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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3846
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I was contacted by a company calledXXX

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Hello, I was contacted by a company called XXXearlier this year. They told me about their student pod developments around the UK. I expressed an interest in one in Bolton and paid the reservation fee of £5000.00 after seeing brochures and websites and property plans. However, within three weeks of paying this fee, when I got the contract from their recommended solicitor, I identified some discrepancies which made me uncomfortable. I was also uncomfortable about negative press reports about student pods and their performance as well about the company itself. With this in mind, I withdrew from the purchase but they refuse to refund my £5000.00 on the premise that they had advised me before hand that this reservation fee was non-refundable. Indeed that is stated on the deposit and agreement form. This is a lot of money to lose for nothing and I am not interested in purchasing any other property with them. Do I have any legal recourse to get my money back or at least 75% of it? Thanks Sharon XXXX

Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Are the discrepancies in any way materially different to what they told you when they took the deposit? Can you tell me what the discrepencies are?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello AJ, thank you for your assistance.
My main concerns were that further research revealed that these student pods are a bit difficult to sell on especially since they do not attract a mortgage, only another investor will buy them. XXXis also low on such units.
The XXXXcontract mentioned 1 year rental returns and then another section of the same contract mentioned 3 year rental returns so there was some ambiguity there. The verbal info I had received stated one year guaranteed rental returns. I realized that the ground rent is high for such a small space, and I became concerned about what would happen in terms of rental income after one year.
Thank you.
When you handed over the deposit, did you sign anything?
Also did they say anywhere in their literature that they would guarantee capital growth?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, I signed an offer and deposit agreement which I am having some difficulty attaching to this response. They also signed and sent it back to me.

No, to the best of my knowledge they did not guarantee capital growth they only gave a spreadsheet showing projected rental returns and an estimate of potential growth.

Thank you.
Can you send me the wording that states that the deposit is non refundable?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It states:

"At the time of signing this document, XXXX acknowledges receipt of £5000.00, at the reservation deposit to reserve the specified property as set out above. £4000.00 out of the above is deductible from the property purchase price.The balance of £1000.00 (inc VAT) acts as the administration and handling fee payable to XXX


1. Should you opt to pay by Bank transfer or cheque, your unit will not be removed from general sale until we have received confirmation of bank transfer (by means of faxed/e-mailed printout of funds transfer) or a faxed/e-mailed copy of the intended cheque.

2. You accept that XXXX is not the vendor of the property and is acting solely as an intermediary betwen you and the Vendor to facilitate an independent contract for the purchase of the property which you will enter into with the Vendor.

3. By signing and returning this form, you have read and accept the XXXterms and conditions detailed on the XXXXwebsite XXXX and you acknowledge that XXXhas/have advised you, and you are fully aware , that your reservation deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.

4. You agree to pay the first deposit of 50% (less the £4000.00) directly to your lawyer on exchange of contracts.

5. Execution of this agreement may take place by facsimile (or scanned email) where such agreement is agreed in counterpart hereto."

Hi, Thank you. I think on reading this the most you will get back is £4000. They have taken £1000 for their services and VAT. If you sue them it will be on the basis of contractual misrepresentation. They induced you into paying the deposit based on misleading information. You can either: 1. Complain to Trading Standards; 2. Warn them if they do not refund your money, you will commence a county court claim. I would recommend as a starting point, you contact a local solicitor and ask the solicitor to write a letter before action to this. The gravitas of a solicitors letter will force them to take your complaint seriously. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ

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