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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69985
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was more or less forced to pay for another student's rental

Customer Question

I was more or less forced to pay for another student's rental deposit of £1455 by the house agent since 4students including my son have a joint tenancy agreement. I was told that my son would not be handed the keys until all the students had paid their deposit. I am working overseas and my son was alone and overdue to move into the house in Canterbury. The other students are international students, two of whom had paid. The third did not, but said that she had already paid. My son should have moved in but had to stay in a B&B whilst we waited for this students rental to come through. She then said that there were bank holidays in Switzerland and to wait for a few days. The B&B said they were booked with other guests, and my son had to move out, so it was agreed between the agent, this student and I that I would be reimbursed as soon as her rental was credited into the agents account. This has not happened. The student is now living in the house without having paid my son back, and her October rental was paid by the university guarantor, who has also signed a guarantee to pay rental to the estate agents should the students default. I asked the agent to return my money, but she said it was tied up in a joint tenancy. She told me that the guarantor had paid the October rental. I said that this should have been given to me first since she promised to reimburse me as soon as that students rental came through. There was no reference as to the paymaster and or timing. She now says that she will only pay me back if the student pays her specifically for the 3 months I advanced for her, also that I was fully aware before I paid on behalf, that it would have to sue to get back my deposit. I am disgusted and know that this is wrong. Also she said that the guarantor will repay me but needs to have permission from the student first. I say that the agent has defrauded me and is trying to force me to sue a student who will say that she has no money etc. I also say that the agent should pay me back from the rental she receives for this student whether it comes from the guarantor or her parents, and that she cannot say that because the student says it is for November, that I have to accept that. This is completely unfair. I feel like reporting this to the police. My lovely late husband was a lawyer. Now I have no one. Please help if you can. Thank you very much, Catherine.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think the agent is to blame as well as the student. I think the agency has defrauded me and is trying to force me to sue which I can't easily do as I am teaching overseas. Please tell me the surest way to recover my money. It was for my sons university. The agent knew this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Jo,

Can you help me with this problem please?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I’m sorry to tell you that neither the guarantor nor the agent have any liability.
They may have agreed to pay you depending on certain circumstances but I think you would struggle to hold them to that if it went to court
You pay the deposit on behalf of the student and if the student does not refund you, then it is the student you must sue.
Assuming that the student is over 18 years of age, the involvement of the parents is immaterial.
You should issue Small Claims Court proceedings against the student but do right 1st saying that unless you receive this money in full within the next 14 days you will issue Small Claims Court proceedings without further notice. You need to ignore any protestations from the student that this is their parents responsibility because quite simply, it’s not. If the parents are not paying, it is the students problem.
You can easily issue Small Claims Court proceedings here
www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69985
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

what about the reassurance from the agent saying that she would reimburse me when the student's rental came through? By not keeping to her word, she is 'allowing' the student to go ahead and defraud me. If the agent carried out her promise, then I would have been paid back by the guarantor. I am upset that my son has to stay in the house with someone who has done this to him and me. If I lodge a police report, would this make matters worse for my son? I feel this student is so selfish she simply doesn't care about paying her way and has little empathy for others.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am not satisfied with the agent, who has gone against what she told me; i.e. that I would be reimbursed as soon as "rental came through" for that student. Nothing was specific, i.e., no paymaster named, no month etc. I do not like the fact she is now saying that I will only be paid if the student pays for the specific months I paid in advance for her. She is not going to do this.. I only paid for this student because there is no way anyone stays free and the agent told assured me of the above. The guarantor is saying that he will reimburse me if the student allows this. Is this correct? why is the agent asking me to claim it from the guarantor? Should I report the agent and or the student to the police?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I do understand.
But the verbal assertions do not amount to a contract with the agent.
I understand why you are upset with them but that does not give you a claim.
The police will say this is a civil matter I'm afraid and indeed it is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I consider that I have been defrauded. Is this not a criminal offence? Can I lodge a complaint with the ombudsman for estate agents?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I cannot agree that you being defrauded. Misled perhaps, yes but not defrauded. By all means refer the matter to the police but they will simply say that it's a civil matter.
You can only lodge a complaint with the Property Ombudsman if the agent is a member of that scheme. You can also complain to the NAEA if the agent is a member of that association.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Jo!

But, what has the student done exactly? Misled me or defrauded me? I have lost a lot of money because of her deliberate act not to pay me back so far, and will have to sue her for it. She is "friends" with my son and is studying law like him. She has proved to be untrustworthy and not in possession of the integrity expected of a barrister or solicitor. I want to ensure that this kind of student is made responsible for her actions, before she leads other people on using her profession, and cons them. Is there anything I can do? If she was honest about owing me, and has made an agreement to pay it back etc, I would of course understand, but her nonchalant attitude astounds me. I feel she has cheated me and that this should be on record somewhere, so that she will think twice before doing this to someone else.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
In actual fact, everyone has misled you. The student because they said they would pay and the agent for the same reason.
However if everyone who said "the cheque is in the post" or "I will pay you tomorrow" and then doesn't pay, was guilty of fraud, the courts would be overloaded.
I simply cannot get a criminal claim out of this for you.
If this is a law student, you might want to threaten referring the matter to the Law Society if you don't get paid forthwith because law students have to be student members of the Law Society although as this is a foreign student, they may not be that bothered about the English law society.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Jo!! Glad you understand how I feel. Thanks for the great answer!

Yes, it's true about all of them - I have been misled... the "cheque in the post" promise is a sad fact too :(

I will stick to your advice and threaten referring the matter to the Law Society unless she pays me forthwith, also I will mention that the LS in Switzerland will be notified as well.

I feel a lot better now. Thanks for your advice. Keep up the good work helping people who do not know the law.

Much appreciated and have a great evening!

Kate

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay, will do this.. thanks again Jo

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem

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