I am basically from an IT background so mapping business processes into IT systems correctly is key.
Logically, a holding deposit should only be allowed by the Open Rent system for a prospective tenant, when a Landlord has initially established suitability of the prospective tenant and is prepared to move ahead with Referencing.
As I understand, the only logical purpose of the holding deposit is to ensure that during the waiting period (time taken for Referencing) there is some assurance for both parties i.e. that on one hand the Landlord, in accepting the holding deposit, is committing to hold the property for the specific person and will not rent to another person, perhaps if offered more rent or the landlord simply changes their mind and wishes to rent to a friend or relative and on the other hand the prospective tenant won’t just move onto another property and leave the Landlord out of pocket in paying for referencing (or waste Landlord’s time if he/she carries out the Reference checks themselves).
Holding onto any monies by any party, for any period, in any bank account does earn interest, however little and many littles add up to alot.
If Open Rent is encouraging people to put down a holding deposit straight away, quite a few may be doing that on each property, and all that adds up, plus it will be sometime before returns are made.
The real purpose of a holding deposit is lost.