Our estate agent won’t give us holding deposit back after starting a bidding war

Hey, last night my friends and I did a viewing and went for the house - the offer was accepted and we put a holding deposit down for the house, all very happy about this - after this the estate agent told us that another group had put it a higher offer even and better terms and would we go up to these terms, after we had already put the holding deposit down - we can’t afford anymore on the house or the new terms so we have backed out and now the estate agent won’t give us our holding deposit money back… really not sure what way to go here and really upset and unhappy as for all of us to lose over £200 is very difficult - can anyone advise on this or help please?

Do you have any record of the agreed terms anywhere and the deposit paid? Otherwise it just comes down to he said and she said situation. Possibly, this dodgy agent was trying to force you to back out so that they could keep the deposit. Again, is your retraction formally recorded anywhere? Get enough possible tenants to put down small holding deposits and then force them to retract, adds up to a lot of money. Lesson. Get everything in writing and especially at the time of handing over any money.

One idea: Go to the agent and get them to explain in clear terms why they believe they can retain your holding deposit and state which part of the law they are relying on. Tell them you are reporting them to trading standards?

Write to the agent immediately and make clear that the holding deposit was paid for a deal which the agent has withdrawn so unless they repay your deposit within the next 7 days, you will escalate the complaint to their redress scheme and report the matter to Trading Standards.


Agree with David122 100%. The law is you can only take one Holding Deposit at a time. It sounds like you paid the Holding Deposit outside of OR. If it was done through OR once the Holding Deposit is accepted the add is automatically suspended and nobody else can make enquiries for that property. The vendor can decide not to proceed with you which means they have to return the deposit and then the add becomes active again. There are certain circumstances where the vendor can retain the holding deposit. It would usually be if you misrepresented yourself and then failed referencing. This would be for something like not declaring a ccj or you fail on affordability etc. it would then be deemed that you had wasted the vendors time and they could retain the holding deposit in those circumstances.

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