled out, you should be entitled to a full refund. If you have something in writing to confirm that they initially said they would accept the cat, then this backs you up even more. Good luck.


      • #4
        You are entitled to a full refund on the deposit but probably nothing else. I am unsure why he is asking you to sign this, as you have no further legal rights towards the agent or the property anyway!
        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


        Latest Activity


        • Landlord asks that T to pay deposit protection charge each time we renew AST
          Why must we continuously renew our deposit with the scheme each time we re-sign our AST i.e. every 12 months?

          Why can the deposit not remain protected throughout the duration of the overall tenant occupation?

          Is our landlord acting in questionable faith by asking us to pay...
          23-07-2017, 04:18 AM
        • Reply to Landlord asks that T to pay deposit protection charge each time we renew AST
          i am a landlord and have insurance based deposit protection (I hold the deposit in segregated client account and register it with My Deposits) every time a new contract is drawn up we have to pay £48. If a tenancy is renewed, we pay £48. If someone moves out of one of our multiple tenant...
          23-07-2017, 20:27 PM
        • Excessive estate agent fees
          I have a property which I started renting out via an agency. When the contract started, they found new tenants, did the relevant checks etc and charged an upfront fee which equates to approx one month's rent. As one year has almost passed, the agent has approached me asking if I want them to 'renegotiate'...
          21-07-2017, 16:26 PM
        • Reply to Excessive estate agent fees
          If you have no ongoing contract with the agent and it was "find" only, they have no right to force you into a new AST.

          Depending on the terms of your contract there's nothing to prevent you, if your feeling confident, in renewing the contract yourself and taking over.
          23-07-2017, 19:11 PM
        • Reply to Landlord asks that T to pay deposit protection charge each time we renew AST
          Fees for 'renewing' will not be in the tenancy agreement because they are not fees of the tenancy and are freely negiotiated.

          The landlord should simply charge an admin fee to renew and set it to include all his costs...
          23-07-2017, 19:02 PM
        • Structuring a deal - Purchase Option/Overage Agreement?

          There is a derelict property with good potential in my area. The owner tried to sell it in a local auction few years back and did not get what he wanted (actually did but got greedy). Now he can even sell it for cheaper than what he was getting in the auction. Property has good potential...
          23-07-2017, 16:52 PM
        • Reply to Structuring a deal - Purchase Option/Overage Agreement?
          Make the owner an offer to purchase.
          23-07-2017, 18:46 PM
        • Reply to Landlord asks that T to pay deposit protection charge each time we renew AST
          There is no charge and it doesn't need reprotecting if it's in a custodial scheme. If it's in an insurance based scheme then landlord is holding it and can be claiming interest on it, it's therefore very cheeky but not illegal to pass the cost onto you.

          Ask him if he can use a custodial...
          23-07-2017, 18:45 PM
        • Reply to Landlord asks that T to pay deposit protection charge each time we renew AST
          Yes, but if we're talking renewal, then it'll inevitably be in it.

          Is it insured or custodial. Insured, meh. Custodial, wholly unreasonable....
          23-07-2017, 18:33 PM
        • Deposit at the end of AST. Also, quiet enjoyment.
          Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

          Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

          Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?
          21-07-2017, 15:06 PM