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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Re-writing as first one went through incomplete. I am using

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Re-writing as first one went through incomplete. I am using a bonefide estate agent to find a tenant for a property I have just purchased. A very keen potential tenant came forward and offered to pay a £300 non-refundable deposit to the agent for me to take it off the market so he had first viewing. I agreed. After viewing the property he said he wanted it and would move in on 28th February. A few days before moving in I doubled checked that it was the 28th Feb which they checked and confirmed. Two days before he was meant to move in he pulled out. I've lost my first months' rent plus now have to pay another months' council tax. I am told he is not in breach of contract until he signs the agreement between us which he doesn't have to do until he moves in. I looked through the Agreement but there is nothing in it to say he is liable. Can you advise please.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Can you confirm whether or not he signed any contract please?

I thought he had as I was asked to sign mine albeit on-line giving the Agents my permission to sign on my behalf. Apparently normal procedure they said. When I questionned the fact he pulled out they said he had not signed the agreement, that he only had to sign it once he took tenancy of the property.

Alex Watts : Its bad news I am afriad.
Alex Watts : If he did not sign the contract the potential tenant can pull out at any time.
Alex Watts : Until the contract is signed by both parties then either party can pull out.
Alex Watts : You can keep the deposit but you can't sue him for breach of contract.
Alex Watts : There is no contract that has been signed and therefore no breach.
Alex Watts : However you are exempt from council tax if the property is unfurnished and empty for up to 6 months.
Alex Watts : i am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

The non-refundable deposit is being kept by the Agent ...... going forward I will ask that the Contract is signed in advance of taking tenancy. The Agent is very aware of how cross I am at allowing this chap to basically jump the queue. A lesson learnt.

Alex Watts : Normally a contract is signed in advance, I was surprised when you said it was not,
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything else?

I was surprised also. I have actually written to the person in question (a company director on a very substantial salary), it was polite but to the point. Hopefully he will have a prick of conscience.

Alex Watts : Yes. Unless I can help further please remember to leave feedback before you go today.

Thank you

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