9:50 AM, 12th February 2016, About 6 years ago 14
I put down a holding deposit (non refundable) with a well respected high street agent for a property at £780, which included admin fees + first week of rent.
Three hours later, I sat down to order broadband for my new address and discovered that the speed was far too detrimental for my lifestyle and profession (IT professional). I was quick to send an email and ask for a cancellation over phone but was declined on the grounds that 3 hours had passed, and references were already set in motion. I understand the reference part, but not the 7 days of first week rent being withheld over a matter of hours…This is the email I sent to the agency – what would you advise me to do further? Thanks 🙂
I am writing to you regarding a small adventure I had with holding deposits and your agency.
A few days back I put a holding deposit offer down for a flat I really liked. The payment was made at approximately 8:50 AM in the morning which included fees and first week’s rent for £780. I may well say here that I used Rightmove to find the property, used the Rightmove broadband checker and found that the current property’s broadband satisfied my needs.
A couple of hours later, I started placing an online order for two weeks down the line to get max broadband speed, only to discover at my horror that the actual property broadband was horrendous (similar to the entirety of the Rotheirhite area) at 1-2 MBps. I was quick to call the agent, express my concerns and discuss removing the deposit, or getting a part refund, to which I was told that I had signed it to be non refundable, for admin/references costs etc.
Now I understand the admin/referencing costs of the part. I had a referencing company go through a process to verify me and so on and so forth. However, I also paid one week’s rent for the landlord (presumably for taking the property off the market – to cover for lost ‘time’. But I alerted the agent literally 2-3 hours afterwards. The property could’ve gone back on the market. For those 2-3 hours, I was charged and withheld one week’s payment.
I know it’s in your right to keep all of that money, since I ‘signed’ the acceptance, but I would’ve hoped and expected that, as a gesture of good will given my speed of response and payment as well as alerting you to a change of heart due to unforeseen circumstances that would impair me socially and professionally (broadband), I’d be at least refunded some of that money. It was not a change of heart based on the looks or location – but rather, a change of heart based on information that had not been disclosed to me – a terrible, terrible internet connection which would detriment both my professional and social experience. In all fairness having a central london apartment with a maximum 1-2 MBPs line is something that should at least be mentioned by the agency when letting an apartment.
I am going to rate your agency well for being polite and fast in showing properties. Still, I would like you to consider my plea and help me with at least some partial refund from that first week’s rent that was never put to use. Otherwise, I’d be inclined to ask for legal advice from a third party which I’d rather not do; something may come out of it, something may not but in all truth I think we’d both benefit more from discussing this and finding some sort of compromise that would allow me a bit of breathing space over a huge amount such as £780 is for a matter of a property being ‘off the market’ for three hours tops… I’ve had nothing but politeness from your agency and I’ve been equally polite. If there is any way you could help me with this, or reach a compromise, I’d be delighted to discuss it.
It’d also help me praise your agency further, instead of leaving a partly sour review on the forums I frequent, considering my adventure and what I consider to be unfair treatment of my holding deposit given the time span of 3 hours.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss this further, whether by email or phone number. My phone number is included at the end of this email.
All the best,
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