Most Agencies require tenants to pay their first 2 weeks rent before they move into a property. This is not a ‘down payment’ or a ‘holding fee’ or a ‘deposit’. It is your first 2 weeks’ rent payment.
Many tenants are under the impression that this payment is somehow ‘held’ by their agent in a separate account, and at the end of the tenancy they can ask the agent to now ‘use’ these funds to pay their last 2 weeks rent.
This is a common misunderstanding and in fact is the number one cause for disagreement between agents and tenants at the end of a tenancy.
This is what actually happens. A tenant pays his first 2 weeks’ rent and moves in on 1st March. This money is receipted as rent from 1st March to 14th March. It appears on his rent ledger. What normally happens is that the tenant will make his next rent payment on or around 15th March, for the next week or 2 weeks. This is receipted as rent from 15th March… and so it goes on.
If the tenant wishes to make use of the ‘2 weeks rent in advance’ that he paid up front for the end of his lease, he would need to make his second payment on 1st March (as soon as he moved in), and continue to make regular payments until the end of this lease. This would mean that during the tenancy, his rent would be at least 2 weeks in advance at all times.
The best way for you as a tenant to check if you are ahead in your rent payments is to ask for a rental ledger. This ledger is a true and accurate account of all rental payments you have made to the agent INCLUDING THE FIRST 2 WEEKS RENT IN ADVANCE. If you see that you are not 2 weeks ahead, you need to look at all the payments you have made since moving in and the corresponding period that the payment refers to. Remember – the agent is not ‘holding’ any of your money. (This is actually illegal!).
If you believe that you have made an extra payment that is not shown on your ledger, you will need to contact your agent and provide proof of this payment. If the funds have gone missing, you may need to request a trace with your bank to find what has happened to the funds.