Orlando Reid are in the business of holding tenant\'s monies before even consulting their client\'s with offers. A quick Google search indicates that a holding deposit is to secured a property once an offer has been agreed in principle, subject to reference checks, deposits etc.
I fully appreciate the merits of a holding deposit. I object to it being a used as a tool to \'hold\' prospective tenants before they (the agent) has even consulted their client. To be clear, it is NOT a tool for the agent to line up his ducks, so to speak, until the landlord has come to a decision as to whom they will let the property to. Orlando Reid tell me that I paid a \'Reservation Fee\' - same thing in my opinion - and this was not explained to me (if true). The fact of the matter is I paid money (£500) in good faith tying me into a contract which was completely one sided. If I chose to pull out (I had no intention of) then I would lose my money. However, Orlando Reid took my money and then left me 2 days waiting for an answer. Clearly this practice only favours the Landlord and Agent. I then had to chase them, leaving messages (none of which were returned) and finally on my 5th attempt got through to someone who told me my offer had been rejected. I then had to chase for my money to be returned - which it was.
Furthermore, by being \'held\' in this state of limbo I was unable to move on other properties. The lettings market is a fast one at the moment and time is of the essence - I devoted a weekend to searching for a flat and the other properties I may have made an offer on are now gone. Orlando Reid not only tied up my money but my time by their unprofessional conduct.
Admittedly I was naive and, with the benefit of hindsight, should have asked that my offer be accepted in principle before putting money down. As a consumer though you shouldn\'t have to be one step ahead of the game - there are plenty of laws out there to protect us against this, however, the law on holding deposits is unclear and certainly one, from my experience, which needs clarification.
I have in on good authority too that this is not how reputable agents operate, even though Orlando Reid telling me this is company practice and with 11 years in the industry see it as common practice.
What agent could do to change your mind?
The Orlando Reid should have had my offer accepted in principle by the Landlord before taking my money as a \'Holding Deposit/ Reservation Fee\'
If you take a applicant\'s money be sure to keep them a drift of progress and return their money promptly. Do not leave it for them to chase you for an answer.
Had I have been updated promptly, I perhaps would not be so aggrieved as to how you handled this matter.