Credit check money back - UPDATE

(10 Posts)
DailyMailEthicalFail Mon 15-Aug-16 18:56:06

So. I apply for a Tenancy. To be paid for by Housing Benefit. I have checked that I qualify (new claimant). I do. I inform the landlord (who I meet) that HB will be the method of payment. I supply a letter detailing my entire financial and personal situation in addition to the Application for the tenancy.
I apply and am told I need to go through a credit check. I do. It asks for a guarantor. I provide one. We each pay £75 (I pay the fees for them).
Credit check comes back okay.
Landlord says: 'decline as no evidence of HB. provide within 24 hours plus 6m rent upfront or you will be rejected'.
I contact DWP/benefits/Council and Shelter.
All tell me that I need a 'letter of intent' or proper Tenancy Agreement from Landlord with address, start date etc to get right through the HB process and provide the award letter the landlord suddenly requires and that this takes at least 2 weeks. I get this from them by email. I forward it, and Shelters email saying that to change the terms of the application after referencing is not on.
Landlord then says: 'oh, didn't mean 6m rent - just helping you budget, and HB proof not required after all. Will let you know within 48 hours.' Then they rejected my application.
I have asked for my referencing fee back. They say no as they used UPad. I get that, but they forwarded me for it knowing that they would reject me (although they now say it was 'alternative applicant was stronger'.

Bastards.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 15-Aug-16 19:16:44

I've never been asked to pay fees on a rental without them securing the property. Although I don't receive HB I have sometimes needed a guarantor but again, their info was provided after I had paid to secure the property. The fees were non refundable but that's so I couldn't change my mind.

It's not on for them to charge fees to multiple potential tenants, they could be netting thousands that way!

Can CAB or Shelter offer any practical tips?

DailyMailEthicalFail Mon 15-Aug-16 19:20:51

Shelter suggested taking them to the small claims court but that doesn't get me my £150 back for sure or any time soon.

I think it's just the fact they KNEW before they sent me for referencing, as it were.

Then demanded the £4.5 upfront and the HB letter (neither of which possible). Then 'changed their minds' about that (as they knew it was not right).

Then rejected me.

It was really underhand.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 15-Aug-16 19:22:18

That is really poor.

I'd send them a letter before action and see if that prompts them into returning your fee.

DailyMailEthicalFail Mon 15-Aug-16 20:18:58

What is a letter before action please?

It is the Forestry Commission.

I am wondering if they suddenly needed it for one of their own employees?
(the houses are used for this. if no-one from the F Co needs it they are then offered to the public)

DailyMailEthicalFail Mon 15-Aug-16 20:23:18

They say that as they didn't charge me a fee they cannot refund me.

The £150 was paid to UPad for referencing.

But the FC knew I wouldn't 'pass' under their terms (changed after the Referencing fee and then changed back again 24 hours later)

So I should never have been put forward for referencing or had to pay.

a1992 Tue 16-Aug-16 08:13:21

I would be tempted to point out to them that you did pay them it's them who paid it too upad. So that is irrelevant

prh47bridge Tue 16-Aug-16 08:34:08

A letter before action is a letter demanding your money back, setting a reasonable deadline for it to be paid and stating that you will start legal action if you don't receive your money by the deadline. You have to send such a letter before you can take action in the courts (including the small claims court). Sending the letter does not commit you to taking action. It may be enough to trigger them into refunding your money.

If you do take action it will cost £35 to file your claim online and another £25 if a hearing is required although you may be entitled to a reduction. If you are on certain benefits you may not have to pay at all. If you do have to pay these fees you will be able to reclaim them from the Forestry Commission if you win. You will also be entitled to claim interest on the £150.

I would certainly send a letter before action. That doesn't commit you to anything and may get your money back. If that fails you can then decide whether or not you want to take it further.

DailyMailEthicalFail Tue 16-Aug-16 09:20:58

a1992

I paid uPad direct, I think? The FC use them for references and I was directed to their form.

prh47bridge

Thank you for this information. The person who dealt with my case has, at my request, sent me details of their complaints procedure. Do I need to go through this first, before the Letter of Intent, do you think?

My case is that I should never have been put forward for referencing.

It is strong morally I think but not necessarily legally?

I do have an email from her claiming she had been 'confused' about my finances after I first asked for my money back. There was no confusion as it was all in writing.

She has suggested I apply for another tenancy in the future.
Cowbag. (sorry).

prh47bridge Tue 16-Aug-16 11:42:05

I would recommend going through their complaints procedure first. You should only start down the legal route once all other routes have failed.

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