Deposits - Private Renters in Camden


There are two types of deposit you may be asked to pay when looking to rent from a private landlord. You could be asked to pay either a holding deposit or a tenancy deposit.

Holding deposits

This deposit is usually requested by a landlord or letting agent so that you can reserve a property. They may require this after you have viewed a property, and before a contract is signed. If you go on to rent the property, this deposit amount is usually deducted from your first month’s rent. 

What you need to know about holding deposits

  • They cannot cost more than the equivalent to a week's rent
  • You may not get your money back so be sure that you want to move in to your new home
  • Always get a receipt 
  • Never make payments if you haven’t seen the property
  • Find out your landlord’s or letting agent’s name and contact details.  

Visit the Shelter website for further information. 

Holding deposit scams 

A common scam is for criminals to steal pictures and property descriptions from letting agent websites and put them up on Facebook or Gumtree. The scammers ask for a holding deposit to secure the property and before a viewing can be arranged they disappear with your money.  

Visit the Action Fraud website for further information.  

What is a tenancy deposit?

You will usually be asked to provide a tenancy deposit and a month’s rent in advance before moving into a home. 

A tenancy deposit is taken to cover any damage or unpaid rent. It will be held until the end of your tenancy and you should get it back in full unless there are reasons for deductions.  

What should I know before paying the tenancy deposit?   

  • A tenancy deposit can't be more than the equivalent of 5 weeks' rent 
  • It must be protected within 30 days of receipt by one of three government approved schemes, and information has to be provided to the tenant about how their deposit has been protected. If this is not done the tenant may be able to claim compensation and a Section 21 “no fault” eviction notice cannot be legally served
  • If at the end of your tenancy you are in dispute with your landlord about the deposit, these schemes have an independent dispute resolution service to help. 

Visit the Shelter website for further information.

How to complain 

If you have been charged more than one week's rent for a holding deposit or more than 5 weeks rent for a tenancy deposit, Trading Standards can investigate.

Report this to Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 113, 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

This helpline will give you advice and pass on complaints to the Trading Standards Service. 

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