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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Hi, my husband had taken a job in the south and found a room

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Hi, my husband had taken a job in the south and found a room to rent. He viewed the room with the owner, said he'd take. The owner gave him the number of a letting agent and told to ring them. The letting agent asked him to pay £350 as a holding fee for the room and to carry out checks. Being desperate for a room and not wanting to pay extortionate hotel accommodation he did this over the phone via credit card. We have requested a receipt twice via email and once through the owner - and a breakdown of exactly what this £350 was for and the letting agent have just ignored us. We have also asked - of the holding fee - whether once the tenancy has been taken up, will this be returned or taken off the deposit and again we have been ignored. My husband has taken up the tenancy, paid £400 deposit and £400 rent in advance to the owner (not an issue with this) but he still has no idea exactly what he has paid for to the letting agent. To make matters worse - another tenant who has taken up a tenancy in the same house, was directed to the same letting agent by the owner and only paid £150 for what they advised him was for the same service. In the original advert there was no mention of these fees (other than the deposit and advanced rent). I have checked the letting agent's site and they don't advertise the fees.
We feel well and truly upset with ourselves for allowing this agent to take our money without question! Is there anything we can do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Sorry to hear about this.

If you get no joy with the estate agents, your husband may issue a court claim online for the refund of the money at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Arguably, the holding fee was to reserve the room as should have been set off against any rent payable or should be refunded in full as the estate agent did not say that the money was not refundable at the time of taking payment.

The best thing is to keep pressuring the estate agent to refund the money or at least most of it and the court summons will no doubt spur the estate agent into action.

Hope this helps
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,


Thanks for your reply. We have every intention of taking this further so thanks for the web address. If I understand you correctly, the grounds we have to claim this money back is because they did not say that the money was not refundable at the time of taking the payment? Is there a law regarding this? As we have been unable to get them to tell us exactly what the fee was for or even a receipt, what is to stop them saying that they did say it was non refundable or say that it was for something else. This is not something we are used to. Other than the payment going from the bank account to them, we've got nothing! Should they be displaying these fees on the property advertisment? and should they be displaying their fees on their web site?


Regards


lyn

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
This is a contract matter and it all depends on what was agreed between your husband and the estate agent.

If the estate agent did not specify that the money was not refundable, then your husband should say that he was under the impression that the money was a reservation/holding fee which was refundable as he took up the tenancy of the room and paid the landlord separately.

Your husband viewed the room with the landlord and the estate agent did not provide any service to your husband to justify the estate agent retaining the fee.

Any fees should be expressly agreed before being taken although no requirement to publicise the fees on the website.

Hope this helps
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Really appreciate your advice.


 


I had a response from the lettings agent who we believed to be the one who took the money (bit bad that we didn't even know who he paid the money to!) and were advised that all they do are the credit checks and obtain references on behalf of another company to which my husband paid the money.


 


All he was told over the phone was that he was paying to hold the room and for the checks. The first company have provided details of the company my husband paid his money to - I've emailed them and haven't yet had a response.


 


How many opportunities should I give them before I go through the court claim route - a timescale?

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Sorry for the late reply.

They should be given 7 days to refund the money and if they do not do so, the court claim may be made.

Hope this helps
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience: English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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