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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3695
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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In jan 2012 my partner and I looked at a property to rent.

Resolved Question:

In jan 2012 my partner and I looked at a property to rent. Upon the agents initial checks, they decided that I didn’t earn enough to pay all the rent and any bills all by myself, even though this would be split 50/50 with my partner. They said I needed a guarantor. I asked what the guarantor had to have, such as did they have to earn a certain amount etc, the response was no. so we asked my partners mother to be my guarantor. We filled in their forms and sent them back, and they came back and said no we cant do it as the guarantor doesn’t earn enough either. (much frustration).
I suggested if that’s the case, that if we pay an extra 2 months rent on top of the first months rent in advance and the deposit. So that it would be a buffer to fall back on should something happen to my job etc, we have already paid 2 months in advance. This was agreed.
I have in writing that when we vacate the property that we will get this 2 months rent back from the agent. The agent has now changed its name from Terra Firma to Aquisitive.
A few months ago the landlord contacted me and said she wants to change agents as she has found the current agents to be rather useless. So the changes were being put into effect.
As the landlord is now changing agents, the original agents should give back or release the extra rent I gave them at the beginning of the tenancy, as they will no longer be the representing agent. Either pass it back to me, or the new agents to be.
I have chased them for the past 2-3 months, being pushed from pillar to post, as no one wants to take responsibility for giving me back this extra monies. The person it was agreed with that we would get this back still works there, but has palmed me off to a different department. Only after threatening there might be legal action of taking them to the newspapers etc, that they then told me they have no record of my money.
I have sent all my evidence to them and their accountant has checked it over and has confirmd that he can see I have paid the extra 2 months rent, but it was not put on my account when they took over the company, and as the previous company is now liquidated. The new company Aquisitive has taken took over, they said it has nothing to do with them, and they are not the ones that owe me back the extra rent, and that I should take it up with the official receivers (palmed off again).
If the landlord did not decide to change agents, I would be non the wiser that my money had been stolen. Is there any way I can get this money back from the agents, as they hold all the accounts and properties for the company that liquidated, or should I just write off this money as they have basically suggested? Although I have in writing that they will give me back this money, their response is that it is a letter from the previous company so has nothing to do with us, even though the same people still work there?
the amount in question is £1400. not something I think I should just roll over and let someone have for nothing.
Please let me know if you need any further info.
Thanks for any help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

When the money was paid to the agent was it placed into a bonded scheme?

Is this an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi AJ


the money wasn't put into a scheme, my deposit was put into a scheme, but the letting agent said the extra amount is classed as rent and doesn't fall under deposit.


 


I think its a shorthold tenancy. we signed up to stay at the property initially for 6 months then renewed for another year when that was up. it then went on to a rolling tenancy.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

If the money was classed as extra rent do you know why it was not paid to the landlord. It sounds like a deposit to me?

Do you have any correspondence from the person that originally took these details explain what has happened?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I think they were going to keep it as a credit on my account should something happen that we couldn't pay rent that month, then they would forward it on to the landlord. Turns out they weren't really forwarding the rent to her, that's why she decided to change agents.


when I mentioned the extra rent to her, she know nothing about it, so the agents had kept it on their books.


 


I had to chase the agent for about 8 months for them to put in writing that I would get this money back when I vacate the property.


but I was never told where the money was going to be kept in the mean time. they just said it will be credited to my account balance.


 


but now the agent that has taken over the one liquidated agent, is denying any responsibility, saying it is not their doing, or for them to uphold, even though they have taken all the accounts over and have confirmed they can see I paid the extra rent.


 

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

What I suggest you do is the following:
1. Find out who the most senior person in the company is and write a letter to them and also the individual who came up with this arrangement;
2. Say to them that money was an asset of the old company and if the new company have taken the trade including your account they are still accountable to you for it;
3. Say you are becoming concerned that you have been deliberately defrauded by this individual in the company.
4. Say that if they do not come up with a solution to repay the money within the next 7 days you reserve the right to take the following action:
(i) Commence a money claim in the county court;https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/‎
(ii) Report the matter to Trading Standards;www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/‎
(iii) Report the individual and the company to the police.
www.actionfraud.police.uk/‎

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


The person who agreed with this arrangement still works there, and everytime I queried my money over the last couple months she kept saying someone else is dealing with this, and eventually palmed me off to the accounts department. (basically washing her hands of this)


the accounts department now say that when they took my account over for the previous agent, that I had a zero balance on my account and not a credit of £1400.


should I ask the for my account details to see if they ever put my account into a credit?


I have been given the name of the new director of the company, but it think he works off site. I will write to him.


I have been told that I cant go to the police as I freely handed the money over to them. or can I go to the police anyway do you think?


thank you for your suggestions, I will start putting them in place.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

That is not true as you were handed the money over under false pretenses. At best it is a sharp sales practice at worst it is fraud.

At the very least I would recommend that you go to trading standards and report the issue.

Kind regards

AJ
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