Misrepresentation of property

by Readers Question

11:17 AM, 30th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Misrepresentation of property

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Misrepresentation of property

We wanted to rent a flat through a West London lettings agency. We made an offer, conditioned by a list of non-negotiable requests.

The agency chose to misrepresent the property, assuring us that all our conditions were met when none of them were (the flat wasn’t even cleaned/Health and Safety Risk).

When confronted, the landlord offered to release us from the contract with no claim to our funds. The agency later informed us there will be costs – our holding deposit of £700, to which they added £444 (when we requested clarification / a breakdown of the costs). We were pressured into signing the contract and later paying these fees.

We’d like to retrieve these costs and maybe understand if we can claim damages (we still had to pay for accommodation when we were supposed to move in; we had to restart our property search, wasting even more time and money).

Can you offer some advice please?

Alina



Comments

Paul Shears

21:27 PM, 30th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Trust no one unless you really have no choice. Delegate nothing unless you really have no choice. When you really have to break these general rules of life, accept the consequences and be grateful for your good fortune when there aren't any.

Wyn Burgess

7:46 AM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Check whether agency has a complaints scheme and/or is a member of a trade body that has a similar procedure. If no luck with these make a County Court Claim online then your claim will be taken seriosuly, best.

Gary Nock

8:36 AM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

There are more questions than answers to this Alina.
1. Did you actually sign a tenancy agreement and hand over a deposit that requires protection under deposit protection regulations? And if so was there an inventory?

2.Or did you just make an offer with the pre-conditions, sign the agents terms and conditions,turn up at the property, find your pre-conditions not met,and then did not sign the tenancy agreement?
If 1 then you are tied into the rental term and are liable for the rent for the duration of it. If the landlord has released you from the tenancy agreement then thats a bonus. If this was the case then your deposit will be protected and any deductions against it can be challenged.

If (2) then it all hinges on the terms of the contract you signed when you applied for the property. If it states that the holding deposit is refundable if through no fault of yours the tenancy failed to complete then arguably you may have a case if the cause of not commencing the tenancy was non-fulfilment of the pre-conditions. But these pre- conditions should be in writing,from you to the agent, and agreed ( in writing) by them.
If you haven't done this and have effectively "changed your mind"prior to signing the tenancy agreement, after passing referencing checks,and were offered the property then the agent is entitled to recover their reasonable costs.


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