been scammed with holding fee?


I paid a holding fee on my rented flat and saw that it was still advertised but did not say anything as l did not want to up set the apple cart. See two months down the line it is still being advertised
. Please may l have some advise

‘Two months down the line’ ?
Something doesn’t quite seem to add up here.

  1. If you are now a tenant under a fixed term you are covered by your fixed contract terms whether being advertised or not. (Albeit does seem rather odd… have you upset them, or asked them why it is currently being advertised?

  2. If ‘Two months down the line’ you have not yet moved in and the arrangement was that you had both agreed you could/would by now… I am not surprised they are currently advertising.

Can you clarify the actual state of play, please?

I am moved in but they have not payed the holding fee back and I have not had a contract yet and the room still being advertised. I am paying the rent. They are wanting maybe to find someone who pays more rent and replace me? Like Isaid I am worried to ask them for the money if I sound like a problem they will want to replace me more.

Cait they have most probably simply used the " holding fee " to pay the other moneys moving in. That is how I do it and most landlords do it!

Cait this is ridiculous. You won’t get eviected for asking where your money has gone.

If you are polite and civil and respectful tenant then there is nothing to fear!

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@JeanValjean that is easy for you to say you will not loose your house if you complain :frowning:

It is very scary and hard for people to tell there landlords they want their money back if you own your home you do not understand.

@KartikDass thank you I will just ask if it was put towards to security deposit.

If you have moved in and been given keys then the law assumes that you have an ast contract, even if nothing has been signed or even exists. If they attempt to evict you, just report them as it will be an illegal eviction. Did they take a deposit and have you received the required information they must serve you with. If not then again you are protected from eviction. Google the booklet “how to rent”. - a government publication. One concern with this is this may be an illegal sublet - your “landlord” may not be the property owner and may be subletting illegally. You can check this by getting the deeds for the property from the land registry (£3 fee) which will name the real property owner.

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This was (still is?!) a case that certainly needed urgent professional advice.

A tenancy with no hard copy contract is almost certainly part of a scam, be it tax dodging or other liabilities such as mandatory gas safety checks, sub-letting, deposit lodging (where a deposit was taken), issue of How to Rent documentation, EPC., and other blurb as applicable.

Under what curcumstances would a bona fide landlord ever risk renting a property having only a verbal agreement. They wouldn’t. They wouldn’t dare.
The days of ‘casual’ are gone, even where renting a room to a lodger. But that degree of ‘casual’ never really existed for whole property loans.

Possibly in similar boat. Spoke to potential landlord on Sunday explained that I would like to make an offer but needed to move in by Tuesday to Thursday the latest. He said put holding deposit on OR and don’t worry about 5 day reference because he has his own referencing system, agreed would meet following day to show my references and bank statements etc. Today he texts his email and says he can’t meet just email him my docs… I’m skeptical about sending my statements to someone whose last name I don’t even know and whose given email is clearly not their regular email.

I emailed him my references. Several hours later he replies asking for more “as much as I can” assume he meant statements , “because this will help with OR referencing” I replied if going down the OR referencing then would much rather just send my stuff directly to OR but would need to confirm with my partner if she’s willing to wait 5 days or we just go with our other option. He replied with some cryptic stuff implying if he was happy with what he got he would not do OR referencing and we could just go straight through to contract.

As gesture of good faith I sent him my last statement with sensitive data cropped out. Informed him that I would be more then happy to meet him tomorrow to show him my bank statements but also implored him to let me know if this was not enough to make him happy to proceed from offer directly to contrace then let me know so I can cancel the offer and go to a landlord who has seen my documents and is happy to rent to me.

No reply. He doesn’t want to risk losing a good tenant but he doesn’t want to risk taking on board a bad one… I get it. But when you spoke to the tenant, know his siutuation, have seen several of his documents, you can’t just sit on the fence. Either say yes or say no. Don’t keep people hanging until you are 100% and worse still don’t accept the offer and click full referencing which I have a feeling he might do despite knowing we need a place in the next few days and have another option.

AND I WAS RIGHT I asked him several times on text, if LL and Employer reference plus 3 months bank statements not enough please just tell me and I will cancel my offer because we need a place within a 2 days. Today at 3.40am the slim ball decides to initiate full referencing request on my offer, no doubt just trying to get £200 if i forfeit it.

Hi Mamode,

I’m sorry to hear this hasn’t gone ahead. As we have confirmed by email, we have reviewed your case and have returned your holding deposit in full.

We always advise to only provide information to the landlord where you are comfortable to do so, and you can always ask the landlord to go through the OpenRent referencing process instead.

In this situation I understand that the time between placing the holding deposit and when you wanted to move in was just a few days, so you had agreed to provide proof of employment etc. to the landlord directly. There was subsequently an issue with meeting in person, which delayed your application.

We are working on making our referencing process quicker, without losing the detail it currently provides - but I unfortunately can’t be more specific on what this will look like or when it will be available. This should however help avoid situations like this occurring in future.

Once again I’m sorry to hear this hasn’t gone ahead, and wish you the best of luck with your property search.


Hi Simon,
Thanks for your message and thank you for resolving this issue.

Rent Now is a great feature. So much of the communication between home seekers and landlords gets taken away from the OR platform before returning back to it that a beneficial addition to Rent Now could be to allow the offer to include the choices of “with full referencing” , “with speedy referencing” “straight to contract” then the landlord can accept, counter, or reject.

yes, it is ridiculous
We didn’t agree the holding deposit of 1000 to be just for nothing and the so called landlord give us the holding deposit emailed next day and there was specified is no return if we do not agree the letting , tricky, and we asked quick the money back as we don’t want to have such landlord which is not clear from the first time we see each other.

Hi Viluta,

I can see one of the team have been in contact with you asking for further information - please respond to the email with further detail so we can advise you on this.