With tough challenges, come valuable lessons and there has been no shortage of those over the past few months.
In the private rental sector (PRS), letting agents have been up against it during lockdown, with viewings and normal tenancy processes becoming paralysed overnight. Moving in/out delays and financial concerns have resulted in numerous questions about tenancy deposits and potential deposit disputes.
Whilst these problems have compounded an already difficult period, that hardship has fuelled some incredible efforts on the part of lettings agents and landlords, with some real innovation from these businesses.
At Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), we’ve watched, listened and advised over the past few months, and we’ve seen some great ideas and inspiring goodwill from landlords and letting agents across the UK.
From a tenancy deposit perspective, we’ve also seen where the concerns and problems have occurred and how we can learn from those issues moving forward. By adopting best practice now, letting agents can move towards improved efficiencies that will help to save and recoup some costs in 2020.
Here are a few tips on where and how to find efficiencies in tenancy deposit protection to save you time and money:
5 ways to improve efficiencies in tenancy deposit protection
1. Collate evidence and keep records of communication
Keeping a record of every communication you have with the tenant is essential. These unprecedented times have meant that difficult and unusual decisions have been made about rental reductions, end-of-tenancy check-outs and deposit returns to name a few. Whilst some of these decisions will have been as goodwill gestures, you will still need to demonstrate to an adjudicator that you have clearly communicated those decisions to your tenant if a deposit dispute arises in the future. For members of the TDS Custodial scheme, this is made easy with the secure, online communications log feature in your dashboard, which will speed up time at the end of a tenancy.
You can book in a demonstration of the unique features of our FREE TDS Custodial scheme here.
2. Tick all the boxes at start-of-tenancy for quick dispute resolution
When you are able to conduct normal check-in procedures again, make sure you tick every box when it comes to the inventory and tenancy agreement. Include a comprehensive level of detail on the cleanliness and condition of your property, and its contents, at the start of a tenancy and include photos for evidence. Should you find that the parties are unable to agree deductions at the end of the tenancy, all of this can then be easily uploaded to the evidence portal at TDS which will save you time, hassle and money at the end of tenancy should you need to make a claim for a deposit deduction.
Find out more about inventories, check-ins, and checkouts in our best practice guide here.
3. Use free tools and templates to save time
Whilst there may seem to be a lot of administration needed at the start of a tenancy, it is worth it to avoid problems and disputes at the end of the tenancy and there are ways to speed up the process whilst remaining compliant. Try using pre-populated forms, like the pre-populated prescribed information template available to TDS Custodial customers. You should also take advantage of the other free tools and templates available. Our instant online Deposit Cap calculator, for example, allows you to quickly and accurately calculate the right amount to charge for your tenant’s deposit in accordance with the law.
4. Use technology to speed up admin
Take advantage of new technology to manage your tenancy deposits quickly and efficiently. Digital transformation has been accelerated by Covid-19, many haven’t had a choice but to embrace new technology over the past few months. By using the dashboard in the TDS Custodial scheme, for example, you can remove delays, duplication, errors, and paperwork by using the dashboard to update tenant details, manage changeovers, split repayments and view dispute progress. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.
5. Switch suppliers if they’re wasting your time
Don’t waste time waiting on the phone or waiting for responses to your emails. If your queries aren’t being dealt with quickly by your suppliers, this is the time to switch. Time is money in lettings, and any savings that can be made in admin time is directly measurable on the bottom-line.
The key take-away is to find ways to save time in letting’s admin. By streamlining your tenancy deposit processes, you’ll see fewer disputes and you’ll be able to focus on activities that bring in the listings instead.
Switching to TDS is easy! We have a dedicated switching team to transfer your deposits to TDS Custodial. To switch to TDS or to book in a demonstration today, click here.
To find out more about the tenancy dispute management technology, free tools and templates, dispute resolution times, and award-winning customer service from TDS Custodial, visit Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s information lounge