Unfair/Misleading Advertising on OpenRent

Hello and Good Day to you all.
I need help and clarification on a situation I am in after following up on an OpenRent advert online that I feel is a breach of advertising standards?

I discovered an ideal property to rent (Houseshare) locally via OpenRent and contacted the landlord via the OpenRent website to discover more about it.

Before I start I must mention the advert stipulates ‘No Admin Charges’ and ‘No Hidden Fees’ - the Rent pcm is listed at £475 and ‘Deposit’ £180 - there is no other mention of any other costs to a tenant!

After a phone call from the landlord who was extremely helpful - I was advised to look at another room in the same property with exactly the same criteria but the Rent pcm was £550 being it was a bigger room. I tired to clarify payment and was told I pay the £180 to their estate agent (this of course being listed as the ‘deposit’) which I had no problem with.

Anyway after viewing the property with both landlord and estate agent I agreed to proceed with the process of renting this and duly completed their application form, sent bank statements, payslips, copy of passport and paid the estate agent the £180 the following day.

I have been informed that I have been accepted on the property and just needed to decide on a move in date with them in a weeks time. All sounds good so far ……

However - in the last email telling me this they also mention about the months rent upfront (£550) which I have no problem with - but also mention of a deposit too?? (bearing in mind that the advert lists the deposit as £180 and I have paid this to the estate agent already)

I have replied asking what they mean about this - stating the facts from the advert that the only monies mentioned are the rent in advance and the £180 deposit and clarification on this (I have also sent a copy of the link to the advert on OpenRent as proof)

I have only budgeted on the grounds of what was advertised and do not feel I should have to pay anything more as this has not been explained to me nor mentioned on the advert.

I await their response eagerly - the question being Am I correct that they can only charge what the advert says? I am not one to try anything on - I just want a fair deal and only approached the landlord due to the fact this was affordable to me and obviously don’t need/want any hassle or fuss - I just want what was advertised and shown on the viewing.

Any help on this would be appreciated . . .

Maybe I should also ask the Advertising Standards Agency and Property Ombudsman should I get any problems with the reply from the estate agent/landlord?

Hi I have used Openrent many times. I think someone has got confused along the way. You only pay the stated deposit plus 1 month rent. What they do also is ask for a holding payment which then take off your first months rent. Your deposit seems very low for a £550 rental. The deposit is usually equivalent to 1 months rent which then goes to the DPS required by law to be protected. This is returned on leaving the property unless there are any outstanding rents or damages. The £180 sounds like a holding deposit only and should come off your 1st rental payment. They should be asking you for 1st rent payment LESS the holding deposit which they already have. Hope that helps you to clarify with Openrent.

Hi Christine, thank you for your reply and I completely agree.

My interpretation with other listings on OpenRent and the likes of SoareRoom etc is that there is a deposit and a months rent in advance - sometimes fees where advertised - and deposit almost as much as rent for a month.

What my point is they have only advertised as deposit £180 plus rent £550 and no other mention of any other costs - in fact it even says ‘no fees’ ‘no hidden charges’ therefore I feel they are legally bound to what HAS been advertised??

Their mistake I think but either way they should be made to only charge me as advertised??

Anyone else agree??

Hi again. You may be right I myself would phone them to ask if a mistake has been made. If I agree its a genuine error I would dismiss it and go with the correct rent and deposit. Thats just me of course because I have made the odd error in my lifetime and its easily done. But thats just me of course and you must do what you think is right for yourself. All the best anyway.

To me this might be in breach of Offer and Acceptance under UK contract law. Do some digging.

Hi Rob,

Thanks very much for reaching out and I’m sorry that this hasn’t gone as smoothly as you’d hoped.

I’ve had a look at the listing in question and you’re absolutely right in that the £180 mentioned on the website refers to the security deposit for the tenancy.

What the landlord hasn’t made clear is if this £180 that they’ve collected is acting as a holding deposit, or if it’s the security deposit itself.

@Christine2’s very helpful response goes into further detail here on how a holding deposit needs to be treated.

Confusingly, £180 is the same amount of the security deposit for the tenancy also!

The key thing to remember here is that holding deposits are put forward to the final balance that you owe.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even where a tenancy is taking place outside of Rent Now, we have a strict no admin fee policy:

Tenants are only ever expected to pay the final balance (security deposit and first month’s rent), and the £20 cost of referencing. Of course, this is only if the landlord chooses to reference via OpenRent or off-platform.

Ultimately, if this additional £180 you’ve paid is a holding deposit - this is refundable upon you taking up the tenancy, don’t worry. Here’s some guidance on how this would work within Rent Now - the same principle applies here.

I’ll reach out to the landlord know so they can provide us with clarity on how this £180 is to be treated.

As Christine says, this could just be an error/miscommunication on their point, so I’ll look to having things cleared up for you.

Any questions, just let me know.


Hi George, as I have another issue now on another post on here, I’d like to follow up on this £180 fee that I have paid - it has been classed as ADMINISTRATION FEES and I will not be getting anything back when I one day vacate and leave whenever that may be. I have ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ so to speak on this as you may see in my other post I have had nothing but ‘teething’ problems so to speak with the property being a new build - all of which I have put up with until now when they are all adding up to myself not getting what I am paying for within the full amount of the rent. Yes it’s not the landlord/owners fault but I don’t think from the start paying the £180 Administration fee and now all the problems I have incurred is a fair way to be treated considering. Did you find out anything as to what I can do going forwards without jeopardising my chances of extending my 6mth contract in the fact I am not happy? As I am pretty sure that’s what they will do should I formerly complain about any of these aspects from day one and be left out in the cold to find another suitable property that fits my requirements and may hold my deposit back too if the worst happens. Thanks

PS When asking the estate agents about this they informed me the landlord had no provision within your listing form to put £180 Admin fees so he put it in the deposit box instead - omitting that I had to pay a month’s rent as well - all the other sites that the estate agent list with do say a separate £180 admin fees quite clearly, yet I found the property through your website and not theirs - it has only become noticed afterwards when it was pointed out to me, however this is not the point, your site states £20 admin only plus deposit surely they must be bound by this by law?

I’m interested in this case as well. A tenant came here trusting OpenRent, then he has clearly been tricked by the third party, but using the OpenRent listing and now I think it is just about time for OpenRent to step in.

“they informed me the landlord had no provision within your listing form to put £180 Admin fees so he put it in the deposit box instead” - this is the most ridiculous explanation I’ve ever heard. With this, any landlord can charge any of his tenants with 5 weeks rent admin fee and just say “there had been no field for fees, so I put it in the deposit field”.

[This comment has been moved to it’s own topic]

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Hello Vanesa!

I’m sorry to hear about your situation and I feel your pain, had been there many times over.

I think the only way to go in this situation is just to wait until tomorrow when the Tenant Fees Act comes in force and your agent or a landlord will face a possibility to get fine of £3000 per trick.

Also, I feel very sad that OpenRent had just admitted that

We consider any mandatory fee for the administration of letting the property an admin fee

but did not offer you any help (as far as I understood your post). It is obviously unacceptable, they at least should roll out an investigation and put the ad down if it is misleading or deceitful (i.e. has hidden admin fees in any form, money or services).

I wish you to solve this ASAP an all the best.

Dear Andy,

Thank you for your response. Well, my landlord may be well aware of this new law as they told me they want an answer today by 5 pm. And I answered this:

“Apologies for my delay. It was due to me talking to Open Rent to make sure I feel comfortable with the increase of the rent and so on.

What Open Rent told me is that they consider any increase of the rent after the payment of the 200 pound deposit an admin fee which they do not support as written explicitly on the advertisement of the property.

They think the rent should be what the advertisement says (715) and I would also be okay with paying 727.5 (715 + fee) as initially we talked before I paid the deposit.

Also, they told me that the additional insurance and the cleaning put into the contract are also not correct and should be removed if I wish so, as they are unforeseen charges.

I can show you the evidence ,of course , of what they told me.

In that case, I really do not want to get into any quarrel or bad tempers, I just want to say that I am more than happy to pay 715 pounds rent and the management fee of 150. But I am not okay with paying an increased management fee, security deposit, additional insurance and professional cleaning, since all those things were added after I had given my deposit and I never could foresee them.

So if that is okay for you - I’d be more than happy to take the flat and to take very good care of it - you can check that as we go!

However, if not, I think the deal will not be good for me and I must decline it and then open rent told me I can also get my deposit back.l since all those charges were not supposed to happen in the first place.

Please, let me know if this is okay for you! And if you want the evidence!

With warm regards,


So I really hope they understand me and that maybe they did not realise this should not happen. If not… i will have to continue my search although I am starting to get very desperate and disappointed that I will ever find peace with this…

All the best,