I placed an holding deposit and secured a property. We went to the process of referencing which both me and my friend failed. As we knew this was very likely to happen, we agreed with the landlord from the beginning that we would have paid 6 months in advance. Now it’s been a week that we’ve been holding. The landlord doesn’t know how to use open rent and is not very responsive. He wants us now to opt out open rent and use his own agency.
How do I check this is safe?
What kind of guarantees can I look for?
I’m a bit afraid of what steps to take.
Hi Anna, I’m really sorry to hear about the delays in setting up your new tenancy.
Many landlords will have their own, existing, processes for setting up a tenancy so a landlord asking to create a contract outside of OpenRent’s Rent Now service needn’t be a cause for concern in and of itself. Your landlord might not know that they can use their own referencing company, so if the issue is only to do with not likeing our referencing company, then they can use their own if they wish. In any case, you are right to approach any situation with caution and you should never agree to, or do, anything that you are uncomfortable with.
You might want to check out the agency that the landlord is recommending for yourself; for example can you find the website/call them/visit a local office? If the tenancy is going to be in London then you can also use the London Assembly’s Rogue Landlord Checker. If the tenancy is outside of London then try contacting your local council which might offer a similar service.
We’ve got a full guide on what to look out for when setting up a private tenancy with a landlord which you can read here.
If you do decide to go ahead and set up a private tenancy with this landlord we would recommend that you ensure that your initial holding deposit is refunded before making any further payments.
Finally, you might find it helpful to read our guide to the Tenant Fees Act (2019).
It’s mainly designed for landlords but you should find it helpful for highlighting what a landlord/agent can and can’t charge you for.Shelter’s website is another great resource with a lot of free information and advice for private renters.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any further questions then you are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org