i finally rented a flat and am soon to be waiting to input internet so that it becomes habitable.
in the meantime, i would like to share my tale of woe with an estate agency. i will abbreviate it thusly:
i agreed a tenancy application. i paid a deposit which included money for agency fee and reference check. they kept changing the move in date, and set it to a bank holiday. 2 working days before that date, i got the latest application form from them. they also asked for the rest of the deposit. i said no, not till we sign the actual agreement.
5 hours before the end of the banking day (and still no sign of a tenancy agreement) i got a call saying the landlady had changed her mind.
this was interesting because their tenancy application states that:
“All or part of the holding deposit will be non-refundable and will be paid to the landlord in the following circumstances.
2. having signed a tenancy agreement, you do not take up your tenancy and pay the full balance due on or before the commencement date”
no mention of responsibility, just that if i had paid the full amount, i would get nothing back because i didn't take up the tenancy.
also, of course, if i hadn't paid by 4pm that day to ensure they could get the money, they would have taken all my money.
at this point, they only wanted to return my deposit. not their fees or reference fees. the office of fair trading doesn't like this and their guidelines state I should get it all back.
having checked before sending them any money, and during their last minute phone call as to whether i would be receiving the full amount back (which i spoke in numbers for their benefit) I was told yes twice. except, that's not what they offered now.
my two favourite sentences from my letter of complaint to them were:
I wish to register a formal complaint with your practice for your deplorable management of an attempted tenancy.
When I pointed this out to you [that they would keep all money money if i had paid more, or not by 4pm], you claimed that I would have received the full amount back. Yet, having heard that before from your company, I cannot trust your words.
Delightfully, this story had a happy ending as they finally agreed to give me all my money back.
This story almost had a diabolical ending. while i began to look for another place to live, i found a much better place. the letting agents? these bar stewards. what a pickle that would have been.
fortunately, a day later, a second agency also offered the place up, so i went with them instead.
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