Unwanted Holding Deposits

I’ve now had two prospective tenants pay a holding deposit via OpenRent without me asking them to. Surely they should only be able to do this if you invite them to.

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I’ve just read on another thread that OpenRent sends automated messages to people after their viewing prompting them to put down a holding deposit. Can anyone confirm this?

It might explain why one of my prospective tenants put down a holding deposit, but not the other one who did it without even viewing!

Both had to then be rejected, which seems to be a separate process from returning a holding deposit, so it caused a lot of unnecessary work.

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Hi I have some Questions could you answer me please

Thanks for confirming, maria27. Even if a landlord did want a holding deposit, surely the timing is wrong, you would only ask for this after successful referencing surely? Being asked for a deposit after viewing builds up false hope in prospective tenants.

I also got the impression if I’d accepted the deposit I’d be deemed to have accepted OpenRent’s Rent Now service, which I didn’t want. It seems very sneaky.

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The normal process, for me anyway, is to take a holding deposit and then do referencing.

Technically, if they fail referencing because they lied, I believe you can then keep some or all of the holding deposit, but I suspect it’s not worth the argument. I do tell them that they will lose the deposit if they have given misleading information though, which does focus their minds and put any chancers off!

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Im the same as @Cath2 and @anon84965949

Rent now is very annoying and ive had to return deposits and explain to tenants to send privately as I dont use this service. Tenants have always been fine with this.

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Absolutely agree. It is clearly an Openrent mismanagement issue or a back door attempt to generate more income, since they already know you don’t want to use “Rent Now” if you’ve only paid for their marketing service.

This is unfair to tenant applicants and landlords alike, creating unnecessary work and promoting unsuitable / unacceptable processes, wherein the tenants have not even viewed the property or spoken to the landlord.

OPENRENT - please confirm you will stop this practice immediately!!

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Yup, what they said! It misleads the tenant into thinking they have the property and the landlord has then to resolve the issue- unprofessional and annoying

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Furthermore, the message you have to send to tenants when returning their holding deposit has a hard-coded first line which reads like you’re rejecting their whole application. You then have spend half the rest of your message explaining this. The whole thing is a shambles.

My property is currently on hold with OpenRent but to be honest if I have to start re-advertising it I will probably use a different platform. I’m fed up with firefighting problems and conflict with potential tenants caused by OpenRent’s own system.

They even ask for Holding Deposits before an Applicant has viewed! I’m tired of complaining about it… it happens on every listing
Just advertise the property and leave the rest to the Landlords…!!

Thanks for the feedback all - really appreciated.

Furthermore, the message you have to send to tenants when returning their holding deposit has a hard-coded first line which reads like you’re rejecting their whole application. You then have spend half the rest of your message explaining this.

Yep - this was built with our most common use case in mind, where a landlord is rejecting an application outright. Where a landlord doesn’t wish to use Rent Now and wants to explain this to tenants, or a landlord wishes to meet tenants again / conduct their own checks etc. prior to proceeding - I agree the default message is confusing. We’ll get this updated now.

Just advertise the property and leave the rest to the Landlords…!!

Whilst we appreciate there is a small % of landlords who wish to do everything themselves, for the most part, our Rent Now tenancy creation service is the de-facto way landlords like to set up their tenancies. It makes the process extremely simple, legally sound, and for an extra £20 on top of advertising costs is keenly priced. It’s also a deductible expense.

Having said that - we don’t intend to make life difficult for landlords who wish not to use it. Whilst we’d like to make sure Rent Now works for everyone, holding deposits can be instantly returned. This is the balance of making like easy for the majority of landlords and tenants, whilst still supporting those who wish not to use the system. If you have your own system, we’d recommend being up front about this to tenants when they enquire - some may have reservations about sending money directly to a third party, or may have bad experience with landlords own contracts / systems / deposits not being registered / etc. It’s important to be up front about that to avoid disappointment all round.

In any case - hopefully we can better support everyone in this thread who’ve run into the issue with the rejection message. And if there are any changes / things we can do to improve the tenancy creation service generally (to allow you to give it a go), do let me know.

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Just to comment on this point - a large number of landlords make the decision to use Rent Now after finding a tenant. For some, committing to Rent Now at the point of advertising isn’t something they’d like to do - fearing for example that they’ll be unable to find a tenant. As such, many landlords want to make this decision later (albeit at greater cost) and that’s something our system supports and is reasonably common.

The broader point is that the decision to use our tenancy creation system, and the decision to advertise your property are often not made at the same time. Using tenancy creation is the common path, and we’re always blown away by the hugely positive feedback from landlords who do use it and tell us how much pain / effort / admin it’s taken away from being a landlord.

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Can you also make it impossible for prospective tenants to place a holding deposit without even having seen the property?

Whether using Rent Now or not, I doubt any landlord will want to commit to a prospective tenant they haven’t even met, nor should tenants be committing to properties they haven’t seen.

OK, but as I’ve discovered this doesn’t work quite the same as the Reject Enquiry button you can use from your Inbox. The message you send via Reject Enquiry can’t be replied to, so cuts off all communication with the tenant.

When you reject a holding deposit - even if by so doing you intend to reject the whole application - the tenant can still message you in your inbox.

That is as maybe, but it’s the landlords decision to progress the service options, not the tenant or Openrent, which is what is currently happening.

We do make it clear to tenants that they must have viewed a property before placing a holding deposit. However, with the market as hot as it is, tenants are desperate to get a property and willing in some cases to ignore this. Coupled with this, not all landlords use our “arrange viewing” tool - it’s something we’re working to improve, as calendar management isn’t as good as it could be - so we can’t enforce this currently.

For now - we make sure landlords remain in control and can always simply and easily cancel/reject an application.

OK, but as I’ve discovered this doesn’t work quite the same as the Reject Enquiry button you can use from your Inbox. The message you send via Reject Enquiry can’t be replied to, so cuts off all communication with the tenant.

When you reject a holding deposit - even if by so doing you intend to reject the whole application - the tenant can still message you in your inbox.

We’ll look at this - I assume you mean you want to keep communication lines open as in the case you’re cancelling due to simply having a different application process, you want to still be able to communicate with the tenants? Or are you saying you’d prefer if the enquiry is always closed off in the same way as “Reject Enquiry”?

That is as maybe, but it’s the landlords decision to progress the service options, not the tenant or Openrent, which is what is currently happening.

I’m not sure I follow - as it stands the landlord is in full control of whether to accept and proceed a holding deposit via the platform or not. The tenant is simply stating their interest to proceed by requesting to place a holding deposit. Hopefully it’s clear how to cancel an application, but do let me know if we can help with that. As it stands no response from the landlord would also cancel the application, so there is no automatic approval / continuation even in the event the landlord doesn’t reply to us.

As per my previous comment - we will be changing the wording around this process to make it clearer to tenants, and allow landlords to explain more easily to tenants, why they’re cancelling a Rent Now application. Hopefully that improves the situation for landlords in this thread.

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I think there need to be two options when rejecting a holding deposit:
either
Return holding deposit and reject whole enquiry (and close all communication)
Return holding deposit only (leave communication open)

Understood - will get that added as an optional setting for landlords when cancelling a Rent Now application.

I do use Rent Now, but I still don’t like the current system for holding deposits.

There should be no way for a tenant to initiate paying a holding deposit. It should be up to the Landlord to send the tenant an invitation to place a holding deposit and for the tenant to respond and place the deposit.

I can’t see the logic in allowing a tenant to unilaterally place a holding deposit. It is up to landlord to decide to they want to let with, not for the tenant to decide that they were the one for you! It’s just inconvenient for everyone. I wouldn’t event consider a tenant who was pushy enough to place a deposit without being asked!

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