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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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I am seeking legal advice regarding recovery of a holding

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Hello. I am seeking legal advice regarding recovery of a holding deposit for a rental property. I recently paid a £500 holding deposit on a room to rent in London. I initially asked to see the property first. however, the agency told me this was not possible as someone was still living there. I was told the room would be gone if I did not reserve it, and as this agency is registered and has two offices in London I had no reason to be suspicious at this point. However I have recently seen very bad reports about this agency written by individuals online. these included properties not being as shown in photos, properties in disrepair, damp, mold, broken heating, blocked toilets, etc. The moving date is planned for 5th of July. I plan to insist on viewing the property before signing a tenancy agreement or paying the first months rent and deposit. should the agency refuse to allow me to view the property before signing a tenancy agreement, surely this would indicate that there is something to hide, and that the agency is using pressure tactics and deception in order to get people to sign contracts and pay holding deposits. would I still be able to get back the £500 holding deposit in this case?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have not taken any steps so far, as it could be that everything is ok and that I am able able to view the property in July and that everything is in order. I would just like to find out what legal rights if any I have in the case that the agency refuse to allow me to view the property, and tell me that if I do not go ahead with the tenancy they will just keep my deposit. I realise that In the case a tenant simply changes their mind, a holding deposit is non-refundable. But in the case a landlord/agency is using pressure/ deception, surely this is different? I have already spoken to my bank regarding a chargeback. what are my legal rights, if any in the worst case scenario?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Tower Hamlets, London
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: That,s all for now. Thank you!

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you. I am just reviewing your question. This is an email service so there may be delays when responding.

You need to write a letter, set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court. This is called a pre-action protocol letter of claim. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy. You must give 14 days warning before going to Court.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n1-claim-form-cpr-part-7and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value, you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?

If not, I would appreciate a 5-star rating for my answer, by clicking the button at the top of the screen. I am not paid for my time unless you rate. If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.

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