Landlord Assist has launched a new deposit replacement warranty scheme which removes the requirement for a tenant to pay the deposit upfront.
Instead of paying the traditional deposit, which is normally four to six weeks rent, the tenant will only have to pay an initial premium of between £100 and £160. This premium will provide guaranteed payment against any damage or non-payment of rent at the end of the tenancy. Private landlords are expected to benefit massively from the scheme simply by advertising properties that don’t require a deposit. Being able to advertise as ‘No Deposit Required’ will certainly help landlords to attract tenants and lessen the possibility of looking for empty property insurance.
Graham Kinnear, managing director at Landlord Assist, said “This new scheme will be the perfect answer to a catch 22 situation. We have come across instances where tenants have been forced to borrow finance to simply pay for a second deposit whilst they wait for a refund from their previous landlord. Tenants love the fact that under the deposit replacement warranty they can move into new accommodation without the need to save up yet another deposit and landlords love the fact that it can speed up the tenancy process.”
The scheme has already attracted a lot of interest due to the fact that under the Coalition Government’s Tenancy Deposit Schemes, the landlord can only apply to return the tenant’s deposit at the end of the tenancy agreement when the tenant has left the property. It is a good alternative to the Coalition deposit scheme which can take 60 days for disputed claims to be resolved. With the Landlord Assist scheme all claims are guaranteed to be settled within a week so that landlords can carry out any repairs almost immediately.
Landlord Assist, the tenant eviction firm, are worried that the United Kingdom will see a significant increase in squatters should local councils throughout the UK be forced to release details of every single empty property in their borough.
Recently a tribunal ruling forced Camden Council to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request to disclose their list of over five-hundred empty council managed and private homes in their area. The judge claimed that it was in the public interest to release the information, but Landlord Assist disagrees. Landlord Assist is fully supportive of the plan to bring as many empty properties back into use as possible. However, they are concerned that they may become a target for squatters and warns the same problem will happen if every council is forced to make similar disclosures.
Landlord Assist’s Managing Director said: “Bringing empty homes back into use would be a welcome initiative if they were used by councils to support the housing needs of vulnerable people, those on modest incomes, first time buyers and retired citizens. However, publishing a list of empty properties at the request of the Advisory Service for Squatters is simply an advert for squatters. It beggars belief that councils should be forced to hand over a list of empty properties. If other councils across the UK are forced to follow suit, inevitably the number of squatters will rise and this could lead to an increase in vandalism and criminal behaviour.”
Landlord Assist regularly deal with cases of squatters where property owners with property insurance have had to go through the courts to get back their property. Squatters do not seem to understand that their actions affect people who sometimes can’t afford to go through the financial strain of recovering their property. The Government is currently considering emulating Scottish law by making squatting a criminal offence.