When using Rent Now...
The only way to initiate the Rent Now process is for the tenant to place a holding deposit by pressing the green 'Rent Now' button on your advert. With Rent Now the holding deposit will automatically be set to the equivalent of one week's rent.
The holding deposit is held by us until the contract is signed. At this point it will go towards the first month's rent that needs to be paid before the tenant(s) move in.
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.
Outside of Rent Now, you are welcome to set up the tenancy however you see fit. This will involve taking a holding deposit directly, using your own tenancy agreement and handling the initial funds and protecting the deposit in a government approved custodial deposit protection scheme.
If you are arranging a tenancy yourself, please note that, from 1st June 2019, all holding deposits are capped at one week's rent. This was introduced in the Tenant Fee Act 2019.
You can calculate the maximum holding deposit for your listing here.
We 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 it 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.