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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46227
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can I go to small claims court and get my money back from a

Customer Question

Can I go to small claims court and get my money back from a Letting Agent who cheated and lied in order to keep a non-refundable deposit and fee?
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. Can you please briefly explain what happened?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
What is your involvement in this and how did the agent actually 'cheat and lie'?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Why have they kept the fees - did you decide not to go ahead?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”........... Ben, this window is not working properly - I can't see what I am typing.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I can see everything you have typed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”........... Ben, this window is not working properly - I can't see what I am typing. I can't see it though - it is very difficult to continue
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Whilst the agent may have introduced variations to the original agreement, but proceeding with it and not challenging it, you would have accepted these changes. It would have been different had you said ‘stop’ there and then and advised them that they were now introducing some additional terms and as such you were unwilling to proceed, asking for your money back. However, by accepting these changes and proceeding with the knowledge that they were going to be applied, you would have accepted these. In any event, this is not the main issue here. The deposit may have been described as no refundable but that does not give them the right to keep all of it. As this was a business party you were dealing with, they will be subject to certain consumer rules and regulations. For example, you will have some protection under Schedule 2, Regulation 1(d) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. It states that if the contract has been cancelled after a deposit has been placed you are entitled to have the deposit returned in full, unless the seller has spent time, effort and money, in which case they can deduct reasonable expenses. It follows that a blanket non-refundable clause that entitles the party to keep the deposit in all circumstances is most likely going to be unfair and unlawful and they would need to justify the expenses they are trying to cover by keeping the deposit. If you are having difficulties in recovering the deposit when you believe you are entitled to have it returned, advise the seller that you will not hesitate pursuing the matter further through the county court. Exerting such pressure could often work in changing the seller's position in this matter. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the exact procedure you must follow to kick start the claims process, 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.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”........... Ben, this window is not working properly - I can't see what I am typing. I can't see it though - it is very difficult to continue
Is there some way we can re-start altogether, as not being able to see what I am typing is making it impossible to continue.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Can you actually see my replies?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”........... Ben, this window is not working properly - I can't see what I am typing. I can't see it though - it is very difficult to continue
Is there some way we can re-start altogether, as not being able to see what I am typing is making it impossible to continue. .......YES, I can see your replies
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening Ben.
The Letting Agent’s Terms of Agreement stated that, as the applicant (to rent a flat) was self employed, the independent Referencing Company they used would only accept a reference from the applicant’s accountant, who would be asked to provide details of his latest year’s income, and a forecast for the coming year.
However, the records that the accountant had on file only went up to April, and this was November.
The Agent therefore said the applicant must provide them (the Agent) with his invoicing or bank statements for the 12 months “to date”.
Would the requirement for these invoices/statements then have become “additional” to the Terms of Agreement?
In short, was the Agent contractually obliged to make an accurate and up-to-date assessment of the applicant’s income? ............... the applicant was my son-in-law, and I actually paid the money ( £500 )
In the event, follwing a very bad (but false) reference from his current landlord (which the Agent copied to him, and later dismissed), the Agent made a finding of “insufficient funds”, based on the out-of-date accountant’s records alone. The £500 was non-refundable, in the event that the applicant failed referencing “for whatever reason”........... Ben, this window is not working properly - I can't see what I am typing. I can't see it though - it is very difficult to continue
Is there some way we can re-start altogether, as not being able to see what I am typing is making it impossible to continue. .......YES, I can see your replies.................... I now see, at the bottom of the screen - it says "Errors on page"
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
ok we may have to try and change formats. Can you please leave your rating so I can close the question and then I should be able to open it in a different format and will send you the link. Thanks
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46227
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** please try and open this link to see if it has changed the format:
http://www.justanswer.co.uk/property-law/9f9eg-go-small-claims-court-money-back.html
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I now have a new window, and no "Error" message. I hope we can continue. thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
ok great, so do you want me to set out the next steps if you wanted to pursue this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I now have a new window, and no "Error" message. I hope we can continue. thank you
You need to know a little more first. I have made a formal complaint, and even gone to the Property Ombudsman, but the Agent has utterly avoided any acknowledgment of the conversation about the accountant's records being out of date, or requesting invoices. They say, instead, that my son-in-law lied about his income !
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I now have a new window, and no "Error" message. I hope we can continue. thank you
You need to know a little more first. I have made a formal complaint, and even gone to the Property Ombudsman, but the Agent has utterly avoided any acknowledgment of the conversation about the accountant's records being out of date, or requesting invoices. They say, instead, that my son-in-law lied about his income !...................... oh no - error on page again !
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
ok I am afraid I can't do anything about the error page, I have no dealings with the technical side of the site. If you have records of these conversation then obviously that will help you. If not, it is your word against the agent's and whether the court believes you over the agent will depend on a number of factors, so there will be a risk involved. In any event, the small claims route is relatively risk-free because you will not be required to pay the other side's costs even if you lose so you will generally only lose the court fees. As such it may be worth trying. As far as the procedure goes, whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I now have a new window, and no "Error" message. I hope we can continue. thank you
You need to know a little more first. I have made a formal complaint, and even gone to the Property Ombudsman, but the Agent has utterly avoided any acknowledgment of the conversation about the accountant's records being out of date, or requesting invoices. They say, instead, that my son-in-law lied about his income !...................... oh no - error on page again ! Thank you. I do have proof: emails to the Agent, saying "getting invoices together" and a response, asking if we know where to bring them.
xxxxxxxxx The question I really need answered is............ assuming it is accepted that the invoices were requested, and for the purpose of establishing a current and accurate income, does checking these become a contractual obligation for the Agent? And if they do not use them, leading to a ‘false reading’, have they breached the contract?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Just because they were requested does not mean that they have to use them. The original condition was still not satisfied, they tried to get around it by asking for alternative evidence but if that was not satisfactory then they would not have been required to use it. So this is not necessarily a breach of contract but you could question why they were not satisfactory and whether they had considered them seriously and to a reasonable extent. There must be a reason as to why they decided not to use them or that they decided the evidence as insufficient to provide insufficient income so you can ask them to explain that and make a decision from there. I will have to go offline unfortunately as have a rather early start but can deal with any follow up queries tomorrow, thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I now have a new window, and no "Error" message. I hope we can continue. thank you
You need to know a little more first. I have made a formal complaint, and even gone to the Property Ombudsman, but the Agent has utterly avoided any acknowledgment of the conversation about the accountant's records being out of date, or requesting invoices. They say, instead, that my son-in-law lied about his income !...................... oh no - error on page again ! Thank you. I do have proof: emails to the Agent, saying "getting invoices together" and a response, asking if we know where to bring them.
xxxxxxxxx The question I really need answered is............ assuming it is accepted that the invoices were requested, and for the purpose of establishing a current and accurate income, does checking these become a contractual obligation for the Agent? And if they do not use them, leading to a ‘false reading’, have they breached the contract?xxxxxxxxxxx There IS a reason. Very well, what time tomorrow?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon, Ben. Are you free to continue ?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, yes I have just come online, please go ahead
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
When asked why they had not completed the financial referencing fully and accurately, the Agent would not respond. Instead, they re-introduced the landlord’s negative reference, previously dismissed, as ‘another’ reason for rejection.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
When asked why they had not completed the financial referencing fully and accurately, the Agent would not respond. Instead, they re-introduced the landlord’s negative reference, previously dismissed, as ‘another’ reason for rejection.
Their Terms state that if an applicant fails referencing “for whatever reason”, the £500 paid as deposit and fee (by me) is non-refundable and, on this basis, they refused to return the money.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
When asked why they had not completed the financial referencing fully and accurately, the Agent would not respond. Instead, they re-introduced the landlord’s negative reference, previously dismissed, as ‘another’ reason for rejection.
Their Terms state that if an applicant fails referencing “for whatever reason”, the £500 paid as deposit and fee (by me) is non-refundable and, on this basis, they refused to return the money.
I believe my son’s landlord told the Agent that, if they used anything he had said about my son, as a reason to reject his application, then he would sue them for disclosing it to my son (his tenant). The Agent then had to find some other way of rejecting the application, and keeping the money.
I realise the Agent was in a difficult position, but I think their solution was contemptible and I want my money back.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
When asked why they had not completed the financial referencing fully and accurately, the Agent would not respond. Instead, they re-introduced the landlord’s negative reference, previously dismissed, as ‘another’ reason for rejection.
Their Terms state that if an applicant fails referencing “for whatever reason”, the £500 paid as deposit and fee (by me) is non-refundable and, on this basis, they refused to return the money.
I believe my son’s landlord told the Agent that, if they used anything he had said about my son, as a reason to reject his application, then he would sue them for disclosing it to my son (his tenant). The Agent then had to find some other way of rejecting the application, and keeping the money.
I realise the Agent was in a difficult position, but I think their solution was contemptible and I want my money back.
Question 1 ..... What is the “legal basis” for a claim against them. Professional Negligence ? Misappropriation? Misrepresentation? Something else?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** can explain, following on from last night.................. My son’s (son-in-law’s) landlord did not want to lose his tenant just before Christmas so (unknown to us) he gave a maliciously negative reference, which the Agent found so shocking, they emailed a copy of it to my son. All of the nasty allegations were vehemently refuted by my son, who immediately offered proof against all of it. The Agent told my son to get his landlord to phone them, which he did, then the matter was dropped. The Agent did not require my son to provide any of his proof against his landlord’s allegations and continued with the application.
The Agent awaited, at that time, copies of my son’s invoices, to prove his earnings for the latest 12 months but, before receiving them, they rejected his application for ‘insufficient funds’, using his accountant’s reference alone, which they knew was based on records which were 7 months out-of-date (hence the need for the current invoicing). The Agent had ta***** *****d-written notes when this was all explained by my son, at the second viewing, but these have mysteriously vanished.
When asked why they had not completed the financial referencing fully and accurately, the Agent would not respond. Instead, they re-introduced the landlord’s negative reference, previously dismissed, as ‘another’ reason for rejection.
Their Terms state that if an applicant fails referencing “for whatever reason”, the £500 paid as deposit and fee (by me) is non-refundable and, on this basis, they refused to return the money.
I believe my son’s landlord told the Agent that, if they used anything he had said about my son, as a reason to reject his application, then he would sue them for disclosing it to my son (his tenant). The Agent then had to find some other way of rejecting the application, and keeping the money.
I realise the Agent was in a difficult position, but I think their solution was contemptible and I want my money back.
Question 1 ..... What is the “legal basis” for a claim against them. Professional Negligence ? Misappropriation? Misrepresentation? Something else?
AWAITING your repy. Thank you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, so he has two possible claims – one against the agent and one against the landlord. The claim against the agent is for breach of contract, where they have kept the deposit, even if they said they can keep it in the event of failure for any reason. The reasons they have used are not reasonable and as mentioned earlier they cannot just keep a deposit if no losses have been incurred to that value as it is unlawful – it goes against the legislation I mentioned and can be a penalty clause which is also unlawful. At the same time a claim for negligence can be made against the landlord because they have provided false information in a reference and they have breached their duty of care towards him. He can pursue them for damages/losses incurred as a result, so for example the deposit if he cannot get it back from the agent
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. A claim against the landlord is a separate matter, and has kind of been dealt with.
As for the Agent, you do agree then, that the request for my son's invoicing for the latest 12 months created a contractual obligation for them? And their total non-acknolwedgement of awaiting them (in an email) or even requesting them, will be sufficient to prove this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Yes if they had offered to use the invoices as suggested they would be expected to still do so and if they did not and then said he had failed, that is the breach of contract you can rely on to ask for a refund of the fee
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Q2 I have already asked the Agent for a copy of ‘everything’, which they sent as emailed scans. I intend to use all of these in my claim, but do not want to send copies to them, as they already have them. Is this acceptable? I ask (particularly) because one of the scans appears to show pale evidence of hand written notes which have been rubbed out. I think these may be the notes the Agent wrote at the second viewing, all about my son’s financial situation (which they deny knowing about), and I do not believe they realise that this is evident in the scan copy.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You do not have to send them copies now but once the claim is made there will be a step in the process where you have to send copies to each other of any documents in your possession - if they have a copy of it then you do not need to send it to them but it will be sent to the court before the hearing
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you again.
Q3 Can we ask for some form of ‘damages’ due to the stress and aggravation (house hunting had to start all over again) caused by the Agent, whose actions were not not error or oversight, but deliberately calculated for their own ends?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
No, the courts will not compensate for that, just actual losses suffered
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
One final question. My complaint with the Agent took up several months. Taking it then to The Property Ombudsman took a further entire year, and his total avoidance of the same questions, despite many requests for clarification, left me no choice but to abandon this. He said as I would neither accept nor reject his Decision, I am not allowed to refer to it. This is no hardship, but his obvious bias in favour of the Agent (perhaps I was naive) left me somewhat winded, and I have not dealt with it again for a long time. Following medical issues since then, it is now 4 years since the original ‘rejection’. Will I be penalised for leaving it so long?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
No, you have 6 years to claim anyway so it is up to you as to when you make the claim, as long as it is within the legal time limit
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your kind assistance. I am most grateful and you have given me confidence to go ahead with this. I will be pleased to give you a rating now.
Many thanks again.
Good Bye
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome, best of luck!

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