The tenant fee ban comes into effect on the 1st June 2019, which will prohibit Landlords and Agents charging fees to tenants entering into new tenancies. Up until now, the cost of Inventories and check out inspections has often been split between the Landlords and the Tenants. So what now?
There is no argument that a quality inventory and check out report are vital to Landlords seeking to protect their interests, particularly as the new ban will also introduce a cap on the amount of deposit that can be held.
Many agents do these reports themselves, and build the cost into the charges they already make to their Landlords. But whilst this may seem good value to Landlords, what are the pitfalls to them and the agents?
a) Often the reports are carried out by staff who may not have the necessary training and qualifications, which can lead to missed items
b) Agents are paying for staff to do work that could be outsourced
c) in the event of any dispute, the element of impartially is missing
So while it may seem good value, if a tenant burns holes in a kitchen worktop that wasn't listed on the inventory (And this has happened before. Alot.), the Landlord faces the bill of replacing it themselves. Cue a bill from your contractor for upwards of £350, as opposed to a professional inventory that would have cost you £60. Add to that the very difficult conversation the agent has with said Landlord, as to why it was missed from the inventory in the first place as he now decides to take his business elsewhere. Probably not such good value after all.
All agents should now be looking at what they should and shouldn't offer their customers as standard. Inventories, in my opinion, should be offered as an optional extra to Landlords and outsourced to a company that is qualified to do this for them. And the costs involved are reasonable when compared with costs of remedying items that may need replacing. When you factor the level of professionalism it adds to an agents business and reputation, now is the time to look to make the change.
Most landlords and tenants understand what a tenants deposit is used for right? Of course they do! Rent arrears, damages, cleaning etc.
And of course, they'd be right. That's exactly what the deposit can be used for.
But (There is always a but!), this is only true if your tenancy agreement contains a deposit clause which stipulates what the deposit can be used for. If it doesn't have this clause, then the Landlord would have to return the deposit in full, even if there was hundreds of pounds owed.
Most letting agency tenancy agreements will have this clause as standard, but you should always check to make sure that yours does too.
You can also protect yourself further by using a professional inventory provider to compile the check in and check out reports (Which, we are awesome at providing by the way!).
If you need any further information, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Interesting article on tenants deposits and how some Landlords and Agents are incorrectly seeking damages for issues such as general wear and tear. This can lead to long delays and increased workloads when Agents could be using that time to grow their business.
Using an independent inventory provider reduces that risk as we will identify fair wear and tear, and make recommendations on what should be paid for by the tenant. And because we're independent, our reports are much more likely to be better received by the deposit schemes themselves.
Report on industry eye is here;
So, our migration to Devon is complete! We have bought a lovely little cottage in the South Hams, and have settled in nicely. Why Devon? Well, if you've ever been here on holiday, then you'll know why! But my wife was raised here, and we decided it would be the perfect place for our children to live. Plus, our house is really close to the pub!
So we'll soon be launching our 5 star rated Inventory service in the South Hams and surrounding areas while the Hampshire side of the business continues to grow. The reason for our success in Hampshire is simple - we provide a good service at a competitive price. The industry is changing, and Letting Agents and Landlords need to know that we are efficient at what we do. And here's just a few reasons why we could help you too;
Members of The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (The AIIC)
Online booking system, with reports that can be signed electronically by tenants (No more printing)
One price (No mileage or extra room costs)
Professional reports delivered the same day
Over 11 years Lettings experience
5 star Google reviews
To see if we can help you in any way, please feel free to get in touch,
Hardly a surprising title is it?
However, it does enforce the importance of having a professional inventory completed when your tenants move in to a property, and having a professional check out completed when they leave.
The article below is indicative of how deposit disputes can escalate, and can take a long time to resolve. Apart from the detail of the report (which is always comprehensive when using One Click Properties, not to mention the photographs), the main thing that Deposit companies like is impartiality. With as many as 56% of deposits going to dispute over cleaning, wouldn't you rather have us on your side?
One of the things we often find in properties when performing any type of inspection (apart from dust, and, randomly, socks) is the dreaded condensation mould.
It affects buildings both old and new, and let's be honest, it looks awful. Plus, it can be pretty bad for your health if left unattended. But there are lots of things that both tenants and Landlords can do to prevent it and manage it.
Often classed as a lifestyle problem, it can occur because of insufficient ventilation, rooms are too cold, clothes hanging out to dry, showers, cooking, breathing (although we wouldn't recommend stopping breathing!) etc etc. It also likes to breed behind furniture such as beds and wardrobes.
It can also be as a result of a problem with the property. A leak elsewhere causing excess moisture. No extractor in the bathroom (even if there's a window, we would always advise that an extractor is installed). There are any number of possibilities.
When we do discover condensation mould, we will always discuss it with the tenants and the Landlord/Agent and make suggestions on ways it can be managed and improved. We will also look for any signs of an underlying problem that can be making it worse.
If you'd like to find out more, please feel free to call us or drop us a mail. We're always happy to offer advice.
We all like things in life to be simple.. My wife tells me that's why she loves me?!
Too many companies have pricing structures that can be confusing, and you never actually know how much you'll end up paying. Never easy when you're trying to budget! Plus, many of us don't have the time to sit down with a calculator or a team of accountants just to figure out how much a service will actually cost.
Inventory companies can be guilty of this too;
"The price for a 2 bed inventory will be £60". Perfect you say! Sign me up! But then you read the small print and find out there is an extra charge if it has a toilet. An extra charge if you're lucky enough to have two hallways. An extra charge if you have a garden. God forbid that you have a conservatory. Gather the accountants and you work out that your £60 inventory will actually cost you £100! Well, at least you think it will..
We always try and buck that trend where we can. Firstly, we're one of the only inventory companies to actually advertise their fees in the first place. But now, we've made our pricing simple whereby the price you see on the website is the price you pay. How many rooms a property has no longer has any bearing on the price. You can see our prices here, so now it's easy for you to budget each and every time you need us. Simples!
There are, however, a couple of conditions (AHA, I hear you all say!!). But, allow me to explain..
Gardens - these are included as standard. No extra charge for any gardens up to 100 sq meters! That's quite a big garden FYI! However, if you're lucky enough to have a paddock full of sheep and horses, and rolling hills down to sea, then we might add a small charge to cover the additional time it would take to make sure everything is included for you.
Outbuildings - Any outbuildings are generally excluded from the report, but we will always include an overview condition in the report with some photos. If, however, you are overly attached to a shed or garage (We've all read fifty sheds of grey after all), and want it included on it's own page, then we can do this for a small charge per outbuilding.
Other than that, there is nothing else to pay. Our mission has always been to provide quality Inventories across Portsmouth and Southampton, at a price that people are happy to pay. Don't forget our service too, our feedback speaks for itself. With further discounts available for Agents or Landlords with multiple properties, isn't time you made the click?
Here on the south coast, both our major cities boast incredible university facilities which attract students from across the nation and the globe. Portsmouth and Southampton both have a large student rental base, and we know from experience, that a large number of students go home for the summer.
This often leaves agents and Landlords with the enormous headache of trying to perform the check out inspections, arrange any cleaning and decoration, and then getting inventories arranged before any new tenants move in. Often with as little as a week between tenancies! I've been there before, and I know the pressure this can put on property managers.
And then we can face the eternal battle of trying to get an independent inventory clerk at short notice only to find that they are already booked up!
But worry not. We are already taking bookings for this summers turnaround, so there is still plenty of time to make sure that you don't end up dreading the summer instead of looking forward to it. And to make your lives even easier, if you send us your original inventories, we'll enter that detail onto our system so you receive one complete report after the checkout with the original detail included for comparison reasons.
To book or not to book? You decide....
If you'd like more information, or to see a sample of our reports, please feel free to contact us at any time.
One of the things that can often be overlooked when people are busy, is arranging and performing property inspections. They can be quite time consuming, and if they are done quarterly, then they often come round again quite quickly.
For example, take a Letting Agent that manages an average 200 properties. Each property would need 3 - 4 inspections each year. Thats 600 - 800 inspections a year! That can mean up to 70 inspections per month! No easy feat when you're trying to find tenants, instruct new Landlords etc etc.
So why do we need to perform inspections?
In our experience, visiting a property during a tenancy helps to ensure that it is being looked after properly. It will also provide you with the opportunity to review the condition of any items listed on the initial inventory report. It can also be invaluable to see if there are any potential breaches of the tenancy agreement (smoking, pets etc).
Often, property inspections will reveal maintenance work that needs to be carried out, such as, minor repairs to fixtures and fittings or damp and mould that may need treating. Even if these matters don't need to be addressed immediately, knowing that they will need to be rectified before any new tenants move in can dramatically reduce any void periods.
By identifying issues during the tenancy, and producing a report each time that is presented to the tenant, then you will also have a visible audit trail of correspondence between both parties. This can be particularly important at the end of a tenancy, where it could prevent any potential disputes between landlords and tenants.
Our clerks are trained to identify any potential hazards or issues, and can offer relevant advice as and when needed. And we can take the hassle of performing these inspections away from you which will free up your time, and ensure total impartiality when the reports are produced.
If you'd like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We were recently working with a large independent Letting Agent, who had instructed us to perform a large number of check out inspections on mainly student properties. The inventories for these properties had been performed by various different companies in 2015, and we obviously needed them to do the condition comparison during the checkout.
When we received these inventories, the content and layout of 90% of the reports was beyond worrying. In some cases, the inventory companies had cut and pasted one report and used it for similar properties without changing any of the content. Even though the colours, content, floor coverings etc were different. In one case, we were provided with an inventory for a one bedroom flat, but the report included a second bedroom and ensuite!
The issues this can raise for a tenant or a Landlord are obvious, which is why it is vital to check the accuracy of these reports before you agree to their content. It is the control document for a tenants deposit, as well as protection for the Landlord against damage or theft from their property. Once signed, it is often too late to change anything, and this will often come to hit you in the wallet at the end of a tenancy.
We raised our concerns with the Letting Agent involved and offered them our services to do the inventories for them ahead of the new tenancies. They were clearly happy with the content of our reports, but would only instruct us if we agreed the same pricing structure as the inventory company whose reports we had been using for the check outs! Whilst we appreciate that most things in business are negotiable, our standard are not. We would be doing not only to ourselves, but also to their customers. On this occasion, we were happy to withdraw from negotiations with a polite, no thank you.
Fortunately, the other Letting Agents that we deal with are the complete opposite, and firmly believe in the same ideology as us in that it is always, without doubt, quality over quantity.
If you would like to see a sample of one of our inventories, just click here.
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