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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47418
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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There, I left a £500 cash deposit with an Estate Agent

Customer Question

Hi There,
I left a £500 cash deposit with an Estate Agent a few weeks back on a property in Manchester. The planning from the council only came through this week.
I had asked in writing for the premises to be completely cleared before i sign the lease so i could get tradesmen in to give me quotes for the work that would need to be carried out i.e. plastering, electrics, plumbing etc.
The walls were already in a poor state so i knew it was going to be a fairly big and potentially expensive job. The walls were covered in some sort of cladding/shelving as it had previously been a pound shop. I was very clear that all of this would need to be removed and have it in writing that they agreed to this.
The property is in a real run down state and it was my intention to spend a good few grand to bring it up to spec and sign a three year lease returning it to them in three years in a much better condition than i got it.
I went down this morning with the intention of signing the lease and getting the keys. When i got there the Estate Agent was there with two workmen and they were clearing the place out which was good. The problem is that they removed all of the covering on the walls part from a section in one particular corner. I asked them are they going to remove this too. It was then the workmen and the Estate Agent started speaking to each other in a foreign language which i could not understand. I found this a bit rude and un-professional. The Estate Agent then informed me that they would not be removing the remaining stuff on the walls and it was now up to me to 'Take it or Leave it' and this was just the way it was.
I was shocked and upset and had to leave.
They have e-mailed me this evening to ask me again what i want to do. To be honest i just do not trust them now and don't want to sign a lease with a company that is clearly trying to hide something about the property form me, just what i have no idea, maybe a big hole might be there or possibly something more sinister like asbestos i just don't know.
I have to go to their office tomorrow and i was hoping to get some advice on where i stand on this legally. I think i just want to get back my deposit and walk away from these cowboys.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified solicitor and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What was the deposit paid for exactly? Was it just for their services or towards the rent?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was to reserve the premises.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
While I was waiting for planning permission which I now have.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Are you operating as an individual or a business?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a limited company
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
As you are doing this as a business, rather than a consumer you would not be protected under the usual consumer laws that may apply here. However, you still have rights under contract law and specifically breach of contract. If you had specifically agreed to proceed with the lease on the condition that the estate agent had cleared out the whole place, and they eventually failed to do that, you can argue that they had acted in breach of contract. That should allow you to ask them to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that they adhere to it, i.e. give them the opportunity to resolve this, and if they refuse – break the contract and get your deposit back. You need to make it clear that they are the ones who have acted in breach of contract and as such you should not be penalised because f it and a refund of the deposit is due. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow should they refuse to return the money, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for that. We haven't signed the lease yet? How does that change things?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
It doesn't, your rights will be the same - you can sill argue for breach of contract and terminate your relationship asking for the deposit back
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thats perfect Ben. Thats all the help I need. Thanks so much for your help and your speedy responses. Abi
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, all the best