This award is the only one of its kind which focuses solely on Lettings. We have been commended in this category for offering an exceptional standard of inventories and reports to both agents and property management companies alike. Those who carry out our reports have been hailed as ‘highly qualified and reliable’ while the reports themselves are praised for their capability of being able to endure extensive inspection.
Stopping Disputes at Their Source
The rate of disputes over our reports is virtually non-existent. This is a direct result of our training academy which has also been applauded for its proactive approach to dismantling the opportunity for disputes at their source. Our training academy offers residential courses on inventory management and a mentoring scheme which has been set up by our highly experienced Training Director.
Don’t just take our word for it
Client feedback has proven that the vast majority of our clients agree with all statements. We have scored exceptionally well on referrals and our ability to understand what our clients want to achieve for their landlords and tenants.
The most important thing of all to remember when it comes to deposits is that it is your money – every last penny of it. Which is why it is of such importance to ensure that your deposit is protected, which means making sure your landlord places it in an appropriate scheme. This must happen within 30 days of the deposit being given to the landlord, otherwise they may be liable for compensation payments to you worth one to three times the deposit’s total value.
Three Deposit Schemes
There are currently three qualifying deposit protection schemes in the UK, which are as follows:
At the beginning of your tenancy, it is of the utmost importance to carry out a full UK flat inventory, as a means by which to establish the basis for the deposit you’ll be handing over. While it’s perfectly possible to pay a deposit by way of other items – jewellery, a car, personal belongings etc. – these cannot be protected by any of these schemes. It is therefore recommended that only cash be used when paying deposits.
When Your Tenancy Ends
At the end of your tenancy, you landlord has 10 days within which to return your deposit, after you have come to an agreement on how much will be returned. If you do not agree to any deductions the landlord proposes, you can dispute the arrangement and your deposit will remain protected by the chosen scheme until you come to an agreement.
If Your Landlord Doesn’t Protect Your Deposit
It is a requirement for landlords to appropriately protect deposits, though research suggests this often isn’t the case. Chances are you won’t know for sure unless you carry out the required checks yourself, so it’s always worth doing exactly that. This can be done by contacting a TDP scheme directly and asking.
If it turns out that your deposit is not being protected, your landlord is in violation of their obligations and may be liable for compensation claims. Landlords who do not protect deposits also have restricted rights when it comes to tenant eviction. If your deposit is not protected, you are not provided with the information about the scheme being used or the deposit isn’t placed in an appropriate scheme within 30 days, you may be able to file a claim against you landlord. If your claim is upheld, you may receive a compensation payment of up to three times the full deposit amount.
When it has been established that your landlord is in any way breaching their obligations, you can either write to them directly to demand the situation be rectified, or take them to court. In most instances, court proceedings involving deposits are relatively straightforward and the claimant may not be required to make an appearance in court at all.
The subject of deposits has always been one of a great many grey areas for both landlords and tenants alike. Of course, given the fact that every penny of the deposit money technically belongs to the tenant or lodger, it is primarily in their best interests to ensure they fully understand their rights and obligations.
From carrying out a comprehensive check in inventory before moving in right through to knowing when the time comes to seek legal advice, lodgers must ensure they understand where they stand. Contrary to popular belief and assumption, negotiating the return of a deposit if you are a lodger, living in student halls or living at the same property as your landlord is a slightly different process to that of the standard rental property tenant.
Request in Writing
When the time comes to begin negotiating the return of your deposit, the first thing to do is put your request in writing. Write directly to the landlord and ask them to return the deposit, being sure to keep copies of all correspondence in both directions. You may at a later time be required to produce evidence of such requests, so it’s a good idea to hold onto it.
What’s different about this particular scenario is the way in which lodgers are not considered short-hold tenants, which means the landlord is not under any obligation to protect deposits using an appropriate tenancy deposit scheme. This doesn’t necessarily affect your actual rights when it comes to your deposit in general, but can affect the negotiation and deposit return processes.
Establish a Deadline
Most professional landlord inventory services in the UK agree that problems generally tend to occur when lodgers are not direct and/or demanding enough when it comes to requesting what is rightfully theirs. If the deposit should have been returned but has not, the best course of action is to again begin with a written request for its immediate return with a specified deadline – something like two weeks. You can also take the opportunity to ask in the letter why the deposit has not yet been refunded, along with whether or not you can expect any deductions to be made and the respective reasons.
If unsure how to go about this, there are plenty of useful templates available online.
Your landlord is required to clearly list and explain any deductions to be taken from your deposit. If they do so and you fully agree that the deductions are fair, you can confirm your agreement and arrange for the remaining deposit to be refunded. If deductions are made though no breakdown or explanation is provided, you must request that this is done urgently. And if there are any deductions you do not agree with, you will need to dispute them with the landlord – once again in writing.
Consider Court Action
The very final step in the process if you find yourself dealing with a wholly uncooperative landlord is to consider taking court action against them. Contrary to popular belief, the court process with regard to recovering deposits and you might not need to personally appear in court at all. For your claim to be successful, you’ll need to provide plenty of documented evidence and paperwork of your attempts to recover your deposit manually and the fact that you are indeed entitled to the refund you are claiming.
While it certainly provides an important and popular service, Airbnb is nonetheless proving to be something of a headache for quite a few landlords. A growing number of landlord inventory services in the UK are expressing concern over just how many tenants up and down the country are turning to Airbnb as an easy approach to illegal sub-letting.
By effectively allowing anyone with an Internet connection to advertise their dwelling in part or in full as available for rent by others, Airbnb has transformed the way the world approaches seeking and selecting temporary accommodation. The only problem being that in a growing number of instances, tenants who do not have the right or the permission to do so are using Airbnb to sub-let the properties they are living in, as a means by which to make a profit. In doing so, they are not only breaching the terms of their tenancy agreements, but may also be invalidating any and all insurance of the building and putting the landlord in a position where they themselves may be in breach of their own mortgage terms.
A Growing Problem
Far from a rare or unlikely scenario the average landlord may find themselves facing, evidence suggests that cases of illegal sub-letting by way of Airbnb and similar services are on the up across the United Kingdom. The vast majority of landlords and largely every rental inventory service in the country is aware of at least a handful of instances where properties in their area or under their control have at one time or another been illegally sub-let by tenants.
On the whole, Landlord Action reports that over the course of the past year alone, illegal sub-letting by rental tenants has increased more than 300%.
A recent episode of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’ on Channel Five put the subject well and truly in the spotlight, focusing on a landlord from West London who believed she had found the ideal rental tenant. Looking to let out her property for a period of three years, she found a young doctor who appeared to be an ideal match for her London home.
Nevertheless, it was sometime later that she discovered that her home wasn’t in fact being used as a residence by the doctor, but instead as a boutique hotel advertised via Airbnb. A rather extreme example, but one that nonetheless illustrates the kind of extent to which Airbnb and the trust of thousands of landlords are both being abused.
“We have had concerns for some time now regarding the protection of properties which are being uploaded and offered as holiday lets via Airbnb. We continue to receive a growing number of instructions from landlords who want us to start possession proceedings against tenants who have sublet their property via Airbnb without consent,” commented Paul Shamplina on behalf of Landlord Action.
“As well as damage to properties, landlords have received complaints from block managers with regards to being in breach of their head lease and unhappy neighbours in relation to anti-social behaviour, and that’s before considering issues regarding HMO licensing and possible invalidation of insurance and mortgage terms.”
Technology has already done a lot to transform domestic living, just as the Internet has changed the way the world works in almost every respect. Nevertheless, we have really only just begun to scratch the surface of what’s to come – perhaps much sooner then you realise.
The Internet of Things
Far beyond a means by which to access entertainment, do business and communicate with others, the Internet is slowly but surely working its way into everyday life. You can already switch your home lighting and hot water on and off from anywhere in the world, but aside from these kinds of minor conveniences, the Internet of things still has quite a way to go.
But as far as the fair few visionaries are concerned, it really won’t be long before living lives as we live them today will seem borderline archaic.
The Intelligent Home
Why? Well, it all comes down to the fact that while technology as it stands today is impressive enough, it is for the most part passive. By contrast, years down the line we can expect to see more intelligent technology entering our lives in our homes than ever before. Roughly translated, technology will play an active role in enhancing and simplifying our lives, without having to be prompted.
In the home of the future, everything from lighting to heating to hot water to entertainment and so on will be intelligently automated and manageable with little to no human interaction. Our homes will actively and constantly monitor, record and analyse the way we live our lives and our day to day habits, ultimately enabling them to pre-empt our needs, our wants and our regular activities. The kind of technology able to read and accurately interpret facial expressions and body language already exists – it is only a matter of time until it enters our homes.
Enhancing Every Day
Imagine never having to set an alarm as the home around you already knows exactly where you need to be and when. Imagine a home that accesses transportation and meteorological data for the day ahead, in order to offer accurate journey times, suggested routes and even a sensible outfit in accordance with weather conditions.
Or how about a bathroom mirror that doubles up as a daily health tracker and vital signs monitor? You simply go about your bathroom business as normal, but at the same time are effectively given something of a physical check by your home’s technology, with the data being stored, tracked and shared with your GP when necessary. You are prompted to take any required medication and provided with helpful suggestions in accordance with your current goals – weight loss, weight gain, improve fitness, better sleep, better nutrition and so on.
Your kitchen will know which food items are about to expire and advise you on creative ways of using them, ordering essentials will be as simple as providing a voice response when prompted by your refrigerator and intelligent cooking appliances will make it absolutely impossible to come up with anything that isn’t truly outstanding.
There’s really no disputing the fact that mobile technology has made life exponentially easier for the average UK landlord. But at the same time, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to choosing the very best mobile applications to use for professional purposes.
From local landlord inventory services to helpful communication software and so much more, the market really is quite enormous. Which is why we’ve rounded up a selection of the very best – all of which are more than worth trying out:
1) The Landlord App
In the case of this particular app, the name really does say it all. The Landlord App basically offers a comprehensive array of conveniences and features to help landlords operate and manage their businesses more effectively. From finding new tenants to scheduling utility bill payments to chasing payments owed and so on, there’s an incredible amount packed into this superb app. Highly recommended by the vast majority of landlord inventory services in the UK.
Absolutely fantastic for keeping track of all your most important documents, Scanbot allows the user to create high quality JPEG or PDF copies of documents in a matter of seconds. From contracts to receipts to invoices and so on, it is simply a case of using your smartphone’s camera to instantly scan and record your documents. Copies are saved in excess of 200dpi for outstanding quality and the app does a great job of reducing motion blur.
The Rightmove app basically takes absolutely everything the market-leading online estate agency offers and slips its right into your pocket. It is one of the best and most important applications you will come across when it comes to keeping a close eye on local markets and assessing property values/rent averages. It can also be a fantastic app to use if you plan on using Rightmove to advertise a property on your own.
This particular app was created for those with important legal questions to ask, though neither the desire nor means to pay huge sums of cash to arrange a consultation. The app makes it possible for any landlord at any time to ask any question whatsoever with regard to their business. Expert answers and advice are then offered from qualified and experienced legal professionals up and down the country – all of which is made available 100% free of charge.
Landlordy markets itself as the ultimate mobile companion for the DIY landlord, and it’s not hard to see why. With the ability to help you track rent payments, manage expenses and even prepare rent invoices there’s no excuse not to have it downloaded to your smartphone. You even have the option of exporting and sharing the data with your accountant, so that your finances are always up to date.
Last but not least, My Landlord is by far one of the best mobile apps of its kind to hit the market so far. My Landlord basically serves as the most convenient and reliable method for reporting and recording minor to moderate maintenance issues. The tenant is able to describe the problem, take a picture of it with their device and send it straight to the landlord’s device. It can also be used to report things like graffiti and vandalism, dumped rubbish, abandoned vehicles and more.
Are you are considering investing in property? With demand far outstripping supply, buy-to-let is certainly an attractive income investment for many people. This infographic by Commercial Trust will help move your first steps towards becoming a successful landlord.
As of February 1st this year, landlords up and down the United Kingdom found themselves lumped with a pretty sizeable load of newly-assigned responsibilities. For the first time, and for the indefinite future to say the least, it is now entirely the responsibility of landlords to ensure that their tenants are in fact legally entitled to rent their properties. Known as the ‘Right to Rent’ rule, no longer are landlords able to in any way turn a blind eye to the legality of their tenants’ residency in the United Kingdom.
Unsurprisingly, the change ruffled more than a few feathers across the country. Many a landlord and national inventory company alike responded quite strongly to the newly-imposed responsibilities, suggesting that it paves the way for landlords to be punished unfairly when dealing with dishonest tenants. Nevertheless, it’s a change that’s only just come into effect and isn’t going anywhere in the near future, so it’s crucial to comprehensively understand what responsibilities now fall with landlords.
Guidelines for Tenants
One plus point from the landlord’s perspective is the fact that the government has recently published an updated How to Rent guide, which was created to help tenants better understand both sides of the deal. It may assist in the on-going battle against unscrupulous landlords, while at the same time helping tenants understand their obligations.
Whether working alone or in conjunction with landlord inventory services UK, the change basically makes it the duty of the landlord to check their tenants’ right to rent before allowing them to move in. It’s a means by which to enhance the government’s efforts to gain better control over illegal immigration, making it difficult for illegals to find places to live. And in any instances where landlords are found to be housing illegal immigrants without having carried out the necessary checks, they will be liable for fines of up to £3,000 per occupant.
Making assumptions or taking the word of tenants at face value will no longer be sufficient. Instead, landlords are required to make the necessary checks, demand that the required identification be produced and maintain meticulous records for future inspection.
In terms of going about the document checks, it’s crucial for landlords to know both what it is they are looking for and how to keep the necessary records.
For example, all forms of ID produced to prove residency status must be approved documents, such as passports, visas and so on. No form of ID can be accepted if it isn’t recognised.
In addition to this, the documents must in every instance be the originals – photocopies are strictly prohibited. Landlords must then keep photocopies for their own records, but these should be taken from the original documents only.
If there is any doubt whatsoever as to either the authenticity of the documents or that the image is a true likeness of the individual, additional checks must be carried out before allowing tenancy. Documents should be cross-checked in detail.
All copies must be signed by both parties, dated and stored in a safe place, in case required at a later date.
The Home Office is also providing a telephone helpline to help landlords and tenants understand how these measures apply to them and how to carry out the right to rent checks. You can use this service by calling 0300 069 9799.
Renting with a housemate can be a tricky proposition if the person you intend to live with is not a close friend or family member. And even at that, it is easy to quickly become enemies if housemates are not on the same page. Before you agree to live with someone on a long-term basis, be sure to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Those steps include interviewing any and all potential candidates.
Here are five questions to ask every potential housemate:
1. What is your current housing situation and why are you planning to move?
Most people looking to move are doing so because of work or life changes that are completely legitimate. Others are moving under less desirable circumstances: they are unemployed, they were forced to leave their previous housing arrangement, they could not pay the mortgage, etc. It is always a good idea to know as much as possible about the housing history of potential candidates so that you don’t end up supporting a stranger. It is no different than getting typical flat inventory in the UK.
2. What is your current employment situation and history?
Anyone you choose as a housemate should have steady employment that pays well enough for that person to cover his or her share of the rent and common expenses. Be wary of potential candidates who seem to change jobs every four or five months. Hopefully, you can find someone with a stable employment history and fairly dependable income. Otherwise, you would again have the potential of supporting a complete stranger in the future.
Just like a check-in inventory is necessary to protect your deposit, a relationship inventory might be needed to preserve your sanity. It’s important to know if any potential housemates are involved in long-term relationships that could result in romantic partners spending enough time at your flat to actually become residents. There is room for partners staying over now and then, but having them live with you without being actual tenants is a no.
5. Do you have any health issues or personal idiosyncrasies?
Every potential housemate has his or her own way of doing things. Most of these things can be accommodated. However, some candidates may have particular health issues that could be problematic. For example, food allergies can be very serious. And, of course, there are some people with strange idiosyncrasies that could lead to unnecessary fighting and bickering. As uncomfortable as it is, you need to ask about such things.
Renting with a housemate is one way to reduce your living expenses and enjoy some company every now and again. But choose your housemates wisely. A poor choice could come back on you in ways you never imagined.