James Parratt recently offered advice to a Sunday Times reader, regarding a rental situation. The reader in question had recently put down a deposit to rent a house and agreed a price of £1,800 a month with a local independent letting agency.
Six days before the moving date, the agency received an offer of £2,200, then asked the reader to match it. He said no and the owner went with the second offer. The reader was keen to know if he has any kind of redress?
James advised that while he can understand how frustrating and upsetting the situation must be, it sounds as if what the agent did was perfectly legal. In terms of redress, much depends on the status of the deposit put down. Agents usually agree
a new let on a “subject to contract” basis, dependent on references being obtained from tenants, along with proof of identity.
Prospective tenants are often asked for a holding deposit pending completion of these steps. If this is the case, options are limited, as it is unlikely there was a tenancy agreement in place when the agent told the reader that the rental would not go ahead.
The landlord could still have refused to grant a tenancy on other grounds: they may have been unhappy with the references or credit checks. James advised that the reader should recover their deposit, but if they feel agency has acted badly, to make a formal objection in line with its complaints procedure.
The full article originally appeared in The Sunday Times, here: Is my woodburner bad for my health and for the planet