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joeainscow
16-01-2009, 20:09 PM
Hi.
I'm a first year student at Lancaster Uni and currently looking to arrange a house for next year. A third year "rep" (someone who looks after and helps 1st year students) said he's found a house and needed a deposit off me and my 5 friends for £150 each. We all sent the cheques and heard nothing else for a week even though i asked for receipt to be posted back to me. I sent a prepaid addressed envelope.

I started to fear the worse and decided that the house may be a dead end and have signed up for a different house and signed the contract. I informed the letting firm from the original house that i no longer was interested in there property. There response was that i had entered into a contract with them and therefore would have to pay a years rent. I was then told that if i didn't legal action would be taken against me.

This is the first time i've had anything to do with property and my knowledge of the law is very poor. All i know is that i saw no paper work what so ever, not even for the deposit as he told me that amount over the phone and i certainly haven't signed anything.

Please could someone clarify where i stand in regards to this and if i can get my deposit back?

Many Thanks
Joe

jta
16-01-2009, 20:34 PM
If you have not signed a contract and have not entered the house there can be no tenancy. They are trying it on. Demand your money back, if you do not get it in seven days start an online claim for it.

mind the gap
16-01-2009, 20:45 PM
Joe, I'm sorry to hear about how you've been treated. To add to jta's good advice, it may also be worth contacting the University Accommodation Office or the Student Union (Student Support Services) and lodge a complaint about the guy that's taking deposits off people. I bet you're not the only ones he's done it to - and even if he is working on a commission basis to 'recruit' students for the agent, it should all be done above board, with receipts signed by the agent issued at time of payment, and so forth. I expect they'd like to hear about him.

You have been a little gullible in parting with your money without seeing the property or demanding a receipt - but it's a learning experience. Can you cancel the cheques, or have they been cashed? If so, at least that is proof the agent has the money; if not, stop the cheques immediately.

Next year (if you don't stay in the house you've now secured), you'll be in a much better position to take the time to look around, compare properties and agents; don't be panicked into thinking you'll be out on the streets if you haven't signed up for somewhere for the next year by the previous Christmas! I know Lancaster well, and believe me, there are still a lot of empty student lets.

Good luck in your new house and in your studies.

joeainscow
16-01-2009, 21:57 PM
Thanks allot for the advice. I did initially think it was a bit weird that i didn't get a receipt but i trusted the rep considering the university had entrusted him in looking after us. How do i go about launching a online claim?

Many Thanks
Joe

mind the gap
16-01-2009, 22:13 PM
Thanks allot for the advice. I did initially think it was a bit weird that i didn't get a receipt but i trusted the rep considering the university had entrusted him in looking after us. How do i go about launching a online claim?

Many Thanks
Joe

Just google moneyclaimonline.com

Beeber
17-01-2009, 14:05 PM
Small claims are supposed to be a last resort and you should be able to demonstrate that you've tried to negotiate. The Moneyclaim site and the Shelter website will have sample letters, 'letter before action', for you to send to give them a final chance to return the sum and warning them that you will take them to court. You should keep a copy and send it registered delivery, if that's what Moneyclaim/shelter advise.

mind the gap
17-01-2009, 14:19 PM
Small claims are supposed to be a last resort and you should be able to demonstrate that you've tried to negotiate. The Moneyclaim site and the Shelter website will have sample letters, 'letter before action', for you to send to give them a final chance to return the sum and warning them that you will take them to court. You should keep a copy and send it registered delivery, if that's what Moneyclaim/shelter advise.

I agree that OP should give agent the opportunity to pay it back (although he may well have done so already) - yes, a final chance too, by Letter Before Action, but I don't see why he should have to 'negotiate' about it. What is there to negotiate? From what OP has saud, the agent and his errand boy have both behaved very unprofessionally.

jta advised 'demand you money back, (ie, LBA) if you do not get it in 7 days, start a moneyclaim online' - this is correct, I think.

Poppy
17-01-2009, 14:29 PM
Did you and/or your five friends even view this property before handing your money over?

Why the rush to sign up for a property that you will not need until late August at the earliest?

mind the gap
17-01-2009, 14:57 PM
Did you and/or your five friends even view this property before handing your money over?

Why the rush to sign up for a property that you will not need until late August at the earliest?

I agree, it seems very early, but first year uni students often feel pressured (generally as a reuslt of aggressive marketing from Oct onwards by local letting agents) into thinking that if they haven't signed up by Christmas (for next Aug/Sept), they'll end up homeless, or at least, in a grotty house. Some LAs in Newcastle and Leeds even offer a discount if students sign up before Christmas.

In most places this simply isn't true, and by their 2nd year, most of them have realised it.

Rodent1
17-01-2009, 23:18 PM
I agree, it seems very early, but first year uni students often feel pressured (generally as a reuslt of aggressive marketing from Oct onwards by local letting agents) into thinking that if they haven't signed up by Christmas (for next Aug/Sept), they'll end up homeless, or at least, in a grotty house. Some LAs in Newcastle and Leeds even offer a discount if students sign up before Christmas.

In most places this simply isn't true, and by their 2nd year, most of them have realised it.


Very early ?

All my student props are already resigned for next year !
Most LA i know start resigning during November ....

It is true to say that the best ones generally go first, ...leaving ..the grotty ones !

However that does not mean that you wont still get a good choice right up to sept next yr, but if you want specific area in high demand the early birds get the juiciest worms, that's my story and i'm sticking to it !;)

As a LL it also gives me an extra 6 months to get a nice return on some fine juicy deposits!

The Rodent

mind the gap
17-01-2009, 23:37 PM
Very early ? No, I said it seems very early (to normal people!)
All my student props are already resigned for next year ! Yes, so are mine. But there are still loads left - and there still will be right up to July.
Most LA i know start resigning during November ....Resigning or re-signing?

It is true to say that the best ones generally go first, ...leaving ..the grotty ones !

However that does not mean that you wont still get a good choice right up to sept next yr, but if you want specific area in high demand the early birds get the juiciest worms, that's my story and i'm sticking to it !;) Oh God. More worms!
As a LL it also gives me an extra 6 months to get a nice return on some fine juicy deposits! Yes, at the amzingly high interest rates we're enjoying at present - or do you mean you spend it all on the stuff you then flog on ebay?!
The Rodent

I can't get that Nobby Nobbs image out of my head. You should not have told us about it!

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:16 AM
Resigning or re-signing, wishful thinking - parasites they are !
Worms are full of protein and very good for you (or so my older cousin had me believe many years ago)
High St int is NEVER "high" EVER, Yes ebay stock, more prop etc.

Maybe i will try again with the Pratt and learn more of Nobby Nobbs Hahahha!

The Rodent

Off to TAB we go then !

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 00:17 AM
Resigning or re-signing, wishful thinking - parasites they are !
Worms are full of protein and very good for you (or so my older cousin had me believe many years ago)
High St int is NEVER "high" EVER, Yes ebay stock, more prop etc.

Maybe i will try again with the Pratt and learn more of Nobby Nobbs Hahahha!

The Rodent

Off to TAB we go then !

Physician, heal thyself...