The term house deposit can be used to describe one of several types of deposits that a buyer or renter makes in order to secure housing for herself. If a person is buying a house, a house deposit usually signifies a down payment or a percentage of the home’s price that is paid up front and not included in the mortgage.
Many mortgage lenders require a house deposit or down payment before issuing a mortgage. Some mortgage programs, however, either do not require a down payment or require a very small down payment. The purpose of a house deposit in these instances is to offer some protection to the mortgage lender so that the house has some equity to compensate the mortgage lender in case of foreclosure.
Home buyers can sometimes receive grants to assist them in paying a house deposit. The mortgage lender may also have rules that permit the home buyer to borrow the house deposit from another source. Landlords are often hesitant to rent a home to a tenant without some kind of security deposit, particularly in places where tenants have significant protection against eviction. It is, however, illegal in the United States and other countries for a landlord to demand security deposits in a discriminatory manner, such as requiring parents of small children to pay an extra deposit. A landlord may be able to require a larger security deposit from tenants who have bad credit histories or who have pets that may cause damage to the unit above what a normal security deposit could cover.