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  • FIRST POST
    • SouthLondonUser
    • By SouthLondonUser 11th Feb 18, 9:35 PM
    • 484Posts
    • 66Thanks
    SouthLondonUser
    Renting and holding deposit: how to get it back
    • #1
    • 11th Feb 18, 9:35 PM
    Renting and holding deposit: how to get it back 11th Feb 18 at 9:35 PM
    My question is: how best to make sure I get my holding deposit back if I see a property I want to rent, but then for some reason I cannot agree a contract with the landlord?

    Potential reasons could be:
    • unreasonable terms
    • unreasonable fees charged by the agency and not disclosed before (AFAIK they have not been banned yet)
    • we cannot agree terms like minimum tenancy period, break clause, etc; even if I tell what I want very clearly, that's worth nothing until it's in writing

    Ideally, I would sign a contract when handing over the holding deposit, and make it explicit I'd get the money back if we cannot agree a contract. However, I'm afraid most agencies and landlord might see me as a troublemaker and simply tell me to get lost.

    But what if the agreement I am asked to sign for the holding deposit either doesn't mention the possibility, or says that I basically have to swallow whatever they want to force down my throat? Would it even be valid?
    is there a template that the ombudsman / estate agency associations have agreed on?
    Is there any specific case law?

    It's been a while since I last rented, and I honestly don't remember what I signed at the time. I hope it won't come to that, but I might end up renting for a while to break a property chain.

    Thanks!
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Feb 18, 10:17 PM
    • 43,828 Posts
    • 51,807 Thanks
    G_M
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 18, 10:17 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 18, 10:17 PM
    The whole point of a holding deposit is that it gives the landlord financial incentive to remove the property from the market and hold it for you.

    Ths normally it is non-refundable.

    However, it's important you clarify the precie terms of the deposit at the time you pay it, and get confirmation in writing.
    • SouthLondonUser
    • By SouthLondonUser 12th Feb 18, 9:52 AM
    • 484 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    SouthLondonUser
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 9:52 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Feb 18, 9:52 AM
    Yes, but clarify how?

    As per my question, do agents typically ask for a holding deposit without getting you to sign an explicit agreement which stipulates what happens if you can't agree on the terms of the letting contract?

    Is it customary to get a draft of the contract to review before paying the holding deposit?

    I appreciate that most people sign anything without reading and without realising what they are committing to, but I am not most people...
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 12th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    • 1,207 Posts
    • 838 Thanks
    saajan_12
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:27 AM
    The point of a holding deposit is to reserve the property from other potential tenants while you go through any due diligence before the agreement is fully agreed, including
    - 2nd/3rd viewings
    - affordability checks
    - reference checks
    - negotiating agreement terms (length, notice, what's included etc)

    If you want to eliminate the risk of losing the holding deposit if one of the above get stuck (e.g. negotiating agreement terms) then you can request that before paying the holding deposit, by agreeing any terms in writing as part of the deposit contract.

    However don't expect the LL/agent to take the property off the market or spend money/time on checks before receiving the holding deposit.
    • SouthLondonUser
    • By SouthLondonUser 12th Feb 18, 10:48 AM
    • 484 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    SouthLondonUser
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:48 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:48 AM
    What are people's experiences on this? What, if anything, do agents ask you to sign before paying the holding deposit?

    And, again, what are the rules if the agents don't get you to sign a specific agreement, but simply give you a receipt?
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 12th Feb 18, 10:54 AM
    • 11,929 Posts
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    Pixie5740
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:54 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Feb 18, 10:54 AM
    My experience of renting in England, which was some years ago, was that the letting agent took the holding deposit and continued to show other tenants around anyway. Many letting agents ask tenants to hand over holding deposits without signing anything so the terms under which the holding deposit can be returned are woolly. Since possession is 9/10ths of the law tenants in England can usually kiss the holding deposit goodbye if the tenancy doesn't go ahead for whatever reason.

    https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/letting_agent_fees_for_tenants
    • Robots
    • By Robots 12th Feb 18, 1:42 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 368 Thanks
    Robots
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:42 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Feb 18, 1:42 PM
    I wasn't asked to sign anything when I handed over my daughter's holding deposit - it was based on trust. This was just over a year ago.
    Veteran gamer and clean freak
    • dimbo61
    • By dimbo61 12th Feb 18, 5:23 PM
    • 9,847 Posts
    • 5,295 Thanks
    dimbo61
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 5:23 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Feb 18, 5:23 PM
    " we cannot agree terms like minimum tenancy period,"
    6 months !!!
    • SouthLondonUser
    • By SouthLondonUser 12th Feb 18, 5:33 PM
    • 484 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    SouthLondonUser
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 5:33 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Feb 18, 5:33 PM
    @Robots : "trust" and "estate agent" or "landlord" in the same sentence?
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