Contract signed, but no deposit or rent paid

Hi All,

I wonder whether you could provide your opinion. I found a tenant and we signed a contract (along with guarantor), but the day before the agreed check-in date and contract start she informed me she no longer is able to pay in deposit and first months rent on time. We agreed that within a week this will resolve and once balance is cleared I will check her in, however my understanding is that the contract started from the day we originally agreed? Hence next rent will be due in a month from original start of the contract or from the actual tenancy start? I understand that this is an example where there is a contract but no tenancy.

Any thoughts on that?

Many thanks,

regards of start of contract this does not seem to bode well .You did do a credit check on her?

I know. She’s a student so fell into medium risk category whilst referencing. Had a guarantor sign the contract as well. TBH although in ideal world I would not desire to deal with that, I trust she is decent and fell into genuine temporary issue (which she quite openly explained and offered reasonable paperwork if needed) so I decided it probably will still be easiest to find amicable solution and 1 week delay is something I can cope with. She was renting previously property at same price and had clear check with rent payments.

I’m curious what’s the legal POV as technically the contract is binding but then OpenRent says tenancy hasn’t started. I’m mostly asking if situation persist beyond 1 week.

The contract starts on the date it was documented to on the contract as does the tenancy.
This issue has been posted before and I asked Tessa S.
In law a contract is binding on financial exchange but for some reason the Tenancy commences for the date it was meant to if it has been signed.
I would take free legal advice from the NRLA and see where you stand.
Never sign a contract or hand over the keys until all the money is on the table in from of you or BACS has been completed.
I agree with Collin. This is a bad sign. Offer her a get out.
If she does not have a signed contract walk away,

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I have just seen your post that this is a student with a guarantor.
I will change my response and advise to give her the week.
This happens with students , delayed loan payments.
I am flexible with students if the deposit and first month has been paid and then take the rest termly in line with loans
Good luck


Thank you. That’s exactly what is was-conundrum of student specific circumstances which I thought sound legit. Definitely highlighted that unless the balance is settled there will be no check in. Will see how it goes.

I will also browse forum to find similar issues.

Many thanks,

The one thing I would advise with students is if they allege their loans are late they provide evidence ( print screen of loan status ) or check bank statements
If they are not paying get in touch with guarantor immediately. Do not let it fester.


Sounds like a great advice-cheers. That’s one of the reasons I opted for rent collection via OpenRent this time round, just to execute the hassling in the first instance. So far I was blessed with marvellous tenants so I hope this is just a small hiccup.

I think it will get very confusing if you try to hold her to the original date. If it were me, I would sign a new contract to start on the new date you’ve chosen and add an addendum to clarify that this supercedes the original contract.

It is normal in student contracts for them to come in late and pay from the original signed date
Contracts often start on the 1 July or 1 September but they don’t move in till mid/ late September

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Yes, that’s true, but its usually because they choose to move in later. If its clear that the landlord can’t allow the tenancy to begin on the same date as the contract it could cause confusion later on.

In all likelihood it would be fine to leave it as it is, its only if things start to go wrong that it could become an issue.

I think my hesitancy to propose a new date at this stage is that of in a week’s time things are not settled it’s me who will already loose one week rent. I don’t necessarily want to take advantage of a student, but I think unless this tenancy actually starts and I can see she’s keeping up with all rent payments on time, I have no desire getting myself more exposed than I already am? If that makes sense

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I had a student who started a bit later than anticipated. I just let it ride the few days and she was a good tenant

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We had one complain about dates so I sent him to the University legal team to get free legal advice and I never heard anything back.
If there was an issue the University would have stop me from renting to students through their website.
The University vet the contract and we are not allow to rent to students unless the contract is legal and fair.


I use Openrent and contracts are only signed once the deposit and first months rent have been paid. I always reference and I purchase rent guarantee insurance. For £49 I find Openrent good value for money.

Yeah, I wanted to use rent guarantee insurance on this occassion initially but I think during the covid times you cannot start it (probably those with pre-existing contracts are ok to continue). Though it comes as a surprise to be able to pay deposit and rent and sign the contract afterwards. Isn’t that the system does require you to sign everything first and then the tenant needs to proceed with payments?

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I was tenant and student for long time and no one ever reserved a room for me with out having paid the deposit. Now as landlord, i’d rather cut my losses and look for another tenant. Or be prepared to have more issues later on!
If the guarantor was really supportive, they would have provided coverage for the delayed loan. It’s red flag all over the place if you ask me.

This was my first reaction and gut feeling tbh. However the reality is also that whilst you may want to get to surrender the contract this needs to be agreed by both parties, so I can only imagine if prospective tenant wants to be difficult they can. And yes technically they will owe you the monies, but if they and guarantor refuse to pay, it again will be quite an effort to retrieve them. Hence we decided it’s probably worth giving it a shot for an extra week (also as encouraged by several people on this forum dealing with students in the past). We had some encouraging communication since and it looks like she will be able to settle the balance after agreed week, so fingers crossed just a small hiccup. I hope I will not regret it down the line! Thank you all for your opinions, very valuable indeed.

As there is a guarantor surely you go to them? That’s what they are there for. Tenants and guarantors don’t quite get the seriousness of this

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I would and I will if the one week resolution period would not work