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405 views 2 replies latest reply: 20 June 2016

I stumbled upon a problem the other day when looking for a new property to let. Like so many others my partner and I found what looked to be a wonderful property to rent.

We called the agent requesting details and plan a viewing. 

The agent took our details and announced that several prospects had already viewed the house the day before and 2 of the 4 had already paid fees for credit checks and referencing (£150 each). She kindly told us that should any of the two hopefuls not successed for any reason she would contact us again. She didn’t.

It was then that my partner made her observation – only 1 prospect would be able to move into the property leaving the other prospect out of pocket by £150.

So my question is – have you ever experienced this type of practice when dealing with an Estate Agent? It would be very interesting to see if this is the “norm” within the industry. 

Some might say, well the unfortunate prospect could ask for his/her money back or they (Agents) can hold onto the Credit Check and/or Reference in case they find a new property for them.

The problem with both of these are – the Agent has made an enquiry on behalf of the prospect and therefore charges are made for their services. Secondly, rarely do the same exact property pop up with the same Estate Agent partly due to the prospects wishes (location, pricing, garage, garden and by extension many other variables) and what the market is able to deliver.  

It would be good to hear some of you about your stories.

Many thanks



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Hi Mo,

Any Tenant paying any such fees should sign some sort of accompanying document (such as a Holding Deposit Agreement) that sets out the terms of that money. These will usually state that, if you do not get the property due to the Landlord/Agent not proceeding with your offer, the money will be refunded in full.

If you dont get something to sign or some sort of terms you should never hand over any money for anything.

Most reputable agents, however will not do this and will usually only process one application at a time.

Hope that helps.


We paid ¬£300 ‘admin fees’ to get the ball rolling and the document stated we’d only get refunded if the “right to rent” check failed, but would lose the refund in all other circumstances, so I changed the paragraph in the document, initialled my changes and signed it and they continued with the application process anyway. It seems some agencies will always try it on but if you push back fairly, they’ll accept that as well. I’d accept no refund if it was my decision to pull out, but in any other circumstance outside of my control would expect every penny back.

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