the landlord is holding the unit for the consumer

Holding Deposits

When you pay a holding deposit, the landlord may take the rental unit off the market. Get a detailed receipt for any deposit you pay.

Holding Deposits


When you pay a holding deposit, the landlord will hold the unit for you.  This usually means that he will take the rental unit off the market.

Before you pay a holding deposit

Make sure this is the rental unit you really want.  If you pay a holding deposit:

  • You have agreed to rent the unit, unless your deposit receipt states otherwise.
  • You will have to pay the first month’s rent and the security deposit before you move in, unless your receipt says otherwise.
  • Ask how your holding deposit is going to be used, and if you will get it back if you don’t move in.

Get a receipt

Make sure to get a receipt that clearly states:

  • The amount you have paid,
  • What it will be used for, and
  • Under what conditions it will be returned to you.

Can the landlord keep my holding deposit if I don’t move in?

It depends on what your receipt says.  In most cases if you don’t move in, the landlord can keep some or all of the deposit. If you believe your holding deposit was kept inappropriately, you can try our free mediation program to help you resolve the dispute.

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: Dec. 1, 2013

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