My partner and I work for a large Corporate Organisation.
When we met almost 3 yrs ago I was renting a small 1 bedroom flat in Slough.
He was unemployed. Last year we managed to secure a position for him at the company where I work.
He moved in with me as an interim arrangement. My little flat is too small.
We decided to find a larger place closer to work, in Staines.
We looked at a few usual websites and found a really nice place in Chertsey Lane. We arranged with an Agent to view the house after woork one evening in Feb, and the very next day paid the Holding Deposit. We liked the house. Its a small-ish 2 bedroom house with a nice dining room, lounge and small conservatory.
After paying the Holding Deposit, twe went back to do some measuring. The Landord took my partner up to the bedrooms to see what the sizes were. He was of Middle Eastern ethnicity, and of Muslim faith.
The Landlord asked my partner if my partner and I were "planning on sleeping in 2 separate beds", upon which my partner replied that we share a bed as we are a couple.
This startled the landlord.
When my partner mentiond this to me, I suspeced that this might be a problem. I emailed the Letting Agent and asked her to verify that our Orientation would not be a problem. In her replies she stated that the Landlord was totally OK with this. And I was still not convinced. The Landlord started to change the Contract, and my name on the contract was wrong. I sent the contract back twice to get it sorted over a period of 3 weeks. Every time the contract came back my name was wrong and there were changes made.
The Landlord made some assumtions which he used to base the Reference Checks on, and subsequently, a week before the day we were suppose to move in, he withdrew the offer. We had alread paid the Security deposit of £1650, and upon the Landlords insistance another deposit of £2350 plus Admin fees and a Holding deposit of £500.
In total they took £4500. Our monthly rent was only agreed on £1100.
We did stipulate, that should the Landlord withdraw, we would be refunded in full. This was also agreed in writing by email. We suspected the Landlord did not openly want to reject us as tenants because we were a gay couple, as we would be protected under current legislation. But he made certain assumptions that gave him a reason to withdraw the contract, even though all our references and checks were passed.
So now we are stuck. We already gave notice in our current flat. We are looking out for a new place, but the Letting Agent is not forthcoming with our refund of £4500.
I have sent her an email asking when we can get this back so we can use it to secure another place to stay in.
On Friday 23 March Tamsin at Townends told me my money would be paid into my bank account on Tue 27 March.
On Tue 27 March I checked and there was nothing. I called and spoke to the Lettings Manager, who promised me he would call Head Office and authorise the payment, and that it would be paid into my Bank Account on Fri 30 March.
On Fri 30 March I checked and there was nothing. I called Townends and the person answering told me that the Lettings Manager is now in a "meeting", and I should call the Head Office accounts dept and talk to them.
A man in the Head Office initially said they received no authorisation to pay me, then afterwards stated the someone just handed him a piece of paper with the authorisation required to refund me. He promised that I will get my money paid into my bank account on Tuesday 03 April. I was really upset because I needed to pay a deposit on another property which we are signing a contract for.
This Agent was a bad mistake for us. Homophobic Landlords should be prosecuted. His ultimate excude was that he was advised by his lawyers to withdraw from the contract AFTER he made us pay £4000 deposit. And now we struggle to get it back.
My guess is that he was hoping we did not have that kind of money, which would have forced us to pull out. Sadly it backfired on him, and he had to pull out in the end.
And now we struggle to get the deposits back Townends.
What agent could do to change your mind?
If this agent was truthful in negotiations about the Landlords religious convictions about gay people, we would have been happy to pull out early. We gave then 2 opportunities early enough for this. Yet both times we were assured that the Landlord was totally OK with us being gay.
Obviously this was not the case. From where we were standing it appeared that the landlord was looking for any conceivable loophole to get us off the contract without being incriminated.