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MacGuffin

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About MacGuffin

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  1. Oh I know all that. I'm a veteran of small claims court. I always win. But I just wanted opinions on one specific point. The application was rejected on a criterion that wouldn't have been obvious to applicants before applying, nor was it stated anywhere. Yet we stand to lose our 'admin fee' because we failed to meet it. It seems to me a court will agree that, if the application fee is to be non-refundable, that the referencing criteria should be clear, not secret and arbitrary.
  2. They have stated the reason is that my friend is employed by a company outside the UK. I would say that is not a sufficient reason for rejecting a tenancy, and so our admin fee should be returned. What I am asking on the form is if anyone's sees any potential problems with presenting the case in this way. I am talking about taking it to small claims court, not pleading with the agency.
  3. Two friends and I are in the process of going through tenant referencing for a flat in London. We had to pay a supposedly non-refundable 'administration fee' in order to start the referencing, after the landlord accepted our offer. The wording in the email from the agency was as follows: "for us to hold the property under offer subject to contract & referencing and cancel viewings booked in, I require the non-refundable administration fee of £546 inclusive of VAT for 3 Adult Tenants paid." I then asked the agency by email: "Why is the holding deposit described as 'non refundable'? We are very reluctant to pay £500+ that will not be returned even if a tenancy is not offered by the landlord." I received the following gibberish as the reply: "The referencing fee is not refundable(£546) because the landlord has accepted your offer is happy to go ahead with the tenancy as long as all applicants pass referencing and sign contracts, the only way to fail referencing is if the combined income is not verified to be over £90,000 p.a and all applicants landlord references come back as accepted or credit checks, also before we can proceed we will also need the what happens next signed by all parties Asap." We went ahead with it anyway, paid the administration fee, and submitted our details for referencing. PROBLEM: The referencing agency (in reality, a part of the same group as the letting agency, as they always are) has now said that one of my two friends, because he is employed by a foreign company and is paid in euros into a foreign bank account, is 'impossible to reference' so they are marking him as FAIL. The letting agent says he will contact the landlord to explain, but I am not hopeful, as it seems like a real box-ticking exercise. My question here is about the 'administration fee'. How can this be non-refundable when we were required to pay it before referencing would be started, but NOT told the criteria by which the referencing would pass or fail? If we had been told that all applicants must have a UK-based employer or at least a UK-based account, we would not have bothered. My friend's situation is slightly out of the ordinary, but not really. This is London, for goodness sake. I know people who live Paris/work London and live London/work Dublin. In fact, my friend is rarely in London OR his headquarters, as he is 80% of the time on the road. This week Vienna, next week Shanghai! The three of us have shared a flat in London before and have provided excellent references from that landlord. It's ironic because my foreign friend makes more than us other two put together and could easily afford the place by himself. MY QUESTION: If we do get rejected for this reason, will it be a straightforward matter to get the 'non-refundable' admin fee back via the small claims court?
  4. Peckham is within easy commuting distance of central London. £1800 divided among three working flatsharing adults is considered a bargain in London.
  5. This wouldn't be considered 'fair wear and tear' but the damage would not be considered to be your fault. It is the result of a damp condition that was the landlord's responsibility to rectify. You made him aware of the problem on numerous occasions (hopefully in written form at least once) and he chose to do nothing. It will be a pain, but you have nothing to worry about.
  6. Isn't anyone going to thank Gordon Brown for keeping us out of the euro? Surely the Sage of Kirkcaldy deserves our gratitude? Oh, calm down, I'm just trollin' ya!
  7. I could not resist chipping in with my 'advice' on the 'Tenant Has No Soul' thread. Hilarious!
  8. That is an appalling decision. So, it's back to the bad old days for tenants trying to get their deposits back.
  9. This will come as news to my family and friends who are regular users of Canada's free* Medicare system, which puts NHS care to shame. *Yes, yes, I know, it's not 'free' because it is paid for by the taxpayer.
  10. Just thought I'd mention, under the TDS scheme, the landlord is obliged to return the undisputed amount immediately i.e. if the deposit is £1000 and only £600 is in dispute, the landlord must return the other £400 immediately. Accepting the £400 back does not oblige the tenant to agree to the £600 deduction; they are still free to dispute it. The agency for my last place tried to convince me to capitulate by saying 'We really must get your agreement to these deductions so we can return the rest of your deposit'. They said this in an email so I immediately went email-ballistic, responded to everyone in the agency and the landlord (a property development company) and said quite menacingly that they had better think very carefully about their wording because a judge would look at that and think that they were trying to hold the undisputed part to ransom, which is illegal and contravenes the TDS guidelines. I got my undisputed portion the next day, and then went on to get back 100% of the rest via the dispute resolution process.
  11. I am sympathetic as it seems you have had a bad landlord, but I really can't see how the TDS failed you. If you thought that you could start a claim and then take six months to send in the paperwork, then you clearly misunderstood what the TDS told you. The rules are that you have six months to start your claim, and then things move quite quickly after that. I had to claim against a landlord recently and I thought the TDS dispute resolution system was brilliant. They accepted my evidence and arguments, and demolished the landlord's evidence. I only had to phone the TDS scheme for advice about the process a couple of times, and they were very helpful each time. However, I'm the sort of person who tends to research a lot onthe internet before I speak to someone, so I know exactly what I want to ask and what is not clear. I'm sorry for what happened, as £500 is a lot of money to lose. As others have said, you can still take the matter to a small claims court.
  12. I could probably think of a long list of reasons why this is not a good idea, but one that immediately comes to mind is that the tenancy deposit is not meant to cover unpaid rent. So, a landlord that knows his stuff (which dodgy landlords tend not to know, admittedly) would quite rightly point out that a huge deposit does not offer him any guarantee that you will pay your rent. However, for a landlord who is not particularly clued up on the TDS legislation, a huge deposit may be persuasive.
  13. The decision in the case (Universal Estates v Tiensia and Honeysuckle Properties v Fletcher) can be read here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2010/1224.html Reactions (from both sides - housing law solicitors and a BTL blog) can be read here: http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2010/11/tenancy-deposit-protection-eviscerated/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tenancy-deposit-protection-eviscerated http://blog.propertyhawk.co.uk/2010/11/tds-high-court-ruling.html It bears repeating however, that landlords can not retroactively protect the deposit once the tenancy is over, because the three deposit schemes will not accept deposit registrations for a tenancy that has already ended. Thus, a crafty tenant, knowing that his landlord has failed or 'forgotten' to protect the deposit, could wait until after the end of the tenancy to start a claim against the landlord for 3x the depost amount.
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