A report by The Dispute Service indicates that 2020 witnessed an increase in the proportion of disputes raised by tenants from 67.4% in the previous year to 74%*. To avoid the potential for disputes over deposits, it’s in the best interests of all parties to have the right tools in place to effectively manage the end of a tenancy. 

 

What causes end of tenancy disputes

 

According to the report, the most common reasons for tenancy deposit disputes claims in 2020 were:

  • Cleaning 42%
  • Damage 40%
  • Redecoration 35%
  • Rent arrears 15%
  • Gardening 11%

Assessments of such issues can seem subjective to a tenant, but using evidence from a clearly defined inventory can build the basis of a more objective, and therefore fair, approach to avoiding or resolving a conflict between landlords and tenants.

 

End of tenancy inventories

 

At the beginning of a tenancy, it’s essential to ensure that tenants understand the agreement they sign and their obligations throughout their tenancy with regards to the care of the property and facilities. But even when this is done, without a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy, agents will still get into difficulties when agreeing on the need for deductions from deposits. A comprehensive inventory report should then demonstrate a fair assessment of the state of a property at the end of a tenancy. It can include photos and detailed text defining the condition of a specific item to remove any ambiguity of the assessment. This will offer clarity to a tenant over why a decision has been made to make a deduction from their deposit.

To support the inventory further in the end of tenancy agreement, additional reports can be beneficial:

 

This range of reports collated on the Kaptur tool builds up a complete picture that supports the assessment made at the end of the period. Documentation collated throughout the tenancy is stored in a single location for easy reference, and end of tenancy reports can be completed and quickly distributed to all parties for review.

 

Experience with supporting the tools 

 

Completing any property inventory successfully depends upon the person’s experience to make a fair assessment, which comes from experience in working with agents, landlords and tenants. The ability to build good relationships and trust with all parties is essential and goes a long way in helping secure a smooth transition at the end of a tenancy. This process starts at the beginning of the tenancy, with check-in services offering a great opportunity to educate landlords and tenants about expectations under the tenancy agreement.

Disputes about deposits take time and money to resolve and can harm the reputation of all parties concerned. Having the right end of tenancy tools managed by experienced property management professionals will help avoid these disruptions.

 

No Letting Go: your letting partner

 

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property inventory  partner, streamline your cost and reduce workload then contact No Letting Go today

For students, excitement at the prospect of renting their first property can quickly become overshadowed by confusion about what it takes to secure good rental accommodation. Follow our tips, and we’ll help put you in a good position to find the perfect student digs.

 

Top tips for finding the right student accommodation

There are a few essential tips that first-time renters must know to secure the right property:

  • Know your budget: This will determine the rental options and potential areas open to you but don’t forget to budget for monthly bills, travel costs and fees associated with securing a rental property.
  • Gather documents: These may be needed for reference checks and include college enrolment confirmation, character references and documents for any guarantor you may need. Getting paperwork together at the start of a property search will save you time later when you need to move quickly to secure your rental property.
  • Understand property costs: In addition to rent, will you be liable for utility bills, council tax, deposits, letting agent fees, insurance, broadband? What you need to pay for will vary from property to property, and different letting agents may charge different fees. Take time to understand the costs of each property and make sure it’s within your budget.
  • Make sure your deposit is safe: Deposits should be held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by your landlord, so it can be repaid when you leave or held until any disputes are settled by independent arbitration, for example, for damages, unpaid bills or cleaning costs. The ruling may affect the amount of deposit you get back.
  • Read the contract: Always read the contract, including the small print! It should include the basics, such as when rent is due, deposit amounts, tenancy dates, bills, your rights and the landlords’ rights, etc. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, ask. Do not feel pressured into signing anything until you are ready. Any changes you agree should be in writing and not just verbally agreed.
  • Check the inventory: There should be a thoroughly detailed list of the property’s condition and all the items within it and should be agreed upon by the tenant and landlord. Ideally, they will also include photographic evidence. You should raise any discrepancy with the inventory straight away.
  • Be safe: Ask for in-date gas safety certificates and for proof of electrical inspections and legionella checks. Check that fire regulations are being adhered to, that doors, windows and gates lock properly, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted and consider contents insurance for your own valuables.
  • Find reputable landlords and letting agents: Members of professional organisations, such as the National Landlords Association or Association of Residential Letting Agencies, will work to required standards and adhere to legal obligations and will be happy to provide references from other customers. 

Being prepared and understanding your rights will make your property search go more smoothly and your experience of renting feel less daunting. It will give you the confidence to ask the right questions and feel assured that you will know when you have found the right place for you.

 

No Letting Go: your letting partner

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your property inventory  partner, streamline your cost and reduce workload then contact No Letting Go today

No Letting Go are proud to announce that we have been SHORTLISTED for a prestigious ESTAS customer service award! To be announced in October 2021.

ESTAS honour the best agents, conveyancers, mortgage advisors and suppliers in the UK.

The annual ESTAS awards occur in Spring and Autumn, attracting the top players in the UK’s property and lettings industry.

The ESTAS Supplier Awards recognise supplier firms who have delivered the best customer experience to their respective agency, conveyancer and broker clients in 2020.

Now in their 11th year, the supplier categories have become an integral part of the annual ESTAS competition providing a badge of excellence that is instantly recognisable by agents and highlights a supplier’s commitment to quality service.

Twenty-eight supplier firms have made this year’s shortlist across various product sectors. Property professionals in the last year submitted a record total of 9,500 reviews.

ESTAS Brand Ambassador Phil Spencer will announce the winners at the 18th annual ESTAS Awards on 22nd October. Spencer said, “the industry’s leading suppliers are instrumental in helping property professionals provide excellent service, they are an extension of that experience so the service they deliver is crucial, it’s therefore only right that ESTAS puts the spotlight on their efforts.”

No Letting Go said, “We’re absolutely delighted to have made it on to this year’s shortlist. We are passionate about the level of service we deliver to our clients and this proves all the hard work the team put in has paid off”.

We’ve learned over the past year how much of a comfort pets have been for many people during lockdown. The government is keen to make it easier for dwellers in private rented accommodation to enjoy the benefits of living with a furry friend and is taking steps to encourage more landlords to allow pets.

What’s changed

A BBC report found that only 7% of landlords offer pet-friendly accommodation. In a move to increase this, the government has introduced a new model tenancy agreement that allows renters to seek consent for pets as a default, requiring the landlord to provide written refusal within 28 days, providing good reasons for their refusal. It’s not a legal requirement to use the modal tenancy agreement, but there is a drive-in parliament to make these changes a legal requirement.

What does this mean for agents?

Letting agents want to strike the right balance between ensuring that additional wear and tear or damage caused by pets is managed without excluding potential tenants because of pet ownership. Also, on the positive side, pet owners are often mindful not to abuse a landlord’s trust, and they also tend to look for longer tenancies because they know how difficult it is to find properties that allow pets.

In our post Renting with pets: A landlord’s guide, we discuss key considerations when allowing pets in rental properties, but there are additional measures to consider to minimise the impact of pets on a property:

  • Requiring pet insurance: This can cover accidental property damage.
  • Landlord references: Confirm from previous landlords the acceptable behaviour of the animal and the tenant as a courteous pet owner.
  • Proof of vaccinations: This helps prevent flea infestations and ensures the good health of the pet.
  • Charger higher rent: You may be entitled to charge a small additional amount to cover the cost of wear and tear.

Add protection with regular property inspections.

Regular inspections of rental properties are always advisable as a means of protecting your landlord’s investment. Still, if you have pet-owner tenants, property checks will also pick up any damage caused by their pets, such as chewed woodwork, damaged furniture or smells. You can then work with the tenant to resolve the issues or decide if the arrangement needs reviewing.

Delays to repairs can stall renting out to the next tenants and increases overall costs, which regular checks can prevent. It’s also advisable to ensure a thorough end of tenancy cleaning regime to remove pet hair and smells, especially if your next tenant isn’t a pet owner or could have pet allergies.

When your new tenants move into a cared-for, clean property, you’re setting their expectations for how your property should be looked after. To create the best impression, an end of tenancy clean will show your new tenants the property in the best condition possible.

What’s involved in an end of tenancy clean? 

The purpose of an end of tenancy clean is to deep clean a rental property before the next tenant moves in, which is particularly important in the shadow of Covid-19 and with people’s enhanced concern over health.

The depth of cleaning doesn’t just refer to how clean a place is but also what is cleaned. A deep clean ensures the removal of dirt, hair, grease, stains and limescale throughout the property, including ovens, white goods, soft furnishings, cupboards and even outdoor spaces.

Why have an end of tenancy clean?

As a landlord or agent, you should only expect the tenants to maintain the property to the standard they found when they first moved in. Good tenants will strive to keep to this standard so that they don’t risk losing their deposit, but even with the best of intentions, they may not be able to meet the professional standard you want for your next tenants.

While setting the right standard is the fundamental reason for end of tenancy cleaning, there are knock-on effects:

  • Making your property an attractive prospect for potential new tenants to increase rental success.
  • Letting agents can reassure landlords that their property is being well kept by maintaining clear and high cleaning standards.
  • Professional end-of-tenancy cleans can be done quickly to minimise periods between tenancies.
  • Professional cleaning services are familiar with working to an inventory and achieving the required standards.
  • Well maintained properties are more likely to achieve the desired rental income.

How to set the standard for your end-of-tenancy cleaning

The cleanliness of a property is the leading cause of deposit disputes between landlords and tenants, but these can easily be avoided. Rather than relying on individual interpretations of “clean”, the check-in and check-out inventories can be essential tools for defining expectations. When they are set, the end of tenancy clean then becomes an essential means of preparing for the end of tenancy and pre-tenancy checks.

Using the check-in inventories and cleaning schedules provides clear details against which tenants, landlords, and agents can assess. With the addition of photographs to any written comments, it becomes clear for all to see any difference in standards of cleanliness. This mitigates the risk of disputes, making it easy to deduct money from the deposit to clean where there is good reason and avoid third-party arbitration, which saves time and expense.

As a landlord or letting agent, you want a good reputation; maintaining a clean and healthy environment for tenants will go a long way to achieving that while ensuring they take good care of your property investment. If you are looking for a professional end of tenancy cleaning service, Kompleet offers a fast and thorough service at competitive prices.

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, streamlining your costs, reducing your workload and protecting your investment with accurate property inventories and checks, then contact us today.

 

 

The introduction of the government’s stamp duty holiday scheme has had a significant positive impact on the housing market but there is now speculation about what happens when this popular scheme begins to wind down from June onwards and the effect it will have on buyers’ behaviour and the market.

Why was the stamp duty holiday scheme introduced?

In July 2020 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that the government would temporality increase the lower limit from where stamp duty on property purchases would be paid to £500,000. This measure was taken to boost the housing market, which had been hit dramatically by the first lockdown, and to support buyers whose finances were badly affected by lockdown.

The scheme has been a success; 2020 saw the busiest October for a decade for residential transactions, and house prices were boosted, with Nationwide reporting a year-on-year growth rate in average house prices of 5%, a new record. It created such high demand that in the March budget, the Chancellor announced the scheme would be extended to June 2021, tapering back to normal stamp duty levels in September of this year.

What is likely to happen when the party ends?

After such a success, concerns were raised that the end of the stamp duty holiday, initially planned for March 2021, would create a dramatic drop off in the housing market. With the extension to the scheme there’s some relief, but many feel it only delays the inevitable and could see some negative consequences:

• A decline in buyer interest: RICS survey found buyer inquiries fell sharply in Feb 2021, leading to the original end of the stamp duty holiday.
• A drop in house prices: Nationwide reported signs that prices have started to fall for the first time in six months.
• Sales missing the stamp duty deadline: More sales will miss the new deadline as existing sales still struggle to be processed and new ones are added to the high workload
• Buyers pulling out of deals: If purchases can’t be completed by the deadline because they haven’t budgeted for the additional stamp duty.

The end of the stamp duty holiday is likely to see a levelling off in demand and a return to more normal timescales to complete transactions. Although some believe that house prices will decline, February 2021 saw them continue to be strong, even with the original end date of the stamp duty looming.

What will happen at the end of the stamp duty holiday remains uncertain. However, we are heading into spring and summer, traditionally busy times for the housing market. And as we continue to emerge gradually from lockdown, optimism may stay high and the market resilient. Whatever happens, we will be keeping a close eye on the market over the months to come.

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, then contact us today.

If you are a landlord or have responsibility for managing a rental property, you need to ensure that you are aware of your obligations under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), or you could find yourself facing a hefty fine.

What is the HHSRS?

The government’s guidance on the HHSRS states that the landlord must look after:
• The exterior of the dwelling and structural elements, and
• The inside facilities that are part of the dwelling.

These requirements have been put in place to ensure residential premises are safe and secure for residents and anyone who may be visiting the property. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure there is no risk or, if unavoidable, an acceptable level of risk from the hazards identified by HHSRS.

What types of hazards are assessed?

The HHSRS is a very comprehensive rating assessment that considers twenty-nine hazards found in the home. These hazards relate to:

• Dampness and excess cold/heat
• Pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and asbestos
• Lack of space, security, lighting, noise
• Hygiene, sanitation, water supply
• Accident risks, such as electric shocks, falls, cuts, burns, collisions
• Explosions and structural collapse.

How do the inspection’s work?

Local authorities will conduct the assessment by completing a matrix containing the twenty-nine hazards and are given extensive powers to act if the standard of a property is unacceptable. Each hazard will be given a rating (bands A-J), with bands A-C considered the most serious category 1 hazard and band D-J a less serious category 2.

The overall assessment will be made on the likelihood of an occurrence of an incident and the range of likely harmful outcomes.

What happens when the inspection finds a problem?

Local authorities have a wide range of sanctions to use against the landlord to remedy any hazards they find:

• Hazard Awareness Notice
• Improvement Notice
• Prohibition Order
• Emergency Order
• Demolition Orders and Clearance Areas

If you fail to comply with this notice requiring action, you could be fined up to £5,000.

What happens when the inspection finds a problem?

Landlords know that ensuring their property is maintained to a good standard is about ensuring their tenants’ safety and comfort and looking after their investment. HHSRS assessments are just another reason to ensure your property remains fully maintained, both inside and out.

Regularly inspecting properties can be time-consuming, and many landlords may not have the knowledge to conduct a comprehensive assessment that would pick up all the potential risks present. Regular inspections, such as those offered by No Letting Go’s property management services and regular check-ins, will keep you on top of property maintenance and can avoid large repair costs by picking up problems early on. Regular property inspections are an investment in your investment.

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, ensure compliance with regulations and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.

Are you keeping your tenants safe and your property protected? Are you sure that it has fully functioning smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed? Here’s a reminder of your responsibilities to your tenants as their landlord.

What are your responsibilities?

Regulations for private sector landlords were introduced in October 2015 detailing a legal responsibility to protect tenants from the risks of fire and CO poisoning. The expectation of landlords is very clear, and there is no grace period to let you meet legal requirements. You need to ensure that your rental property has fitted:

• At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of the property which is used as living accommodation;
• A carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is burned. A solid fuel-burning appliance could be a coal fire or wood-burning stove.

In addition to the alarms being fitted, you should also:

• Follow the legal requirement to check that alarms are in working order on the first day of each new tenancy. After this, the tenants are responsible for regularly testing alarms. Guidance suggests that this should be done monthly.
• Consider where you fit the alarms. Smoke alarms should be on a ceiling in spaces where the air circulates. CO alarms should be at head height and only a few meters from the fuel-burning appliance. However, the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed.
• Ensure alarms are audible throughout the property.
• Consider fitting a CO monitor near gas appliances as these can also emit carbon monoxide (although this is not required by law).
• Consider how you will prove you have checked the alarms at the required times.

Landlords who fail to comply with the regulations can expect a fine of up to £5000.

Regular property inventories can ensure compliance

As highlighted in our smoke and CO verification information, if your property is outside England, or you have a different type of rental property, there are different requirements you need to be aware of.

To ensure your ongoing compliance with all regulations affecting a landlord can be difficult and time-consuming, but something that good landlords and property agents are keen to do. At No Letting Go, we support our landlords and property agents with smoke and CO alarm verification and compliance with other legislation through inventory checks.

Pre-tenancy checks, regular inventory check-ins and end-of-tenancy inventories ensure that throughout a tenancy and at the start of every new one, you are providing tenants with a safe property that is in good order. We can schedule regular inventories that tenants will sign off to provide an audit trail for your compliance with regulations should this become necessary. We will also provide feedback and guidance where a property may be falling short of legal requirements.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how the local inventory specialists at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your costs, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.

Despite the challenges of lockdown, landlords and property agents still have responsibilities to tenants to maintain their properties. At No Letting Go, we have tailored our service to ensure that we can still deliver regular property checks safely and effectively even when we cannot physically visit a property.

Keeping priorities in check

The landlords and property agents we support are familiar with the start-to-finish support our inventory management service offers. From a pre-tenancy inventory check, through interim checks and ending with an end-of-tenancy check, we have created a rigorous audit regime so that those responsible for managing properties can:

• Fulfil their legal obligations
• Keep tenants safe
• Maintain properties in a good condition
• Maintain high levels of property management service
• Meet contractual requirements
• Continue providing value for money as property agents

To ensure that none of these responsibilities slip, we have expanded how we conduct regular property visits that will ensure you keep meeting your obligations as a landlord and property agent, even during these difficult times.

Virtual property visits supported by the latest technology

Property visits have always been key to ensuring that all is in order with the property and a good relationship is maintained with tenants. While lockdown is a requirement, No Letting Go has looked for ways to reduce contact and minimise the risk to those around us, establishing a process for virtual property visits when tenants are not comfortable with a face-to-face visit.

Thanks to the investment we’ve made in our propriety inventory software called Kaptur and our Digisign function, we already have the tools in place to enable virtual property visits. Through a 15-minute phone call to tenants, we can complete an inventory questionnaire covering key aspects of a property inspection.

The information provided during the call will be recorded on our Kaptur software and sent to the tenants. They will be able to upload photos of the property, raise any maintenance issues they may have, review the report, digitally sign it, and then return the report electronically.

Quick and efficient, these checks ensure landlord priorities can be met while tenants still feel supported in their home with minimal disruption.

Don’t let lockdown stop you from meeting your rental property commitments

Everyone has to spend more time in our homes at the moment; as a landlord, it is important that you remain on top of your commitments to tenant safety and protect your property investment.

If you are a property agent managing several properties, you cannot afford a backlog of property visits to build up and risk not meeting your contractual obligations to your clients. Maintaining regular checks is key to protecting your property and ensuring your tenants’ safety, maintaining a good reputation as a landlord, and protecting your long-term income.

If you would like to discuss how the local inventory specialists at No Letting Go could become your property management partner, streamline your costs, reduce workload and keep accurate property inventories, then contact us today.

At No Letting Go, we are very proud of the market-leading property management franchise business we’ve built together with our franchisees. As we continue to grow, we thrive on working with dynamic and driven individuals looking for the opportunity to run their own business, and we’re looking for new business partners.

What we do at No Letting Go

We provide reports on the conditions of residential rental properties for landlords, agents and tenants. There are several vital reports services in our portfolio, but most common are check-in and check-out reports for tenant changes.

What sets us apart from the competition is our bespoke tablet-based technology which offers full flexibility, allowing reports to be completed online while on-site. Accurate and efficient, it allows our franchisees to provide an excellent service to their clients.

Why landlords need inventories

Continued demand in the rental sector grows the need for clear and in-depth reports because they have an important role to play for landlords and their agents in ensuring a smooth tenancy:

• Meeting legislation requirements and ensuring safety standards are adhered to
• Building good relationships with tenants by providing objective reports
• Providing a key administrative service, freeing time for landlords to focus on growing their portfolio and other tasks
• Protecting an investment by confirming the good condition of a property
• Employing experienced experts to complete reports
• Providing an end-to-end service

The breadth of value an inventory service can add to a rental enterprise makes it an integral tool for any landlord or agent and offers them reassurance over the ongoing safety and upkeep of their investment properties.

Why become a franchise owner?

If you have ever thought of running your own business, being a franchise owner offers a great opportunity while providing a higher level of business support.

We continue to invest in our bespoke technologies, developing our offering to landlords and tenants so that franchisees don’t have to. You can reassure clients that they are meeting their legal and health and safety obligations with the latest software.

We also provide a national network that allows us to support national and large accounts so we can build a broad portfolio of clients.

As a franchisee, in addition to being part of a strong and growing franchise group with a strong reputation, you will be supported in making your franchise a success:

• Training at our Training Academy that covers not only how to produce reports but also how to launch your business, with ongoing learning and development support
• Business development support to grow your own business
• A national support network through our franchises
• The latest technology that provides a competitive advantage and enables you to work efficiently

Running your own business can be highly rewarding. The opportunity to do this with the support of a leading national brand opens a world of potential. If you would like to learn more about our exciting franchise opportunities or would like to contact us, you’ll find details here.