I have got an issue in a tenancy agreement in the UK.

On Jan 8th I visited an apartment. The agent told me the tenant's notice runs till Jan 31 but he said he would leave earlier.

I have accepted to rent the apartment starting Jan 16th, and the agent insured me that I would get refunded of everything if I don't move in by Jan 16th. He told me that the date is indicated on the agreement.

Now the tenant didn't move out and I have found another property. I thought it would be ok since I would get refunded. But now the agent says the deposit is not in his hands, and the building (they have like 200 apartments) say they won't refund since I have made the reservation, which starts in Jan 31.

They say the contract says "Jan 16th" is a "proposed moving date", nothing else. So clearly the agent screwed me and made me sign something and explained something else and telling me I had guarantees I didn't have. Note that Im not a native English speaker.

The agreement is attached, please let me know if I can do anything : small claims court, ... ?

Note that I have recorded a phone conversation with the agent where he says I will get refunded by both parties. (he didn't know I recorded) I made it before I paid for the new property.

Thanks in advance for your help tenant agreement

  • I'm tempted to say that there appears to be no contract here - a contract must have quid pro quo - each party gives something and each party gets something in return. I cannot see anything that you are getting for paying the "holding deposit", hence no contract exists. I'm probably missing something though. Anyway, talk to your local Citizens Advice Bureau, which is free legal advice.
    – AndyT
    Aug 3, 2017 at 11:17
  • Definitely talk to Citizens Advice. May 22, 2018 at 11:53
  • So finally I submitted this to the small claims court and the landlord gave me the money back. The "argument" that seemed to work is on their side they had no document stating another date. Or it could just be the court pressure
    – Thomas
    May 22, 2018 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


The fact that you're not a native speaker of English doesn't alter the legal situation. If you literally had no understanding of English but for some reason you signed a piece of paper, then you might argue that there was no agreement in the first place, but obviously you do speak some English. Most people don't actually understand what contracts mean (on both sides). Contracts are still enforced, based on what the contract says.

The move-in data is proposed, not firm, and it even indicates what the charges are if your circumstances change and the dates have to change (whereas is their circumstances change, they wouldn't have a basis for charging extra). It also does say that there will be no refund if you change your mind. So the piece of paper says "No refund". The problem seems to be that there's an "agent" whose statements you relied on, who is ultimately responsible for this problem, and s/he implied that you could get a refund. It's not clear what kind of "agent" this is (is he working for you, or for the owners?). You'd have a somewhat different legal basis depending on which it is, but you could sue someone in either event, assuming that you could actually persuade the court that you were given false information which you relied on.

The statement "they will refund your money if the guy doesn't move out by the 16th" is false; the statement "they may refund your money if the guy doesn't move out by the 16th" is true. If the latter was the statement that you relied on, then you knew (or should have known) that that isn't a promise, it's just a guess, and if you read the piece of paper you know that it's a promise with no basis. So I would say it comes down to establishing what promise was made to you. Arguing that the agent "made" you sign isn't going to get you anywhere (unless you can prove actual coersion).

  • so this little adjective, "proposed", makes the entire agreement useless for me, does it ? But there is even no deadline. What if this agreement makes me move on July? Or in 10 years? I am homeless for 10 years?
    – Thomas
    Jan 18, 2017 at 20:25
  • do you think it is worth going to small claims court or something similar?
    – Thomas
    Jan 18, 2017 at 20:25
  • The agent will be the landlord's agent. I think this is unduly negative about the OP's chances. May 22, 2018 at 11:53

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