Once you pay a holding deposit the landlord or agent should stop advertising the property.
What happens next depends on whether you enter into an occupation contract:
If you decide to enter into an occupation contract
You have 15 days from when you pay a holding deposit to enter into an occupation contract. This is called the ‘deadline for agreement’.
You can agree a different deadline with the landlord or agent in writing.
If you enter into an occupation contract, the landlord should either:
• return your holding deposit within 7 days of the date the contract begins, or
• put it towards a security deposit or the first rent payment.
If you decide not to rent the property
Your landlord or agent can normally keep the holding deposit if you either:
• decide not to go ahead with the occupation contract, or
• fail to take reasonable steps to enter into an occupation contract by the deadline (for example, you failed to give your landlord information that was needed in order to set up the contract).
If either of these things happen, the landlord or agent can only keep the holding deposit if they gave you all the required information about the deposit before you paid it.
If your landlord decides not to rent to you
You should normally get your holding deposit back within 7 days of the deadline for agreement if the landlord decides not to offer you a contract.
The landlord or agent can only keep your holding deposit if the reason for deciding not to rent to you is because you provided false or misleading information in order to get the contract (for example, you said your income was a lot higher than it is).