Deposit Paid On Property Without Planning

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  • Deposit Paid On Property Without Planning

    I am part of a group of 4 who agreed to pay a deposit on a house for the 17-18 academic year from a student landlord agency that has a portfolio of properties in the Manchester area.

    We were then told a week later that there had been an administrative error and that this property had been given to another group. They provided us with a property that they said would be the same layout 2 doors down on the same street, so we agreed to take this.

    6 weeks passed and we had heard nothing regarding signing a contract. I visited the office on May the 22nd and was informed that they could not give us this property as they never had planning permission to do the work that needed to be done on the property and that the council were not going to approve this.

    We were offered an alternative property which was not the same and was half the size so we have asked for a refund of our deposits.

    Do we have any legal standing to sue them for taking our deposits on a property that they did not have planning permission for? And the fact they were then not able to provide a property of the equal size?

  • #2
    You have standing, but haven't suffered any loss to be compensated for.

    Any action would be pointless.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


    • #3
      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post

      Any action would be pointless.
      I disagree with this. A holding deposit is like an engagement ring. It’s a formal show of intent. Payment of the holding deposit enters you into what is essentially an (implied or express) contractual agreement. When the agents did not give you the property they broke the agreement. You should expect to receive the full holding deposit back if the prospective landlord or letting agent decides not to go ahead with the tenancy. If you can’t come to an amicable agreement with the estate agent, a court can help you settle the dispute. You could therefore go to court and a blanket “no refunds” clause (if there is one), for example, is unlikely to be considered fair by the courts.
      My opinion is my own and is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.


      • #4
        The question was not should they get their deposit back - obviously, yes.
        If the deposits aren't returned I would definitely sue for their return.

        The question was whether they could sue the agent for taking a deposit on a property that couldn't be let.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


        • #5
          Find out what professional association they belong to, look up it's code of conduct. Try reminding them of that first but if they are reluctant to return your deposit mention money claim online and that they will need to pay your court costs. As students you may get help with the fees - advice here

          Write or email requesting a refund of your deposit within 7 days - if they have agreed to return it write or email to confirm that.


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