‘Can I have my money back?’ Rent in advance: How it works

You’re about to vacate a rental property, when the inevitable question arises:

When do I get back that rent money that I paid at the start of the lease? Can I use it to pay the end of my rent?

The implied presumption is that this two-week sum of money is held by an agent in an account, either as a deposit, down payment or bond that can be ‘used for later’ or in an emergency – when in fact, it isn’t.

And it’s a common misunderstanding shared by many tenants.

At the start of a lease, most agents will require tenants to pay their bond plus two weeks’ rent before they move into a property.

This two weeks is your rent in advance, which is used to pay for the first week  that you occupy the property leaving you one week in advance in accordance with your lease agreement.

After the first week the rent is due again. And at Prudential this is paid by direct debit so you won’t need to remind yourself – it will happen automatically.

When going to vacate, your final rent payment will occur a week before leaving the property.

This system of ‘in advance’ isn’t just limited to real estate; it’s exactly the same system of purchasing a product, good or service before going to use it. So whether that’s buying a bottle of water before drinking it, or paying for your food order at a café counter before it arrives at your table, the same applies to rent; you are purchasing the time period in advance, and then occupying the property.

But why two weeks and not just one?

Most lease agreements state that the tenant is required to pay seven days in advance at all times, making up one of the two weeks.

The reason for a second is usually to do with direct debit. As it normally takes seven days to set up and begin a direct debit cycle, this also takes up to a week to settle and commence.

If you believe you have made an extra payment (one in addition to your bond and rent in advance), get in contact with your agent and provide proof of the transaction for them to assist you.

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