Rent Now: Secure Tenancy Creation

Rent Now is our professional grade tenancy creation service - it encompasses referencing, contract signing, money handling and deposit registration and brings it all online, into a streamlined and transparent process.

Why use Rent Now?

  • Best-in-class tenancy agreement
  • Up to date with all laws and regulations
  • Add custom clauses to suit your tenancy
  • You remain in control
  • Fast and secure digital signing
  • Rent collection optional

Have you already found tenants?

Begin Rent Now Here

How much does Rent Now cost?

One-off payment:

Buy up-front and get advertising for free!

£69Inc. VAT

  • Holding Deposit Processing
  • Contract Drafting & Digital Signing
  • Deposit Registration
  • Initial Rent Collection
  • Optional Extras:
  • Monthly Rent Collection
  • Free Tenant Concierge Service
Per Applicant Reference:

Best In Class Referencing

£20Inc. VAT

  • Credit Check, Employer, Previous Landlord
  • Linked Address, Identity & Fraud Information
  • Right to Rent Check Advice
  • Learn More

How Rent Now Works


Holding Deposit

To start the Rent Now process the landlord needs an OpenRent listing for the property (You can add a listing here).

The tenant begins Rent Now by clicking the green 'Rent Now' button on the OpenRent listing.

They will be asked to pay a holding deposit of one week's rent by debit card to confirm their application for the property. The landlord will be notified via SMS and email as soon as the holding deposit is paid, and can then immediately choose whether to accept the application, and if so whether referencing is required.

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A listing page is simply an advert on OpenRent. Tenants will have been sent a link to the listing page when they first enquired about the property. If you’re a landlord you can see all your listings here, or if you haven’t listed yet, create a new one here!

It’s a green button prominently located on each listing page. If a landlord has already told us a property is let, the listing might say "Let Agreed" instead. If that’s the case the landlord will need to republish the advert (which is free) before tenants can apply.

Tenants need to initiate the process so we can confirm the relevant details, and take a holding deposit. If tenants are having trouble applying for a property, the landlord can help by either sending them a link to the listing page, or simply advising them to reply to any of the emails they’ve had from us - we’ll be happy to point them in the right direction!

Tenants applying for a property via Rent Now place a holding deposit of one week's rent and only get this money back if the landlord cancels or rejects their application. If they pull out or change their mind, their money is forfeit to the landlord, so they pay this money to demonstrate they are making a serious application and that they are no longer considering other properties. In exchange, tenants know that they will able to take the property subject to referencing and the landlord approving their application.

We appreciate that there can be several good candidates for a property at once and that landlords will be reluctant to turn away their second or third choice. As such we are happy for landlords to reference other groups of tenants, however they will need to do this outside the Rent Now process. Standalone referencing can be ordered by the landlord as required for £20 per applicant and can be ordered here.

Further, since the primary tenants within the Rent Now process will likely be accepted if their references are good, we ask that landlords inform the others group(s) of tenants that they may not be successful even if all their references pass, because referencing is also being carried out on another group of tenants who are the first choice.

We accept all major UK debit cards to pay the holding deposit, via a secure online transaction. Unfortunately we cannot accept cash, cheque or bank transfer for a holding deposit payment.

All tenants and guarantors will require a working email address in order to be included in Rent Now and be named on the contract. This allows us to create a secure digital signature as well as ensure everyone has the relevant information they need at each stage of the process. Fortunately creating a new email address is free and quick to set up via providers like Gmail and Hotmail.

The holding deposit is placed towards the first month's rent upon successful contract signing.

If the tenants fail referencing and can't secure appropriate guarantors, or the landlord isn't happy with these tenants, the holding deposit is returned to the tenants. If the tenants decide they no longer want the property, the holding deposit is returned to the landlord.

Holding deposits are not permitted in Scotland, so the tenant will make a formal application without placing a holding deposit.

In general the tenancy creation process in Scotland is very similar to England and Wales, though where differences exist between the UK nations, you can rest assured that our Rent Now service takes these into account so as to make the process as easy as possible for landlords.


Tenant Referencing

OpenRent’s market leading referencing combines a thorough credit check with references from employers and previous landlords to give a clear indication of the suitability of tenants.

The landlord decides who they want to accept - we keep everyone updated throughout the process and are happy to advise based on our experience of thousands of tenancy applications. On average, comprehensive referencing takes 3-5 days.

Referencing costs £20 per applicant, with no charge to the tenants.

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When accepting the holding deposit, the landlord can specify if only some of the tenants or guarantors need to be referenced. They can also change this at any point even if referencing is already underway. There is no charge for applicants who aren’t being referenced.

Referencing costs £20 regardless of which type is requested. Speedy referencing uses fully automated processes so is quicker, but doesn’t include traditional employer or previous landlord references. You can read more about exactly what’s involved with each type here.

Every completed referencing report includes a recommendation on how to proceed - however this is a recommendation only. OpenRent landlords are always in control and can choose to proceed or reject tenants at any time. If a report contains an error, just let us know and we can look into any concerns.

Landlords can still choose to accept tenants even if they fail referencing - the final decision is with them. A common approach is to add a guarantor or collect additional rent in advance to give the landlord more security. Obviously in some cases a landlord will decide that the tenants aren’t suitable - if tenants are rejected, their holding deposit will be automatically and immediately refunded, and the landlord’s property will be immediately re-advertised.


Tenancy Agreement Signing

As part of the Rent Now process, OpenRent will draft your contract and have all parties securely sign the tenancy agreement online (learn more and see sample). There is no additional cost for this service and it is included in Rent Now.

If the landlord is happy to accept the tenants following referencing, they simply let us know via the website and we then proceed to contract signing. Once the landlord has checked and confirmed a few details, the tenants will be asked to sign the contract online, and each person will be notified via email when it’s their turn to sign.

The landlord will be asked to sign the contract once all tenants and any guarantors have signed.

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The main terms in the contract are set by the details the landlord provided when they created the listing - price, deposit, contract length, etc, and the landlord also gets a chance to check and confirm these before a contract is issued. The move-in date is agreed once a tenant clicks "Rent Now".

We advise against adding custom clauses, or using the custom clause section to overrule any clauses in our standard contract - however, we realise sometimes landlords want this flexibility, and therefore we have enabled the adding of custom clauses. Note that OpenRent will not look over clauses added, or ensure they are legally sound, so use at your own risk! Our general policy is to provide a contract that is broad reaching and which reflects industry best practice in terms of protecting the interests of both parties. As such, we don't feel custom clauses should be required.

If you did want to add custom clauses, heeding the warning above, the landlord can do so at any point during the contract signing phase of Rent Now - this function is available under the "Advanced Contract Settings".

Digital signatures are becoming commonplace with online and remote transactions in the UK. They not only make the process faster and easier, but they are legally binding and admissible in court - this was established by the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and subsequent EU Directives. See this guidance from GOV.UK for more detail.

Having said that - our contract is available for download as well, so you can ask your tenants/landlord to sign it personally (as well as online) if you prefer.


Rent + Deposit Collection & Registration

As part of the Rent Now process, OpenRent will collect the deposit and first month’s rent from the tenants and securely register the deposit on the landlord’s behalf. This makes sure the tenancy is legally sound and fully compliant with legal requirements for deposits. With OpenRent helping to create thousands of tenancies a month, everyone can rest assured they are in safe hands.

Tenants benefit from the convenience of being able to pay securely by debit card or bank transfer 24/7, and the peace of mind of knowing their money will be protected instantly by the largest letting agent in the UK.

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Within Rent Now, we handle all initial funds so that we can guarantee that the tenancy created is legally sound and that all legal requirements have been fulfilled.

The deposit will be protected with our partnered deposit protection provider as soon as funds clear, and rent is released shortly after move in. Making the initial payment is also typically easier for tenants when using OpenRent since we support payment by debit card as well as bank transfer - and notify the landlord as soon as it's made so that they can hand over the keys when convenient.

If a landlord prefers to handle collection of the first month's rent and/or the deposit themselves, that's fine, however unfortunately Rent Now will not support this.

We always advise tenants pay as soon as possible after the contract is signed to avoid any delays with the move-in. The contract also requires that tenants pay the full balance as soon as the contract is signed.

In practice, where the move in date is some way off, there are often legitimate reasons the tenant may not be able to pay the full balance immediately, so as such a date is typically agreed that is workable for both parties. In addition to this we are happy to accept part payment if tenants pay by bank transfer, which is often a good way of giving the landlord comfort that the tenants are still committed even if they cannot pay the full amount immediately.

We have everyone covered on this when using Rent Now. The prescribed information is contained in the tenancy agreement all parties have signed, including details of the deposit amount, where it will be protected and how it will be treated.

We also double down on this by sending the tenants an email as soon as the deposit has been protected re-iterating all the required information and attaching a copy of our partner Deposit agency's terms and conditions.

This goes beyond the minimum legal requirement; note that the law states the information is provided to the relevant parties but printed signed forms are not necessary:

We share the landlord’s bank details with the tenants securely via the website and suggest that they set up a standing order. Landlords can check the details we have on file (if any) at any time by clicking here.

Given that ongoing payments are made directly to the landlord, we advise that all parties discuss this to agree a suitable method of payment.

Any deposit paid through OpenRent will be held by OpenRent and protected with mydeposits. mydeposits is one of three government backed deposit protection providers and landlords are legally required to protect deposits in a government approved scheme.

At this time our Rent Now service is unable to support either of the other deposit providers. However, subject to eligibility landlords can choose to offer a deposit replacement alternative with Reposit.

It is a requirement for all tenancy deposits to be protected by a government approved deposit protection scheme, you can find more details about government guidelines here.

If using Rent Now, OpenRent will register the deposit with the scheme on your behalf. Landlords can't choose other scheme providers.

For more information about the difference between the cash deposits and deposit replacement schemes, click here.

Currently we aren't able to offer this but we hope to be able to do so in future.


Key Exchange

Once the tenants have paid the full balance of the first month’s rent and deposit, the landlord will be notified automatically by email. They are then free to hand over the keys!

The deposit is protected with our partnered Deposit scheme within a few working days, and once the tenants have moved in we release the rent to the landlord 10 days later.

More Info +


The 10 day waiting period is one of our lines of defence against rogue landlords. As we don't always visit the property ourselves, we have to be reasonably sure the property is available, under ownership of the OpenRent landlord, and has been moved into before transferring the tenant's money. This is a requirement to ensure tenants using Rent Now are protected. In an ideal world, where everyone was honest, we could obviously remove this from our system. As a company, we gain nothing by holding onto this money, it is simply an administrative cost and burden.

It’s in everyone’s interest to obtain an inventory report on move in - this can either be a professional inspection ordered via OpenRent or by doing it yourself. The report should be signed and agreed by landlord and tenant on the move-in date to ensure the exact state of the property is agreed. This helps avoid potential disagreements further down the line, and particularly at the end of the tenancy when the deposit is due to be returned.

Landlords can purchase an OpenRent inventory from our dedicated inventory and check-in page.


Rent Collection

We provide tenants with a unique bank account for your tenancy, and they pay into that. As soon as the rent hits the account, we instantly notify you and the payment is sent to you the same working day.

There's no holding period: as soon as the rent is paid to us, we pay it to you, automatically.

We'll send you a brief confirmation email with each payment we make to you, so your records are up-to-date without you needing to check your bank.

If your tenant is late on rent, we'll notify you automatically, and chase the tenant on your behalf.

The rent collection service is completely optional. You don't need to use it if you'd rather give tenants your personal bank details directly, and you can opt out at any point.

Looking to begin Rent Now?

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Landlord Information

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Tenant Information

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