Queensland Holding Deposits

Holding Deposits in Queensland grant a prospective tenant an option period of at least 48 hours to decide whether to enter an agreement. The Holding Deposit is credited towards the first rent payment if an agreement is entered.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

When can a Holding Deposit can be charged?

A landlord can only require a prospective tenant to pay a Holding Deposit after giving the prospective tenant a copy of the proposed residential tenancy agreement.

What is the maximum Holding Deposit?

There are no restrictions on the amount that may be charged as a Holding Deposit.

It is common practice for the Holding Deposit to be 1-2 weeks rent.

Is a receipt required by law?

The landlord must give the tenant a written receipt to be signed by the prospective tenant. The receipt must state:

  • Names of tenant, landlord, and person receiving the payment,
  • Address of premises,
  • Date deposit is received,
  • Amount of deposit,
  • Length of option period
  • That the amount is a holding deposit, and
  • When the option to enter the agreement may be exercised.

What are the landlord’s obligations?

Paying a Holding Deposit creates an option period. The default option period is 48 hours, however the landlord and tenant can agree to a different option period.

During the option period, the landlord cannot:

  • Require a different prospective tenant to pay a Holding Deposit, or
  • Accept a Holding Deposit from a different prospective tenant.

What happens to the Holding Deposit?

When the landlord keeps the Holding Deposit:

  • If the tenant does not exercise the option or enter an agreement within the option period.
  • If the tenant does not notify the landlord of their intention to not exercise the option.
  • If the tenant does not take steps to enter the agreement if they do exercise the option.
  • If the tenant and landlord do enter an agreement, the holding deposit goes towards the Rental Bond. If the Holding Deposit is greater than the Rental Bond, then the amount remaining goes towards the payment of rent.

When the prospective tenant regains the Holding Deposit:

  • If the prospective tenant notifies the landlord of their intention to not exercise the option within the option period.

Key Deposits in Queensland

A Key Deposit is an amount that a landlord may require a prospective tenant to pay in exchange for a key to inspect the premises. The deposit acts as security in case the key is lost, stolen or damaged. The key deposit must be refunded when the keys are returned.

A key deposit can only be used for inspections pre-tenancy and cannot be held during the tenancy.

What is the maximum Key Deposit?

There are no restrictions on how much can be charged for a Key Deposit. However, it is best practice for the Key Deposit to be a reasonable estimation of the cost of replacing the key.

Is a receipt required by law for a key deposit?

The landlord must give the prospective tenant a receipt to be signed by the tenant. The receipt must state:

  • Names of the people paying and receiving the deposit,
  • Address of premises,
  • Date deposit is received,
  • Amount of deposit,
  • That the amount is a Key Deposit, and
  • When the key must be returned.

Transferring money safely

When paying your deposit, bond or rent by cash make sure you get a receipt. With modern phones this can be as simple as an SMS or email confirming the amount, date and what it is for. Keep a copy of this incase you need it later.

Never ever transfer money to a bank account outside of Australia or use a untraceable money transfer system such as WESTERN UNION. If anyone asks you to do this on any website it is likely to be a scam and you are almost guaranteed to lose your money.

If this ever happens on Flatmates.com.au report the member immediately so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.

You might also be interested in

QLD Bonds
QLD Tenancy Agreements
QLD Rental Payments


These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.