Paying £500 deposit for a room

Son is renting a room in London and had to pay £500 deposit to the person who is leaving. The person is leaving tomorrow and is off to Portugal and told son to give him £500 in cash as he cannot wait for the cheque to clear up. This seems unusual to me, also son is sending his tenancy agreement to EA today and they need to do a credit check on him & he had to pay £24. What happens if he has already given £500 in cash to the previous tenant and the agency refuses him as a tenant. I told him to wait but he was desperate to move out and likes the room, therefore agrees to meet the chap this evening to give him the deposit. Does that sound unusual to anybody or am I being cautious? Thanks
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Replies

  • zebulonzebulon Forumite
    677 Posts
    you can't bee too cautious.

    I don't like the smell of it - does the agency knows your son is paying the deposit to leaving tenant ??
    What about he trashes the place before leaving, he still has his deposit back... even without trashing the place how does he knows that the room is not damaged compared to what it was when this guy moved in?? ... and it's hell of a deposit for a room... Did he check with the agency that 500 was the deposit amount??

    edit: i did pay the deposit to the leaving flatmate where I am now - via bank tranfer and I made sure that this was known by the person managing the flat (by email) and again on my letter giving my referees contacts - and this person was not moving abroad, i have new address etc...
  • Kez100Kez100 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    I would think everything has to go through agency. If there is a deposit to return the leaving tenant should get it the usual way and I would think your son's would have to go into the special scheme that exists to protect his.

    He might like the room but he doesn't want to run the risk of it costing him an extra 500, or even - as you say - not getting the room and losing 500 for the pleasure.
  • SnoozeSnooze Forumite
    2K Posts
    Definitely don't pay it. It has 'scam' written all over it.

    Rob
  • narcednarced Forumite
    72 Posts
    loulou41 wrote: »
    Son is renting a room in London and had to pay £500 deposit to the person who is leaving. The person is leaving tomorrow and is off to Portugal and told son to give him £500 in cash as he cannot wait for the cheque to clear up. This seems unusual to me, also son is sending his tenancy agreement to EA today and they need to do a credit check on him & he had to pay £24. What happens if he has already given £500 in cash to the previous tenant and the agency refuses him as a tenant. I told him to wait but he was desperate to move out and likes the room, therefore agrees to meet the chap this evening to give him the deposit. Does that sound unusual to anybody or am I being cautious? Thanks

    Don't do it! This is almost certainly a scam.
  • SquatNowSquatNow Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    Either either scam or muppetry.

    Either way there are soooo many ways this could go wrong.

    Don't risk it, keep everything above board.
    Bankruptcy isn't the worst that can happen to you. The worst that can happen is your forced to live the rest of your life in abject poverty trying to repay the debts.
  • liz545liz545 Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    This doesn't sound like a good idea - when my current flatmate moved in she paid her deposit to the departing flatmate, but this was with the agreement of the landlord, after the check-out inventory had been done (so we were sure there were no deductions and no-one was out of pocket); and the landlord had already given us info about the new deposit protection scheme. You may risk being over-cautious, but there will be plenty more rooms available to rent - can your son say that about his £500?
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  • loulou41loulou41 Forumite
    2.9K Posts
    Thanks for your advice, it is not a scam, it is genuine. Apparently. it is an agreement with the landlord & agency. He has got a receipt confirming this is a legit agreement, the new tenant pay £500 deposit in cash to the old tenant and this is witnessed and signed. He also has to pay one month in advance which I believe is the norm. He has already got the keys & paid for the security check which I think is a formality but will not be moving until next week. Thanks
  • LillyJLillyJ Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    We did this when our housemate moved out and another moved in. The agency kept the original money that was given for a deposit and our new housemate repaid the old one their deposit money, and when the new one left he got the deposit back. Sorry that sounds really complicated but you get the picture!
  • lonestar1lonestar1 Forumite
    560 Posts
    Sounds great but what happens if your son leaves the flat and the EA cant find another tennant ?
  • LillyJLillyJ Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    It is normally when someone wants to leave within the AST. We had signed a years contract (we were students) and our housemate had to leave after 4 months due to family issues. We then found another housemate who took over the tenancy. The new one could leave after the contract ran out as normal.
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