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Can He Get His Flat Deposit Refunded?

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 14 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Can He Get His Flat Deposit Refunded?

Q.

My son and his friend paid a deposit of £950 on a two bedroom flat one week ago. There was nothing signed - it was done over the phone and they have not reseved any keys. Now his frend is not going to university were does he stand as he can not aford it on his own?

(Mr Richard Evans, 1 October 2008)

A.

Tenancy Agreements

There are a few ways that this scenario can go but receiving back the deposit should be applicable in this situation. By agreeing to the rental of the property over the phone you have entered into a verbal agreement. Verbal agreements are just as legally binding as written contracts. Verbal or written tenancy agreements will not usually have a cooling off period. A cooling off period is a length of time that the consumer has to change their mind after signing a contract; usually seven days. Unfortunately this does not usually apply to tenancies. However, cooling off periods do apply under the Distance Selling Regulations Act 2000, but only if you did not see the property prior to making the agreement. If you did not see the property then the cooling period will begin from when you made the agreement, but there are further exceptions.

Cooling Off Period

From the description in the question it sounds like this is a case of distance selling and as such there should be a cooling off period. The cooling off period will cease to exist once the tenant has the keys to the property and intends to use the property. According to the Distance Selling Regulations Act 2000 the tenant will have seven working days to change his or her mind after the agreement was concluded but before the tenant has moved into the property or has taken control of the keys. However, this was a verbal contract there was no contract signed, and with distance selling a written contract with tenancy and landlord information must be signed by the tenant. If a contract had been signed then the tenant would have seven working days to cancel from the signing date. But no contract has been signed, which is a tenancy requirement. So, in this case the cooling period is still standing and you should receive back your deposit. The landlord has a legal requirement to return the deposit. If the landlord refuses to give back the deposit then this may need to turn into a legal dispute but the law should be on your side in this case.

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@Leena - you should have pressed charges! By not pressing charges you are letting him get away with doing this to someone else. You have to check out the contract you have given him re-your deposit. But if you have let him off he remains 'innocent' and so surely he can ask for his deposit back. S
Shell78 - 15-Dec-16 @ 11:15 AM
Hi, I am in an urgent need for help, please. I am renting a two bed flat and has been subletting one room to one man for the past three years. Unfortunately he decided to move to different country so I got a new flatmate now. On Saturday (one week after he moved in) I have been cleaning the bathroom and discovered hidden spy video camera underneath the sink, and as a female I felt very scared and vulnerable. I have reported him to the police and he has been arrested and admitted doing the crime. The police gave me two options - to press charges or to let him go under the cation. As he will already have a criminal record after what he has done I have decided to do not press charges under condition that he will move out of the property ASAP. This situation has coasted me so much stress and worrying that I was unable to live in the property for two days and going to live with a friend to give the police chance to search the flat for other devices and give him the time to move out. Now believe it or not he is asking for return of his deposit, not considering the fact that I have actually helped him out to get out of even worst situation by not pressing charges against what he has done, he has breached the contract and broke the law big time by doing illegal recording (Voyeurism) in the property. I need to find out what are my rights, please? Do I have to return his deposit even after he committed something so serious, made me enable to attend work and created so much panic in my life? Please help if you can. Thank you
Leena - 14-Dec-16 @ 8:37 PM
I paid a holding deposit for a flat on Friday 19th August 2016 while at the property and on Saturday signed a proposed terms (subject to satisfactory references and signing of tenancy agreement) at the estate agents office) I was given page 2 of 2 pages only.On the page I have it does not say it is non refundable.The flat is unfurnished and I have realised that the entrance a single door way with steps leading down will not be enough space to get my furniture through.On the Monday I rang to tell them this and ask if it is possible to get the deposit back.Could you please advised if this is possible?The estate agent said they would ask the landlord and am currently awaiting a response. Thanks
Erin - 22-Aug-16 @ 10:00 PM
Rod - Your Question:
Hi, I signed a tenancy agreement on Friday 23rd on a property and I went their on sunday 25th to start cleaning and decorating the flat ahead of moving in.This turned out to be a very distressing experience.Firstly the communal stairs and landing, shared by my flat and one other, were fouled with dog faeces and urine as well as cluttered with assorted junk.Then I had this misfortune to meet one of the occupants of the pther flat who was aggressive, warning me not to complain about the parties they held at the flat every friday and Saturdayaggressive and then threatened to set his dog on me and my brother who was there helping me. I've made the Housing Association aware of the problem, given notice and handed the keys back and am now waiting for their internal assessment of the situation. They were apparently unaware of any problems, however, as the previous tenant of my flat was the sister of the aggressive neighbour I'm not surprised no complaints were made.Do you have any advice as to how I might get the rent I paid back?Many thanks,Rod.

Our Response:
You could lose the holding deposit, if you have signed the tenancy agreement and you don't move in. The whole point of the deposit is to secure the property. With regards to rent in advance you may be able to get this returned, it would depend what was stipulated in your tenancy agreement. If it was to go to court, your landlords could argue loss in revenue due to the fact they assumed you were moving in.
ContractsAndAgreements - 27-Oct-15 @ 12:23 PM
Hi, I signed a tenancy agreement on Friday 23rd on a property and I went their on sunday 25th to start cleaning and decorating the flat ahead of moving in. This turned out to be a very distressing experience. Firstly the communal stairs and landing, shared by my flat and one other, were fouled with dog faeces and urine as well as cluttered with assorted junk. Then I had this misfortune to meet one of the occupants of the pther flat who was aggressive, warning me not to complain about the parties they held at the flat every friday and Saturdayaggressive and then threatened to set his dog on me and my brother who was there helping me. I've made the Housing Association aware of the problem, given notice and handed the keys back and am now waiting for their internal assessment of the situation. They were apparently unaware of any problems, however, as the previous tenant of my flat was the sister of the aggressive neighbour I'm not surprised no complaints were made. Do you have any advice as to how I might get the rent I paid back? Many thanks, Rod.
Rod - 26-Oct-15 @ 1:51 PM
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