I’m sure, like us, you were somewhat surprised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement in yesterday’s Autumn Statement regarding the banning of letting agent fees. As you may already be aware, similar legislation has existed in Scotland for a number of years.
As a result of our strong customer base in Scotland, we are very well prepared for these changes and would like to draw your attention to a number of options that we already offer to our customers north of the border. Since Scottish law precludes agents from charging fees for references, we are already able to accept online payments directly from tenants and landlords. The process is very similar to the one you’re familiar with today, only tenants or landlords are sent a link to an online payment form prior to the reference application form being filled in.
During the online payment process, we make it clear to tenants and/or landlords that they are not obliged to purchase their references from us, and that other providers exist, but we do guarantee that our references meet or exceed the standards required by their letting agent. Our experience in Scotland is that upwards of 90% of tenants and landlords will purchase from us when we’re recommended by their letting agent.
We offer agents generous commissions from the referrals sent to us and even the option to establish a full white label partnership allowing agents to establish their own brand referencing service.
We will be carefully monitoring the situation over the coming weeks and months to ensure we’re able to continue to offer you a compelling set of referencing products that make commercial sense whilst remaining fully compliant with the new legislation.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you'd like further details on the full range of options we're able to offer our customers.
We've moved to new premises at Sugnall Business Centre in Staffordshire. Nestled in heart of the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, Sugnall estate has a long esteemed history and even gets a mention in the Domesday book back in 1086. More recently, it became the new home our expanding business. We've had another great year, growing the Vorensys team and forging new partnerships, and the old office was becoming a bit of a squeeze. As you'll see from the picture, Sugnal was a great choice with the outstanding scenery, local amenities and easy access to the M6. There's a coffee shop, walled garden and even a duck pond to keep the children amused on their visits. If you're in the area, why not stop by to say hello, grab a coffee or even feed the ducks!
Our old site has served us well, but it's time for a spring clean and a new lick of paint! Over the weekend we'll be moving to our brand new site. Besides a new 'look and feel' and new content, the new site will be a fully 'responsive design' using the Twitter Bootstrap framework allowing it to customise itself to fit the device you view it on. If you're viewing on a smart phone or tablet it will optimise itself to fit the size of your screen making it easier for you to view. We've also added new content and information that we hope you'll find useful. Please let us know what you think, as always we value your feedback!
If you're a landlord or letting agent in England you're more than likely aware that, as of the 1st of February this year, you'll be expected to perform 'right to rent' checks on all of your tenants. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to £3000. In order to help keep you on the right side of the law, we've launched our 'right to rent' tracking functionality that guides you through the process of performing the checks and recording the outcome. In addition, we've also launched our document management solution that allows you to store copies of the documents used to perform these checks. The government requires you to keep these for the duration of the tenancy and up to twelve months beyond. To find out more about performing right to rent checks either log into your Vorensys account or check out the government guidelines on gov.co.uk.
Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the demand for private rented accommodation. Obviously this is great news for landlords as having tenants in their properties means they can benefit from steady, on-going income. Although there may be a lot of interest in your property, it is essential to choose the right tenant. In this article we will explain the importance of tenant referencing when renting out properties. Tenant references are designed to help landlords and letting agents make a more informed decision on whether or not an individual will make a suitable tenant for their property. Tenant referencing involves checking whether an individual has an adverse credit history (unresolved bankruptcy, IVA etc.) and whether or not they have ever missed payments on previous rental properties. Landlords may carry out the referencing process by getting in touch with an individual's employer, previous landlord or letting agency. Many landlords outsource tenant referencing to third party companies for convenience.
Checking references can help landlords when it comes to the process of tenant screening. By screening the tenants, landlords will stand a better chance of selecting low risk individuals to move into their properties. Tenant vetting also involves checking that individuals have not breached previous tenancy agreements. If they have, then it is unlikely that you will want to form an agreement with them, as history could repeat itself.
By checking references you can also vet a potential tenant's financial situation. You need to make sure that they are going to be able to meet the monthly rent payments you require. Most letting agents recommend that an individual's gross salary works out to be more than two and a half times their share of rent. During the process you will also want to check that potential tenants are not still in arrears on previous tenancy agreements.
Finally, you will need to vet your tenants' personalities. If they have participated in anti-social behaviour or caused problems in their previous landlord's property, it will show up on their tenancy reference. You do not want to put yourself at risk of having damage done to your property, so make sure that your potential tenants have a clean record.
Whilst references are a great way to mitigate risk and ensure that potential tenants are the sort of people you want living in your property, legal expense and rent guarantee insurance provides a backstop in the unlikely event of a problem. Sometimes you may find that your tenant's circumstances change during their time in your property, which may lead them to being unable to pay their rent. Aside from losing out on monthly income, you may also have to consider the legal expense of evicting your tenant. Taking out a legal expense and rent guarantee insurance policy will free you from the worry of problem tenants. Not only will the policy help cover missed payments but it will also help cover any legal expense incurred, putting you in a better position to pursue legal proceedings.
You may recall that we introduced our SOAP API some time ago. This provides a programmatic interface for third parties (e.g. software vendors, property management sites etc.) to access our functionality. We've now enhanced this to provide access to additional portal functionality bringing it closer in line with what's available via our own portal. Software developers interested in using the API should email us at 'firstname.lastname@example.org' to obtain a developer key and documentation. As with other white label arrangements, we pay generous commissions to all applications generated via our SOAP API. If you're a user of the existing API no changes will be required to your existing code.