The forms are only suitable for use in England at the moment (but a similar ban is on the way to Wales).
You can see the procedure for handling holding deposits in detail here but as a summary overview:
- a maximum of one week’s rent can be taken as a holding deposit
- the default “deadline for agreement” is 15 days from when the holding deposit was paid but this may be changed to a different day if the tenant agrees in writing
- the holding deposit must be repaid to the payer if-
- the landlord and tenant enter into a tenancy agreement,
- the landlord decides before the deadline for agreement not to enter into a tenancy agreement, or
- the landlord and the tenant fail to enter into a tenancy agreement before the deadline for agreement.
- if a tenancy is entered into, the holding deposit may be offset from the first rent or deposit but only if the payer agrees in writing
- if the landlord or agent wishes to retain the holding deposit, a written notice must be served within 7 days of the decision or deadline for agreement (depending on circumstances) and there are four reasons available:
- immigration status
- tenant has given false or misleading information (which is reasonable to lead to the decision not to grant a tenancy)
- tenant informs the landlord no longer wishes to proceed
- landlord and tenant fail to enter into a tenancy before the deadline for agreement despite reasonable efforts by the landlord or agent
The forms that have been added to the website are:
- F110 – receipt for holding deposit Which is also an agreement outlining the terms.
- F110A – notice to inform payer that the holding deposit is not being repaid due to the immigration status of the prospective tenant.
- F110B – notice not repaying due to false or misleading information given by the tenant.
- F110C – notice not repaying as tenant informed landlord that they don’t intend to proceed.
- F110D – notice not repaying due to tenancy not being entered into by the deadline for agreement despite all reasonable steps taken by landlord and agent (if one).
The receipt is particularly useful because it contains all the information which should be needed to handle the holding deposit.
Within the receipt, there is an agreement by the payer to offset the holding deposit from the first month’s rent or tenancy deposit if a tenancy is granted.
The receipt also makes it known the tenancy is subject to contract whilst referencing is carried out and further outlines the reasons why the holding deposit may be retained.
Where it is the tenant who is paying the holding deposit and signing the form, there is the ability to change the deadline for agreement day and express agreement from the tenant is sought.
The letters are fairly explanatory from their titles and should be used if a holding deposit is not going to be repaid. The letters are in Word format so can be changed to suit the particular circumstances.
Please have in mind these are brand new forms for brand new untested legislation so if you see anything which you think should be changed please don’t hesitate to let us know.
The forms are available to download now (although they don’t need to be used until 1 June 2019 onwards).