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Staff Reference

Security Deposits - Security Deposit Holds Common Issues & Questions

A security deposit hold is a simple way to protect yourself from guest damage. You can ask guests to pay a deposit to cover any damages, but you won't take any money unless necessary. It's the most reliable method to ensure your property remains safe.

Learn more by reading the Security Deposit Holds support article. This article provides a list of questions about security deposit holds not found elsewhere.

The guest is complaining that I haven't released the hold.  But I did!

OwnerRez does not actually have the power to release a credit hold.  What we do is, notify your credit card processor that we no longer require the hold.

The processor then notifies their interchange bank, which then notifies the bank that issued the guest's credit card, which releases the hold.

These actions are supposed to take place more or less instantly - but that doesn't always happen. In particular, it is common for the guest's bank not to release the hold for several days after they've been notified that they can.  It is extremely common, almost the norm, for this to happen if the guest is using a debit card.  This is why many hotels and rental car companies recommend that you not use a debit card - they use holds too, and suffer from the same problem.

We have absolutely no control over this, it is entirely a function of the guest's bank who won't even talk to us.  Sometimes the guest can call their bank and get their customer service folks to dig into the records, find the message to release the hold, and make it happen more quickly.  Other times they just have to wait until it clears itself out, however long that may take.

Certain payment processors, notably Worldline/Bambora, do not allow holds to be released early.  OwnerRez does send the release request at the appointed time, and records that - but Worldline/Bambora ignores it.  This means that the actual release can take up to two weeks.  This is also entirely outside of OwnerRez' or your control.

The guest says I took their money instead of placing a hold.  But I didn't!

If they're using a debit card, they're half right.  Yes, the money value in the amount of the hold has been removed from their account.  You don't have it, though - their bank does, and will keep it until you release the hold, and often for several days or a week later.  The bank makes (a little bit of) interest from holding this money in their account, so they're in no particular hurry to put it back.  This is why credit cards are preferable to debit cards.  Unfortunately, we have absolutely no control whatsoever over this behavior - you don't think the guest's bank listens to us, do you?

The guest says I took two security deposit holds and now their credit card is maxed out.  But I didn't!

Actually, yes, you probably did without knowing it.

Security deposit holds do not last forever, which is why we recommend that the Held and Released amounts discussed above be as low as practical.  If a hold expires before the configured time, OwnerRez will automatically place a new hold.

Because banks do not instantly release the holds when they say they do, it is possible for two holds to be active at the same time.  This is particularly true for debit cards, and is something we have no control over.  If the guest was right at their credit limit, this can result in the renewal of the hold failing for insufficient funds.  If that happens, OwnerRez will automatically try again the next day.

Here's an example:

  • Your rules call for the hold to be placed 2 days prior to arrival
  • Your rules call for the hold to be kept until 5 days after departure
  • You are using a credit card payment processor that only allows holds to be active for 7 days

You have a guest coming on the 9th, so, per your rules, the hold will be placed 2 days prior - that is, the 7th.

If the booking is for only two nights, they'll depart on the 11th.  So, again per your rules, the hold will be released 5 days after departure, on the 16th.

That's a total of 9 days for the hold to be active, which is longer than the processor allows.  OwnerRez will automatically renew the hold on day 7, and will release automatically two days later.

What's the maximum length of time a security deposit hold can be held?

See Security Deposit Hold Time Limit.

Why did the security deposit hold renew after the guest already departed?

Your Property Rules has a setting for Released, which is usually several days after departure.  This is to allow you time to clean and inspect the property and identify any damages.  If the security deposit hold expires after the guest has left, but before you manually release it or the Released time has arrived, it will be automatically renewed.

I thought I had a security deposit reserved, but now OwnerRez is telling me it's declined?

What probably happened is what's discussed above under "two security deposit holds" - the first one expired, we tried to take another one, and there wasn't enough credit available.

You can try to manually reserve another security deposit yourself - the first hold may have been released, restoring credit limit.  Or, you could reach out to the guest for a different credit card.  You can do this in the Booking, Transactions tab, Security Deposit dropdown button.

Or, if the security deposit hold is supposed to still be valid, OwnerRez will keep trying every day until the time it should be automatically released is reached, or you manually release the hold.

I have security deposit holds configured, and the guest paid with PayPal, why aren't my security deposit holds happening?

PayPal works differently from normal credit card processors - we aren't able to keep the credit card info, so we aren't able to automatically schedule a security deposit hold using PayPal.  The best we can do is send out email reminders asking the guests to authorize the hold with PayPal; then we'll have one.  If you've turned off the security deposit reminders, this won't take place, and you won't get any security deposit holds for your PayPal guests.

I kept money from a hold, but it was too much and I need to give some back. How?

Oops... you kind of can't. :-( This is a known issue.

There is no way to refund or void a security deposit collection once actual money is collected.  You could lower the booking charges and write in a negative line item to give money back and then issue a refund that way, but that's it.  Otherwise, you would have to send it back offline.

I'm trying to set up Triggers for various security deposit states - what do they mean?

There are six available criteria pertaining to security deposits, that are available for use in configuring Triggers:

Here's what they mean:

  • None - nothing is scheduled, reserved or released. There might be a card on file on the booking, but no secdep has been or was ever scheduled or put in place.  If there is no card on file on a booking, the status cannot ever be anything other than None.
  • Scheduled - a secdep was scheduled and is pending, but has not yet been actually reserved.  If it was scheduled before and already reserved, the status is not longer scheduled (it's reserved).  Scheduled means it hasn't happened yet, but will.
  • Reserved - a secdep is currently active.  It could be either a security deposit hold or a refundable damage deposit, but either way, it's in place and hasn't been released yet.  Once it's released, it will no longer be in reserved status.
  • Released & Not Collected - the secdep was released and all funds were returned to the guest.  Nothing was kept back.
  • Released & Collected Against - funds were collected against the secdep due to damages by the guest.  This could mean that the entire amount was kept, or only part with the remainder released and returned to the guest.
  • Failed - a secdep was supposed to be reserved, but was unable to be, usually due to the card being rejected when the attempt was made.

My guest's security deposit hold capture failed. Now what?

OwnerRez will automatically attempt to charge the credit card on file to determine if the card is still good as detailed in this example.

Security Deposit Failure and Reattempt