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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Hope you're well. My query regards ***** ***** I previously

Customer Question

Hello, hope you're well. My query regards ***** ***** I previously overpaid to my letting agents, which is yet to be repaid to me. This situation is as follows:
My lease agreement (along with 2 other tenants) formally finished at the start of May 2015. Naturally the letting agency (Atlantis Property) were aware of this. I unfortunately failed to cancel my rent standing order, resulting in me paying rent for May. In error the letting agency paid over this rent to the landlord, although they clearly knew that my tenancy had ceased at the start of May. This was therefore either through professional incompetence, negligence or indifference.
It eventually occurred to me that I had yet to cancel the rent standing order at the end of May, by which time June's standing order had been transacted, and therefore the month of June had also been over to the letting agency. I notified them of this fact at the same time, and they at least managed to not pay over June's rent to the landlord and were holding this rent on account.
Naturally I have therefore asked for the two month's rent to be repaid to me (I requested this over a month ago now), to which I was given the following answers:
May rent - "We can only repay this to you once we can recover it back from the landlord". Well, I would disputed that since they paid the landlord in error, and they failed in their responsibility of stewardship of my monies, it is their responsibility to repay me this money directly.
June rent - "You have to prove to us that it was you who paid this rent to us, before we can return you the rent". I find this utterly ridiculous, clearly they have my account details and so this would be self evident. They're holding the payment on account in any case. If they really need to prove it was my payment, then surely it is their responsibility to check whether it was the previous housemates (friends of mine( that had overpaid this rent?
I'd also note that in both case of May and June, the fact that they have repeatedly acknowledged that the rent can be returned to me, has created as a minimum a constructive obligation to do so.
Contractually it would appear that I'm also required to pay an 'administration charge' of £40 to have each of these amounts returned to me. Initially I was receptive to this possibility. However, this is the story since the beginning of June - I have repeatedly emailed and phoned over the last month or so to ask for the rent to be returned, and I have been ignored at every turn. Completely ignored. I have therefore recently (still being ignored) stated that I refuse to pay the 'administration charge' on the basis that a) rent has been withheld from for no reason (in particular June) and b) I have been completely ignored, they have not even attempted to negotiated something with me. It therefore seems completely ludicrous that I would be charged for these a services that not has not been provided, the absence of any contact has been a direct detriment to my finances.
So the situation as it stands is that the letting agency owes me rent that is 2 and 1 months in arrears, and they have repeatedly ignored my attempts to have this money recovered. I would really appreciated any initial advice on this matter, just to know where I stand?
Many thanks,
Jon
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
Clearly the money was paid to the letting agency in error, unfortunately this error was not theirs and yours.
You are entitled to your money back.
However, practically speaking, the agency is being reasonable in saying that it will pay you May's money back when they recover the same to the landlord. It will be difficult for you to prove negligence on their part as they could say that the error was originally yours and not theirs.
You may wish to put pressure on the letting agency by giving them a final demand to repay you the money by say 15 July 2015 failing which you may take legal proceedings against them.
If they still fail to repay you, you may file a claim in court for the money online at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
From experience, a court summons will spur the agency to repay you.
Hope this helps
UKSolicitorJA and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, thanks for this. Certainly useful. Regarding the May rent, I'd just like to understand whether I have any recourse around the fact that notwithstanding my payment to them in error - the agency still paid over this money to the landlord in error? Indeed, they have acknowledged this. It is this second error that has resulted in the hold up of its payment. Furthermore, there appears to be no grounds for the June rent being withheld?..

Thanks again.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Yes, no ground for the June rent being withheld.
The agency should use reasonable endeavours to try and get the May rent back from the landlord. You may also include the landlord in the legal claim to get the money back as the landlord is not entitled to keep the money.
Hope this clarifies. Please leave feedback
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok thanks for this - I suspect I will be pursuing a court summons if the matter isn't resolved soon. Thanks again.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Cheers

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