Holding deposit refund?

by Readers Question

7:28 AM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Holding deposit refund?

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Holding deposit refund?

I would like to know if I can get my holding deposit back. Holding deposit refund?

I went for a property to relocate. The property was owned by a private landlord who appeared difficult from the start. She stated the deposit and asked us to pay via bank transfer. We did but 3 days later had to pull out due to not being able to transfer my child’s A levels. We explained to the landlady she was rude and now decided were not getting any of our deposit back.

I have argued no paperwork or tenancy was signed or produced. She’s saying a holding deposit doesn’t have to be paid back.

We didn’t even know it was a holding deposit, what can we do £650 down the drain.

Thanks

Karyn


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Comments

Mark Alexander

7:34 AM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Karyn

Given the time scales I think you've been treated very harshly and unfairly. However, on this occasion I think the law is more likely to favour the landlord.

As no tenancy was created and the money was paid to hold the property then tenancy deposit protection legislation does not apply.

You could try the small claims Court, but if you do, I think you will need to put together a well argued case, e.g. you are seeking a refund of the amount paid less the equivalent of three days rent plus a reasonable cost for referencing (say £100). I think this will be your best shot on the basis that it seems "reasonable".

Either way you could lose but I think your chances could increase to around 50/50 if you follow the advice above.

I wish you well.
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Yvette Newbury

13:49 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

It is disappointing when you hear tales like this, of a landlord applying the rules a little too harshly! If it had been 4 weeks+ I would have been more likely to agree that the holding deposit was lost, but not for 3 days!

Piler

16:44 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

I would let the landlord know your intentions and try to come to a compromise - Small claims may work but it is long winded and quite nerve racking if you never been involved in one, try to consider your case from the landlords perspective to make sure your case is water tight. Having said that the case may be heard in a side room rather than court and the judge is normally very fair. It pays to have all paperwork in meticulous order.

Mark Alexander

16:49 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Page" at "19/05/2014 - 16:44":

Good idea - why not refer the landlord to this discussion thread?
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Don Holmes

16:52 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Karyn
Far be it for me to challenge Mark on a point of Law, he is after all an expert, however I am interested in the word "deposit" and where in the deposit legislation it differentiates from "holding"
In our agency group we have many people coming in and needing to give a months notice on their current property, whilst wishing to hold the new one, so we take a holding deposit. and make it clear that if they pull out the deposit is non refundable, however the law as we see it is clear, if we take a deposit we have 30 days to lodge it with the DPS and if we don't, we leave ourselves vulnerable to 3 x the deposit plus the deposit and costs. What we also know is "not aloa people know that" and when you bring it to there attention it is quite an eye opener. Get a property solicitor to write the letter, I am sure Mark can recommend one? Good Luck

Mark Alexander

17:09 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Don Holmes" at "19/05/2014 - 16:52":

From the .Gov.uk website .....

"Holding deposits
Your landlord doesn’t have to protect a holding deposit (money you pay to ‘hold’ a property before an agreement is signed). Once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect."

Reference link >>> https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview - scroll down towards the bottom of the page.
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Ian Narbeth

17:29 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Karyn
Absent a contract with the landlord, I think you are entitled to the full refund of the deposit. If you agreed something verbally that might be enough for the landlady to hang on to it. Failing that the it would appear that the money is held on what is called a "resulting trust" and I suggest you write to her demanding full repayment within 14 days failing which you will take legal action. If this sum was meant to be the full deposit for the tenancy it is not a "holding deposit" but the actual deposit and as such is protectable. You may have to threaten to involve lawyers and to add their fees to the £650.

Mark Alexander

17:33 PM, 19th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "19/05/2014 - 17:29":

Hi Ian

Please see my post immediately above yours.
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Karyn Harvey

7:52 AM, 30th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Thanks all for your comments. I did write a letter to the landlord in question as advised by citizens advice. I asked her to write out her costing for my deposit and offered to pay re advertising fees . She hasn't written her calculation out or accepted my offer for re advertisement. She did reply by telling me she will sue for loss of rent! Can she do this after all I never signed an agreement and she only held the property for 3 days?

Ian Narbeth

12:16 PM, 30th May 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Karyn
The legal issue is did you have a contract? Unless there is some evidence of a contract, such as an email from the landlord stating the terms on which it was held I think you are entitled to the full deposit back. There is clearly no tenancy so the threat to sue for loss of rent is a bluff.

The landlord (a) probably doesn't know or care what the law is and (b) assumes you will not bother to take legal action.
Unfortunately, it will be expensive and probably not cost-effective for you to pursue the claim through solicitors. See if Citizens Advice can help you prepare a County Court claim. If it is a money claim the court fees are £70 or £60 if you submit online. The landlord may back down as soon as a claim is received because of the cost and trouble of instructing solicitors to deal with it or having to spend time himself to defend it.

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