Our competition winners are announced!

I’m pleased to announce that the winners of our Festive Landlord and Tenant 2010 are: Winning Landlord – Jo Shering, Fordingbridge

Winning Tenant – Martins Grigorjevs, Bournemouth

Congratulations to you both!

Although, as the title suggests, we were looking for those who went the extra mile at Christmas, we found that the majority of entries were for people who went out of their way for their tenants and landlords all year round.

Dolly Gulliford nominated Jo, she told us:

“Jo showed an enormous amount of kindness to me throughout the time I was a tenant. I found myself having to support my family alone and keep my head above water financially, a situation I’m sure many people can sympathise with. Jo recognised the difficulties I was having and lowered the rent on more than one occasion, allowing me to stay in the property and provide a home for my children.

“She is a rare breed amongst landlords who sometimes can be a bit unscrupulous and she has shown me so much generosity and kindness that I would like to thank her very much.”

Richard Luxmoore nominated Martins who he found on online letting site ‘Gumtree’. He told us:

“Martins’ previous rental property was dark and dismal and I recognised him as an honest, hard-working individual who may not have had much success securing a property through an agent. I felt obliged to help him with his plight ... There was only one choice: to go with my gut instinct, after all, the best qualified tenants can also be a landlord’s hell!

“Martins moved in to the property with his partner on 23rd December having scraped together a deposit and as a thank you they presented me with chocolates, biscuits and wine from their native Latvia. They’d also bought an orchid for the property to bring them luck.

“You know, sometimes you just have to give a little to gain a lot. To them it’s not just a flat, it’s home; a place to feel safe and happy. Wishing them all the best.”

Too often we hear doom and gloom stories about landlords and tenants. Tessa Shepperson was presented with a case recently that resulted in her warning that; ‘Sadly when dealing with tenants it is best to act on the basis that they will not keep their word’. We’re also familiar with tales of unscrupulous landlords and how best to avoid them: Shelter’s Evict Rogue Landlords campaign is a good example.

However, we know that these stories are not representative of landlords and tenants as a whole and these stories show there are people within our industry willing to offer kindness and support.

Thank you to Richard and Dolly for nominating the winners. We’ve sent them both an iPod nano which they’re delighted with – Richard has said that it’ll make going to the gym more bearable! Thanks also to everyone else who sent in nominations.

Congratulations again to our winners, Jo and Martins.

Landlords keen to know more about dispute resolution

On Tuesday I gave a presentation to the Guild of Residential Landlords in Cardiff about deposit protection and, in particular, the DPS’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. It was a great event and well attended. Landlords are always really keen to get guidance on the adjudication process and pointers on what constitutes good evidence. We discussed the importance of obtaining the tenant’s signature if landlords are conducting their own check-in and check-out reports. The point was made that it’s not always possible to get the tenant’s signature at check-out – in these circumstances you need to prove that you have made reasonable attempts to meet the tenant at the property, or better still use an independent third party inventory clerk.

There was also some feeling that 14 days for evidence submission was not enough. We did consult on this before the scheme was launched and it was felt that extending it any further would delay the whole process. However, if you feel that you need longer please let us know within the 14 days and we can extend it for you; I’m afraid we cannot extend the evidence submission period once the 14 days have elapsed.

If you’d like more information, we have an essential guide to ADR on our website.

I’m speaking again at ARLA’s regional meeting in Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday 20th April, why not come along. For more details, visit our website.