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Holding deposit taken despite being told offer not legally binding

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Author Topic: Holding deposit taken despite being told offer not legally binding  (Read 195 times)
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« on: January 27, 2021, 10:21:34 PM »

Hi there - hoping for some help on an offer I made with Dexters. I’m not very happy with the treatment I received, which basically rushed me into an agreed offer and my holding deposit being taken. Despite me specifically asking, before making my offer, if doing so was legally binding.

The key facts are:

1. Before submitting my offer and conditions, I called Dexters to confirm that submitting the offer was NOT legally binding and that no money would be taken from my account until I was consulted. They confirmed yes.

2. In good faith, I gave the agent my credit card details. Even though I knew that it was a common practice for tenants to “accidentally” give false credit card details to prevent exactly what happened to me from happening…

3. After my offer was accepted by the landlord, Dexters immediately pulled the money out of my account. I was under the (apparently false) assumption that I would be asked if this is ok.
Normally, and legally, I understand now that the offer and acceptance is probably reason enough for taking the holding deposit as we have entered into a verbal contract.

That said, I believe that the agent’s representation has subverted the usually legal ‘contract making process’. Because he confirmed my very specific question that my offer WASN’T legally binding and my money WOULDN’T be taken from my account until I confirmed that treatment.

The ‘funny’ part is that we got a great offer on this flat, but subsequently found our “dream” flat and want to back out of the first one. The timing was all mixed together and I thought I had sufficient protections in place to prevent this - apparently not!

What do you think? Can I realistically back out of the first agreed offer and get my holding deposit back?

Do I have any other recourse/strategies available to me?

Thanks
Elliot
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2021, 11:01:49 AM »

So, you agreed to rent a property and asked the landlord to take it off the market so that nobody else could have it, and then you changed your mind because one you liked better turned up and now you want your money back?

OK

If you made this verbal agreement over the phone and the agent routinely records calls for training/monitoring purposes, you can ask for a copy of the recording. Otherwise it's just your word against theirs. You might try your credit card provider as well, in case they're willing to help.
Newbie
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2021, 11:12:17 AM »

I wasn't familiar with the process of renting and offers - which is why I called the agent to understand it better. Who I believe mislead me. I understand the process now (potentially expensive mistake), so I would definitely have done things differently were I to have my chance again.

Good point re credit card provider. Thanks for your reply Simon.
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2021, 11:23:43 AM »

Nom-nom-nom, I also like to have my cake and to eat it. The OP says he's not familiar with the renting process... yet also talks about submitting offers along with conditions, and tried to impose further verbal restrictions on other stuff... to be honest this sounds like a pretty savvy prospective Tenant to me. You can only do what you can do... there are avenues open to you (reviewing the call recording is a good one) but at the end of the day the Holding Deposit cannot have been that much... and it's all about whether it's worth the effort... your behaviour, as described, seems more than a little odd... you proceeded to the point of making an offer and having it accepted and then continued to go viewing other properties. It seems reasonable (at least to me) that the money for Holding Deposit would be taken from your account when the offer was accepted by the Landlord... you have agreed something at that stage... someone is doing something for you... in exchange for something (it's like good faith payment because it seems good faith doesn't exist)... that you had other plans you kept to yourself is nothing they could be aware of, right?

Maybe your dream flat will turn out to have issues... or you'll find out it's a scabby Landlord / Agent... or someone else will jump in between now and moving-in and offer more rent... wouldn't that be just desserts? I have said this recently on another thread... but when you're renting there is no "dream flat" or "dream house"... because it's not your dream. I hope that makes sense? Save the real dreams for when you buy a property. For now it's all about living in a civilised way for as little as possible. The power you have in renting is the ability to be peripatetic... to vote with your feet... to choose your cooze... but there's other costs associated with that - I am suggesting this 'lost' Holding Deposit is one of the costs you might have to accept for playing the game you played. Maybe morally you should accept it already?
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2021, 05:13:29 PM »

Even though I knew that it was a common practice for tenants to “accidentally” give false credit card details to prevent exactly what happened to me from happening…

I must admit I'm quite curious about how that works...

The prospective tenant gives the agent false details

The agent tries to take a holding deposit of a couple of hundred quid.

The card details come up as bogus

The agent shrugs and hands over the keys of a quarter million pound property anyway?
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