Hamptons loses tribunal hearing over disputed Tenant Fees Act deposit

Judge says agency didn't take the 'reasonable steps' required by law and must pay money back to tenant, highlighting dangers of legislation's complicated rules.

hamptons tribunal

Hamptons has been ordered to repay a holding deposit after failing to convince a court that the prospective tenant had forfeited his rights under The Tenant Fees Act by changing his mind about moving in.

A First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that it should pay £691 to Iain Buswell who had pulled out of a tenancy before he was due to move into the property in Moor Park House Way, Farnham.

He said the letting agent, Ms McMinn, had not told him during a viewing that his children couldn’t use the communal garden area for playing, while she insisted she told him that the lawn could be walked on and sat on but that ball games, cycling and running around were not permitted.

Mr Buswell first signed the tenancy application form on 27th February, then received the superior lease on 25th March with a request to sign the paperwork.

He asked Hamptons to check with the landlord whether the lease terms were enforced and withdrew from the intended tenancy on 30th March, saying he had been misled and requesting the return of the deposit.


The judge said he was troubled that Mr Buswell wouldn’t enter into the agreement some weeks after saying that he would do so, after changes had been made to accommodate him and only on the date on which he was due to move in.

However, he ruled that Hamptons had not taken all reasonable steps to enter into the tenancy agreement within the deadline laid out in the Act – the fifteenth day after the holding deposit was paid – while the landlord was also not ready to enter into the tenancy agreement.

The judge added: “The applicant is entitled to the return of the holding deposit of £691.15, which ought to have been repaid on 14th March 2021, because no tenancy agreement had been entered into by the deadline for agreement.”

The Negotiator has approached Hamptons for comment.

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