Some agencies ask prospective tenants to pay a holding deposit to 'reserve' a particular property while references are checked and the tenancy agreement is drawn up. Usually the amount of the deposit is around £100 to £200 for the property.
You might be told that paying a holding deposit will result in the property not being shown to other prospective tenants. The property however may be advertised with other agencies so it may not be “off the market” at all. The landlord him/herself may not be bound by your letting agent’s promise and may invite other prospective tenants to view or enter into agreement.
Make sure the letting agent/landlord are able to guarantee that the property will be genuinely reserved for you and that it will not remain on the market
Always ask for an invoice which contains clear terms and conditions; is it refundable or non-refundable; make sure it is signed by all parties and the signatures are also printed so it is clear who has taken the money
Any holding deposit you pay should be deducted from the tenancy deposit you have to pay before moving in
If you do not move in after all, the holding deposit is not likely to be returned to you. However, there may be some exceptions, for example:
if the landlord or letting agents choose not to go ahead with the tenancy, you should receive a refund of all pre-payments.
ARC will be happy to assist you further if you have any queries. You can contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling us on 01895 269 169.
To find out more about renting, please come along to the Housing Fayre (Featuring Fresh Meet) event on Monday 19th January 2015 – 12 noon to 6pm, The Academy, Hamilton Centre