Alexander Road gets a new lease of life with the help of The DPS

At The DPS we’re always excited to hear back from the charities we’ve supported and how the Charity Donations Fund has helped those less fortunate in their community.

So when we caught up with Y Supported Accommodation (YSA), who received an award in 2015 - we were thrilled to hear that our £15,000 donation has allowed them to continue refurbishing their Alexander Road site; a place 20 vulnerable young people can call home, if only for a short period of time.

The refurbishment programme has been extensive, with new boilers, bathrooms, kitchens, flooring, furniture and fire and electrical systems all being fitted, and the feedback has been fantastic…

YSA have found that people will respond positively to a caring, clean and supportive environment. Having pride in their room, appearance and achievements improves their confidence and self-esteem. 

Tom’s story

Tom, a former resident at the Alexander Road showed a remarkable change in his behaviour after being told he may be able to move into a newly renovated flat. 

During his previous stays he was neglectful and damaged the property whilst under the influence of alcohol. But after being given a sneak peek of one the new flats, he began to maintain his current flat to a much higher standard, and more importantly there were no more incidents of vandalism. And after eight weeks, Tom moved into his new place as arranged. 

Tom simply said “it may be homeless accommodation but for me it’s my space and I’ve never had that before especially when everything is new.”

Tom now lives in his own council tenancy, and has been given a lot of practical advice and support by his case worker, including budgeting and paying bills.

Stories like Tom’s are really gratifying to hear, and the reason we started The DPS Fund. We can’t wait to hear more from YSA in the future.

If you work for or know of a charity that could benefit from the DPS Charity donations fund, please don’t hesitate to apply for funding right here.

 

Average tenancy deposits in the UK hover just below £1000

Our latest tenancy deposit ratings are out now. Every three months we crunch the numbers and calculate the average tenancy deposit for 100 cities across England and Wales.

Our sums have revealed that the average tenancy deposit for England and Wales is £970.18 – continuing to hover just below the £1,000 mark.

While the rest of the country maintains a certain level of consistency, London postcodes set a new all-time peak, averaging £1,831.14, which is more than double the figure for the rest of England and Wales (£883.21 without London).
 
To give you a clearer picture of what’s going on in your region, we’ve compared the 100 cities to the national average. How does your city stack up? Click here to find out.

Our Managing Director, Julian Foster said: “…tenancy deposits can be demanding sums for tenants to raise when they move.

“However, both parties can have peace of mind over the money when it is protected with The DPS…” 

It’s clear that these are challenging times for the Private Rented Sector and whether you’re a landlord, tenant or letting agent we’ve got some helpful tips and advice to help you get the most from your tenancy.

Over 65 homeless people given a warm bed thanks to StopGap and The DPS

Here at The DPS, we love to hear how our Charity Fund donations have helped those less fortunate. We were thrilled when one of our previous award recipients, StopGap, told us that our donation meant over 65 individuals have been given a warm bed and a chance to establish more permanent housing.

Almost two years ago, StopGap Sheffield applied for £5000 to help them extend their reach and make sure more homeless people can escape the threats of violence, hunger, bad weather and health problems that can so often make their lives a misery. StopGap does this by providing an emergency short-term overnight accommodation scheme for those who might otherwise have to sleep rough.

Ruth Grayson from the charity explains how our donation made a difference:

We arrange and pay for bed and breakfast, one night at a time, for clients referred to us by our voluntary sector partner agencies. This (donation) enabled us to provide approximately 140 beds in private B&Bs in the city, benefiting between 65 and 70 individuals. Although the average length of stay is only 2 nights, this gives both client and agency a bit of breathing space and time to seek other solutions.

Ruth was also able to tell us about some of the real people the money benefited. 

Andy was referred to StopGap by one of the nightly soup runs in Sheffield.  He had been sleeping rough in a disused school building for some time. After losing his job, he was thrown out by his partner - who remained in the family home with their children. Andy wanted to stay nearby, so he could see his children on their way to and from school, but without an address of his own, he was forbidden access to them by the courts. After just one night in StopGap accommodation, which gave him a shower and laundry facilities in addition to a good night's sleep and a cooked breakfast, Andy gained the confidence to go and apply to the city council for housing. In due course this was successful and Andy managed to establish his own home and eventually regain regular access to his children. Just one night in safe, warm accommodation made all the difference in his case.

Another client, Brian, who had also lost his job and subsequently fallen into rent arrears, was referred to StopGap by one of the day centres working with homeless people in the city. After a couple of nights in a warm bed, the welfare officer at the centre was able to find him supported accommodation at Emmaus Sheffield where Brian is now said to be doing well. He has regular work and is making friends with some of the other residents.

Christina found herself in a desperate situation when her partner suddenly became very aggressive toward her. She had come with him to England from Bulgaria after he got a UK work permit. Being from Bulgaria, Christina was not able to access public funds and so she was not eligible for help in a refuge for victims of domestic violence. When homelessness seemed like a certainty, StopGap was the only organisation in Sheffield able and willing to keep her safe and off the streets while longer term arrangements could be made.

These are just some of the examples; there are so many other similar cases. The DPS donation has been invaluable, if not an actual life saver, in all these instances.

If you work for or know of a charity that could benefit from the DPS Charity donations fund, please don’t hesitate to apply for funding right here. 

Christmas Opening Hours

On behalf of everyone at The DPS, we'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas.

Our Customer Service Centre will be open at the following times over the festive period:

Monday 19 December - 8am – 6pm
Tuesday 20 December - 8am – 6pm
Wednesday 21 December - 8am - 6pm
Thursday 22 December - 8am - 6pm
Friday 23 December - 8am - 6pm
Saturday 24 December - Closed
Monday 26th December - Closed
Tuesday 27th December - Closed
Wednesday 28th December - 9am - 5pm
Thursday 29th December - 9am - 5pm
Friday 30 December - 9am - 5pm
Saturday 31 December - Closed
Monday 2 January – Closed
Tuesday 3 January - 8am - 6pm (Business as usual from now on).

Congratulations to Back On Track Housing

For the past two years, the DPS Charity Fund has been assisting charities in the housing sector in their aim to fight homelessness and to support those in need of help to live independently. 

This quarter, we were delighted to support Back On Track Housing in their mission to “help rebuild lives” through the development of greater mentoring and training opportunities for clients.

Back On Track Housing works to prevent homelessness, alleviate poverty and provide employment and training to those in need of support.

Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS, said: “Back On Track Housing does fantastic work supporting vulnerable individuals and their families. 

“We’ve given over £170,000 to housing charities since the launch of our fund, and we’re really happy to be able to assist such crucial work across the country.”

Congratulations to everyone at Back On Track. We're looking forward to catching up with you and finding out how the grant helped.

Rent Smart Wales

If you’re a landlord or letting agent, you’re probably aware that the Welsh Government has begun implementing separate rules and regulations for the Welsh Private Rented Sector (PRS), under The Housing (Wales) Act 2014.  

The main change is mandatory registration and licensing through their Rent Smart scheme.  The deadline for landlords and agents to register was 23 November 2016 and now, if you’re operating in Wales without a licence, you may be breaking the law. 

To help you make sure you’re compliant with the legislation, we’ve summarised the relevant information you need to know. 

Essentially, there are two parts to the process: the registration and the licence application. You’ll need to go on the Rent Smart Wales website  to register and apply for a licence. 

The cost of online registration for landlords is £33.50, rising to £80.50 if done on a paper application form. After that, the landlord licence fee is £144 for online applications and £186 for paper application forms. 
The fee for landlord registration doesn’t vary depending on the number of rental properties included in the registration. However, a separate registration is needed for each different joint landlord arrangement that a landlord is part of. 

For letting agents managing fewer than 20 properties and not undertaking “let only” activities, landlord fees apply. They also apply when the letting agent only manages their own and / or properties owned by a relative and do not employ staff for letting and management purposes. For all other letting agents, the fee will reflect the size of their portfolio (read the full pricing structure here). A discount will apply if they are a member of either: UKALA, ARLA, RICS or NALS.

Licenses granted by the government last 5 years, and some training is a prerequisite to obtaining one. If you’re unsure whether you need a licence, here’s an explanation of which landlords need a licence. The same is available if you are a letting agent

The cost of training is separate to the licensing fee and will depend on which training you decide to undertake.

Landlord? Here’s your checklist:

•    You must complete an application providing relevant information, including contact details.
•    You must provide the names and dates of birth of all “connected persons” who work on the letting/management of a property. Generally speaking, these will be your employees.
•    You must pay the licence fee (online application = £144, paper application = £186)
•    You and your “connected persons” must be trained to the landlord standard. You can find out more about the training options on the Rent Smart website.
•    You must make a fit and proper declaration

After you submit your completed application, Rent Smart can take up to 8 weeks to determine whether to grant a licence or refuse it.

If you’re a letting agent, the list is slightly longer:

•    You must complete an application providing relevant information, including contact details
•    You must provide the names and dates of birth of all “connected persons” who work on the letting/management of a property. Generally speaking, these will be your employees.
•    You must pay the licence fee, which depends on the size and type of your agency.
•    You and your “connected persons” must be trained to the landlord standard. You can find out more about the training options on the Rent Smart website.
•    You must make a fit and proper declaration
•    You must upload a list of all your managed properties in Wales, including the details of all the client landlords. If you’re a ‘let only’ agent then you must make a declaration to this effect.
•    If you have Client Money Protection, Professional Indemnity Insurance and Membership to a Redress Scheme, you must provide evidence when you apply.*

After you submit your completed application, Rent Smart can take up to 8 weeks to determine whether to grant a licence or refuse it.

*Please note: if an agent does not have these business safeguards in place when they apply, the licence can be granted on the condition that they get them within 6 weeks. It will be revoked if the agent fails to comply with this condition. Only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. when a person is looking after a rental property for a direct family member) would this condition not be part of an agent licence). 

If an agent is part of an agent membership body such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), they should already be part of a Client Money Protection Scheme, have professional Indemnity Insurance and be a member of an independent redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services Property or the Property Redress Scheme.

To find out more about the scheme and to ensure you’re compliant, go to www.RentSmart.gov.wales

 

Success for The DPS at the Negotiator Awards!

We’re delighted to announce that we took the Silver award in the Supplier of the Year: Professional Support category at this year’s Negotiator Awards, held at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

The Negotiator Awards are among the most prestigious in the property industry and just to be nominated was a huge honour, so we’re incredibly proud to have won the Silver award. We’d like to thank all our clients who provided us with supporting testimonials and evidence. It reassures us that all the hard work we’re doing to deliver great customer service and streamline our processes is having an impact.

We also sponsored the award for Medium Lettings Agency of the Year (4-11 branches). We’d like to congratulate winners, Breckon & Breckon Letting Agents who received their trophy from our MD, Julian Foster. Our congratulations also go to Thomas Morris (Silver) and Martyn Gerrard (Bronze) and all the other companies on the shortlist.

See you all there next year!

How can landlords end an assured shorthold tenancy

Recently, there’s been some discussion in the lettings community about serving notice to end a tenancy, resulting in a range of responses with no clear view. To help landlords understand this complex issue, we’ve invited Tessa Shepperson from Landlord Law to explain how landlords can end tenancies. 

Please note: Comments regarding amendments arising from the Deregulation Act 2015 apply to tenancies in England only, not Wales.

How can landlords end an assured shorthold tenancy?

There’s generally a lot of confusion about the service of notices and whether they actually end a tenancy in the eyes of the law.

Before we explore this further, let’s take a look at the original form of notice that we used to use – a Notice to Quit.

Notices to Quit (NTQ)

An ‘NTQ’ is a special type of common law notice that will completely end a tenancy after the notice period. It’s not the same as, say, a section 21 (s21) notice, even though an s21 is a notice asking your tenant to leave!

People sometimes make the mistake of using the term NTQ to end their tenancies. Although NTQs are still used for common law and unregulated tenancies (such as company or resident-landlord lets), they’re invalid for the majority of residential tenancies.

Section 5 (s5) of the Housing Act 1988, which regulates assured tenancies (ATs) and assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs), states that landlords’ NTQs are of no effect, as:

> They can’t be used to end a fixed term early; and
> They can’t be used for ATs or ASTs!

If a landlord is able to use a NTQ (for example if they don’t have an assured or an assured shorthold tenancy), they’ll need to act quickly to issue proceedings to evict their tenant, as accepting another month’s rent from the tenant can resurrect the tenancy - meaning that they’ll have to serve another NTQ to end it again!

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that AT and AST tenants can still serve an NTQ - for example to end a periodic tenancy.

So, if an NTQ is useless for ending the vast majority of tenancies, what should landlords use instead?

Ending a tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 

The Housing Act 1988 governs most tenancies created since 15 January 1989. It put into place new rules about ending tenancies, set out in s5 of the act, and says that tenancies can only be ended in the following ways:

1. By a landlord getting a possession order from the Court AND the order being ‘executed’ – e.g. by a County Court bailiff physically removing the tenants - s5(1)(a); or

2. Where the tenancy agreement allows the landlord to end the tenancy - normally by exercising a ‘break clause’ - s5(1)(c)  (although it should be noted that if the tenant stays in occupation, a ‘periodic’ tenancy will then come into being, under section 5(2), meaning that the tenant will still have a tenancy.); or

3. By ‘a surrender or other action on the part of the tenant’ - s5(2)(b). This will normally be:

> Exercising a break clause;
> Moving out at the end of the fixed term;
> Serving a tenant’s NTQ during a periodic tenancy; or
> Surrender (which normally needs to be agreed with the landlord).

The Housing Act 1988 notices

There are two notices to be aware of here:

> Section 8 (s8) - landlords can use this when they want to base their claim on one of the grounds for possession set out in Schedule 2 of the Act.  The most common ground is ground 8, the mandatory rent arrears ground; and
> Section 21 – this is for when landlords want to use the ‘no fault’ ground for possession.

It’s clear from the legislation that serving these notices doesn’t actually end the tenancy in the same way as an NTQ.  They do, however, entitle the landlord to obtain an order for possession if they go to court.

The tenant can continue to live in the property and will be liable for the rent.  If the landlord doesn’t issue proceedings, the tenancy will continue indefinitely - unless the tenant leaves of their own free will.


What happens if the tenant leaves early?  

Does this ‘end’ the tenancy? This is an important point as the tenant is only liable for the rent while the tenancy exists.  

The legislation does not actually say anything on this point, and currently there is no guidance available from the courts.  Therefore, the requirement for the tenant to serve notice if they wish to end the tenancy remains. Whilst section 40 of the Deregulation Act 2015 adds a new section 21C to the 1988 act providing for landlords to refund any rent paid in advance where:

“as a result of the service of a notice under section 21, the tenancy is brought to an end before the end of a period of the tenancy”

This would appear to be limited to any overpayment received as a result of the landlord no longer being required to serve their notice to coincide with the rental due date, which may result in an overpayment of rent.

So far as s8 notices are concerned, information is limited to a point at the end of the prescribed form, which says:

“Your landlord cannot make you leave your home without an order for possession issued by a court. By issuing this notice, your landlord is informing you that he intends to seek such an order. If you are willing to give up possession without a court order, you should tell the person who signed this notice as soon as possible and say when you are prepared to leave.”

The important point to understand here, is that the tenant needs to inform the landlord if they wish to end the tenancy after the service of a notice. I do not think that the tenant can unilaterally end the tenancy by moving out after the service of a notice without doing this first.

To help illustrate the point, here are a couple of scenarios. Imagine a landlord has served an s8 notice on 23 May:

Scenario 1
The tenant just ups and leaves on 4 June, taking all his possessions and putting the keys through the letterbox. The landlord doesn’t find out until he visits the property on 23 June.

Scenario 2
The tenant tells the landlord that he will be moving out on 4 June. He moves all his property out on that day and gives the keys back to the landlord.

> In the first scenario, the tenant is liable for the rent up until the 23 June because they didn’t inform the landlord they’d be moving out on 4 June.
> In the second scenario, the tenancy ends on 4 June because the tenant let the landlord know. Therefore the tenant will not be liable for any further rent after that date.

In many cases where tenants leave in this way, the tenants liability for rent is academic as there won’t be any money available, other than by claiming against the deposit. However, it is always a good idea for tenants to minimise their liability to their landlords. 

To put it simply, tenants need to keep their landlords informed if they’re moving out and landlords need to keep a close eye on their properties.

Tessa Shepperson is a specialist landlord & tenant lawyer.  Find more of her writing on the Landlord Law Blog.

 

Struggling to make a debit card payment to us on your Apple device?

If you're having problems making a debit card payment to us on your Apple device, it may be down to the cookies…

Recently, a few of our customers have told us they’ve had difficulty making a debit card payment whilst using their Apple device, and through the Safari browser in particular. If you’ve struggled to make a payment on your iPhone or iPad, here’s how to get around it.

The problem is likely to be due to cookies; tiny pieces of data sent from a website and stored in your web browser while you use the internet. Cookies allow websites to do useful tasks like remembering your username for when you return to the site, or auto-completing a web address you’ve visited before.

 

 

Thankfully, the problem is very easy to put right. Just follow the steps below.

1. Go to Settings

2. Tap Safari

3. Tap Block Cookies under Privacy and Security

4. Tap Always Allow

And that’s all there is to it. If you’ve followed the steps outlined above, you should be able to make debit card payments on your Apple device without any problems. Of course, if you’re still struggling to make a payment, you can always give us a call on 0330 303 0030, and we’ll be happy to help.

Guest blog: Eric Walker shares his thoughts on how Brexit will affect the UK housing market

As election results go, they don’t come much more momentous than Britain’s recent referendum on the European Union. The historic vote to leave the EU has created uncertainty across the UK economy, and the housing market will undoubtedly be affected, though it’s too soon to say whether those repercussions will be positive or negative. To get an expert view on some of the possible implications of possible Brexit, we’ve asked Eric Walker, managing director of Northwood Lettings, to share his thoughts about the impact of the Leave vote in some key areas of the housing market.

DPS: What will happen to house prices and rents?

EW: We saw the property market enter a state of inertia in the run up to the referendum, but that was relatively short lived. This was most likely down to the uncertainty of the outcome. Thus far, however, there seems to have been little in the way of change.

Of course, it’s too early to say how the vote will affect the price of property. Our figures at Northwood show strong growth compared to the same period last year, but it’s impossible to say how the network would have performed if the vote had been to remain.

DPS: Will the fluctuating value of the pound affect the market?

EW: As the move towards our actual exit from the EU gathers pace, the value of the pound is likely to be unstable. However, that’s unlikely to affect the housing market too much. Property is and has always been a long term investment, and as such, short term fluctuations are unlikely to have much impact.

Prevailing market pressures seldom affect the market’s long term position as much as the availability of funding. Property is one of the few investments that can be leveraged; with interest rates as they are, yields are increasingly attractive and a viable alternative to traditional pensions.

DPS: There’s a new Prime Minister and Cabinet. Will housing policy change?

It’s far too early to tell if the new Government’s views on current housing policy and the legislative calendar will be impacted by Brexit, as MPs have only just returned from holiday. I believe that as long as Theresa May shows decisive leadership and offers a clear plan for Brexit, confidence will replace the damaging uncertainty that makes investors nervous. The property market is incredibly robust and where sales may be affected, lettings take over and vice versa.

DPS: What about replacing EU regulations with UK regulations?

EW: EU regulations have little effect on the UK housing market as far as the majority of the public is concerned. Most EU rules have been absorbed and the fact they may cease to exist altogether will make little difference. UK regulations continue to expand, but until they are actually policed and enforced, their influence is limited.

The single most important thing the industry can do is to promote consumer awareness, making sure tenants are aware of their rights, and landlords are aware of their obligations. Renting privately is becoming more challenging but sadly, many landlords - including the best intentioned ones - only discover this to their cost when things go wrong. This can be an incredibly steep and indeed expensive learning curve.

What does a good letting agent look like?

Rogues in the housing sector are a regular theme in the current discourse on the housing sector, so much so The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) recently published a toolkit designed to help local authorities take action against rogue letting agents, improving standards in the industry and protecting tenants and landlords alike. 

Whilst it only takes a few bad agents to tarnish the reputation of the rest of the industry, good agents can help to increase standards further by following best practice, so they become, well, the industry standard. We’ve pulled together our top tips on what we think makes a good agent great! You can download our infographic here.

What do you think makes a good letting agent?  Why not share your ideas in the comments section below?

No Limits – Helping young people help themselves

Every three months we award up to £20,000 to charities that focus on housing related issues. Since the launch of our charity fund, we’ve given more than £160,000 to charities doing fantastic work in their local communities. 

In the eighth round of awards, No Limits fought off some stiff competition to claim a donation. We were delighted to hand over a cheque for £5,000 and find out a bit more about their operation on our recent visit.

No Limits

No Limits offers free and confidential advice, information counselling and much more to young people and children who live in Southampton and Hampshire. Some of these children suffer from mental or physical ill-health, which makes the work No Limits do even more challenging. 

Their ‘Floating Support’ and ‘Homemaker Volunteers’ initiatives are fantastic ideas which help those who are at risk of homelessness. But their work doesn’t stop there - they also give people the skills to make their house more of a home.

The donation will go towards Homemaker Volunteer courses, designed to give young people the skills to be independent - such as cooking on a budget, cleaning and money management. 

Natalie Hutchins at No Limits, said: “We’re really grateful to The DPS for the money, which will really help us empower young people to truly enjoy their new homes.

“Some of the young people we work with have never had the welcoming, comfortable home that many of us take for granted, and we want these young people to feel like they have a home of which they can be proud.”

Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS, said: “We’re really glad to be able to support the services provided by No Limits, which represent a really important source of assistance for those who need it in Southampton and the surrounding area.”

Congratulations to No Limits, we look forward to hearing how the donation has helped. 

Calderdale SmartMove – helping homeless and vulnerable people find their feet

Through the DPS Fund, every three months £20,000 is awarded to charities that help those who are affected by housing-related issues. 

In our eighth round of awards, the applications were stronger than ever so every detail was taken into consideration.  We’re really pleased to announce that Calderdale Smartmove was one of the successful charities. 

Here’s a little bit about what they do…

Calderdale Smartmove

Calderdale Smartmove provides a high quality, client-centred service that helps homeless and vulnerable people find accommodation in their local area.  

Chris Leonard, Senior Business Manager at The DPS said: “Calderdale SmartMove plays an important role in the local community by housing those in need and providing support and education to help people access employment…”

The donation will allow Calderdale Smartmove to provide security bonds that will help them secure accommodation for the people that need it most. 

Craig George, at Calderdale Smartmove, said: “For many people, finding long-term accommodation is extremely challenging, and by giving more individuals and families a helping hand, we can make sure more people have somewhere safe and comfortable to live.

“We’re really grateful to The DPS for the funding, and it’s great to work with organisations that share Calderdale Smartmove’s ethos.”

Good luck to Calderdale Smartmove. We hope the donation helps you continue doing great work.  

Bosco House – A warm and inviting home for single homeless men

Did you know that every three months £20,000 is up for grabs? Through the DPS Fund we donate to charities that do amazing work in a range of housing-related issues. 

We recently visited Bosco House, a successful applicant to our eighth round of awards to hand over a ‘big cheque’ (see the picture below). 

Bosco House 

Bosco society is a small charitable organisation which provides 23 bed spaces to single homeless men. Many of whom have a troubled background, such as misuse problems, mental health issues and other offences.  

“Bosco House undertakes fundamentally important work helping young people find housing and teaching them the skills to live on their own” Daren King, our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection.

The £5,000 award will help with the opening of a new hostel in Sefton that will house 13 homeless young people.

James Heller, a Senior Worker at Bosco House, said: “We are extremely delighted and grateful to The DPS for the funding provided for our new hostel.  

“The funding provided will go a long way towards providing a safe and secure environment for our clients and will contribute to rebuilding lives and combating homelessness in Merseyside.”

 We look forward to catching up with Bosco House soon, to see how the donation has helped.  

 

5 steps to better communication with your student tenants

With the end of term approaching, it won’t be long until students leave their rented accommodation, hopeful that their deposits will be repaid in full.  

Good communication with your students at this time is essential for the end of tenancy to be as smooth as possible.

1)    Get in touch with your students sooner rather than later

Don’t leave anything to the last minute: encourage students to bring up any problems as they arise to avoid surprises further down the line. A quick phone call or visit before they move out can help start a conversation, but remember everything you discuss should always be confirmed in writing.

2)    Make sure they know their deposit and repayment IDs

At the end of the tenancy, your students will need their deposit and repayment IDs to get their money back.

We’ll send these to them at the beginning of the tenancy, as soon as we receive the deposit from you. We also include their ID in the repayment notification your students receive when you start the claim process.

If they have lost their repayment ID, they can request a new one by SMS or email using an online form. The deposit ID is universal, which means you can provide it to them. Alternatively, they can contact our customer service team on 0330 303 0030.

3)    Invite students to the check-out in writing

If possible, all the students should attend the check-out process. It will be easier to discuss the condition of the property and eventual repairs or deposit deduction. Make sure to take notes of any admissions or agreements from the students, and ask them to date and sign the notes.

Check out our infographic for more useful check-out tips.

4)    Managing multiple deposit repayments

With thousands of students around the country moving out of rented accommodation over a short period of time, deposits repayment can be a long and tedious process for some of you.

Our simple multiple repayment function is available when you need to repay 2 or more deposits. All you need to do is log in to your account, then under “Custodial” select “Bulk Repayments”.

More information on how to repay deposits.

5)    Dispute resolution

It’s not always possible for landlords and tenants to agree how much of the deposit should be paid to each party, which is why we offer a free dispute resolution process. The process can begin once both parties have completed a Joint Deposit Repayment form, and or when a Statutory Declaration for a single claim is disputed by the respondent.

Our guide to the Dispute Resolution process.

Our top tips for managing disputes.

The ‘new’ model tenancy agreement

In February the Department for Communities and Local Government updated their ‘Model agreement for a shorthold tenancy’. The agreement is designed to strike a fair balance between the needs of the tenant and the landlord when entering a new tenancy. 

With property prices rising ever higher, getting on the housing ladder is becoming more difficult all the time. As a result, demand for rental properties with longer tenancies is expected to be higher than ever. 

A longer tenancy does have its advantages. A tenant can plan for the future, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be looking for a new place to live in three months. And landlords will have a steady rental income without the hassle of always looking for new tenants (and the hefty fees that often go with it). 

The agreement has a really useful step-by-step process that a landlord and tenant can go through before entering a new tenancy. If you’d like to know more, download the document here

We’re proud sponsors of Lettings Live and The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2016

Lettings Live and The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards are just around the corner (10 June 2016) and we’re delighted to be one of the official sponsors. The prestigious annual event is the highlight of many letting agents’ social calendars.  

Last year, we were delighted to win the Silver Award in the Supplier of the Year category. We’re in the running once again for the 2016 awards and we’d love to go one better and take home gold. 

We’d like to wish all our customers who’ve entered the awards the best of luck in their categories. 

Come see us at our stand during the live event

We’ll also be at the Lettings Live event during the day. Two of our business experts, Chris and David, will be on hand to share their knowledge and answer any questions you have about our service, or about tenancy deposit protection in general. 

If you’re attending the event, here’s why you should pop over and have a chat…

›    We’re experienced  - We’ve protected over 4.2 million deposits since 2007
›    We offer great service - Callers rate our Customer Service Team over 9/10
›    We’re fast - We repay deposits within 2 working days

If that’s not enough to tempt you, there’s also a prize draw – visit our stand for the chance for you to win an iPad mini. 

It promises to be a great day and we’re looking forward to meeting you all.  
 

David Hackett

David joined us in 2011, working in Customer Service and Dispute Resolution before recently moving to our Account Management Team as our Senior Account Manager. He’s responsible for ensuring his team continues to provide top service to our managed clients.

 

Chris Jackson

Chris is our Business Support Team Manager and has been a member of our team since 2010. He makes sure his team gives you the highest levels of customer service possible whilst providing the guidance and advice you need.

SAFEagent Awareness Week – we’re fully behind it

From the 6-10 June, letting agents and organisations from across the UK will come together in support of SAFEagent Awareness Week. SAFEagent was set up “by the industry, for the industry” to protect landlords’ and tenants’ money. As a company that is committed to protecting tenants’ deposits, we’re fully behind it.

Throughout the week, SAFEagent will highlight the importance of choosing a letting agent that is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme. In an industry that’s estimated to be worth £2.7 billion, it’s vital that our customers’ deposits are safe. There are still too many cases where tenants are losing money to rogue agents. 

John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, says: 

“Choosing a letting agent without CMP in place is a massive risk for both landlords and tenants. Who can afford to lose thousands of pounds? We might finally be getting closer to mandatory CMP but we aren’t there yet. It is so important that consumers understand that they need to choose their agent wisely by asking if they are part of a CMP scheme before entering into a contract with them.”

While it’s not mandatory to protect client money in a CMP, it is now firmly on the Government’s agenda. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and one that is supported by many organisations in the housing industry, including us. 

We’d like to encourage all letting agents to become members of SAFEagent. The blue and black SAFEagent ‘mark’ gives tenants and landlords the peace of mind that their money is protected.

Competition: What’s that coming out of the fridge…is it a monster?

We know that with exams out of the way and summer break beckoning, there are things you’d rather be doing than cleaning your student let before you move out. Unfortunately, if you want to stand any chance of getting your tenancy deposit back, a good clean up is a must. Our #fridgemonster is back to remind you not to lose your deposit dough unnecessarily. Watch our short video and check out our tips for students to help you prepare for the end of your tenancy.

Win a professional clean for your property!

We’re offering one lucky household the chance to a professional clean for their student let when their tenancy ends.

What do you have to do?

For a chance to win this great prize, take a photo of the inside of your fridge, and tweet it @The_DPS along with the hashtag #fridgemonster. Whether it’s clean as a whistle, or your own little fridgemonsters are nestled in the vegetable drawer, tweet us a pic and we’ll choose our favourite image. You’ve got until Midnight on Friday 10 June to get your entries in.

Don't forget to read the rules of entry.

LAMP – supporting young homeless people in the community

As you may have seen, every three months we award up to £20,000 to charities that focus their efforts on housing related issues. 

In our seventh round of awards, we had some really strong applications and every detail was scrutinised. We’re delighted to announce that Luton Accommodation and Move-on Project (LAMP) was one of the successful charities in England and Wales.   

LAMP

LAMP is a small, local charity and for over 20 years they’ve provided accommodation and support to homeless young people aged between 16 and 25 in Luton, Bedford and the surrounding area. 

The £5,000 award will help provide privately rented accommodation for between eight and ten homeless young people. It will also help teach them basic household management and develop independent living skills.  

Our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection, Daren King said: “LAMP is doing excellent work helping people find housing and teaching them the skills to live on their own.”

John Archer, Chief Executive Officer at LAMP, said: “LAMP is delighted to receive the support funding from The DPS.

“It will make a real difference to our operations and how we are able to provide safe accommodation to support young homeless people to encourage and enable them to build their self-confidence and move on to independent living.”

We wish them all the best and look forward to finding out how our donation has helped.