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Issue With Holding Deposit

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I'm currently having some problems with an estate agent. My girlfriend went to view a property on the 18th of May and we verbally agreed a rate of rent and start date of 25th June, the following day. I was then asked for a holding deposit over the phone on the 19th. The estate agent sent out a letter dated on the 20th of May and which wasn't received until the 23rd of May (due to the weekend and Royal Mail). Our references were approved on the 24th of May, and so we went into the office on the 25th to sign the papers and pay off the deposit and initial months rent. It was at this point that we noticed that the start date of the contract was the 25th of May and not June. We feel that this is a mistake by the estate agent as it was never possible for us to move in on the 25th of May and we were only suggesting 25th of June. The estate agent is currently pausing on the offer, and is potentially refusing to return our holding deposit. My question is where do we stand with our holding deposit? It was given without any written confirmation of dates and based on only a verbal agreement.



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I've never known a letting agent to be willing to commence a tenancy more than 3 weeks hence, usually 2. I don't know what your legal case is, I would hope they will just simply hand your fee back minus the credit reference charge (usually less than £20). But they might stick to it like glue. When I take a rental, I always put everything in writing in case I pay the holding fee and they later dispute the agreed monthly rent or any other monkey business.

I have also asked the govt to abolish admin fees at lettings agents - but they have refused to do so, so far.

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