Anyone know anything about renting property??

    A friend of ours recently split from her partner, and has been looking for a 2 bedroom flat for her and her little boy. She found a property through a local estate agent, which was advertised as including a washing machine and cooker. The agent asked for a £300 holding fee, which she has paid. Since doing this the agent has e-mailed her the rental contract, which states that the holding fee is non refundable. No problem there, but they are also asking for a months rent as a deposit, plus a months rent in advance, and have not deducted the £300 holding fee. The agent told her that this is a "finding fee". She was not informed of this at all. Added to this, she has subsequently been informed by the agent that the washing machine might not actually work, as it has been standing out in the garden for a year, in which case she would need to buy her own. She has also been told that she needs to arrange household contents insurance to cover the cooker, and that the TV aerial needs to be replaced as the previous tenant damaged it!! When she complained to the agent they simply said that she should have asked questions before paying the holding deposit. So, firstly, shouldn't the £300 holding deposit be deducted from the deposit and rent at the time she moves in? I fully understand them keeping it if she pulls out of the agreement, but charging a tenant a completely non-refundable holding fee sounds wrong. Also, if the flat was advertised as having a washing machine, shouldn't the agent have disclosed information to her about it's state before she agreed to take the flat? The flat is unfurnished apart from the cooker, and the dodgy washing machine, so how on earth can the landlord demand she takes out contents insurance? Once again, shouldn't this have been disclosed by the agent? Hope this makes sense, and I'm really grateful for any advice.


    sounds dodgy-a supposedly reputable estate agent rents a property with a washing machine that doesnt work? takes a "holding fee" and then claims it as a finders fee? if she hasnt already signed the contract how can the 300 pounds be non refundable? tell her to ask for it back as she has entered no contract and deal with an agency that is honest.

    Get her to go to the CAB as soon as possible. They are the best people to speak to.

    Check out the ARLA website - it is full of info.


    or try consumer direct

    Hello! I'm renting and for our first flat we had to months rent for deposit, a months rent in advance and then handling charge of about £200. Which we only got back the months deposit. Also, not too sure, but if it had been offered with washing machine then it's down to the landlord to fix it, same with the tv aerial! That's one of the joys of frenting, if anything goes wrong then it's up to the landlord to fix it! Hope this helps a bit... Sorry to hear she's having such a hard time with it all! Same estate agents are just horrible.

    I know that the landlord has to insure their own belongings and the property, I would suggest that your friend uses the reason that they cannot guarantee the washing machine is working (and lets face it - who would want to use one that has been outside for a year) as the reason that she wants to back out of the deal, they should then not be entitled to take any money from her, as the goods / service did not match the description

    Sale of goods act 1979

    "The goods must be as described. If any description is applied to the goods on packaging, in an advert or verbally by the seller, the goods must match that description. "

    Hi ya

    A holding fee is simply what it says if/once you complete the contract it should either be refunded or deducted from the first payment due.

    If it is classed as a homefinder's fee then it is basically an admin charge and is not refundable.

    You should question this charge.

    When you pay a holding fee you are simply saying yes I would like this property and the agent/landlord accepts the fee as an assurance that you are not going to disappear. If you pay a holding fee then do not proceed with your interest in a property they are within their rights to keep the money as they have probably taken the home off the market and will have admin expenses. If you do proceed then it should definitely be returned or deducted from the deposit/first month rent etc

    As for the washing machine and tv ariel, it should be in good working order and fully fitted else should not have been mentioned in the listing. Perhaps ask them to make good anything that needs doing to the property before renting. If the property or items within the property are not in good working order, then you are entitled to the fee back, as the property was falsely advertised.

    As for contents insurance, I think that is down to the tenant. If anything happens to the items listed in the property rental ie. washing machine, then the tenant would have to repair/replace if no insurance taken out.

    Hope this helps a little.

    exactly, she would only have to repair the aerial if she had broke it, not the previous tenant. In which case they wouldn't or shouldn't have had the bond refunded due to the damage xxx

    Original Poster

    Many thanks to all for taking the time to reply, I'm very grateful!

    I've been helping my parents rent out for nearly 15years now, and rent out my own properties and rooms in my house for several years now, unfortunately that block of text was so offputting to have to read I didn't bother, soz, if you need any help pm me

    Has she ever seen the flat or the estate agent for that matter? Plenty of scams around.....
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