How does holding deposit on OR work if not using their referencing?

Hi. I’m a newbie here. My prospective tenants have paid a holding deposit but I would like use my own referencing company. Depending on the outcome of the referencing, does whatever my tenants agreed to/signed with OR for the holding deposit work for another referencing company? I am happy to use OR for the contract and deposit and 1st month’s rent. I’m just not sure how using an external company would impact the holding deposit and when it wd get returned

That’s a question for OR. Never used ‘Rent Now’ or their referencing. Well I used the referencing once on a guarantor and it p*ss poor. Its completed by a third party provider so OR might have changed that service by now?

Thank you. I don’t know how to contact OR. It’s really annoying as I was really happy with the process but now OR is threatening to return the deposit in 30 hours when my external referencing isn’t done yet. And won’t be for another 48 hours.
I only have 2 options to do before the deposit is returned. Pay for referencing with them or go straight to contract without referencing… No where on the entire site is there any info on how to proceed if you do your referencing externally. OR please do you mind helping me out?

Hi @Sherry2 -

What you’re asking to do is hold onto the holding deposit, without making a decision about it, for over 4 days. There are legal ramifications around this, but ultimately it doesn’t serve much (any?) benefit to you as currently, the tenants can cancel their holding deposit and receive a full refund. Until you make a decision about the holding deposit (eg. by going to contract issuance) you can’t claim the holding deposit.

We have more guidance here, including " What if I’m not ready to progress the application?":

But you should either:

  • Accept the holding deposit and issue the contract. You don’t have to sign the contract straight away, but it makes it clear you are planning to proceed with these tenants. You can only claim the holding deposit if there has been a breach by the tenant as outlined here

  • Reject the holding deposit, and ask them to place it again once your external processes are completed and you are ready to proceed.

1 Like

Yes - it looks like that was 4 years ago. We’ve changed the referencing process significantly since then! I’m not sure what issue you exactly ran into 4 years ago, but I can assure you our processes are totally different now (and we no longer use the provider you had at the time).

That’s good to know. You must recognise how awful the previous agency were. Can you now reference the following?

  1. non-UK nationals with no UK financial footprint?
  2. Self-employed or business owners who don’t extract a salary/dividend and pay expenses through their business accounts?
  3. Retired people?

Hi Nilesh,

We are able to reference non-UK nationals, and can verify any UK employment and/or letting history that they have. However, we must be able to locate their UK credit record in order for them to pass the ‘Credit Check’ section of the report - we should be able to locate applicants that have had a UK bank account for 3-6 months.

For any applicants that do not have an employer, such as those that are self-employed or retired, they are able to verify any ongoing sources of income that they have by connecting their bank account and selecting the incoming transactions that they receive from it - this can be pension payments or payments that they have received from a business that they own.

If you have any further questions or suggestions for improvements that we could make to our referencing service, please do share them with us!

Hi Daz. I did go on to accept the deposit and move on to tenancy creation section without paying for it yet whilst I waited for the referencing to go through. As you had suggested. But instead you have still refunded the holding deposit back to the tenant and my tenant has said they won’t get back their deposit till 8th Dec! So now they can’t even repay the deposit because you are sitting on it for over a week! Not only that you have delisted my property and now I don’t even see any more option to proceed to contract when the referencing come through positive, which I’m sure it will. And this email to me indicating all that’s been done is signed off by yourself! My prospective tenants and I are most disappointed with pir experience so far! We are both trying to get this tenancy sorted with the least trouble as possible now we are stuck! Can you pls look into my case and see how you can reinstate the holding deposit instead of hanging on to it. It doesn’t help my tenant nor myself to have this deposit in your account? They need to to pay the holding deposit again!

I’m afraid this didn’t happen. I can see you got to the contract settings but never issued the contract or got to the next stage. As such, and as per our email guidance and warnings on the site, and our guidance in this community thread, the holding deposit was refunded in full to the tenants after 4 days had elapsed.

The holding deposit has been refunded in full to the tenants already (this happens automatically), and happened yesterday evening at 6pm. The money is likely already back in their account, but due to the way refunds work, their bank may take some time to process this. We’ll have notified the tenants already of the return of their funds.

I can see your advert is online again, and you tenants are free to place a holding deposit when you are ready. I’d advise you wait for any external processes to complete before having them do so this time, to avoid running into the same situation again. Although, had you proceeded to the contract issuance, this wouldn’t have happened either. It’s worth being aware there are legal ramifications to holding onto tenant money indefinitely and without action, which is why we do require action within reasonable timeframes (in this case 4 days).

Hi thanks. But I didn’t see why I would issue the contract when I hadn’t even got their references back? I did go to the settings and then stopped short of issuing. I was really confused what I had to do as I was going down a road that did t make sense. There were all these warnings that popped up saying I shouldn’t go to contract without referencing!

I think it would be so helpful if you had a third option for accepting the deposit but not referencing through you. It would have made life so much easier for my prospective tenant and I. They obviously knew I hadn’t just accepted the deposit because they were already in communication with the referencing company and sending their information through. Our problem was actually having paid the deposit through you. Instead I am out on a limp now and unprotected as there is no deposit while I’m referencing. This is not what I expected by using OR

@Sherry2 - Appreciate the feedback. As I’ve tried to explain, we can’t hold tenant money without clear process / reasoning due to our legal obligations. As I tried to also explain (and our site + emails too), the holding deposit wasn’t protected at all until you decide to proceed to referencing or issue the contract.

We can’t, legally, pass the holding deposit to you if the tenants withdraw without clear sight / evidence of the sequence of events.

It might be worth exploring a few options though:

  1. Why did you not want to use our referencing service? This is what 99% of landlords do and you would have been guided through the whole process in it’s entirety.
  2. Even if you did not want to use our referencing process, what caused you to accept a holding deposit before you were ready to proceed with the tenants? A holding deposit can only be claimed by a landlord in limited circumstances.

I do hope that following the warnings in our emails and posts above our guidance was clear, you couldn’t simply hold the deposit in limbo, and needed to make an active decision. Without that active decision, our only course of action was to refund the money to the tenants.

In any case, there is still no real harm done here as:

a) The holding deposit was never in a state whereby it was protected (the tenants could cancel/withdraw without recourse because it hadn’t proceeded to the next stage)
b) The tenants have had their money refunded and you are able to proceed when ready

As I said before, I’d wait until your external processes have completed before proceeding. Happy to discuss points 1 and 2, but at this point it’s hopefully clear there are legal requirements to ensuring you set up a tenancy and handle a holding deposit in a legally compliant manner which we must abide by.

Your blaming everyone else for your misunderstanding and incompetence, using OR for one thing then not another is going to create confusion for a beginner like yourself. You will have many hurdles to go through you haven’t even heard of yet so keep things simple and you will make life easier for yourself.


I am a Landlord. I have accepted a tenant who has paid a holding deposit to OR. The tenant has already paid me their deposit but less than the one week holding deposit currently held by OP. I intend to register all the deposit myself under ‘Mydeposits’ insurance scheme. I am also using my own contract and the tenant will pay the first and subsequent rents directly to myself. Can you please let me know how and when OP rent will transfer one week’s rent they are holding to me. I have sent several messages to OP but no one has thus far provided a straight answer to my simple question.


They will probably answer you during office hours

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.