The government has recently set out plans to revive England’s housing market after seven weeks of being in lockdown, with renters and buyers allowed to move home and view properties as long as social distancing and safety rules are observed.
Under the new guidelines, key activities related to moving home will be permitted, allowing letting agents to reopen and get back to work.
These new rules are a substantial change as the UK housing market had all but been frozen during lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. This is especially good news for those tenants whose tenancies are coming to an end and those who have needed to progress their plans to move. Previously tenants were not allowed to view properties and could only move home if it was “reasonably necessary.”
As a result of these new regulations, we at Samara lettings have had to take some extra precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff members. The most noticeable change will be our working structure which will be as follows:
- Our office will be open form 10am until 4pm Monday-Friday and 10.30am until 2 on Saturdays. All calls and emails will be responded to during normal full office hours.
- A limited number of staff will be operating from the office to ensure social distancing rules are adhered to. The office door will remain locked, and will be opened for customers who have made an appointment.
As we can now undertake viewings, to help minimise the spread of Covid 19 we are putting strict viewing procedures in place. We will ask all prospective tenants to follow the guidelines we have outlined below so as to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.
Furthermore, we will ask that if anyone or anyone in an individual’s household, is showing any symptoms of the Coronavirus, not to attend a viewing appointment. Wherever possible, we will try to arrange a virtual viewing instead.
- We will ask that prospective tenants arrive at their appointment on time and wait outside the property or office until the viewing is ready to start.
- Viewings will be limited to a maximum of 10 minutes
- We will not be able to shake hands with anyone and some staff members will be wearing masks or gloves.
- We will not allow more than two people to attend a viewing.
- We will ask prospective tenants not to touch anything when they go around a property. We will open doors of the property for the tenants and viewers will keep a 2m distance.
- Prospective tenants will be encouraged to sanitise/wash their hands before and after a viewing.
- Tenants interested in properties will be asked to complete an application for tenancy online.
These new measures are subject to Government legislation, and should they change at any time, we may have to amend our procedures accordingly.
For those tenants already living with us, and whose tenancies will be expiring soon, after waiting patiently to move for weeks, they can now do so. We will be implementing new social distancing measures for move out day, so that when they vacate their property, they will have as little contact with the staff and public as possible.
Its been a challenging time for many of us and we hope these new processes will go some way to giving our customers peace of mind that Samara Lettings is doing its part in helping limiting the spread of the Coronavirus. We very much look forward to things returning back to some level of normality so that we can welcome everyone through our doors with little restrictions and finally offer our friendly handshakes!
We hope you all keep well and safe.
Your tenancy has ended, and you’ve moved out. You’re waiting to hear from your deposit scheme and you hope it’s good news.
But have you ever wondered what goes into the deposit return process from the landlords perspective? Do you imagine your landlord entering your property with a clipboard, sliding a finger along the window sill to inspect dust particles in the hope of finding a reason to charge you?
It doesn’t really happen that way.
For most landlords, particularly ones that deal with student accommodation, the tenancy check-out and deposit return process is the most stressful time of the year.
It may be hard to believe but most legitimate landlords would love to return your deposit in full because it means your rent is settled, there’s no need to hire a cleaner and no dispute to have to deal with. Your landlord can breathe a huge sigh of relief!
When it was made compulsory for deposits to be protected under a government backed scheme, it was great news for tenants. Not only did it protect you as a tenant, it also exposed the dishonest rogue landlords.
But what nobody really acknowledges, is that it was good news for those decent landlords too. Before the scheme was introduced, yes the landlord was in control of the deposit, but they still had an obligation to follow the same rules without legal guidance. So if a dispute progressed to court, they were often expensive and time consuming. And the court hearing would be set months away!
Today, the scheme doesn’t allow the deposit return process to drag on. If the Landlord is being unreasonable, they’re told more or less immediately. As are the tenants.
So why’s it so stressful to the Landlord?
Most student accommodation tenancies end in June and begin in July. So there’s only a small window to complete inspections, take all the necessary photographs for inventories and if needed, instruct cleaners to turn the property around.
If a property is left in a less than desirable state, it’s not so much that the landlord is worried about the property itself, but more the concern that it won’t be ready in time for the new tenants.
If cleaning and repairs are required, the landlord only has a few hours or days to complete the work. Depending on the severity, it doesn’t actually leave much time.
Then we come to a deposit dispute itself. The landlord has only 10 days to raise any charges from the tenancy end date. Any deductions need to be evidenced with date stamped photos and receipts.
So there you go, the deposit process explained. Hopefully some of the common held misconceptions dispelled too!
It’s coming up to that time of the year... MOVING OUT! Aaaargh! Even though it’s something we accept as part of student life, it’s still no fun. But lucky for you we’ve shared some helpful tips that can make the process a bit easier.
Disclaimer: not saying it’ll be any more fun.
Don’t stock up, eat up!
If there was ever a time to get creative with your culinary skills, now’s it! Baked beans and tinned peaches? Maybe not. But eating what you have is better than being wasteful and will save you a bob or two.
Get your marigolds on!
The most common deposit deduction comes from cleaning charges. Start early, spend an hour a day and concentrate on one section or room at a time. Don’t leave it last minute as it takes longer than you think to pack AND clean.
Got any DIY skills?
Which brings us to repairs. Make sure you make good any plaster damage, holes from picture hooks and paint over any scuffs and bluetac marks.
Don’t be camera shy
Take plenty of photos of each room before you leave. When your property is later inspected by your landlord, you’ll have evidence of the condition you left it.
If you weren’t one of the more savvy tenants that chose an ‘All Inclusive’ property, now’s the time to kick yourself. But before you do any real damage- it’s not actually that bad. Take meter readings of your gas meter, electricity meter and water meter (if applicable). The easiest way is to take a photo on your phone. Then call or email your utility supplier/s with the meter readings and your tenancy end date. Do this on the last day you’re in the property- it doesn’t have to be the tenancy end date, just the day you say goodbye to your dig for the last time.
Be kind to the environment 🖤
Before you leave your home for good, turn off your heating and turn off lights. Our beautiful planet will really appreciate it.
Wires are the worst.
Take a photo of the back of your TV, computer or X Box before you disconnect the wires, it’s not easy trying to remember where they all go.
Want free packaging?
Get to your local supermarket and ask for unwanted boxes. Not only will you be recycling, you'll avoid spending hours later having to search through bin-liners to find what you need.
Keep your clothes on their hangers. Unpacking your wardrobe pieces will be completed in minutes!
A moving essentials bag is a must!
Pack important items like your phone charger, passport, medication, basic toiletries and perhaps even a change of clothes. When you get to your new place, you’ll have easier access to your essential items without having to hunt around.
If possible, get mum and dad involved. They’re more likely to have a car, and the patience.
Written By Xena Clarke