When using Rent Now...
The only way to initiate the Rent Now process is for the tenant to place a £200 holding deposit by pressing the green 'Rent Now' button on your advert. This money is then held by us until the first month's rent and security deposit amount is due, once the contract has been signed.
You can see more about how we treat the holding deposit here.
When using our advertising packages only...
If you are not using Rent Now, then yes: the tenant can pay a holding deposit directly to you.
When you use our advertising packages to find tenants for your property you are free to set up the tenancy however you see fit. This means taking a holding deposit directly, using your own tenancy agreement and handling the initial funds and protecting the deposit in a government approved scheme such as the DPS.
However, we do explicitly warn tenants not to hand over cash to a landlord, and to use bank transfer or other regulated money transfer when paying a deposit directly. You should also give a receipt for the Holding Deposit and confirm in writing what terms the Holding Deposit will be governed by.
You should also supply a tenant with the tenancy agreement before taking the money so they know the terms of the tenancy they are agreeing to undertake.
The tenant may also want to be sure of your identity for instance by asking to see some proof of ID like a driving licence or passport.