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We visited a property to rent, we made an offer which was accepted, paid deposit + admin fees, received the tenancy agreement with a special clause which says that we can't use the balcony!!! (they ask us to pay before sending the agreement... But it is apparently common practice in the UK). The private balcony appears on the online advert and we didn't specifically ask if we could use it during the visit (because it seemed obvious to us... as in, I didn't ask if I could use the shower).

And now they are literally lying to our face... They sent me an email saying:

At the time of the viewing there was a second party at the property; they enquired as to the availability of the balcony. [Letting agent] at this point mentioned that it was not included as part of any tenancy. At this point, [Me] asked [Letting agent] ‘why the balcony was not included’ – [Letting agent] advised that he was not sure of the reasoning but he would find out why.

The conversation above never happened!

And now I don't want to sign the agreement and they're trying to steal from us

In line with the above I must inform you that as per your signed reservation fee letter (attached) that should you wish to withdraw from this administration at any stage within the process, £700 will be retained from the funds paid.

Do we have any grounds for getting our money back??? I cannot prove that they lied during the viewing...

  • This is a comment as I am not from the UK, but yes, you have grounds to get your money back - quite simply they misrepresented to you. Further, it would appear that there was no agreement - if you paid money before receiving the agreement, and then cancelled, there was no "meeting of the minds", thus they have no contract, thus they have no right to your money. As a matter of law, you do not need to prove they lied - they need to prove you were made aware that you could not use the balcony before entering into an agreement, and also explain away the false advertising. – davidgo May 24 '18 at 2:24
  • Was there in fact a second party at the property when you viewed it? – phoog May 24 '18 at 2:56
  • Thank you. Yes there was a second party indeed, but we did not interact with them – jazzytomato May 24 '18 at 7:27
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    They are claiming you signed an agreement which states they can keep £700 if you don't sign some other agreement you haven't seen yet? Did that happen? Even if it did, I don't see how that first agreement could be enforceable. (What if the second agreement said you must pay 1000 months rent as a security deposit?) – TTT May 24 '18 at 18:55
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Yes; While contracts can be made in written and oral form bigger acquisitions normally are in written form.

Also consider this: They can't prove that they told you that the balcony is not usable. Thats a big negative in buying a property and they would need to have it documented.

If they still refuse consider seeking professional help. In my country lawyers offer "fast help" that isn't legally binding but costs you only 10$ and helps you finding out if your case has any possibility to get accepted/if you're right.

EDIT: Regarding the reservation fee: You can dismiss that. You didn't reserved that object, you reserved a house with balcony.

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