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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My friend moved into a flat through a letting agency, she paid

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My friend moved into a flat through a letting agency, she paid her deposit, £250 check fees and first months rent, but didn't sign a contract as she had to rush home as her father past away, she decided not to move back to the rented flat. Am I right in thinking that because she signed no contract shes entailed all her money back? the deposit was placed in the DPS so that's going back to her but what about her fees for the reference checks and firsts months rent? it took her a month to deal with family issues before deciding not to move back?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I am sorry but you are not. You don't need to sign a physical document to be bound by a contract. A verbal agreement is as good as a written one although obviously the problem is proving it.

In this instance if she paid a deposit there was clearly a contract and if she leaves unlawfully there will be a loss I'm afraid.

She has lost the money for the reference checks I'm afraid.

In relation to the first months rent and the deposit it depends. The starting point is that she is liable for the remaining months due under the contract. However, they have a duty to mitigate their loss by seeking another tenant and they will not get forever to do that. Usually they can replace in one month and so she would be entitled to one months rent back but lose the deposit as she is liable for the first month.

I'm very sorry but thats her position.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Really, this is annoying? but fair enough. I thought there was a new law about agents reference fees being refundable? and I was told by another letting agent that she was entitled to the money back?



So I'm a little confused? I understand about verbal agreements and yes she had moved her things in there and paid the deposit so I'm guessing that's all the prove she needs.


Yes, I understand.

Agents fees are refundable if they don't the reference of for variety of other reasons. But if its just that she pulled out after they had done the work then that cannot be reclaimed.

Moving in and paying the deposit is fairly clear evidence of a contract.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Could you tell me where this leaves my friend now? the letting agent had refunded her her deposit so would that show that they have agreed to let her out of her "verbal agreement"?


I'm worried they will come at her with this verbal agreement knowledge and try and make her pay more rent?


They did say that they would give her her £250 agent fees back if she used that money to give to the other tenants to help with the next months rent?



They are offering a deal which is not a bad one.

If she agrees then its unlikely that they would pursue her for anything else.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for clearing this up for me. Im doing this on her behalf due to her current family circumstance so Its very much appreciated as I don't have time to go to citizens advice.


How do I pay for your time?

Actually though, on reflection, I'm not sure what they are offering.

They have a claim against her for the time between the date that she would have moved in and the date the new tenant moved in. That is their claim.

The credit referencing fee is a side issue.

She shouldn't be paying the new tenant's rent. Obviously that might be a lesser sum than the owed sum so it might be a good deal but when negotiating you have to bear in mind what they would get at court and offer less - otherwise you might as well go to court.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She moved her things into the flat before the start of contract, she made payment of deposit first months rent and fees a week later, at the same time she rushed home as had family problems and stayed there for a month. so wasn't able to meet the letting agent to sign anything.


Due to her family situation she couldnt leave home and go back to the flat.


the agency said that she could leave. so she did.


The deposit was in the DPS and they have authorized that to go back.


the first months rent hasn't been disgust


but the £250 fee checks my friend said if refunded she would give some of that to the tenants who already live there (as it was a flat share) as a gesture of good will and to help them out.


everyone seemed happy with this even the agency, but when I asked them to refund it she said no because she was worried that my friend would keep it and not give it to the other tenants.


I said that was not her concern and my friend would honor her agreement with the other tenants.

The agency are now not responding.




Well, if the facts you suggest are correct then she doesn't have a claim for this sum so the agreement is not bad especially if it will lead to her deposit being returned.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think we got confused as a friend who works in a letting agency said that she is entitled to everything back due to no contract being signed.


She must not know about verbal agreements.



I can't really comment on her views.

But if she moved in and paid a deposit then she very definitely is bound and she doesn't have a claim to everything.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your help.


I have cancelled my membership as I don't need ongoing help, So am I right in amusing your fee will just be paid?

you need to e-mail customer services about your account but they can do that for you.

You can e-mail them on [email protected]
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ok great.


Thank you for your help.


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’.