Tag Archives: TDS

Letting Industry Pays Tribute to Northwood MD Nick Cooper Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Tributes from across the lettings industry have been flooding in following the death of Northwood Managing Director, Nick Cooper, who peacefully passed away on Thursday 22 August. Nick, aged 50, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer nearly two years ago. He sadly leaves behind a wife and two children. Nick Cooper - MD of Northwood Letting Agents

Nick’s career in the lettings industry spanned three decades, during which time he spent nearly 10 years on the Board of Directors at leading private lettings agency, Northwood. He also played a pivotal role in the wider industry, working tirelessly to improve professional standards and champion consumer protection through his position as Chairman of the SAFEagent Steering Group. His commitment to the industry is further evidenced by the seats he held on the TDS Forum and NALS group.

Gemma Goodson, Finance Director at Northwood said: “This is desperately sad news for everyone that knew Nick. He was an incredibly special person who was liked and respected in equal measure by all. Words like ‘inspirational’ are used all too readily nowadays, but in Nick’s case, there will never be a more fitting tribute. Nick was a great mentor, colleague and friend. He was passionate about the lettings industry and raising standards, which meant a great deal to him and we are proud of the legacy he leaves behind. Our thoughts are with his family at this time”.

Andy Goodson, Northwood’s Chairman simply said “There are no words that can describe the loss, Nick was not only Northwood’s MD but also my best friend, life will never be quite the same without him but I’m eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to know not only him, but also his wonderful family whom my thoughts are with”

NALS Chief Executive, Isobel Thomson said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nick Cooper. He was a man of wit and warmth whose contribution to the sector will be sorely missed. It was a privilege to have worked with him. My thoughts are with his family and his colleagues at Northwood”.

John Midgley, SAFEagent Chair, said: “Nick’s passion for improving standards in the private rented sector is epitomised by his leadership and guidance in the early days of the SAFEagent campaign. He was one of the industry’s true gentlemen. His energy and sense of humour will be missed by us all and our condolences must go to his family and those close to him”.

Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly but we anticipate it to be Thursday 29th August. Northwood is creating a special ‘Book of Memories’ for his family to treasure in years to come. As such, the company is inviting those who knew him, and who were touched by his warmth and humour, to supply any anecdotes they would like to share. Please send to melissawilliams@northwooduk.com


How ADR works in tenancy deposit disputes Advice, Guest Articles, Guest Columns, Latest Articles

After sharing in discussions on two separate threads (links below) I realise that there is some misunderstanding about how Tenancy Deposit legislation works when there is a tenancy deposit dispute. How ADR works in tenancy deposit disputes

Buy to let anguish – landlord being repossessed – rent paid 6 months up front!

Tenant Disappeared

In the first discussion the tenant is concerned that the landlord will not repay the deposit and in the second discussion it is the landlord who is concerned that the tenant can just walk away.

Whichever type of deposit protection scheme a landlord chooses to use, either the custodial scheme at no cost or an insurance based scheme where a premium is paid, the basic rules are the same.

If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on the amount of the deposit that is returned to the tenant either has the right to raise a dispute with the protection scheme. The dispute is dealt with through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where independent arbiters make a determination based on the documentary evidence provided by both parties.

Since the money belongs to the tenant unless and until the landlord can prove that he is entitled to compensation for losses or damages the onus is on the landlord to prove his case and for the tenant to dispute it. If the landlord fails to prove his case the deposit will be returned to the tenant.

During the ADR process, if the scheme is an insured scheme the deposit will be held by the landlord and therefore the scheme will ask the landlord to lodge the money with them pending the results of ADR.  Once the decision has been made the scheme will repay to each party the amount to which they are entitled.

The reason this is called “Alternative” Dispute Resolution is that it offers  a “free” alternative to the normal legal system but it does not replace it and either party can, if they wish, take the case to court instead. If either party decides to take the case to court the deposit protection scheme must be informed and once the case is heard they must be given the court documents to prove the result of the case.  They will then distribute the money in accordance with the Court Order.

Neither party can just ignore the request of the other for ADR.

If either party fails to respond to a request from a scheme to take part in an ADR, the other party will win by default unless that party tells the scheme that he is taking the case to court. This must take place within 6 months of the issue being raised.

In conclusion it is not an option for a landlord to ignore a request for ADR where he is holding a deposit because he has used an insurance based scheme.  If he fails to agree to ADR or does not take the case to court within 6 months, the scheme will repay the deposit to the tenant and reclaim it from the landlord.

If the landlord fails to respond at all ADR will look at the case based on the tenants request and will return the money to the tenant.

A landlord who fails to make the payment will be permanently removed from the scheme and his only option in future will be to lodge his deposits with the custodial scheme.

Where a tenant simply does not respond the landlord too can reclaim the deposit from the custodial scheme either through taking it to court or by using the Single Claim Process.

Sources of information

1) DPS – see >>> http://www.depositprotection.com/documents/reclaiming-a-deposit-2013.pdf

2) my\deposits – see >>> http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/sites/default/files/Tenant%20Guide%20to%20ADR.pdf

3) TDS – see >>> http://www.tds.gb.com/resources/files/What%20happens%20when%20the%20Court%20is%20involved%20in%20a%20tenancy%20deposit%20dispute.pdf


Updated guidance on Superstrike Deposit Protection case Advice, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The four tenancy deposit protection scheme providers have collectively issued guidance notes following the Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Supertrike Limited vs Rodrigues. Guidance from deposit protection schemes following the Supertrike Case

Landlords and Letting Agents should note that none of the tenancy deposit schemes can offer legal advice to landlords or lettings agents.

Their guidance is not intended to give legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. If you have concerns you should get your own legal advice based on your own individual circumstances. However they set out their shared understanding of the position and the options they think are available to landlords and lettings agents in the future.

The guidance notes, which are available to download free by completing the form below this article, have been jointly produced by the authorised tenancy deposit schemes:

• my|deposits
• Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
• Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
• Capita

The Department for Communities and Local Government has met with the tenancy deposit schemes and has received a copy of these guidance notes.

Please download, have a read and then come back here and leave a comment.

You can be pretty sure the Deposit Protection providers will be reading comments left on this forum so don’t miss the opportunity to have your say.

Download the guidance notes here

 


Guidance from tenancy deposit protection schemes following the Superstrike Ltd. vs Rodrigues Court of Appeal case Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Legal, Letting, Lettings & Management, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property Market News, Property News, Tenant Eviction, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

The four tenancy deposit protection scheme providers have collectively issued guidance notes following the Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Superstrike Limited vs Rodrigues. Guidance from deposit protection schemes following the Supertrike Case

Landlords and Letting Agents should note that none of the tenancy deposit schemes can offer legal advice to landlords or lettings agents.

Their guidance is not intended to give legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. If you have concerns you should get your own legal advice based on your own individual circumstances. However they set out their shared understanding of the position and the options they think are available to landlords and lettings agents in the future.

The guidance notes, which are available to download free by completing the form below this article, have been jointly produced by the authorised tenancy deposit schemes:

• my|deposits
• Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
• Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
• Capita

The Department for Communities and Local Government has met with the tenancy deposit schemes and has received a copy of these guidance notes.

Please download, have a read and then come back here and leave a comment.

You can be pretty sure the Deposit Protection providers will be reading comments left on this forum so don’t miss the opportunity to have your say.

Download the guidance notes here

 


Standalone Inventory Software – Any suggestions please? Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Do you know of a standalone software package for inventories that let’s you insert time and date stamped photos into it?

At the moment I use Imfuna Let which is good but I am becoming concerned about the fact that the pictures are time and date stamped in US rather than UK time. That is OL until the TDS scheme administrator asks why I was doing inventories at 3am in the morning!

Does anyone know where I can get some decent standalone property inventory software that let’s you embed pictures rather than using the web based subscription services currently available?

Thanks

Gary Standalone Inventory Software


Deposit Protection Providers call emergency meeting following Court of Appeal Ruling Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Deposit Protection Providers call emergency meeting following Court of Appeal RulingMark Alexander, editor and founder of Property118 tweeted the Deposit Protection Providers last night highlighting his fears on the ramifications of the Superstike vs Rodrigues Tenancy Deposit Protection Court of Appeal case. They are calling emergency meetings.

See the response below and read their interim press statement.

 

Interim Press Statement from the Deposit Protection providers

Court of Appeal – Superstrike Ltd v Rodrigues

A joint statement from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, MyDeposits and The Deposit Protection Service

We have read with interest the latest judgment from the Court of Appeal on deposit protection. Whilst landlords and lettings agents need to take their own legal advice, we will be considering the implications of this judgment for deposit protection and the service of Prescribed information. We will also need to consult the DCLG on this and we will be issuing a further joint statement when we have fully considered the matter.

Justin Selig from The Law Depatment and Landlord Action said:-

I, together with my colleagues at Landlord Action have looked into this in some detail today – we do agree with Mark – this is potentially very serious, but when looked at in detail – it does not make any sense at all.

Firstly, if you are a Landlord and your Tenant occupies your property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and you have taken a deposit from your Tenant, then this applies to you. If you have not taken a deposit, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you have taken a deposit at the beginning of the fixed term of the tenancy, and the tenant remains in the property beyond the expiry of the fixed term, then according to this case the periodic tenancy is deemed to be a “new” tenancy. According to the rules relating to deposit protection, a deposit for a new tenancy needs to be protected.

The Court of Appeal ruling states that a deposit is deemed to be received at each renewal – so in the case they were dealing with, the switch from fixed term to periodic meant that a new deposit was deemed to have been received – and because the time it was received was after April 2007 it therefore required protection for that particular tenancy.

I think the arguments as to whether or not this issue applies to deposits received pre or post April 2007 are irrelevant as all deposits being held today (regardless of when they have been received) must be protected by virtue of the Localism Act 2011.

The question is, therefore – where you are holding a protected deposit – do you need to re-protect it each time there is a renewal of a tenancy? At present, I think the answer to that question is, yes – but hopefully I will be proved wrong on this.

Therefore, anyone who is holding a deposit received at the beginning of a fixed term is required to re-protect that deposit when it moves to a periodic. There is a further problem which may hopefully highlight how this does not make sense. A periodic tenancy is deemed to be renewed at the expiry of each period. Therefore, if you follow the argument – this would mean that the deposit would need to be re-protected at the beginning of each period. Most periodic tenancies are monthly – so the deposit would need to be re-protected monthly.

Obviously this does not make sense, nor I am sure is this the intention of the legislation. So how does a Landlord protect himself?

The first thing I would do is to obtain written clarification from the deposit protection company you are using as to their take on the ruling, and comply with their recommendations. Secondly, as a minimum, and you have a fixed term tenancy about to go onto a periodic, you should at least protect your deposit again when it goes periodic. (Personally, I would actually return the deposit to the tenant – but I appreciate that this is not always practical.) Thirdly, and for belt and braces protection – where you are still holding the deposit, you may want to consider not allowing the tenancy to go onto periodic, but to re-issue the tenant with a new fixed term – and re-protecting the deposit for that fixed term.

I hope that the Landlord does decide to appeal this decision and take it to the Supreme Court as some further clarification is definitely needed.


Tenancy agreements – Using the correct agreement Landlord Law, Latest Articles

Tenancy agreements - Using the correct agreementPeople often talk about getting a tenancy agreement as if it were the same as getting a table or new kettle for the property.  Anything will do.

However a tenancy agreement is a very important document.  It contains the rules which govern how your tenant is going to use your property – your valuable investment.

It also needs to reflect the sort of tenancy you have.  And not all tenancies are the same. Continue reading Tenancy agreements – Using the correct agreement


Oven Cleaning is one of the biggest issues in a rented property Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

ovenOven cleaning is one of the biggest issues and this article is to help Landlords present this particular item in their property in its best condition for an inventory inspection and help tenants bring an oven back to its initial clean state when leaving the accommodation.

Let’s put it into perspective, the cleanliness of a property makes up 51% of tenancy deposit disputes and some of which can be attributed to people forgetting or missing an item to be cleaned, another is that differing people have differing ideas of what is clean. Let me give you an idea how we all think the same but differently.

Picture a cat in your head,
How big is it?
What is it doing?
What colour is it?

While we have all just seen a cat in our minds eye, some cats will be small, medium, large. It might be sleeping, sitting, jumping around and any colour you want. Nevertheless, it is still a cat. The same is true for cleaning, someone might have actually worked very hard to clean a property but yet it is not you to your high standard. Maybe they just don’t know how to do the task correctly and yes some are just simply too lazy to do it. It is a rare situation that we know which of these statements is true for a given household and it might be a combination of all of these factors.

There is a continuum for the level of cleanliness form: never been cleaned, attempted but still dirty, cleaned to an average household standard up to what we call in the inventory profession “cleaned to a high domestic standard” and “cleaned to a professional standard” the best of course being a professional clean.

Here is a list of key phrases I use when describing the cleanliness of an oven from best to worst:
1. As New
2. Cleaned to a professional standard
3. Cleaned to a high domestic standard
4. Clean to a domestic standard
5. Partly cleaned
6. Needs finished clean
7. Not clean.

I must add that fortunately, most inspection I do I only have to decide if the cooker/oven has been cleaned to a domestic or professional standard.

If you look at the picture below, this is an oven an oven cleaned to a high standard but its condition is excluded from our discussion on cleaning. This is a worn oven and unless you have prior information, to this picture, it is not possible to say if this is through damage or due to age and fair wear and tear.

 

This oven is clean but through age and use, it is marked and even rusted at the sides.

Then we have the oven that is clean to a high domestic standard that is to say it is grease free but there are still baked on marks.

 

You should also watch out for chemical residue, many of the excellent oven cleaning products on the market leave residue marks on surfaces if you don’t wash off the product fully, which technically means the oven is still partially dirty, need a finish clean.

There are several very good cleaning products on the market. But there is one that I prefer to use it gets the job done and is fairly easy to use and normally takes a clean to domestic standard to a professional clean level. It is a strong chemical so you have to be careful and follow the manufactures instructions it is “Oven Pride”. Please note that I don’t have shares in the company and I am not getting any benefit for mentioning this product my motivation for mentioning it is to   help anyone who reads this article in particular Landlords and Tenants.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Another question about Renewal Fees (sorry) Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Readers QuestionsI enlisted an Estate Agency (one of the big expensive international ones) to help me find tenants for a property I have to rent out as I can’t afford to live there myself!

Initially I was looking to pay for a Management service, but they were too expensive, so I negotiated a drop in the fees(8% plus VAT now), and for the agreement to be just a letting agreement. I signed the terms and conditions, however realised I got nothing for this letting agreement, and every service was at an additional cost, ie preparation of the contract was £160 plus VAT, etc. so I crossed out some of these services, in fact all of them under the heading Letting Services, and told them I would do everything myself instead, including check in, collecting rent, registering the deposit under the TDS and preparing the inventory. Continue reading Another question about Renewal Fees (sorry)


Taking a Tenant to Court Over Condensation Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Taking a Tenant to Court Over CondensationI have a court date coming up in April as I am taking my ex tenant to court over damage caused to the property by condensation. Does anyone have any experience with claiming for condensation as this is my first and hopefully my last court case?

The tenant and his wife was with me for 5 years in a 2bed 2bath ground floor flat. He also had 2 children in this time and allowed his parents from India to live in the property for long periods of time with out asking me.  Continue reading Taking a Tenant to Court Over Condensation


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