News & views from Q&A: Instead of paying a standard deposit, my tenant wants to use a bond scheme. What's this, and should I accept?

Posted by: Adam Male on 11 October 2016
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I have found a tenant for my property but instead of paying the deposit they are saying that they can give me a guarantee through a Bond Scheme. What is this and should I accept?


Bond schemes are there to help people rent a house when they cannot get a deposit together. It provides assistance to people who cannot afford a cash deposit, as landlords are instead offered a bond by the local council replacing the traditional cash deposit. 

The schemes

Different bond schemes have different rules. The majority of these schemes work by providing a guarantee to the landlord. No money actually changes hands.

There may be a limit on how big a deposit they can help with. Some are aimed at certain groups of people (such as young people, elderly or people on benefits).

Some schemes may only use landlords who have properties available and are registered with that council.

The process

The bond is an agreement with the council. At the start of the tenancy, you and the tenant must sign up to the conditions of the bond agreement with the council. This agreement explains when a claim can be made and what for, should the tenant break the tenancy agreement.

If there are difficulties at the end of your tenancy, you can ask the scheme-provider to pay for damage the tenant has caused or rent not paid (often up to a maximum of one month's rent). The bond scheme provider will you and then ask the tenant to repay the money to the Scheme. Only in this scenario does money change hands.

You are not legally obliged to take a guarantee, and whether you do depends on your personal circumstances.

Closing the generation divide: Will Phil Hammond’s new building stimulus package help the young?

Posted by: Adam Male on 4 October 2016
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The government has launched a 5 billion-pound homebuilding stimulus package today, including plans to borrow 2 billion pounds to help address the long-term housing shortage that has become a major economic problem. 

The new fund would help build 25,000 new homes by 2020 while the plan to use public land would enable the building of a further 15,000 in the same period. The initiative is meant to appeal to voters who have been shut out of the housing market by years of rising prices and tight lending conditions. 

The NHF recently published a few startling stats that demonstrate just how skewed the UK housing market has become, and how difficult it is for a young person to own their own home without the help of a family member. 37% of 25 to 34-year-olds are homeowners, a fall from 59% in 2004 and home ownership levels are now at 64%, down from 71% in 2003.

The younger generation could hope for a massive pay rise over the next few years, but this looks highly unlikely considering wages across Britain, as well as the rest of Europe are either stagnant or falling. According to Jeremy Duncombe of the Legal & General Mortgage Club,“What is clear is that annually house prices are still on the rise at levels well above wage inflation”.

Another option that is increasingly used is buying with friends. Figures from conveyancing firm My Home Move show the number of homes bought by “single” purchasers have fallen by an average of 4% over the past five years, equivalent to around 10,000 transactions a year. The benefits of pooling resources are clear: My Home Move figures show a couple of first-time buyers can afford homes worth around £100,000 more than their single counterparts.

But while Generation Rent feel frustrated by the property situation, new research has showed the baby boomers are also feeling dissatisfied. A recent survey of 2,044 adults by the National Housing Federation showed that there is a real concern among baby boomers about the economic divide between generations, most clearly seen in the housing market. Britain’s 1.5 million “over-85s own more of the nation’s housing wealth than everybody under 35”, the NHF said.

Almost two thirds of over-55s, or 62 per cent, would accept either no growth or a fall in the price of their home if it would help young people on to the property ladder. Thirty-five per cent even claimed that they would be happy to see their property lose 10 per cent of its value.

This may well be the result if Philip Hammond’s stimulus package proves to be successful. But the government’s targets are modest compared to the 300,000 homes per year that a committee of lawmakers estimate Britain needs, in order to meet demand and cool price growth. 


Get your questions answered at the Cardiff Landlord and Letting Show!

Posted by: Adam Male on 3 October 2016
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Get your questions answered at the Cardiff Landlord and Letting Show, on Wednesday 12 October 2016, 10am-4pm

We’d love to see you at the Stand 41 at the Cardiff Landlord and Letting Show. The team will be sporting the new brand colour – you won’t be able to miss us!

We’ll be there throughout the day to answer any questions and find out about your letting needs. 

The show offers plenty of private rented sector advice for landlords wishing to build on their knowledge:

  • A Knowledge Programme: FREE seminars, workshops and panel discussions covering a wide range of topics delivered by leading industry professional. more information here
  •  A comprehensive product and services exhibition

  •  Direct access to Associations and Government Bodies

  • Networking opportunities

  • Information on the latest legislation

Located in the impressive City Hall in the heart of the City it’s easy to get to and only a minutes from the station. So register for free here

If you can’t make Cardiff, you’ll also find us at the Coventry event Q&A: My tenant's moving out and has damaged my floor. Can I retain some of the deposit?

Posted by: Adam Male on 3 October 2016
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My tenant is moving out after two years and they have damaged the vinyl on the kitchen floor. Can I retain some of the deposit as compensation?



You can try to retain some of your deposit but your tenants may contest it unless you can explain why you are making deductions and how you have come to the final figure – plus you need evidence to back this up. 


Your purchasing paper trail and early tenancy paperwork will have a bearing on your chances of getting compensation. You need to ensure you have:

  • Kept receipts

In order to work out accurate compensation charges, you should know the original cost of an item, age and condition at time of check-in, average life expectancy of the item, and any extenuating circumstances. You should be able to provide written evidence of the original cost and age of the item for any compensation claim.

  • Employed an independent inventory clerk

You’ll need bulletproof evidence to support a claim for compensation - detailed descriptions and time-dated photographs taken at the start and the end of the tenancy, as part of the inventory. 

Don’t skimp on having an independent inventory clerk do your inventory for you. They have become increasingly important since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes, which were brought in to make it easier for tenants to reclaim their deposits. It’s not a good idea to do an inventory yourself! 

However, It is worth doing regular property inspections yourself. Try to visit once a quarter (giving at least 24 hours notice) so you can keep an eye on things, while still allowing your tenant their legal right to live in ‘quiet enjoyment’. 


How to charge?

In terms of how to charge, you’ll need to:

  • Establish the cause and level of damage

There is a distinct difference between normal wear and tear and damage by the tenant. If a tenant damages vinyl flooring with drag marks, deep scratches or scrapes, burn marks and stains, these are considered to be chargeable issues. However, a small number of surface scratches, nicks and minor indentations are considered to be consistent with fair wear and tear, depending on the length of tenancy and original condition. 

  •  Decide how much to charge

The final compensation cost will depend on a number of factors, such as if pets and children were in the property, any previous wear and tear, quality of the items, etc. You need to bring together all the evidence to reach a safe conclusion.

When you are making your claim calculations, do not charge for betterment, or fair wear and tear. If the vinyl was old at check-in and after a two-year tenancy there is some additional damage, the law will not allow you to simply replace it and claim off the tenant for the new replacement. However, there will be some compensation allowable towards the new item. 

What happens if you can’t agree?

Where a deposit compensation claim goes into dispute, the items and money involved will be passed to the arbitrator of the deposit protection scheme involved, whether a custodial or insurance scheme. Unless the parties opt to have the dispute passed to a Small Claims court, the arbitrator’s decision will be final. In order to win a dispute of this kind - and the onus is on the landlord to prove the case for compensation - good evidence is required. 

Jax Kneppers, founder and CEO of How to Win Deposit Disputes explains: 

“Landlords and agents who are calculating the cost for compensation charges against a tenant should ensure that the costs are reasonable and fair. They should also have a working knowledge of the accepted principles of depreciation and explain to their tenants how they have worked out the deductions. If landlords and agents can prove how they arrived at the proposed deductions from their tenants’ deposits, all parties involved will be happier to accept the decisions.” do an inventory for £159 + VAT or Check-in and inventory for £220 + VAT. The team can assist you with your inventory requirements, and ensure that you and your property are fully protected from debate about property condition in the future. Contact us on 0800 689 9955 or for more information. 


West Nottinghamshire landlords take note!

Posted by: Adam Male on 2 October 2016
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Landlords in Nottinghamshire should be aware of a new licensing scheme that has just been launched in the area.

Due to be introduced in two parts of the west Nottinghamshire area by Ashfield District Council, the sheme will target landlords who let properties in Stanton Hill and Sutton Central.

Landlords in these areas will have to prove that they are ‘fit and proper’ to be a landlord, before the council will grant them a licence.

Five-year licenses will cost a landlord £350, while those that belong to the East Midlands Landlords Accreditation Scheme will be charged a reduced rate of £250.

Under the scheme, landlords will also have to take responsibility for the safety of their tenants by ensuring properties are maintained to a high standard, and all anti-social behavior is reacted to promptly.

Councillor Keir Morrison, the Portfolio Holder for Housing at Ashfield District Council, says: ‘The vast majority of private landlords who rent out properties in the district operate within the law and look after their tenants, but there are some who fail to provide housing to a decent standard and don’t act on bad tenant behaviour to those they lease their properties to.’

‘Any scheme would mean landlords and tenants have to act responsibly or face possible action from the council – ensuring landlords properly fulfil their responsibilities to provide housing at the correct standard and to deal with tenants who may be causing anti-social problems.’