Alleged aborted tenancy penalty
I recently put my flat up for rent with an agent, a flat I own. I am doing so as I need to downsize to reduce my living costs due to the circumstances I find myself in. A prospective tenant visited the property and liked it. I agreed that the tenant could take the property and a moving date was mutually agreed. I then heard or received nothing. Any telephone enquiries to the agent as to progress were met with the answer 'the references have not yet come through'. This went on for weeks. I of course expressed my concern the longer this went on. I received nothing in writing at all naming the potential tenant, confirming the tenants interest and never received any references for the tenant. As the original date moved ever closer, I emailed the agent explaining that as I had not received any indications that the client was committed or was in a position to proceed, I was taking the flat off the market as planning for the original date was unrealistic. The response was to point out a clause in the terms of business that this constituted an aborted tenancy and I would have to pay a substantial fee to the agent. This is despite a clause in their landlord guide explaining that once references had been recieved, it is at this point that I would be expected to instruct to proceed. No references were ever recieved.
Can this clause in the terms of business be enforced?