Holding Deposit – Help

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Holding Deposit – Help

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Holding Deposit – Help

Myself and my partner put a Holding Deposit of £500 on property last week. We signed no terms and conditions etc.card

As I was not in the Country my partner paid this deposit with her Bank Card.
She was told at the time that if we didn’t go through with the tenancy or if it fell through that this money would be refunded.

She was agreeing to a property on a Monthly basis at x amount of rent, x amount of deposit.

So on the day my partner filled out application forms, sent on reference checks, bank statements etc.

A couple of days later, the letting agent called me to say that they would be seeking quarterly yearly payments for the property. I said we could pay the 1st quarterly payment but after that would need it reviewed. The letting agent told me he would come back to us after he spoke directly to the landlord to see if this would be acceptable (This was last Friday 3rd July)…
The letting agent came back yesterday (8th July) with the following

“we have spoken with the managing agent and unfortunately they will only move forward if the rental payments are made quarterly (two 3 month payments for the 6 months tenancy) with an option to review after the 6 months.
If you cannot proceed any further with the rental, you may lose your 2 week holding deposit as (name) verbally agreed that the payments can be made quarterly”.

We are both so angry as from our point of view they blatantly lied to us and are now threatening to not give back the holding deposit which we were assured would be refunded if the tenancy did not go ahead.

Would certainly appreciate anyone’s advice or experience in a similar situation.

Sean



Comments

Neil Patterson

3 years ago

Hi Sean,

Do you have any record of the transaction at all eg text, letter, email etc.

If it is a card payment you can go back to the bank and request a charge back.

However what you have said does not quite make sense as there would be absolutely no point in the holding deposit - "She was told at the time that if we didn’t go through with the tenancy or if it fell through that this money would be refunded."

Does your partner remember it correctly?

Puzzler

3 years ago

Holding deposits are usually non-refundable, sorry that's not what you want to hear.

As to quarterly rent, that is an odd one, I have never heard of that. Neil will know better but I think that would affect the notice required? I'd be interested to know their reasoning.

Puzzler

3 years ago

P.S. If the terms are different than when you paid the deposit i.e. quarterly and not monthly, you might be able to say you paid it on the basis of monthly and they have unilaterally altered the terms such that you would not have paid it if you had known. Then you might have a case for getting it back.

Neil Patterson

3 years ago

Money Claim Online should focus minds - see >>> https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

Comment posted by Mark Alexander using Neil's login.
.

Jay James

3 years ago

The agent said "(name) verbally agreed that the payments can be made quarterly”.

Did (name) actually agree this?

Paul Franklin

3 years ago

Letting agents now have to publicise their fees in their office and on their website. Do they? It would appear from the legislation that holding deposits would be covered in that requirement from my reading. This legislation is the Consumer RIghts Act 2015 section 83. If they don't that may be something worth pursuing. The legislation is all about making things like this clear and transparent.

They also have to advertise which redress/ombudsman scheme they belong to. They must belong to one by law. If you don't get anywhere with the agents and still feel aggreived it may be worth taking your complaint to the redress scheme.

3 years ago

Claim for Breach of Contract, ... the terms were monthly, you agreed to monthly, give some good reason why you prefer monthly rent payments but that is immaterial, stick with a breach of the contract term occurred, and go to Court with them, if you issue the summons go for the Limited Company, and the Directors to get up there noses, you claim they said you'd get your money refunded so are party to the Ccontract. Do visit (Google) Companies House Home Page and Webceck, download for £3.00 the Directors names and home addresses and use this as proof that you mean business. These rip off agents are a nationwide pest on mankind.

Sean Breatnach

3 years ago

Hi all, really appreciate the great feedback here.
This has already taken another twist today....
When the quarterly payment was raised, I said to the agent that we would pay quarterly for 1 period and then would pay on a monthly basis. He said he would come back to me and never did until they contacted us yesterday to say they wanted 6 months of rent plus 6 weeks rent as a deposit.

To clear things up, they told me on the phone that the deposit / holding deposit would be refunded if it didnt go ahead.

Bizzarely enough, at one point yesterday he told my partner that he recorded the phone call when he called me last Friday. We asked for this but we have heard nothing of it since.

So Today we receive this:

"We have spoken with the managing agent and due to the fact that ********* is overdrawn on her bank statements the managing agents really do require 2 three monthly payments if they are going to proceed with the rental. Unfortunately this is their process and we have tried to discuss the option of monthly payments and one 3 month payment in advance but this is something they are not willing to do".

So we dont know where we stand right now... 🙁

3 years ago

Quote; We signed no terms and conditions etc.

Estate and Letting Agents are subject to quite severe controls, I have never heard of one taking money without given you a receipt, if they did so its customary to includes some notes what it was for. The receipt alone is proof of a contract, you should also have been given a copy of the application form, which normally contains some terms and conditions.

My gut feeling is they are not impressed with your references or financial position, so are looking for extra money than what was agreed to earlier, this increase is a clear breach of contract. Do check for the words Subject To Contract, no contract you should obtain a refund. My view is the £500 was a goodwill earnest deposit money and you're entitled to it back.

S PB

3 years ago

Once you've paid the holding deposit on agreed terms, the landlord/agent is not entitled to come back purporting to change the terms for the lease.

This might help explain your position — article on Holding Deposit Agreements: Pre-Tenancy Obligations and Rights (2015) 19 Landlord & Tenant Review 143 (free access) – http://ssrn.com/abstract=2637686


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