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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4810
Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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I would like to ask a question regarding the refusal of

Customer Question

I would like to ask a question regarding the refusal of returning of a holding deposit by a private landlord on a small parcel of grazing land
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: no
JA: Where is the land located?
Customer: 10min from my home - Shipton Oliffe in Gloucestershire UK
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Deposit left on Friday 29 May 2021 equal to one month’s rent which he said would be my first month’s rent when I move in. I assume this would be classed as a holding deposit to remove it off the market. I changed my mind (for various reasons) on renting the property and let him know promptly on Tuesday 1 June 2021 (4 days later) that I will no long be proceeding with the tenancy. He refuses to return the holding deposit. It was not stated that it is non refundable nor acting as a security depost
Submitted: 21 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

Can I please ask you to give me some more detailed information regarding this matter so as to allow me to work with you and help resolve your enquiry.

Did you have anything in writing with regards ***** ***** payment being a holding deposit?

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
A written and signed acknowledgment saying, and I quote ‘£90 deposit for the paddock. This will be the first month’s Renton the day you move in’
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

When a would be tenant pulls out, the landlord/agent can claim the holding deposit as forfeit. In this scenario, the tenant doesn’t get the deposit back. It goes to the landlord or agent to cover them against any loss of time and money.

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
From what I’ve read, a holding deposit is refundable? According to the tenancy act?
Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Also, legally a holding deposit should not be more than one week’s rent? I should be entitled to the rest back
Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

A holding deposit can br refundable, yes.

If the landlord pulls out or any reference checks return negatively etc. If the tenant pulls out you loose the holding deposit. As you say, one weeks rent only.

But you wording does not state it was a holding deposit. It says a deposit for first months rent. That is different.

The problem you have is lack of any clear concise written rental agreement.

Ultimately, if it was a holding deposit then you should receive 3 weeks back, if it was a deposit to cover first months rent as you also state, you could forfeit that money.

If you feel head done by, and disagree with the landlord, the you can commence proceeding against him.

The first thing to do, is to send an official "letter before claim". This sets out your claim against the landlord, what has happened, why you are entitled to a refund, how much and a date to return payment by, failure to do so would result in legal action in court.

If he ignores or refuses to return payment, then you can start your online money claim against him.

The link below would take you to the money claim website. There is a £35 fee to pay to start your claim.

Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

To assist you, I have also attached a template letter that can be used.

Can I assist or clarify anything further?

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
The landlord did not want a rental agreement. There was no agreed date of commencement of the tenancy either.
Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

Then send him the letter before claim and if he fails to return your money, to the money claim against him.

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Many thanks James
Expert:  james bruce replied 21 days ago.

your very welcome, good luck.

Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. I am pleased I was able to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.