A rental platform has welcomed the plans for wide-ranging reform of the housing redress system, but says landlords need to be given plenty of time and pre-warning. The call by RentalStep comes after the recent announcement by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire, which outlined various proposals to transform property redress.
At the heart of the reforms is the formation of the Housing Complaints Resolution Service, which would create a one-stop-shop for every complaint about all tenures of housing. What’s more, under the new rules, all private landlords will have to join a redress scheme, with those failing to comply facing the prospect of a £5,000 fine.
The proposed changes will be discussed, reworked and revised later this year by a Redress Reform Working Group, which will include existing redress schemes as well as the government.
Mike Georgeson, RentalStep’s founder and chief executive said, “While the planned reforms are a positive move – protecting tenants and giving them a fair right to redress, it’s also vital that landlords are given enough time to adjust to yet more changes and new regulation.
“This is another measure for landlords to be aware of and another cost to bear, so they need to be given fair warning of when the reforms are coming into play and what exactly they will involve.
“Landlords will have to pay to join a redress scheme and could also be fined in the event of non-compliance the prospect of these extra expenses could be a cause of concern for many.”
As the costs of letting a property continue to rise, any way that landlords can reduce their monthly outgoings should be fully explored.
Georgeson added, “With the ever-growing financial pressures on landlords, reducing costs where possible is a wise and pragmatic move.
“Cost-cutting is an especially important consideration at a time when Brexit uncertainty, the prospect of increased management fees as a result of the incoming ban on tenant fees and other new legislation is squeezing landlords more than ever.”
Georgeson said there are a number of ways in which landlords can reduce their costs. This includes moving away from traditional agencies, embracing new and innovative tech platforms, shopping around to find the best deals and products on the market, and comparing services to ensure the most reliable, productive and cost-efficient provider is chosen.
The desired cost-cutting could also be achieved in terms of reducing the financial outlay involved with property management, tenant referencing and advertising.
RentalStep’s recently launched premium service includes a number of benefits, including unlimited full credit checks on all prospective tenants, rent collection, handling of maintenance issues, document storage, collection and registering of deposits, digital tenancy agreements and enhanced tenant referencing.
The premium service also allows landlords to advertise their properties as many times as they want on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation all for just £35 per month.
This enables their homes to be promoted to the widest possible audience for considerably less than the typical management fees charged by letting agents.
“We know how important advertising on the major portals is – with most tenants starting their property search on these platforms, so if this can be done at a low cost it enables landlords to make considerable savings,” added Georgeson.
RentalStep launched in 2017 and is now used by over 9,000 tenants and over 2,000 landlords.
Its unique TenantPassport enables tenants to share their digital rental profile with landlords, helping them to build their all-important credit score.