OpenRent Community

Deposit back before signing contract

Hi there,

I rented a property from abroad. We did a WhatsApp viewing and decided to take the property. I paid the tenancy deposit into a custodial government scheme and it is protected. I haven’t yet moved in or signed any agreement or paid my 1st month rent.

Once I arrive and see the property in person but decide that I don’t like it can I get my tenancy deposit back?


Hi, I would advise against signing the contract or paying any money until you have seen the place in person. I realise this is difficult from abroad, but taking a property without viewing is very risky.

While most landlords are genuine, there is a risk of being scammed if you do not view in person. There’s also the risk that when you view in person you decide you don’t like the property - and you would have already agreed to rent it.

I agree with you but I saw it on the camera while on a Whatsapp call. The lady is genuine. I paid the deposit into a government scheme and I can see the money is protected. She has no access to them

I am just asking if I change my mind when I see it from a legal stand can she request to keep the money if I haven’t signed contract or paid any rent?

Fair enough. Well I think it would depend on what you have agreed with the landlady.

For example, if they are holding the property for you, then the landlord will usually be entitled to keep some of the money to cover their costs if you change your mind.

If you are expecting some other outcome, then I would recommend you agree this in writing (so that you have a record of what has been agreed). When I say in writing, over Whatsapp or similar should be fine.

dont do that again as I think you are a mean individual and now cause a problem for landlady


The landlady may well want you to sign the Tenancy and pay the first month’s rent before you move in.
If you delay, she may well think you are not interested and give the property to someone else, then you will have lost it.
Just wondering, if when you see the property you decide you don’t want it, what will you do then?
Would be better for everyone if you made a decision now and maybe ask to see the property again, if only on WhatsApp. A second viewing may help you make up your mind.

If you agree to rent a property from a video viewing then why would you then want to wait until you come over to view it before signing, you can’t have it both ways. Either sign now or tell the Landlord you won’t until you see it and she will probably send your money back and keep marketing it.

The Landlord will have waited for you to arrive and whilst nothing is binding if you haven’t signed the contract yet it would be a horrible thing to do to a Landlord who has stopped marketing the flat in good faith and agreed to rent it to you, she will have missed a lot of marketing time.

I would be up front with your Landlord and next time, if this is what you want to do, don’t go wasting peoples time and wait until you arrive before trying to secure somewhere.


as a landlord I would not take anything from a person who has not seen the flat in person ,lockdown or no, I would say ," first suitable , first served " as this very thing could happen and you get let down .by a person who changes their mind at a later date

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