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An agency takes over as a landlord

An agency takes over as a landlord on Openrent. We have delivered a warehouse to secure a property. The conditions of the property did not please us and we decided to withdraw from the negotiation. When we claim the return of the deposit we are told that it is not refundable because we have withdrawn Is this legal? please we need an urgent response on how to act.

Best regards

If you mean you gave the agent a holding deposit then was this through Openrent or did you give him the money separately?

It is quite likely that the agent has breached the terms of the Tenant Fees Act, but I am not clear whether this is a real agent or a scam.

Good morning David,
Thanks for your interest and for answering so quickly.
We deposit the money outside of Openrent in the agent’s bank account.
The agent is real.
We contacted the agent in Openrent.

Best regards
Juan

Was the deposit more than 1 weeks rent?

Was there a holding deposit agreement setting out the conditions where they can keep the money? Did you sign it?

Have they held the deposit more than 15 days?

Have they written to you saying why they are keeping the deposit?

Hello good morning David, thank you for your mail, I gladly answer your questions and attach the message of the agent.

Was the deposit more than 1 weeks rent? No

Was there a holding deposit agreement setting out the conditions where they can keep the money? I’m not sure

Did you sign it? No

Have they held the deposit more than 15 days? No

Have they written to you saying why they are keeping the deposit? Yes

Agent response: " If you wish to pull out we will start looking for a replacement tenant, please note that your holding deposit is non-refundable as you have decided to pull out of the agreement"

Did they give you a copy of any holding deposit agreement?
When did they take the holding deposit agreement? Was it before you viewed the property?

Hi David.
I’ll answer below

Did they give you a copy of any withholding deposit agreements? They didn’t give us any copies

When did you accept the withholding deposit agreement? Was it before you saw the property? After partially seeing the property

Best Regards
Juan

To be honest Juan I think its tricky to know whether the agent is right. It will depend on the detail. However, you have nothing to lose by pressing this issue. I think you could write a letter to them with something like the following: “Following legal advice we are writing to express our concern that you did not give us any details of the circumstances under which the holding deposit could be retained by you before asking us to pay it. We believe that your proposal to retain it now breaches the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and we are therefore asking for this to be refunded immediately to avoid further action”. You should be aware that the agent will probably no longer wish to deal with you.