24 hours with holding deposit and landlord replies using our emails, scam?

We placed a holding deposit for a property through openrent and the landlord did not accept the offer yet. It has been more than 24 hours and the landlord has started to message us from his email to our emails, instead of using openrent. He wants us to sign everything outside openrent. Everything seems dodgy and we want to pull out. We have the option in our tenancies with the following message:

You have placed a holding deposit on this property - as such, cancelling or pulling out of the tenancy at this stage would normally result in you losing your holding deposit.

As we can see it has been over 24 hours since the holding deposit was placed and the landlord hasn’t responded, you can pull out with no penalty at this stage.

We don’t know if this means we can pull out and get our deposit back or we will be depending on the landlord for this.

As Sam from Open Rents has replied to another tenant in the same situation as yourself, not all landlords want to use Open Rent for all the paperwork and protecting deposit etc.
It can be used just to find a tenant, which is what we used it for.
But do your own checks. Ask to see landlords driving licence if you wish and can check with Land Registry to see who owns the property for £3, I believe.
But don’t just go on my advice, I am not a solicitor or expert, do what you think is right and feel comfortable with.

The landlord need not use all of Open Rent’s services. For example, they may prefer to use a contract that they have used before using Open Rent and only used OpenRent for advertising purposes.

So as they have not accepted your deposit, and from Open Rent’s viewpoint not accepted your offer, write to the landlord asking for the contract and state that you are requesting the deposit back from Open Rent on the assumption that a holding deposit is not needed as per the normal Open Rent process and payments will be made as instructed.

This assumes you have visited the place and want it and the contract is to your satisfaction when you get it. Don’t pay until you get a signed contract from the landlord.