A property inventory process is crucial if a landlord wants to protect themselves against picking up the bill for property repairs caused by a tenant.
However, to be useful during a dispute, especially if the matter goes to court, it’s important that the inventory has been thoroughly completed as part of a well-managed process so that it covers every aspect of a property and is correctly preserved.
Why is an inventory system necessary?
One of the most common causes of disputes between landlord or letting agent and a tenant is over the return of a deposit at the end of a tenancy, especially if some needs to be retained to cover repair or replacement costs.
For all assured, shorthold tenancies in England and Wales which began after 6 April 2007, landlords must place deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) where it is legally protected.
A landlord, or their letting agent, must return the deposit in full if the tenant meets the terms of the tenancy agreement, doesn’t damage the property and pays their rent and bills. However, if you end up in a dispute with your tenant over the state of the property when they leave, the deposit remains protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
In this scenario, a well-managed inventory system provides the crucial evidence needed to settle any dispute and allow you to cover the cost for any damage.
What should an adequately managed inventory cover?
A property inventory is a comprehensive written and photographic report detailing the state of your property, including outside spaces, at the beginning of a tenancy.
It provides information on the furniture, fixtures, fittings and general wear and tear, details keys, appliance manuals and meter readings. Anything damaged or missing should be recorded in front of the new tenant.
A report also includes a safety section to record the evidence that a landlord or letting agent complies with safety regulations, such as smoke/CO detectors and the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, 1988.
An inventory must be scheduled for the check-in and check-out procedures of a tenant, to record the property’s condition as the tenant departs. This clearly shows any changes that occurred during the tenancy. Additional checks can also be scheduled during the tenancy.
It is important that all inventories are fully documented and witnessed. Having a professionally prepared inventory can help establish the landlord’s credibility if the case goes before a tribunal or judge.
How does inventory management benefit the landlord?
The details recorded in a property inventory provide the evidence needed to prove whether the damage was done during a tenancy and if it was the responsibility of the tenant. This makes a subsequent claim by the landlord or their letting agent against a protected deposit or zero-deposit replacement insurance much simpler and more likely to be upheld.
A detailed inventory also helps reassure your tenant that they won’t be blamed for any damage they weren’t responsible for. This gets the relationship between landlord, or letting agent, and tenant off to a good start and a happy tenant is much easier to deal with than an unhappy one.
No Letting Go
At No Letting Go we offer an independent and unbiased professional inventory management service, providing a written and photographic report on the condition of the property and its contents.
If you would like to find out more about how our local support or national network could support you as your property management partner to streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.
Research by Statista, a statistics portal for market data, found more than half of landlords who responded were in disputes with their tenants, the main reasons being arrears, cleanliness, pets, subletting and breakages. Using regular property inventories letting agents can help their landlord clients to avoid such problems.
When should you use a property inventory?
A property inventory provides a detailed report on the contents and condition of a property, listing furniture, fixtures and fittings and alongside the condition and cleanliness.
A property inspection must take place for each new tenancy to detail the condition of the property at the start; at regular intervals throughout the tenancy to record any changes and damages from the check-in inventory; and finally, at the end of the tenancy to assess the property as the tenant departs.
These regular inspections provide a full report of the property’s condition for the complete duration of the tenancy.
Why are property inspections of benefit?
Completing a property inventory might seem like a time-consuming task for a busy letting agent looking after a number of properties. However, a comprehensive inventory process can stop a landlord-tenant dispute from escalating into a legal dispute, which would be far more costly in time and money. A proper inventory system offers other benefits:
- Essential evidence about the state of the property
- Crucial evidence if you need to take the cost of a repair or replacement from a tenant’s deposit
- Claiming on insurance is much easier with inventory evidence
- A speedy inspection process to reduce the period between tenancies and maximising a property’s income potential
- Using a standard inventory process ensures that nothing is missed during a property inspection
What does an adequate property inventory look like?
To ensure that a property’s inventory and schedule of condition will be useful to avoid a dispute, it must include:
- Full contents of the property, fixtures, fittings and state of decoration
- Details of the condition for each item
- Photographic, date-stamped evidence
- A declaration page for relevant parties to indicate their agreement to the contents of the report
It must also be completed in an objective and unbiased way and enable easy comparison between reports to identify any changes in contents or condition. Ideally, a property visit should be completed every three to six months
Disputes between landlords and tenants are time-consuming, potentially costly and can affect the reputation of a landlord and their letting agent. Using an independent inventory service can help boost the credibility of an inventory for tenants because they will see it as being independent.
Discussing the tried and tested landlord inventory service we use at No Letting Go can help letting agents understand how our inventories are structured to facilitate comprehensive property inspections and designed to capture the right information to prevent disputes.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your cost, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories the please contact us today.
What if you could take away the hassle of chasing tenants for signatures? Obtaining your tenants signature is a vital part of the inventory process. By automating this process, you could save yourself some time and even money.
So, what is DigiSign? And how can this automated check-in service benefit landlords and property professionals?
We take a closer look at this service to give you the full picture.
What Is DigiSign Software?
Digisign automated check-in is a service that allows us to collect electronic signatures from your tenants. This web-based signing process makes inventory signing and management even easier for all parties, allowing for remote digital signage and automated reminders.
How Does DigiSign Work?
Our DigiSign process is simple. The software will send a reminder to your tenant via email or text message, notifying them that they are required to sign the inventory report. As the landlord or property manager, you will also receive a notification for each tenant reminder sent out.
Next, the tenant follows the online link to the electronic documents where they can add their digital signatures at the touch of a button. The tenant is also able to make their own comments and add pictures directly into the report at this stage. This collaborative process can help prevent any disputes over inventories when it comes to the end of the tenancy.
Any additions are verified by us before returning the report to you.
Using the DigiSign service, we can even send automated reminders to your tenant if they fail to sign first time. The method and frequency of these can be tailored specifically to your needs. This completely removes the frustrating and laborious task of chasing tenants for signatures.
If the tenant fails to respond to these reminders, there’s no need to worry. We will deem the report accepted and will notify the tenant.
The Benefits of Automated Check-In Systems
This automated inventory service comes with a range of advantages, benefiting both landlord and tenant;
- Inventories are automatically sent out for signing according to your specific limit
- You and the tenant can make amendments online
- Queries can be managed online by us
- Text or email reminders can be sent out to tenants to speed up replies
- Tenants are able to sign the inventory remotely, using an online link
- Increased visibility for landlords, property professionals and tenants throughout the process
- This flexible system can be tailored to your needs
- Automation saves time and effort
- Reduces the chance of human error
- You’ll never have to chase a tenant for their signature again!
These benefits help to free up your time for more important things, helping you to manage your portfolio with minimal hassle.
Streamlining the Property Inventory Process
Having a detailed, professional property inventory report in place at the start of a tenancy is vital when it comes to protecting your investment and recovering any necessary costs when the tenancy comes to an end.
By making these services as easy as possible through automation, we aim to increase efficiency in your business, helping you on the path to success.
To maximise the potential of property technology, why not take advantage of Kaptur Inventory Software – a program designed with busy property professionals in mind. Kaptur provides the most efficient way to collect, prepare, report on and manage information through its flexible system.
This includes easy user experience, 24/7 customer support and custom reports tailored to you and your business needs. For inventory reports, this means branded digital documentation, embedded photos and professional templates as a start.
Why Choose No Letting Go?
Helping landlords, letting agents and property professionals manage their workload and protect their investment is what we do every day.
We offer a range of services to make your life easier, including;
- 360 virtual photography
- Floor plans
- Property appraisals
- House viewings
- Smoke and CO checks & reports
- Legionella risk assessments
- Right to rent checks
- Mid-term reports
- Check-out reports
- Abandonment notices
If you’d like to find out more about our property inventory services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Is your tenant coming to the end of their tenancy agreement? If so, you might want to start thinking about providing them with some essential information regarding their check-out process.
Investing in a professional pre-check out service can benefit both landlord and tenant. From ensuring smoother transitions, to minimising the amount of maintenance needed, we explain how opting for a pre-check out service can save property professionals time and money.
Check Out Procedure for Rental Property
Before we look at the process in more detail, here’s a quick overview of standard check-out procedure for a private rental agreement;
- Notify tenants of their responsibilities at least 2 weeks prior to the end of the tenancy
- Provide pre-check out service
- Tenants return property to original condition
- Provide check-out visit on the last day of the tenancy
- Provide check-out report
- Tenant accepts/challenges report
- Deposit return is negotiated
- Deposit is released
Let’s take a closer look…
What is A Pre-Check Out Service?
The purpose of a pre-check out service is to ensure that your tenant is fully aware that the property must be returned to its original condition as it was found on move-in day.
This service consists of a visit, in which property clerks grade each room of the property and specific items within it with actions ranging from ‘No action required’ to ‘Replacement required’. The original inventory report provides evidence of the state of the property at check-in.
This service provides tenants with a realistic view of the tasks required in order to return the property to an acceptable state and have their deposit returned in full.
Benefits for Tenants
By having all the information and guidance they need at their fingertips, a pre-check out visit arms tenants with the tools to ensure their full deposit is returned.
Often, property professionals find that tenants are unaware of certain tasks that need completing before the end of the tenancy, for example, cutting the grass or maintaining any out buildings.
This information should be accessible in the official tenancy agreement document, however not all tenants remember to read it thoroughly at the end of a tenancy.
Tenant Check Out Responsibilities
Examples of the tasks and responsibilities that could be recommended at the pre-check out include;
- Replace any furniture or furnishings that have been considerably damaged or stained beyond normal wear and tear
- Cut the grass and trim back foliage in outdoor spaces
- Thorough cleaning throughout
- Defrost freezers
- Replace old light bulbs
- Remove all food and personal items from the property
- Replace any items that were present at check-in
- Ensure furniture is in the same position as at check-in
Once these tasks have been completed, tenants are much more likely to have their full deposit returned to them, minimising time-consuming disputes.
Benefits for Landlords, Letting Agents & Property Professionals
Some of the benefits of providing your tenants with a pre-check out service include;
- It makes the transition between tenants quicker and smoother
- It minimises the amount of property maintenance needed between tenancies
- It helps maintain a positive relationship between letting agent/landlord and tenant
- It saves time and money
To sum up, pre-check outs can be very valuable for time poor landlords and property professionals seeking a quick turnaround and minimal maintenance work.
When Is the Best Time to Provide A Pre-Check Out?
We usually recommend supplying your tenant with a pre-check out visit at least two weeks before the official end of the tenancy. This gives them some time to make necessary repairs or replacements before they move out.
Inventory Check Out: Who Pays?
Since the Tenant Fees Act came into play on the 1st June 2019, landlords and letting agents are no longer permitted to charge tenants fees for inventory services.
However, don’t let this change put you off investing in professional inventory and pre-check out services as they could save you a significant amount of time and money in the long run!
Next Steps…Check Out Inventory Report
Once check-out day arrives, either the landlord or the letting agent managing the property will visit the rental in order to complete the check-out process. Everything in the property will be cross-referenced with the original check-in inventory to create the report.
Here at No Letting Go, we use Kaptur property software to record any changes from the start to the end of the tenancy. Covering everything from cleanliness and damage to missing items and fair wear and tear advice- our detailed reports help property professionals stay on top of any maintenance needed.
Do I Need an Inventory Report?
Yes! All successful end of tenancies start with a detailed inventory report. Our property clerks use the original inventory report made at the start of the tenancy to grade the property and advise on what tasks need completing.
A thorough inventory report includes detailed images of each area of the property to ensure everything is returned as it was found. The inventory report also provides valuable evidence if you need to recover costs at the end of the tenancy. For example, if your tenant leaves the property in a damaged state beyond the level of fair wear and tear, the inventory report can help to demonstrate the changes from the start to the end of the term.
Looking for help managing your property portfolio? Our property inventory services provide a clear, unbiased picture, helping you to recover costs and protect your investment.
We also offer;
- Check-in services
- DigiSign automated check-in
- Health & safety checks
- Property inspections
- Check out reports
- Maintenance reports
Discover our full range of property inventory services for landlords and property businesses.
With the festive period in full swing and New Year’s Eve celebrations on the horizon, many student landlords are bracing themselves for that dreaded call from a disgruntled neighbour in the early hours of the morning.
It’s no secret that lots of students like to party, and if not managed correctly, related disputes can create rifts that are difficult to repair.
It can be a tough balancing act, meeting the needs of your student tenants and keeping the local community happy. That’s why we’ve produced this student landlord advice guide on how to deal with student parties at your rental property without alienating tenants or neighbours.
To Ban or Not to Ban
If you’re concerned about your student tenants hosting large parties in your rental property, you could insert a clause into the tenancy agreement banning parties of a certain size. While this helps to deter tenants from hosting massive gatherings that could damage your property, it could prove difficult to enforce.
For lots of tenants, a steadfast rule against parties of all kinds could put them off renting your property in the first place, and this decision will narrow your pool of prospective tenants. However, banning gatherings over a certain size is a sensible idea, especially in suburban areas.
Managing the Neighbours
The majority of student accommodation is in busy, suburban areas with convenient amenities close by. While this is great for students, it also means there tends to be a lot of neighbours living within close proximity.
So, if your tenants like to host noisy parties, this can become a problem and damage your reputation as a responsible landlord in the area.
It’s difficult to actually prosecute a landlord for their tenants’ antisocial behaviour, unless you deliberately ignore the problem, or the issue is ongoing. However, staying on good terms with the local community will make your life easier in the long run.
When dealing with noise complaints from neighbours;
- Make sure the surrounding neighbours have your contact details or the details of the letting agent in case an issue arises
- Talk to your tenants calmly to get both sides of the story
- Refer your tenants to the relevant ‘noise’ or ‘nuisance’ clause in the tenancy agreement to explain which one they have broken and why, and the possible consequences if this continues
- Never threaten eviction as a first reaction as this could backfire on you and damage your landlord/tenant relationship
- If problems persist, you could arrange a meeting with neighbour and tenant to clear the air and come to a solution
- As a last resort, you could contact your local council, the police or begin the eviction process
Clear and Open Communications
One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is to retain a cool and clear head when communicating with tenants and to keep interactions open and honest.
If you’re straightforward with your tenants, they’re more likely to be honest back. Make it clear from the start of the tenancy that you are happy to discuss any issues and ensure they have your contact details to hand.
If they feel like you’re on their side, they’re more likely to obey house rules.
Choose Simple Party-Proof Furnishings
As wear and tear tends to be higher in student rentals, furnishing a student property with expensive furniture is pointless. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to student parties. With extra bodies in the house and alcohol involved, a plush carpet and glass coffee table aren’t going to stay perfect for long.
Go for simple, more affordable essentials from somewhere like IKEA that won’t cost an arm and a leg to replace if necessary. Wipe clean surfaces and easy to clean lino floors are also a sensible option and will help your tenants stay on top of their duties.
Regular Property Inspections
One way to keep an eye on what’s going on in your rental property and help determine if regular parties are taking place is to schedule regular property inspections.
However, you need to ensure the correct procedures have been followed, as there are laws in place regarding the frequency and delivery of landlord inspections.
A professional property inspection will help determine if your property is being appropriately cared for, and whether your tenants are fulfilling their contractual agreements. This could include anything from red wine stains or cigarette burns on the carpets to extra people living in the property. Inventory clerks can even check in with the neighbours to ensure everyone is happy.
Is Renting to Students Worth It?
Despite these possible drawbacks, renting property to students can be very rewarding and comes with great benefits;
- High demand in student towns and cities
- Short term, set contracts of 12 months
- Predictable, reliable market
- Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) offer higher yields
- Students don’t expect fancy furnishings and are happy with simple amenities
- Low void periods
Protect Your Student Rental Property: Inventory Management
The most important step you can take to protect your student house is to ensure a thorough inventory is taken at the start of the tenancy.
A professional inventory service helps you recover any costs or losses due to damage at the end of the academic year. And that’s where we come in. We’re experienced at working with private landlords and letting agents by providing essential reports and property management services.
From check in to property visits, we’re on hand to make the process as stress-free as possible for landlord and tenant.
Find out how our property inventory services could help you manage your student property.
Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties.
And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds.
We explore the power of inventories by highlighting a recent high-profile case featuring a former pop star and £70,000 worth of damage.
Do I Need An Inventory?
Without a detailed inventory, you could be left having to repair damage out of your own pocket. We’ve created a simple guide on the key components to include and why they’re necessary;
Property Management Inventory Checklist
An inventory report must include the following key components;
- A record of meter readings and keys provided
- The condition and cleanliness of each room, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
- A record of the condition of the garden, including any damage
- A signature from the tenant confirming they agree with the contents of the report
- A record of the condition of the mattresses if fully furnished
- Date & time stamped photos of the property and its contents
It must also include essential safety points;
- A record of furniture and furnishing fire safety labels
- Evidence that the Smoke and CO alarms comply with legislation (working order & correct placement)
- A record of loose or frayed carpets, cracked glass or windows, missing keys and inoperable locks
Check Out Report
In addition to the initial inventory report and schedule of condition that takes place when a tenant moves into a rental property, you will also need a check out report when they move out at the end of the tenancy.
Following the final inspection, the check out report should;
- Include a detailed record of the condition of the property
- Clearly show how the property has changed throughout the tenancy (in combination with the initial check in report)
- Include recommended actions for landlords and tenants
This report provides a vital benchmark to help assess any changes to the property from the start of the tenancy to the end.
If any deposit disputes arise, these reports should provide clear evidence to help landlords get a fair return on any losses or repairs required.
Top Reasons for Tenancy Deposit Disputes
Some of the main reason’s disputes occur include;
- Cleaning 54%
- Damage 49%
- Decoration 31%
- Rent 20%
- Gardening 16%
Dealing with Deposit Disputes
The security deposit taken at the start of a tenancy is considered the tenant’s money. This means that it can be tricky for landlords to withhold the deposit in response to damage or loss without significant evidence.
You will need to prove there is damage to your rental property above normal wear and tear in order to claim on the deposit.
That’s why poorly compiled inventory reports are one of the most common reasons landlords lose disputes.
Tip: Always enter the deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme as this is a legally required step!
Celebrity Rental Drama: The Power of Inventories
To demonstrate our point, we’ve got a high profile case study in which a property rental disaster was averted thanks to comprehensive inventory reports.
Former En-Dubz star and X Factor Judge, Tulisa Contostavlos was recently ordered to pay over £70,000 worth in damage to the landlord of her former luxury rental property.
Reported damage to the luxury North London flat included a smashed sink, cigarette burns, stains and doors ripped from hinges. Despite arguing that the damage was normal wear and tear, she was ordered to pay compensation, interest and legal costs to her former landlord.
Key to this case was the presence of a thorough and professional inventory and check-out report.
Clearly, a high rental value is no protection against severe damage, so no matter which end of the market you’re positioned in, covering your back is essential if you want to recover your costs.
Looking for help managing your portfolio of rental properties in London? Find a list of our No Letting Go London offices.
What is Fair Wear and Tear?
It can be problematic working out what is considered fair wear and tear as it differs case by case. Some examples of fair wear and tear include;
- Small scuff marks on walls
- Naturally worn down carpets
- Frayed fabrics
- Faded curtains
- Carpet indentations
However, when we talk about damage this could include;
- Broken locks or doors
- Burn marks or large carpet stains
- Holes in the walls
- Broken windows or furniture
- Poorly painted walls
One of the easiest ways to determine the difference is by commissioning a professional inventory clerk to visit the property and make a detailed report, including photographic imagery at the start of the tenancy.
How To Protect Your Rental Property from Damage
There are a few more steps you can take to protect your rental property;
Regular Property Inspections
Target Long Term Tenants
In addition, targeting long-term tenants who are more likely to treat the property as their home will help to avoid intentional damage.
Keep it Simple
Keep decoration simple and ensure your property is thoroughly clean at the start of the tenancy to avoid any future disputes.
Avoid the Risks with A Professional Inventory Service
You’ve heard the warning, now it’s time to cover your back. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment as a landlord or letting agent is to commission a professional inventory company to undertake comprehensive inventory reports and checks.
Our independent inventory clerks across the country are experienced at providing essential reports, checks and visits to help you stay protected from move in date up until the end of the tenancy agreement.
To find out how we could help, browse our list of professional property inventory services to get started.
Subletting is surprisingly common and can offer benefits for both landlords and tenants. But what counts as subletting? And what do landlords need to know about the risks?
We explore what subletting is and what you can do as a landlord to mitigate the risks.
What is Considered Subletting?
Subletting is when a tenant decides to rent out either a room or whole property to a third party. For example, if a tenant decides to go travelling for an extended period, they might try to let their room out to another tenant to pay their rent. Other reasons could include;
- Change in income
- If they need to relocate before the end of a contract
- If another tenant decides to move out before the end of the tenancy and they need to fill the space
To be a sublet, the original, existing tenant needs to give exclusive access of at least one area of the property to the subtenant. The subtenant will not pay rent directly to the landlord but to the original tenant.
Is Subletting Illegal?
In most cases, subletting is legal if the tenant obtains the landlords permission to let out the rental property.
However, if the tenant sublets without written permission, they could come into legal difficulties.
Can A Landlord Refuse A Sublet?
This all depends on what it says in the tenancy agreement. If there is a section in the agreement that says a tenant can ask the landlord to sublet, landlords will need to have a valid reason for refusal.
However, if there is no mention of subletting in the tenancy agreement, as a landlord, you can refuse more easily.
It’s worth noting that in the case of fixed term tenancies, the tenant may still be able to sublet without consent if there is no mention in the agreement. That’s why it’s important to be clear on the terms of your agreement from the get-go.
Not keen on the idea of allowing a tenant to sublet? There are a few steps you can take to ensure it doesn’t happen;
- Include a section in the tenancy agreement prohibiting subletting
- Arrange regular property inspections to help prevent unwanted subletting. The professional carrying out the inspection will usually be able to tell if something is awry. It will also indicate to your tenants that you aren’t complacent as a landlord.
- Try to develop strong relationships with your tenants so they come to you first if they are having any difficulties making the rent.
If a tenant decides to go ahead and sublet without permission, there are two main circumstances that most commonly occur;
The tenant rents out a room in the property whilst still living at the address.
This is the most common situation, and often happens when flatmates move out unexpectedly.
In this situation, think carefully about how you want to proceed. If the new subtenant has caused no issues and the rent is paid on time, it can sometimes be advantageous to allow them to continue living at the property. If this is the case, draw up an agreement to stay protected. Don’t accept any payment until you have a proper tenancy agreement in place.
The tenant rents out several or all the rooms in the rental property whilst living at a different address.
This could have serious consequences for you as the landlord. If these subletting tenants report issues to the original tenant who they assume is the landlord, property maintenance issues may go unresolved and you start to lose control of your property.
What Happens If Your Tenant Sublets Without Permission?
If you discover your tenant is subletting without your permission, there are a few steps you can take;
- Talk to your original tenant first to find a solution
- If the tenant persists subletting, sub-tenants should be informed, and either be asked to vacate the property or draw up a new tenancy agreement for them
- If all else fails and the subtenant refuses to vacate, you may need to begin the eviction process
What Are The Risks Of Subletting?
If a tenant decides to sublet their room, there are a number of risks you need to be aware of;
Insurance and Mortgage
Some insurance and mortgage providers don’t allow subletting and ignoring this could lead to voiding your contract. It’s vital you avoid this at all costs by checking your agreement before allowing a sublet.
End of The Tenancy
If your original tenant decides to move out, but their subtenant is still living in your rental property, you may come up against issues. Evicting a tenant without a tenancy agreement can get complicated.
How Do You Sublet Safely? Tips for Landlords
Subletting doesn’t always spell disaster. In fact, it can be profitable for both landlord and tenant, solving common issues such as change of circumstance.
If you do decide to grant your tenant permission to sublet, here’s a few steps you can take to ensure your investment stays protected;
- Ensure you are clear on the contents of the tenancy agreement and what it says about subletting. If there is no mention, you may want to add a clause to be on the safe side.
- Spend time on tenant referencing to ensure you end up with reliable, trustworthy tenants.
- Spend time getting to know your tenants and making a good impression. This way, they are more likely to come to you first if their circumstances change.
- Carry out regular property inspections.
Protect Your Investment with No Letting Go
If you need a helping hand protecting your investment, we have teams of experienced inventory clerks across the country ready to support you.
We can provide regular property visits, every 3-4 months to ensure your property is being well maintained and tenants are fulfilling their contractual obligations.
In addition, a comprehensive inventory report is one of the best ways to protect your investment in the long term.
Interested in hearing more? Get in touch or visit our services page to find our property inventory packages.
As a landlord, you’ll understand the importance of finding reliable tenants that pay the rent on time. One way to secure this is through comprehensive tenant reference checks. But what happens if a potential tenant fails their credit check?
Renting to tenants with bad credit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. If the tenant ticks all the right boxes, there are ways to get around this issue and protect yourself and your investment.
What Is A Tenant Reference Check?
A tenant reference check helps landlords and letting agents decide if a tenant is likely to be reliable and pay each month’s rent on time.
In addition to a credit check, tenant referencing can look for;
- Proof of identity
- Proof of employment
- Current salary
- Bank statements
- Proof of benefit claims
- Right to rent in the UK
- A previous landlord reference
What Is A Credit Check?
A credit check looks at the tenant’s credit report and financial history, spotting any times they have missed bill payments or have fallen into arrears. This is analysed to produce an individual credit score.
A credit score can range from around 0- 900 points, depending on the score system used. A good credit score could be anything above 750 points.
What’s The Minimum Credit Score A Landlord Should Accept For A Tenant?
An acceptable credit score will be dependent on the scoring system used, as they differ between referencing agencies. However, when a tenant’s credit score comes back as poor or very poor, you may want to think about asking some further questions.
What Causes A Bad Credit Scoring?
A poor credit score can be caused by a number of issues, some more concerning than others when it comes to potential tenants.
Here are a few of the more serious reasons for a poor credit rating;
Naturally, being in debt can negatively affect a tenant’s credit score as it suggests that they struggle to manage their money and are not financially stable. If this issue is uncovered by a credit check, you may think twice about entering into a tenancy agreement.
Being Declared Bankrupt
This should set major alarm bells ringing for landlords as it suggests the tenant has had difficulty managing repayments in the past.
County Court Judgements
A County Court Judgment (CCJ) is when a tenant is forced to repay a debt by the courts. If this shows up, it’s not a great first impression.
Late Credit Card Or Loan Repayments
If a tenant has struggled to pay credit card repayments in time, this doesn’t bode well for rent payments.
There are also a number of issues that can affect credit scores that don’t necessarily mean a tenant will struggle with their finances;
Not Having A Credit History
One reason for a poor credit rating that is particularly common among younger tenants and students is not having a credit history at all. If the tenant has never taken out a credit card or loan and has never paid bills from their bank account, they won’t have a credit trail to check, resulting in a low score.
This is a likely occurrence if you rent to students or young adults who have just left home and doesn’t necessarily mean that the tenant will be bad at managing their money.
Only Making The Minimum Credit Card Repayments
Credit scores can be affected if the tenant only makes the minimum repayment on their credit card each month. The assumption is that they are struggling to keep up with all their outgoings, however this isn’t always the case.
Not Being On the Electoral Roll
Not updating addresses and personal information can affect credit score, as can not being on the electoral roll. This step is easily forgotten when moving house and doesn’t prove the tenant will be unreliable.
No Proof Of Address
If a tenant hasn’t been responsible for paying bills at their previous residence or were not named on the tenancy agreement, it can be difficult for the referencing agency to determine proof of address.
How Important Is Good Credit?
As we explored above, good credit isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to finding a good tenant. Equally as important is whether they fit your target tenant profile.
If you’ve been struggling to rent out your property or think the tenant will make a good fit, there are ways to get around bad credit.
How To Rent to Tenants With Bad Credit
Poor credit rating alone doesn’t mean you should give up on a tenant if they tick all the other boxes. Here are some ways to minimise risk;
The first thing to do when a potential tenant’s credit check comes back as poor, is to find out why. If it was down to late or missed payments it may be best to steer clear, however if it’s something as simple as a lack of credit history then it needn’t stop you from going ahead with the tenancy.
Ask To See Previous Rent Payments
Seeing proof of regular, timely rent payments for a previous rental arrangement will help to ease your concerns about their responsibility as a tenant.
Charge a Larger Deposit
If a tenant has a low credit score, it’s likely they will be prepared to pay a slightly larger security deposit to make up for it. This will give you extra leverage when it comes to recovering costs at the end of the tenancy.
Ask For A Guarantor
One of the best ways to protect yourself if a tenant has poor credit is to ask for a guarantor. A guarantor will be able to cover any costs if the tenant is unable to pay, giving you extra protection.
The guarantor will need to sign the tenancy agreement along with the tenant and have secure financial status.
Ask For A Previous Landlord Reference
One sure way to find out if a tenant is reliable is to ask their previous landlord.
Here are some questions to ask;
- Did the tenant pay rent on time each month?
- Did the tenant look after the rental property?
- How often did the tenant raise issues with the landlord or letting agent?
- Were any complaints received from neighbours regarding the tenant?
- What condition did they leave the property at the end of the tenancy?
- Would you feel happy renting to the tenant again?
Ask For Rent Upfront
While this may be a lot to ask and not always in scope, a tenant with a high risk credit score may be prepared to pay rent upfront. Paying the first six months of rent upfront will ease any initial worries and give the tenant time to prove their reliability.
Receive Payments By Direct Debit
Asking for rent payments via direct debit is common practice these days and is especially important if you’re concerned about a tenant’s financial responsibility.
Shorten The Tenancy
If you’re worried about the reliability of a tenant, setting a shorter, probationary rental period in which the tenant has time to prove their responsibility could be a good idea. If you experience late payments or other issues, you can terminate the tenancy early.
Talk To The Tenant
You can tell a lot from a frank, face-to-face conversation. If your potential tenant willingly discloses their credit issues and can provide a reasonable explanation for the low score, you will be much better placed to make an informed decision.
How To Organise A Tenant Reference Check
Although credit checks aren’t the only way to choose the right tenant, it is important to perform tenant referencing so you aren’t caught out further down the line.
As a busy landlord, you may want to delegate this task to a professional tenant referencing company. Placing this responsibility in the experienced hands of a recommended referencing company will minimise any risks and help the process go smoothly.
Protect Your Property With No Letting Go
In addition to choosing a reliable tenant, a comprehensive inventory is one of the best ways to protect your rental property.
At No Letting Go, we offer unbiased property inventory reports to help safeguard your property against damage and recover essential costs at the end of a tenancy. All the way through from Schedule of Condition, to check in and property visits, our property clerks are there to simplify the rental process and save you time.
Interested in hearing more? Head to our website to discover the full range of property management services we offer.
Budgets can be tough to manage for landlord and letting agents alike. Sometimes, property maintenance costs can eat into your finances dramatically.
From what’s involved to how to save, we offer insights and guidance on how to best manage budgets when undergoing maintenance on your property portfolio.
What Is Included In Maintenance Costs?
Before we go into budget management, we need to be clear on what maintenance costs are involved in renting a residential property.
Here’s a list of all the things to consider when it comes to maintenance;
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to fix any repairs needed resulting from normal wear and tear. This can include;
- Repairing or replacing white goods and appliances
- Fixing boiler issues
- Repairing any electrical faults
Refurbishment & Decoration
Keeping your property looking fresh for new tenants is an important part of being a good landlord and attracting the right target tenants. It’s recommended that carpets are replaced every 5-7 years, and properties are fully redecorated every 3 years.
However, if your property is looking particularly lived in after a tenancy or you come across some questionable stains, you might need to redecorate more often.
Here’s what else is included in refurbishment and decoration;
- Painting throughout
- Replacing carpets or flooring
- Replacing curtains
- Replacing old, tired furniture items every 10-15 years
- Replacing kitchen and bathroom fittings every 10-15 years
It’s not just the inside that needs attention. Staying on top of the exterior of your property can help ward off future structural issues and save money in the long run.
Here’s what it could include;
- Replacing missing roof tiles
- Clearing guttering
- Garden fence maintenance
- Window cleaning and repair
Thorough cleaning is essential between tenancies, and you may also need to arrange for cleaning to be done during a tenancy. If the windows need cleaning for example, or if the property has suffered water damage.
Particularly important during void periods, regular property inspections are an important part of maintenance for buy to let properties.
Inspections protect your property from theft, vandalism or damage from unnoticed leaks, preventing the need for extensive future repairs. We offer a professional vacant property inspection service to give you peace of mind that your investment is protected.
Gas Safety Certificates & Safety Checks
UK landlords have a legal requirement to arrange regular safety checks, including;
- An annual gas safety inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer
- Electrical safety checks
- PAT tests for white goods
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Ensure smoke detectors are present and working
This cost is usually overlooked by most landlords, but the time you put into the maintenance of your portfolio really adds up. Particularly if you are balancing your duties as a landlord with another paid job, extra time spent on maintenance may mean losing out on wages.
If this is the case, it may be worth investing in a full management service from a property management company so you can swap a management fee for more time for other ventures.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Rental Property?
Maintenance costs will vary depending on several factors;
- Size of the property
- Age of the property- older homes require more upkeep
- Location of the property- service charges vary dependant on area
- Type and number of tenants
For example, if you rent to students or large families, you may have to fork out more for accidental damage repair costs.
Landlord Maintenance Costs: How to Save Money
Now we’ve discussed what’s involved, it’s time to look at ways to save.
Choose Your Target Tenant Wisely
While finding tenants may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to maintenance, the tenant you choose could have an effect on your maintenance costs.
For example, as mentioned above, renting to students can result in more accidental damage as there tends to be more people living in one property, and tenants have a reputation for partying! Similarly, renting to tenants with pets is likely to involve more refurbishment at the end of the tenancy.
Deciding on your target tenant from the get-go is an important part of the process.
Act Fast When It Comes to Repairs
The quicker you act on repairs and maintenance tasks, the more popular you’ll be with tenants and the less likely they are to develop into serious issues. Usually, dealing with problems as soon as they arise means you can save money in the long run as you have time to think about the best possible solution.
Paying for maintenance costs early will also help you to manage your monthly budgets and keep on top of your spend.
Buy Quality Furnishings
Opting for the cheapest furnishings available isn’t always wise. The cost of replacing flimsy furniture every year is likely to add up to more than investing in quality in the first place. This is particularly true for mattresses, sofas and dining tables. Our blog on furnishing your rental property will help you with some handy tips.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to decorating your properties, more is less. You don’t need to go overboard to provide a comfortable home for tenants. Simple, modern furniture without too many frills will appeal to most and will be kinder on the budget.
Tip: Avoid painting everything white as it will require more upkeep. Neutral, mid-tones are much more forgiving.
Don’t Skimp on Landlord Insurance
Landlord insurance is essential when renting a property. Finding the right deal can help you save when things go wrong. Quality contents or accidental damage insurance will protect you in the case of weather damage or accidental spills.
Make sure you shop around for the best deals.
Check Council Tax Exceptions
If one of your rental properties is vacant for a period, or you are performing refurbishment that renders your property inhabitable, you may be eligible for Council Tax redemption. This will leave you with some extra cash to spend on essential repairs and decoration.
Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance
By increasing the energy-saving potential of your property, you could save money that can be injected back into the maintenance budget.
By reinforcing insulation in your rental property, you could save a significant amount in tax.
Know When To Ask For Help
While rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can save on service fees, it’s not always the best option.
Botched DIY can end up costing more than the original problem, and when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues, professional is always best.
Get More Than One Quote
When you need to pick up the phone to a plumber or tradesperson, make sure you do your research.
Particularly important when it comes to bigger jobs, getting several quotes will help you find the most competitive price.
Invest In A Comprehensive Inventory Service
Compiling a comprehensive written and photographic list of all of the items and furnishings and their condition within your property is one of the best ways to recuperate maintenance costs at the end of a tenancy.
If there is any damage beyond normal wear and tear, it will be much easier to deduct the appropriate costs from the deposit.
A professional property inventory service provides an impartial account of your property and is delivered using high quality photography in a handy, easily accessible digital report.
Landlord Maintenance Responsibilities: Help From No Letting Go
The costs of being a landlord are wide ranging. From agent fees to mortgage interest, balancing your rental income with outgoing costs can be tough.
That’s why sometimes it pays to get some help. Whether it’s repairs and maintenance reports or inventory services, our teams of experienced clerks could help streamline your business so you can take control of your budget.
Browse our full list of property management services to find out how we can help.
It can be tricky to make your property stand out from the crowd in the saturated property sector. So, how can you take advantage of the latest in digital photography software to ensure your property is snapped up by the best tenants?
That’s where 360° property photography comes in. Our virtual photography service could be the difference between blending in and beating the competition.
If you’re looking to attract more viewings and get ahead of the curve with the latest in PropTech, find out what this service could offer.
What is 360° Degree Photography?
360° degree photography provides interactive, panoramic images that place the viewer in the footsteps of the photographer. This type of panoramic photography allows you to ‘look’ up, down and to the left and right of the image for a full 360° view.
Panoramic photos are transformed via 360 degree photography software to recreate a room or space. (You may have seen this being used in google street view on google maps)
What is a 360° Virtual Tour?
A 360° virtual tour replicates a standard property tour or house viewing through virtual reality, allowing the user to ‘visit’ properties from anywhere in the world. Users are able to explore each room of the property from the comfort of their living rooms via a connected device.
The Benefits of Virtual 360° Photography Tours
With most property searches starting online, it makes sense to present your property in its best light. From saving time to gaining trust, here’s what 360° technology could do for your business;
Exceptional Property Marketing
First impressions count and 360° photos could give your property the edge. High quality images make you and your business look professional, and the more detailed images available of your property, the more popular it will be with prospective tenants.
Bring your property to life and highlight its best features with a full, virtual tour and help potential tenants picture themselves living in your property by exploring each room in detail.
Gain Tenant Trust
There isn’t really anywhere to hide when it comes to virtual photography tours. By providing a realistic picture of your property and putting every part of the building on display, you will gain trust from tenants. Essential for starting the tenant relationship off on the right foot.
Remote Property Viewings
A virtual tour can be accessed from anywhere- all you need is a digital device.
Save time and resources by allowing prospective tenants to experience an immersive online property viewing from home. This benefits tenants and property professionals alike, as tenants won’t waste time visiting unsuitable properties and lettings agents will have a narrower, targeted tenant pool to focus on.
This service could also benefit landlords who live abroad or a long distance away from the properties in their portfolio, allowing them to inspect their investment from anywhere in the world.
With a 24 hour turn around, our 360° virtual photography service can be delivered quickly, so you can stay ahead in the dynamic lettings industry.
Our Property Reporting Software
Our property reporting software, Kaptur, enables virtual tours to be embedded into any compliance report.
Kaptur has been developed specifically for busy property professionals looking to streamline their workload. From custom reporting to location mapping- Kaptur represents the latest in PropTech.
How Can 360° Virtual Tour Photography Be Used?
We’ve partnered with Eye Spy 360 to offer a nationwide service helping landlords, estate agents and property professionals market and manage their property portfolios.
Here’s an example of when virtual tours could be utilised;
- Residential sales and lettings marketing
- Insurance inspections
- Block and property management inspections
- Derelict building inspections
- Property research projects
- Inventory and schedule of condition of large properties
- Commercial sales and leasing
- Build to Rent projects
Whatever the type of property, a 360° virtual tour could be of service.
Property Photography and Floor Plans
In addition to standard property photography as part of your visual inventory report, we also offer floor plan services to add to your marketing literature and reporting.
All of the No Letting Go surveyors are highly trained according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) guidelines, ensuring a professional service with accurate results.
360° Property Photography Prices
Interested in finding out more? Get in touch to book a survey or find out how we can incorporate a 360° virtual property tour into a regular No Letting Go report.
To discover how else we could help, browse our full list of property management services.