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paying a deposit without a contract

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347 views 1 replies latest reply: 18 August 2015
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Tenant

Hi All 

My gf and I have found a new place to move into, and have provided the letting agent with all the necessary documentation. 

On Thursday he sent us a tenancy agreement, to be signed online. We both signed it, and returned it to him. The problem was that the agreement was not signed by the landlord, only by us. He then requested the remainder of our funds that were due to be payable before moving in. We told him we didn’t want to transfer any more funds until we had a copy of the agreement signed by both parties. He said, 
‘We can’t  sign a tenancy the landlords side of tenancy agreement until we hold 6 weeks deposit and the 1st Months rent.’
 
After probing, he then said; 
‘I am sorry you lack confidence or trust in us but this is common practice. Do you expect the landlord to enter a tenancy agreement which grants you possession to the property with just a holding deposit ? 
If you are uncomfortable with this I suggest you wait  and consult with a lawyer who will be able to clear up any ambiguities you might have before we take this any further.
 
Does this seem unusual to anyone? 
 
Many thanks for replies in advance! 

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Administrator

Hi Meano

It’s a bit of a silly response as there’s no need to consult a lawyer – there’s nothing in ‘the law’ that would clarify this. Many letting agents seem to have no idea at all of what the law relating to their practice area is. Of course that doesn’t stop them trying to pretend to have knowledge so as to intimidate ‘normal people.’

It’s also massively unprofessional to try that emotional pressure of ‘you don’t trust us.’ Why would you hand over all that cash without a signed document?

I’m assuming that the tenancy has a date on it that starts at some point in the future – reply to the agent and say that even when signed the tenancy agreement doesn’t grant possession until the date on which it becomes effective (i.e. the date on the tenancy agreement). So the landlord is perfectly safe to execute it as it’s worthless until its effective date and he doesn’t need the protection of the cash until that point.

It’s worth being a little careful as letting agents can be spiteful and might try to pretend the landlord has changed his mind if you cause them problems but you’re well within your rights to point out the above. In terms of what’s normal, I’ve normally paid this cash over on the day of moving in or a day or so before if pushed but certainly not in advance.  

Alex

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