The Meaning of Let Agreed
“Let Agreed” is basically the rental equivalent of “Sold Subject to Contract”. Essentially it means that a landlord has found someone who is seriously interested in the property, but that the let has not been finalised.
That’s the definition, but what most people will probably want to know if what this means in practical terms.
If you are interested in the property yourself
The nature of the UK rental market is such that properties market as “Let Agreed” does tend to end up being let to the person who claimed them first. Therefore, the pragmatic approach is either to move on or to approach the landlord and ask to be given “second refusal”, i.e. to be offered the property if the let does not actually go through.
If you are the prospective tenant
For the most part, the tenant journey goes as follows. Pay a holding deposit to the letting agent so that the landlord takes the property off the market while tenant checks are conducted.
Fill in forms, wait and hope all goes well. Sign paperwork (checking the inventory carefully), provide security deposit, get keys, move in and report any inventory issues immediately.
Prospective tenants should be aware that holding deposits do not, currently, need to be put into a secure deposit scheme, so it’s advisable to make sure you can have trust in the person to whom you are handing over the money.
As a minimum use one of the mainstream payment methods rather than cash. That will at least give you proof of payment and may give you extra protection if there are issues further down the line.
This is, however, very unusual as long as you apply a bit of common sense and judgement regarding checking the credentials of the person (or company) with whom you are dealing.
You should also be provided with a written contract regarding the terms under which your holding deposit will be held and, as with all contracts, it’s important to read it carefully and be sure you at comfortable, if not happy with it, before you sign.
As a minimum, you really want a commitment that your prospective landlord will return your money if they pull out of the contract and ideally you want to get at least some of your money back if you pull out of the contract although in this latter case the landlord may insist that they have the right to deduct any costs they have incurred from your refund.
Another point to check is exactly what will happen with your holding deposit if the tenancy does go ahead. Holding deposits are different from security deposits, so, in principle, your landlord could opt to refund you the holding deposit and take a security deposit from you instead, meaning that you’d need to find money for both, at least over the short term.
In the real world, however, this is generally considered to be much more hassle than it’s worth for both tenant and landlord, so it is more usual for holding deposits just to be “topped up” and transferred to a secure tenancy-deposit scheme.