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;

  1. Notify tenants of their responsibilities at least 2 weeks prior to the end of the tenancy
  2. Provide pre-check out service
  3. Tenants return property to original condition
  4. Provide check-out visit on the last day of the tenancy
  5. Provide check-out report
  6. Tenant accepts/challenges report
  7. Deposit return is negotiated
  8. 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.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of providing a furnished or partly furnished property for prospective tenants, you’ve come to the right place.

Letting a furnished property has plenty of benefits, including quality tenants and longer tenancies. However, furnishing your property can get expensive and cause issues down the line if not done properly.

Here, we discuss how to furnish a rental property with tips and tricks on making the most of your portfolio.

 

What’s the Difference Between Fully Furnished and Partly Furnished?

Let’s clear this up before we get started.

 

Furnished

Usually, a furnished property will come with essential electrical appliances, white goods and basic furniture. In short, everything a tenant needs to move in straight away.

 

Partly Furnished

A partly furnished property will only include white goods, lighting and essentials such as curtains and kitchen cabinets. It may also include some other furniture items at the discretion of the landlord or letting agent.

 

Unfurnished

An unfurnished property will come with only the very basics- light fittings, carpets and essential appliances such as an oven.

 

Should you Furnish Your Rental Property?

Furnished or unfurnished? It’s a tricky question. While renting unfurnished properties may seem like the easy option, providing a furnished property comes with attractive benefits;

 

You Can Charge Higher Rent

A well-furnished property may affect the amount of rent you can charge.

With a lack of quality, furnished properties on the rental market, tenants searching for a ready-made home are prepared to pay a little more for the convenience.

Good quality furnishings that make your property look welcoming will attract tenants and help your property stand out.

 

Attract the Right Tenants

A well-furnished property will attract a wider pool of renters, allowing you to pick and choose to find the right tenant for you– whatever that might look like.

 

Secure Longer Tenancies

A home that feels well cared for and inviting will encourage tenants to stay longer term.

 

Who is Your Target Tenant?

The tenant group you’re targeting should be the biggest consideration when deciding whether to furnish your property. Well established families or older professionals are likely to have their own furniture they want to bring with them.

Whereas students or young professionals may be looking for convenience and a place they can move in straight away.

 

What Does a Landlord Have to Provide in a Furnished Flat?

When providing tenants with a furnished home, there are certain items they will expect to be included;

 

What to Include

A furnished property should include;

  • White goods (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer etc.)
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Beds
  • Sofas and chairs
  • Wardrobes, chest of drawers and cupboards
  • Light fittings
  • Curtains
  • Carpets

 

What Not to Include

However, there are a few items landlords are not expected to provide;

  • Bed linen, duvets and pillows
  • Cleaning supplies

 

Furnishing a Buy to Let Property: Top Tips

To make things easier for yourself at the end of the tenancy agreement, we have some tips and advice on how to furnish your rental property;

 

Choose Easy to Clean Furniture

Wear and tear is inevitable, but to keep your property in good condition, easy to clean appliances will encourage your tenants to keep things well maintained.

 

Avoid Decorations

When it comes to personal taste, we’re all different. Let your tenants choose the little details so they can feel at home. Similarly- neutral colours work best.

 

Choose Easy to Replace Items

This way, if things get broken, they can be replaced with a ‘like for like’ item without too much bother.

 

Replace Furnishings as Needed

Old, stained carpets will do nothing for your properties appeal. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme recommends replacing most items of furniture after 7 years.

 

Provide Basic Tools

Providing basic tools will encourage tenants to take care of minor issues themselves, taking one more thing off your plate.

 

Follow Safety Regulations

As a responsible landlord, you need to follow fire safety laws when it comes to soft furnishings.

 

Choosing the Right Furnishings

Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of furniture to include in your rental property, room by room.

Image of blue sofa in front of white brick wall

Living Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Sofa(s) or armchairs
  • Coffee table
  • Bookcase
  • Carpet
  • Lights

 

Best Sofas for Rental Properties

Here’s a few of our top picks of the best sofas to buy for your rental property:

The Budget 2-Seater

This modern 2-seater sofa in a neutral grey will work well in slick apartments for young professionals and is pretty easy on the budget too!

The Classic Sofa Bed

A sofa bed is a big plus among tenants, and this one is great value for money. This simple, classic style will work well in most interiors and families will love the extra storage space.

The Quality 3-Seater

If you’re trying to attract professionals willing to pay high prices for the right home, a quality sofa is essential. This one comes from an esteemed brand and the elegant style will have mass appeal.

 

Kitchen/Dining Room Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Essential appliances (oven, washing machine, fridge freezer, toaster, kettle etc.)
  • Table and chairs

 

Best Dining Tables for Rental Properties

A dining table is the hub of any home and getting the right one is important.

The Space Saving Solution

This handy piece of furniture features built in storage and a fold-out table design. Perfect when letting properties with small kitchens.

The Extendable Table

The simple, modern design of this table will fit neatly into any interior, and the extendable section can accommodate extra guests. It’s also budget-friendly!

 

Bedroom Furniture

Basics to include:

  • Bed
  • Mattress
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of drawers
  • Bedside table
  • Carpet
  • Lighting

 

Best Mattress for Rental Properties

A mattress is perhaps the most important piece of furniture for your rental property. A considerate investment, you need it to be durable and long lasting. Here’s our top picks;

The Affordable Memory Foam Mattress

This mattress from the Memory Foam Warehouse makes quality memory foam affordable. Starting at under £100, you’re unlikely to find anything cheaper.

The Bed-in-a-Box Mattress

Buying a mattress for your rental property is only half the battle. The next job is delivery. Opting for a bed in a box mattress means the mattress can be delivered straight to the property in a convenient sized box.

The Mattress Topper

Once you’ve invested in a mattress, it makes sense to protect it. A mattress topper can prolong the life of a mattress and guard against stains to keep it looking fresh at the end of the tenancy. This memory foam mattress topper is a cheap but comfortable option.

 

Protecting Your Furnished Rental Property: Inventory Management

Once you’ve gone to the effort of furnishing your rental property, you need to ensure it’s protected.

The easiest way to do this is by investing in a comprehensive inventory report delivered by unbiased professionals. A property inventory helps guard your property and its contents against damage by providing full details of its condition at the start and end of a tenancy.

At No Letting Go, we provide landlords and property professionals with comprehensive services and reports to protect their investment and streamline processes. Browse our full list of inventory management services to find out how we can help.

Ending a tenancy can be awkward for both tenants and property professionals. Dealing with tenancy deposit returns, outstanding rent and resolving disputes can take time and a lot of effort. So, how can tenants and landlords alike ensure the end of tenancy goes smoothly?

No Letting Go’s chief operations officer, Lisa Williamson recently joined Richard Blanco on his podcast ‘Inside Property’ to discuss the types of issues that can arise and how to resolve them through unbiased, end of tenancy services.

Lisa was joined by Suzy Hershman, head of dispute resolution at My Deposits, and Al McClenahan, the director of Justice4Tenants to get a full picture from all sides of the story.

Here is a roundup of the key insights that came out of the programme;

Start as You Mean to End

Lisa’s top tip on ending a tenancy well is to determine a clear position from the start. The way to do this is through a well thought out inventory including detailed but concise information, clear photographs and a comprehensive list of contents and condition.

Creating a tenancy format which is easy to read by both parties is essential for avoiding confusion at the end of the tenancy.

Another tip for landlords from Lisa is to ensure that tenants sign the inventory report to avoid deduction disputes during check out.

 

An Unbiased Outlook is Key

One question that arose in the podcast was whether landlords should create their own inventory reports.

While it’s completely fair for a landlord to perform their own survey, they run the risk of using emotional language which can be interpreted in different ways.

This is where an independent inventory service can resolve issues. No Letting Go inventory reports include a glossary of terms to determine the condition and cleanliness of items in the property. For example, rather than a landlord using the word ‘immaculate’ to describe a piece of furniture which could come across as biased or open to interpretation, instead ‘professionally clean’ is a clearly explained term in the NLG glossary.

Another benefit of using a professional, unbiased property inventory service is that in the case of a dispute over deposit returns, judicators can clearly understand the benchmarks.

 

Are Pre-Check Out Meetings A Good Idea?

As an active landlord himself, Richard highlighted the benefit of arranging pre-check out meetings with tenants to go over what is expected of them during the moving out process.

This all sounds well and good, but the question is, who will pay for it? Landlords and tenants may be reluctant to fork out this extra cost, but it could save money further down the line.

Alternatively, providing tenants with an end of tenancy letter detailing all the tasks that need to be completed before moving out is a great way to prevent confusion over where responsibilities lie. This can include the date and time of the key handover and what needs to be cleaned.

 

End of Tenancy Property Cleaning

As the head of dispute resolution at My Deposit, Suzie Hershman has a lot of experience dealing with the common issues affecting landlords and tenants during the checkout process.

According to Suzie, cleaning comes top of the list when it comes to end of tenancy disputes.

The resolution is simple. Start with an inventory report which plainly states the condition of the property and how it is expected to be maintained. For example, if the property has a garden, the inventory needs to clearly state that the grass needs to be cut or the paving de-weeded and power washed before leaving the property.

Other issues that can arise include whose responsibility it is for window cleaning and whether professional carpet cleaning needs to be undertaken.

The main rule of thumb for tenants, is that the property needs to be returned in the original state as at the start of the tenancy. This may involve hiring an end of tenancy cleaning service (make sure you keep the receipt as evidence) or giving the property a thorough clean yourself. Either way, ensure you leave on the last day of your tenancy confident everything looks the same as it did when you moved in!

Fair wear and tear can be a bit of a grey area when it comes to cleaning. Suzie recommends that landlords should think of the items in their property as having a lifespan. A carpet or decor has an average lifespan of 5 years, which needs to be taken into consideration during the checkout report.

 

Managing the Landlord-Tenant Relationship

According to Al from Justice4Tenants, the main reason for the breakdown of the landlord- tenant relationship at the end of a tenancy is disputes over deposit deductions.

Al attributed this to poor inventories which leave too much room for interpretation and miscommunication, which is more common when landlords create their own.

Another common reason for strained relationships is when tenants are in arrears at the end of the tenancy agreement. To minimise conflict, Al recommends that tenants are as open and communicative with their landlord about their financial difficulties to help landlords remain understanding until the issue can be resolved.

However, when landlords view their role purely from an investment perspective and ignore the human side of the relationship, this is when disputes are likely to arise. The lesson? Landlords who are more understanding and willing to negotiate are likely to have better relationships with their tenants, resulting in a smoother parting.

 

How Will the Letting Agency Fee Ban Effect End of Tenancy?

There has been much discussion over what changes the letting agency fee ban will bring to the industry. However, for now, Lisa doesn’t see much change to the way check out reports will be processed.

Currently, landlords usually pay for the inventory, and for either check-in or check-out services while the tenant pays for the other. This means there is only one cost that needs to be recuperated by landlords.

According to Lisa, most landlords and tenants can see the advantages of having these services managed by independent professionals.

 

Unbiased End of Tenancy Services from No Letting Go

To ensure the end of a tenancy goes as smoothly as possible and you retain a positive relationship throughout, using an independent property service can help resolve issues and disputes before they arise.

No Letting Go provides all the documentation needed at the start and end of a tenancy to determine how much money is deducted from the deposit. Using the latest technology, No Letting Go can advise against fair wear and tear and create reports to ensure you are fully compliant with regulations.

To see the full list of services on offer, head to the No Letting Go services page.

It’s time to talk deposits…

These are a source of protection for landlords, ensuring they have a safety net should anything happen to their property.

But, this doesn’t mean they’re without their own complications!

Deposit disputes are common. If a landlord withholds money for any reason, this is an obvious conflict of interest between both parties.

Let’s ensure that doesn’t happen. Here are some important landlord deposit rules to remember.

The Government Approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All landlords must put deposits in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme. SafeDeposits is Scotland’s leading tenancy deposit scheme.

These ensure a deposit is protected, and that tenants receive the full amount back if they meet the terms of their tenancy agreement and maintain the property as agreed.

TDS disputes are very uncommon, as the deposit is looked after by an unbiased, regulated third party.

Some landlords can be confused by these schemes, as in England and Wales there are two options. So, let’s straighten it out:

Insured Scheme

The Insured Scheme is where the landlord or letting agent keeps hold of the deposit throughout the tenancy, while paying a fee to the TDS.

This fee operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, meaning you don’t pay after the tenancy has finished!

Custodial Scheme

With the Custodial Scheme, the landlord or letting agent doesn’t have to pay a fee, as the TDS looks after the deposit.

The TDS will then release the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Both tenancy deposit protection schemes have their benefits, so it’s important to work out what works for you.

When are Tenancy Deposit Deductions Allowed?

There’s no hard and fast rule when tenants ask, ‘what can my landlord deduct from my deposit?’ as this varies depending on the individual circumstance.

However, there are some common reasons why deposits aren’t returned.

Reasons for these deductions must be stipulated in the tenancy agreement, for example cleaning deposits. If you require the property to be returned in a certain way, for example the carpets cleaned, ensure this is clearly communicated.

After the tenant leaves, landlords are allowed to make deposit deductions for the following reasons:

Unpaid Rent

There are numerous reasons why tenants may not be able to afford rent.

However, while some circumstances are out of their control, missed or withheld rent is a justifiable reason not to pay back some, or all, of their deposit.

Many landlords prefer to deduct money from the deposit rather than serve their tenant with a Section 21 eviction notice.

If your tenant owes more than the deposit amount, you can take legal action, and a court can order them to pay the full amount back. This will incur it’s own legal fees, so you’ll need to work out if it makes sense financially.

Serious Damage to the Property

Whether it’s to the property itself, such as smashed windows, or broken furniture, damaging the property contradicts the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Therefore, landlords are allowed to deduct the appropriate amount from the deposit.

Recklessness is something you can take seriously!

However, it’s important to remember that this mustn’t count as fair wear and tear.

Lost or Broken Items

One main reason for landlords not returning deposits is missing items. The cost of these can be deducted at the end of the tenancy!

The inventory will have set out what items were included with the property, and their condition. So, in the interest of reassurance for the landlord, a detailed inventory is essential.

Cleaning

In the world of tenancy deposit disputes, cleaning can be a huge source of disagreement between landlords and tenants, largely because we all have different definitions of what is ‘clean’.

However, it’s a common cause of deposit deductions. For example, if it was negotiated in the tenancy agreement that the tenant would pay for a professional carpet clean after keeping pets in the property, they must uphold this.

If they fail to do so, landlords can pay for the cost of the clean from the deposit. For a landlord, cleaning is the tenant’s responsibility!

General Maintenance

General maintenance can be difficult because it’s a vague term.

But, misuse can result in a deposit deduction. For example, if any appliances have been deliberately neglected, the landlord will have to pay to repair these before the start of the next tenancy.

Damage Caused By Pets

Landlords and pets have a strained relationship. However, with half the UK’s population owning a pet, and nearly 1 in 5 of us renting our home, landlords have had to make compromises.

Before the tenancy starts, those with pets often agree to pay a higher deposit or the cost of a professional clean. But, this doesn’t make any damage caused by pets acceptable!

Many tenants find it difficult to understand why their landlord has kept their deposit. But, when you consider the cost of repairing damage, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

Poor Redecoration

If a tenant takes it upon themselves to redecorate the property without asking you first, this may be in breach of their tenancy agreement. As a result, you might be able to deduct money from their deposit to get the room back to its prior condition.

Alternatively, if you allow a tenant to redecorate, but they do a poor job, you can claim for redecoration costs also.

When Can Tenants Dispute Deposit Deductions?

But, it’s important landlords understand what they can’t claim for. When can landlords keep deposits, and when can’t they?

Tenants have many responsibilities, such as keeping up with rent payments and taking care of the property. But, for landlords, unfair deposit deductions are simply unacceptable.

Tenants are always asking ‘can my landlord withhold my deposit?’ The answer is yes, but, within reason.

Let’s put the issue to rest. Landlords cannot refuse to return the deposit for:

General Wear and Tear

As mentioned previously, reasonable wear and tear isn’t a reason to withhold tenants’ money.

The definition of normal wear and tear is a difficult one, so it’s essential to consider the tenancy itself, such as the amount of tenants and the time of occupation.

For landlords, what is considered normal wear and tear can be a grey area. So, you’ll need to justify any deposit claims you make. Your property will have been lived in for a certain amount of time, so, while there are no rules for what is ‘reasonably acceptable’, you can’t expect it to be completely fresh at the end of the tenancy.

Redecorating the Property

You can’t charge outgoing tenants for the price of redecorating the property simply because you feel it needs a facelift.

If you’re only trying to give the place a freshen up in the hopes of charging higher rent, this must come out of your own pocket.

Preparation of the Dispute

If a deposit dispute has arisen, you can’t claim for the cost of any evidence gathered or legal paperwork drawn up.

Even if the dispute goes in the favour of the landlord, the tenant’s deposit doesn’t pay for it.

Cost of Re-Letting the Property

Costs involved with re-letting the property cannot be claimed for.

The end of an old tenancy and the start of a new one are completely separate!

Anything that Contradicts the Contract

If your property has failed to live up to the standards tenants expect and deserve, you can’t claim the cost of fixing this before the next tenancy.

For example, deposit deductions aren’t allowed for repairing appliances that have failed to work throughout the tenancy.

Just as the tenant has to keep to their contract, so do landlords!

Repair to the Structure of the Property

Structural damage, such as roof repairs, cannot be deducted from the deposit.

The tenant has a right to live in a structurally safe and well-built property, therefore any repairs are the responsibility of the landlord!

Claiming for More than the Deposit

You will have set the deposit amount at the start of the tenancy. At the end of this tenancy, it cannot be changed.

If you have grounds to ask for more money, you’ll need to go through the appropriate legal proceedings.

Giving Notice About a Tenancy Deposit Dispute

Feel you have grounds for a claim? You’ll need to provide notice of this.

So, when should a landlord return a deposit? A tenant cannot expect to receive their deposit back before the end of the tenancy. However, under normal circumstances, the landlord pays it back within 10 days.

When you need to make a claim, you must write to your tenant and explain why you’re not returning the full amount. Resolved deposit disputes don’t occur without your reasons in writing.

Previously, they’ll have needed evidence that you placed their deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. If you’ve failed to provide this, you may find it difficult to make a claim.

How to Make a Deposit Claim

If you’re making a claim, ensure you write to the tenant and explain exactly why. They’ll need to understand your reasons behind it. Tenancy disputes need to be clearly communicated between both parties.

If they agree with your reasoning, you won’t have to go through a dispute service. However, it’s likely that they’ll disagree.

A dispute service will be provided free of charge by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme you’ve used. It can often be difficult to find a dispute resolution, however, using a professional service ensures it will be fair.

Required Evidence for Deposit Claims

Feel you have the right to make a claim?

Evidence is key. Here’s a closer look at exactly what you’ll need:

Photographs

If you have evidence of any serious damage, ensure you have photographs to prove this.

Photos are also useful to back-up any points made in the inventory, showing the before and after state of the property and any particular items.

Inventory and Schedule of Condition

However, photographs aren’t the only piece of evidence you’ll need.

A detailed, comprehensive inventory will be invaluable when make a deposit claim against a tenant. Within this report should be photos, used to support the written details within.

Naturally, this will have needed to be compiled at the start of the tenancy. The more evidence, the better!

While many landlords choose to carry these out themselves, a professional inventory will provide more clarity than a DIY one. This is thanks to the independent, unbiased third party who compiles the report!

Tenancy Agreement

What was laid out in the tenancy agreement? How was it stated the property must be maintained?

One important landlord deposit rule to follow is to use the tenancy agreement as a piece of armour. It will protect you from any untrue claims made by the tenant, as they will have signed it.

Email Correspondence

Have you kept hold of any important emails between you and your tenant?

If you’ve visited the property during the tenancy and found it’s not being maintained as you’ve agreed, ensure you’ve followed this up in writing.

This will be valuable evidence when it comes to making your claim!

You’ll need to show you’ve communicated any issues you’ve had with your tenants, as this will prove whether or not they took action to fix them.

Original Invoices

Need to repair something, such as an appliance?

Ensure you’ve kept a receipt or invoice of its original cost, as you can use this when working out how much to deduct from the deposit.

Landlords withholding deposits isn’t a decision made lightly. But, if you feel you have grounds to make a claim, ensure you can support it with evidence.

How to Win a Dispute Between Landlord and Tenant

How can you ensure you’ll be granted your deposit deduction?

Don’t Be Unreasonable

A property will never be returned to you in a completely shiny and new condition. This needs to be allowed for.

It’s likely that, if you make an unreasonable claim, you’ll end up wasting the time and effort on the claim for no reward.

Don’t negate your claim by making unfair or ridiculous statements!

Keep Communication Open

Communication with your tenant is key.

When you inspect your rental property, keep an eye out for any damage and follow up with your tenant. This might be able to be fixed before the end of the tenancy.

However, if you do feel you need to make a claim, communication will be essential here also. Sitting down with your tenant and clearly explaining where the claim has come from will make it less likely that they’ll dispute it.

Here’s where your evidence will be vital. If you present all the facts in front of them, it will be difficult for them to dispute it.

Have a Detailed Inventory

When it comes to landlord disputes, a detailed inventory will be the most useful piece of evidence. Better still, it may even be able to prevent them completely!

Just as the tenancy protection scheme is in place to protect both parties, so are inventories. When landlords lose disputes, this often is down to a poorly put together, insufficient inventory.

The inventory should be used as comparative evidence, showing every detail of the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This is where detail will become so important, as it will provide clarity.

Claims from tenants such as ‘my landlord won’t return my deposit’ or accusations of unfair treatment will be stamped out with the help of an inventory.

Want to protect your investment? No Letting Go provide professionally compiled, unbiased inventories that will help to provide clarity throughout the tenancy. Interested in finding out how we can help you? Browse our full range of services here.

Looking to let out your property to new tenants?

It’s important to know who you’re renting your property out to and what to expect from them in the future. You’ll want a risk free applicant that doesn’t provide you with a mountain of financial stress and instability.

We’ve created a guide to the best tenant referencing companies that you should be aware of and what they can offer you.

Husmus

Husmus offers three instant tenant referencing report types. Their comprehensive product instantly returns a report containing credit checks (CCJs, Bankruptcy, Insolvency, address verification), Identity and Right to Rent confirmation. Additionally, it covers past rent payment, as well as income and affordability verification based on careful analysis of tenant bank statements and long-term net disposable income.

Packages start from £9.95 for the basic option, up to £39.95 for full comprehensive checks. They also offer bulk and unlimited tenant referencing packages for high volume users.

FLS Tenant Referencing

An independent referencing service that’s available on a pay-as-you-order basis, FLS Tenant Referencing has operated in the UK since 1992 and offers all of the expected credit reports and associated services you’d hope to find from a tenancy referencing company.

Their packages include company referencing, credit check plus, insight referencing and full profile referencing. Ranging from £9.95 to £34.95, they provide various levels of detail for response times that can be immediate or within a 48 hour period.

Tenant Referencing UK

With multiple different services across the board, including advertising, referencing and insurance, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Tenant Referencing UK.

Numerous packages are on offer which suit a variety of needs, starting with ‘DIY Referencing’ at £7 and bumped-up versions for £40. They’ll calculate costs, process your forms and ultimately get you the answers you need for your potential applicants.

Rent 4 Sure

Rent 4 Sure keep their services at the forefront of their advertising, making it clear what they offer and how it can benefit you. With three types of tenancy referencing to choose from, including credit checks, full referencing and company referencing, you’ll have a variety of choice to suit you.

Van Mildert Landlord and Tenant Protection

Much like other landlord protection companies, Van Mildert has property security in mind when it comes to their referencing services.

You can expect to obtain a wealth of information from numerous sources, including a comprehensive credit report, employment references, landlord references, verified bank statements and a final judgement as to whether your tenant is likely to pay the rent on time or cause any problems.

FCC Paragon

Established in 1996, this letting company offers experienced services to its customers and prides itself on reliability. There are all of the standard options you’d want, with fast response times to keep you up to date.

You can select from full reference checks, instant credit searches, company references and remote referencing. Their most popular service, full referencing, benefits from a credit history check, voters roll confirmation, location information, PCC Paragon tenants database checks, agent and landlord references, as well as income information.

HomeLet

This insurance and tenancy referencing company has over 25 years’ worth of expertise at hand. With three levels of checks to choose from, and a rent guarantee designed to protect your income should a tenant fail to pay rent, there’s plenty to be drawn towards here.

HomeLet’s ‘Optimum’ choice offers full checks and a guarantee to remove tenants from a property should they fail to pay the rent. The other, cheaper options at £45 and £25 respectively, offer various degrees of checks and references to give you a clear picture of your potential tenant.

Experian

Experian’s tenant screening services allows landlords to monitor existing tenants and evaluate potentially new ones. They have a variety available with differing wait times. You can choose from instant or comprehensive checks, as well as background screening designing for private landlords.

RLA Tenant Referencing

Registering with the Residential Landlords Association is free and the company offers a pay-as-you go system for referencing services. You’ll be able to choose from tenant, guarantor and company references.

Tenants complete their applications online, and you can receive a discount if you’re an RLA member. Full support is available by email or telephone with comprehensive and uncomplicated reports to keep things simple.

Mudhut

Looking for something more immediate? Mudhut offers an instant, quick checking service starting at £12. You’ll receive a credit score, identity and residency checks, electoral roll checks, electoral roll checks, alters, aliases and financial associates, bankruptcy and insolvency checks, county court judgements and checks on previous addresses.

Information is sourced from Equifax and a risk assessment is provided to determine if you’re getting a suitable tenant for your property.

OpenRent

This tenant referencing company provides two distinct packages for £20.

The first is a ‘speedy reference’ that you’ll receive within one working day, and includes credit checks, linked addresses and identity information, as well as extra court information and the right to rent check and advice.

The second, the ‘comprehensive reference’, includes all of the above with extra stats on affordability rating, previous landlord referencing, employer’s references and rent guarantee insurance eligibility. You’ll have to wait longer however, and should expect your report back within three to five working days.

Rentguard

Established in 2001, Rentguard are confident in their ability to recognise the good and the bad when it comes to potential tenants. They offer a range of referencing services including a full profile, credit check, insight referencing, and company reference checks.

A full profile run down includes written verification of income, previous letting references, residency confirmation, affordability calculations, full credit history checks, application tracking and a comprehensive report sent by fax or email. They’ll respond within 1 to 2 working days.

Total Tenant Referencing

Implemented by Rent4Sure, Total Tenant Referencing pool from several sources of information and provide you with details on a potential application’s ability to pay rent, their general history, as well as additional stats and figures. They also offer rent protection, legal expenses and tenant’s liability insurance.

Alan Boswell

Alan Boswell aim to reduce the risks associated with letting properties by offering landlords both the full referencing service as well as an online credit check. Both are £29.50 and £12.50 per person respectively, and give an extensive insight into potential tenants.

Also available is the company reference check for £21.50 per company, where you’ll receive verification of business activities, details of any previous names or subsidiaries, an analysis of profit and loss counts, county court judgement searches, verification of director details and a full comprehensive report sent by email.

Being a landlord is no easy business, and since your property is your livelihood, we believe in protecting it. We can help you safeguard your property, with full check-in and check-out services that ensure a hassle-free and impartial inventory check. Find out more about how No Letting Go can help you here.

Kaptur is the latest mobile software released by No Letting Go. It provides quick, easy and compliant software for residential letting agents to complete compliance reporting in house. The system is unique in that it also gives the client the ability to outsource to a network of professionals as and when they wish. The software can provide different report formats for different uses, is workflow driven saving time and cost for clients and has a comprehensive editing and management suite to ensure reports are managed effectively.

The software is currently used by all No Letting Go offices, some external inventory clerks and residential letting agents throughout the UK. The system is also integrated into key suppliers such as Fixflo.

The opportunity for Kaptur is in the residential lettings market, residential sales market, block management and commercial property markets. No Letting Go see Kaptur as a partner to help save costs and develop efficiencies and as a tool to help generate stronger relationships with the market that will help grow all sides of the business. It is also an entry point tool for new markets and is by its very nature, very scalable.

This is an excellent opportunity to be part of a great new product that you can make your own.

Scope of the Role

The role is to initially establish Kaptur as one of the key mobile compliance/inventory software providers by selling the solution to potential agency clients. Using existing contacts, the No Letting Go franchise network and your own existing or developed relationships, you will sell the service to meet your targets. This will initially involve following up on leads, completing online demos, setting and managing trials, carrying out face to face client meetings but you will be expected to carry out industry presentations, source and develop partnerships and manage these to a profitable outcome.

Whilst the software is already being used by the market, January 2017 sees the release of the IOS version of the software with several new enhancements for the android versions. Your role is to build on the successful launch of the software by developing existing and new accounts and developing long term relationships, building a strong pipeline.

You will be required to deliver projected revenue and deliver on other key performance indicators related to the ongoing growth of the business. The role will require you to work closely with the CEO, Marketing Manager, Customer Support Teams and the No Letting Go franchisee network.

Target Markets: Business-to-Business Residential and Commercial Property Management Market, PRS, Student Market.

Key Accountabilities

Key Performance Indicators:

  • Monthly Revenue
  • Client Retention
  • Franchisee Kaptur revenue
  • Activity (demos, trials)
  • Number of new clients
  • Growth of existing accounts
  • Source and develop new partners
  • Marketing Manage costs of service delivery

As the key sales person, you will also play an active role in the development of the brand. This will involve business development including:

  • Developing and rolling out national marketing campaigns for your target markets working with the marketing department.
  • Identifying opportunities for campaigns, services, and distribution channels that will lead to an increase in sales.
  • Working with nominated franchisees to deliver on budgeted growth targets, maintain communication and increase profitability for all parties
  • Set up meetings between client decision maker and key franchisees and/or management team.
  • Managing and nurturing the client relationship team to ensure the highest productivity whilst keeping motivation levels high.
  • Submitting monthly progress reports and ensure accuracy of all data (pricing, invoicing etc.).
  • Attend all shows/seminars/conferences.
  • Attend some regional franchise meetings.
  • Monitor daily and weekly deliverables.

Personal Attributes

This person needs to be a self-starter, disciplined and very driven to meet targets, someone that can work well with people and get the best from them.

The key initial requirements of this role will be for a person with an excellent telephone manner, who can quickly build rapport with a prospect quickly and be viewed as knowledgeable and trustworthy. In addition, it is essential that they are organised and administratively competent.

The successful applicant will be required to learn the fundamentals of the inventory business with respects to SaaS.

Requirements

The candidate is likely to come from either a property, property services or software services/licensing background with a good understanding of SaaS. Will have a proven sales track record at all levels, excellent communicator both internally and externally, excellent telephone skills and able to represent the company at the highest levels.

The successful candidate will be one who can show that they can work from the bottom up, make sales and develop new business accounts for the long term. We are looking for the candidate to be passionate and enthusiastic, wanting the service to be a success.

Induction and Training

A detailed induction programme will be compiled involving all parties involved. This will include IT support, Marketing and Management.

Reporting Line

Initially to CEO and Marketing Manager.
Salary: £25k + commission, OTE £35k + company package.
Offices are based in Swanley (National travel will be required)
Office hours are 09.00-17.30 Mon-Fri

How to Apply

To apply, email your CV to nicklyons@nolettinggo.co.uk.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) – the government approved deposit protection scheme for landlords, agents, and tenants in the UK – today announced the value of deposits protected has grown by £100m from last year, to over £1.3bn and a 25% increase in deposit disputes, to 11,900.

The TDS figures show that 19.2% of all disputes raised resulted in 100% pay-outs to tenants; 19.8% of all disputes raised by landlords or agents resulted in 100% pay-outs to them; while in the remaining 61% of cases saw the disputed money split between the parties.

Most of the disputes in England and Wales were about cleaning (58%), followed by damage (52%), redecoration (32%), gardening (17%) and rent arrears (10%).

It is worth noting the average amount of money disputed in cases across England and Wales was £831 – Our average inventory costs only 10% of this value; isn’t it worth considering a professional inventory service?

You can avoid the trend of increasing tenancy disputes with leading inventory provider No Letting Go: with an incredibly successful track record, we are the largest and most respected property inventory company with over 40 offices throughout the UK.

Call us today for enquires 01322 555128.

You can read the full TDS Dispute Service Annual Review 2015 here.

On 11 March 2015 Housing Minister Brandon Lewis announced that landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.

The draft legislation says:

A relevant landlord in respect of a specified tenancy must ensure that

  • during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 when the premises are occupied under the
  • a smoke detector is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation (this includes bathrooms, toilets halls and landings)
  • a carbon monoxide detector is equipped in any room of the premises which is used as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and

(b) checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed detector is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

With just three weeks to go, the draft Regulations have still not been approved by Parliament and, on Monday 7th September, the House of Lords threw them out and demanded it should debate them.

A week later – on Monday 14th September – Parliament has finally approved the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

The deadline is October 1st and local authorities will fine landlords who fail to comply up to £5,000.

Aside from the impending legislation, as part of our standard service No Letting Go now offer smoke detector and carbon monoxide testing at the point of inventory and checkout. We always strive to provide the best service possible by raising our standards and ensuring the health & safety of all our clients, that’s why we recommend that you buy and install alarms in your properties.

For more information call: 01322 555128 or email: info@nolettinggo.co.uk

Updated on 15/09/15

Photo source: wikipedia.org – nest.com

Leading providers of let property cover, Total Landlord Insurance, have just added Total Landlord Emergency Cover to their portfolio of insurance products
designed specifically for landlords.
Total Landlord Emergency Cover is a cost-effective insurance product that provides immediate assistance in the event of a domestic emergency at a rental
property.
The policy provides cover 24 hours a day 365 days a year for call out charges, labour and repairs for emergencies such as the breakdown of the heating system, plumbing and drainage problems.
Broking Manager, Steve Barnes, said: “Domestic emergencies at landlord’s rental properties can be inconvenient and sometimes difficult to resolve. It is not just boilers that go wrong, plumbing, drains and lost keys can cause inconvenience for landlords. At just £70 per property we feel that this policy represents excellent value for money and provides reassurance for both landlords and tenants that emergency assistance is only a phone call away. Introductory discounts are also available for limited period”.
Total Landlord Insurance will also be extending their range of landlord focussed products to include Rent Guarantee insurance and Tenant Referencing soon.

Steve continued: “Our customers are at the heart of our business and we will be adding more products and services to our website to provide landlords with a one stop solution for their insurance needs”.

For more information on Total Landlord Emergency Cover go to www.totallandlordinsurance.co.uk or call on 0800 63 43 880.

This article up from Property Drum by Operations Manager for ARLA, Ian Potter, further highlights how critical inventories with schedule of condition report have become.

With such large sums of money at stake, ARLA has called on tenants and landlords to consider the benefits of establishing a comprehensive property inventory check upon the commencement of a new let.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said, “Deposit disputes can be one of the biggest problems for both parties involved in any rental property, and many potential issues can be avoided if a professional inventory is prepared.

“A licensed letting agent will offer you the best advice on checking to see if an existing inventory is available or whether any extra charges are invoked in drawing up a new document. A true inventory is not simply a list of items in a property – it also includes a description of the condition and cleanliness at the start and finish of the tenancy, enabling one to be compared against the other with clarity and accuracy.

“Photographs are a good support for comments made in a written inventory but should not be considered a replacement for the written word. Photographs which are unsigned and undated generally are not worth the effort, so make sure they are accepted at the outset and again at the check-out stage.”

Ian Potter said, “A well put-together inventory can give both landlords and tenants peace of mind throughout the occupation period. The inventory is not designed to catch tenants out, but rather to ensure both parties are in agreement over the quality of the property being rented.

“If conducted correctly, and agreed by both tenant and landlord, an inventory should form a key point of reference for any deposit-return queries or issues over reported damage. In recognition of the importance of inventories ARLA has its own sub division, the Association of Professional Inventory Providers, whose members have passed an accreditation exam as well as having a Code of Practice to follow.”

For Professional Inventory Management Services throughout the UK talk to No Letting Go, APIP members, who can provide all inventory management services including Inventory, Check In, Propert Visits and Check Outs with full dilapidations reports. Contact us on 0800 8815 366 or contact one of our local offices at www.nolettinggo.co.uk/contact