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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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My daughter and 3 friends paid a holding fee over two weeks

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My daughter and 3 friends paid a holding fee over two weeks ago on a rental property. They were told at the time that the estate agents they were with were the only ones to have keys for the property, intimating that no other estate agent could show clients the property. Last Monday they had a call from the estate agent saying that there total earnings were not sufficient and guarantors were required. On Tuesday the estate agent contacted them again and said the landlord would not accept guarantors and would not accept them as tenants. Upon visiting other estate agents this weekend we were advised by one that they had actually shown clients around the property and they had signed a contract and moved in on the Saturday before my daughter wad asked for a guarantor. The estate agent is now with holding the holding fee claiming he is finding it difficult to get it off the client. When informed about other clients moving in on the Saturday, he claimed he thought it was the Monday, clearly aware that this had taken place! Am I correct in thinking the holding fee would be with the estate agent ?, that they should have done a check first on their earnings before accepting the holding fee? and that they should now give back the entire sum of £500 because they have reneged on their agreement?

If the property had already been let out on the Saturday before your daughter and her friends were advised that guarantors were required, it would appear that the estate agents misrepresented to your daughter and her friends that the property would be let to them if they found guarantors, as the property had already been let out by them.

This could be fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation but both grounds give your daughter and friends to reclaim their money from the estate agent.

I suggest a formal letter asking for the money to be refunded by say 15 April 2014 is sent to the estate agent and if they still fail to refund the money, a court claim may be filed online at

Hope this helps
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your swift response.

I must clarify that the property was let by a different estate agent. Does this make any difference?

The estate agents that my daughter was dealing with clearly knew that another firm had been viewing the property and that they had signed a contract.

My daughter had initially been informed that only her firm had the keys when putting down a holding fee.


No as the estate agent is an agent of the landlord or the owner, so the owner is liable ultimately.

From what you say, there is a good ground to get the money back due to misrepresentation. If the money is not refunded, a court claim should be made against both the estate agent and the landlord if the landlord details are known.

All the best
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