Holding fee outside of Openrent


I found a flat I like and it’s supposedly owned by a company that advertises it, not just 1 person. The lady that was showing the flat is now asking to send a booking fee to someone’s bank account. I asked to do it via Openrent and got refused. I now asked to have the terms of the booking fee at least in a written form.

Is this all sketchy or normal? It feels like any kind of financial transaction should be accommodated with a written agreement.

I would walk away if it sounds dodgy Holding/ booking fees are precarious. and if it does not go towards the rent . Dodgey

It would go towards the rent it’s just them asking to send it via bank without any written contract what makes me uneasy.

A booking fee is not the same as a holding deposit and would be illegal. If it really is a fee then I suggest you walk away and report them to Openrent.

I think I used a wrong term. It’s a booking deposit, not a fee.

I would not do this outside of OpenRent if I were you

Taking a holding deposit outside of Openrent’s collection is not necessarily a problem. Many landlords only advertise through Openrent and don’t use other services. There are two issues that I can see:

  1. How do you know that the person asking for the money has the right to let the property
  2. Under what circumstances can you get the money refunded

With regard to the first, I would recommend never handing over money until the person shows you evidence that they own or have the right to let the property. For the second, there should be some sort of holding deposit agreement that all parties sign to spell out what is going to happen to the money.

I would ask for these things before parting with the funds.

As its a company, I might also do some investigation online into who its directors are, whether they’ve filed accounts etc.

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