Holding deposits - when is a tenant deemed to have pulled out

I’m curious, if a tenant decides not to go forward and sign a contract after paying the holding deposit, then what incentive do they have to give any formal notification of pulling out? They are going to lose the deposit so why would they make any formal notification? Is there a deadline e.g. 7 days for tenant to sign contract, and if they don’t sign then it is deemed they have pulled out and the holding deposit given to landlord? What if tenant just goes quiet?

I don’t know what the OR process is for this, (and would also be interested to learn), but the situation would normally be covered by the Holding Deposit Agreement. In the NRLA model agreement for example, there is a space to enter the last day on which the Tenancy Agreement must be signed. Later in the conditions under which the landlord may retain the deposit it states:
Where the Proposed Landlord and/or Agent have taken all reasonable steps to enter into a Tenancy Agreement by the deadline for agreement and the Proposed Tenant does not take all reasonable steps to enter into a Tenancy Agreement.

Hi Graham,

If communications with the tenant directly have broken down, then you can go to your property, go to the current stage you are at in Rent Now, and then click “cancel options”. From there, you will be able to “Make a Claim” on the holding deposit. The Tenant Fees Act has fairly specific clauses under which the landlord can claim a holding deposit, and we help guide landlords through this process. We’ll also notify you if you are coming up to the deadline for agreement (a rather hidden law that impacts this process).

We have some help articles on this, for example here:

Our full terms on holding deposits (albeit always constrained by legislation) are here:

But if you have any queries about your specific case, or the above article isn’t clear, please do let our support team know.

I don’t use OpenRent for this but I do have a holding deposit agreement with any potential tenant that they need to have signed the contract within 2 weeks. In my experience if a tenant was serious about renting the property they wouldn’t delay it, especially if it’s a desirable property.

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