Off-Campus Community Living University of Illinois Off-Campus Community Living Student Affairs

Beware of Putting Down Money to Hold a Place

Most landlords will not ask you to pay any money until the time that you sign the lease for a specific apartment you've already seen. However, a few landlords ask tenants to pay a deposit to "hold" the place BEFORE the lease is actually signed or to sign a "pre-lease." This practice poses significant problems for tenants.

A tenant gains nothing by pre-leasing or paying to hold a place. You only put yourself at risk of losing money or feeling you are stuck signing a lease for a place you don't want or under terms and conditions you don't consider fair. It is always best to pay no money until the time that you and the landlord sign the lease because you have agreed upon the terms and have already made all necessary changes to the contract.



The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.