Yellow Oak Inventories supporting SAFEagent awareness week

Yellow Oak Inventories supporting SAFEagent awareness week

This week marks the 4th annual SAFEagent awareness week, and with over 3,000 professional letting agents uniting together this will be the biggest awareness drive SAFEagent have ever experienced. So throughout the coming week SAFEagent members, and others within the industry, will be promoting the importance of choosing a lettings and management agent who’s part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

What is a CMP Scheme?

CMP schemes are a ‘safety-net’ that provide compensation to landlords and tenants, should their agent misappropriate their rent, deposit or other funds.

As mentioned in our previous blog, as of last Wednesday letting agents now have a statutory duty to fully publicise the fees they charge to both their landlord and tenant clients; so SAFEagent Awareness Week coincides with this latest rule change very nicely.

Why do you support this scheme?

Well, it’s very simple really! At Yellow Oak we believe that it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry, and the SAFEagent scheme adds further protection for landlords and tenants monies. This is because, as a sad fact of life, there are a minority of unscrupulous landlords and letting agents out there who drag the industry into disrepute. So those who manage property and are ‘Fully Endorsed’ by SAFEAgent provide their tenants with the peace of mind that the money they’ve paid in deposits and rent is fully protected. Furthermore, it proves that they are flying the flag for professional standards within the private rented sector.

SAFEagent explained in 2 minutes: https://youtu.be/Zncvz1oAkCQ

Supporters of SAFEagent include the likes of: Endsleigh, HomeLet, The Property Ombudsman Scheme (TPOS), The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), British Property Federation (BPF), Citizens Advice Bureau and Shelter.

J. Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, has also stated that many consumers are still completely unaware that if their agent was to abscond with any funds that are rightfully theirs; there would be no chance of getting them back without a CMP in place. He went on to say that he fully welcomes last week’s newest legislation change but would like to see inclusion in a CMP scheme become mandatory for all UK letting agents. – What do you think about this idea?

At Yellow Oak Inventories we will be supporting this very worthy industry cause throughout the week, as we truly care about consumer protection in the PRS (as members of the Property Redress Scheme ourselves) and want to support raising standards and awareness in any way we can.

The easiest way to show your support is through social media, and SAFEAgent have even made some ready-made status updates that you just need to copy and paste! Find them here.

10 Questions Letting Agents Should Ask Their Property Inventory Provider

As of the 27th May 2015, letting agents now have a statutory duty to fully publicise the fees they charge to their landlord and tenant clients.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, it’s designed to promote more transparency within the sector, as well as tackling rogue letting agents head-on. This means that agents must now clearly display a list of their fees at each of their offices as well as on their website. Official guidelines issued by the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) and Advertising Standard Authority state that:

“All fees, charges or penalties (however expressed) which are payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency work and property management work carried out by the agent in connection with an assured tenancy. This includes fees, charges or penalties in connection with an assured tenancy of a property or a property that is, has been or is proposed to be let under an assured tenancy.”

Announced last year, the government said: “The move ensures a fair deal for landlords and tenants, closing off the opportunity for a small minority of rogue agents to impose unreasonable, hidden charges.”

And those agents that fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £5,000, which is definitely great news for landlords and tenants. But how will this affect letting agents?

Well we believe that letting agents right across Britain will now be hunting for a much more cost-effective inventory service to what they’re currently using. Because not only are all lettings fees now going to be under deep scrutiny but they will now be battling against other agents in their area (even more so) to offer the cheapest fees around to attract the most clients; landlords and tenants alike.

Furthermore, a comprehensive inventory report shows to your landlord clients that you are dedicated to protecting their property from potential damage, as well as protecting your tenants deposit by providing a transparent and unbiased service.

So as a Letting Agent, what should I be looking for in my next inventory company?

  • Are they certified members of APIP or the AIIC?
  • Are they fully insured?
  • How much experience do they have?
  • Are they members of a Property Redress Scheme?
  • Do they have reviews or testimonials from previous letting agent clients?
  • How detailed are their reports? Can they offer an example report?
  • Do they offer mid-term reviews/inspections?
  • Do they have a good knowledge of your particular area?
  • Do they have extended working hours and days?
  • How do their prices compare to other inventory companies in your area?

At Yellow Oak Inventories we can offer everything mentioned above and more! And we fully understand that as a letting agent you want to provide the best possible service at the most attractive price. So this is why you must always use an independent Inventory Clerk for all inventories, check-ins, mid-terms and check-outs, so as to remain transparent and professional to all of your clients.


Here are 10 advantages of using an independent Inventory Clerk.

Inventories VS Pests

We’ve covered the issues of pets in rented property and how they can seriously damage your property, even disrupting neighbouring tenant’s right of enjoyment in their home.

But what about pests?

As a landlord you have a legal duty of care to uphold, by firstly ensuring that your property is fit for your tenants to live in from the beginning of their tenancy. This includes being confident that there are no traces of pests or vermin, as these could be extremely detrimental to their health as well as infringing on their right to quiet enjoyment. The 10 most commonly found pests in UK households being mice, rats, wasps, ants, moths, cockroaches, mosquitoes, spiders, flies and fleas.

A thorough inventory check-in report will flag up any signs of pests or vermin from the outset and prevent future problems in the first place.

Other than thoughtless actions by tenants creating a pest problem, such as not clearing away food debris or rubbish, they can also be caused by disrepair to the property; e.g. holes in the walls and floors allowing mice to enter the premises. So if there is a problem with pests or vermin when moving in, as the landlord or letting agent it is you who is responsible for dealing with it.

A mid-term inventory report and inspection will help alert you to any pest problems that your tenant has failed to notice or report as well as preventing any potential vermin problems.

Carpet and clothes moths have become more common in rented accommodation in recent years and can be tricky to get rid of. I remember a recent story from a landlord about a tenant coming and telling him that she had moths. They hadn’t been there before the tenancy had begun but the tenant said they were in the carpet and were gradually eating it away! The tenant wanted to know what the landlord was going to do about it, but they hadn’t been there before the tenant took up residence and the inventory report proved this. Amongst pest control firms these have been dubbed “posh pests”, as they don’t carry diseases and love to live in wool and cashmere items.

Students in particular have recently come under fire for causing pest problems because of poor hygiene amongst some of them, with research by the Association of Independent Inventory clerks (AIIC) suggesting that pest issues are particularly acute in student accommodation. AIIC chair, Pat Barber, talks about a case where mice were discovered during a property inspection: “The tenants complained of mice faeces in cupboards and on the kitchen floor. Unsurprisingly the kitchen was in a really dirty condition with grease, crumbs and other debris everywhere. The tenants were advised to clean up their act.”

A check-out inventory report will fully protect you from pest infestations that are the fault of the tenant.

Being alerted about pests in your property by your tenant shouldn’t be ignored either. If you fail to act they can go above your head and complain to the council’s environmental health department, which could result in a fine or even prison if it poses such a health hazard to the tenants and their neighbours.

Furthermore, if your property keeps falling foul to pesky pests adding an express term into the tenancy agreement, which details exactly who’s responsible for dealing with pests and/or vermin, may be an idea for the future.

When asked “who is responsible” for dealing with an infestation this can become a very grey area, without a concrete inventory in place. Don’t let your tenant take advantage of you, simply get a thorough inventory done by a qualified, professional and independent inventory clerk for total peace of mind.

Need more information? Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, either by phone: 020 3713 4933, by email: info@yellowoak.co.uk or via facebook, instagram or twitter.

Protecting your property from bad tenants

In reality most of your tenants will be good, pay their rent on time, leave your property in an good condition and treat it as their own.

But with recent concerns over low levels of PRS deposits being registered with tenancy deposit schemes coupled with the amount of ‘Generation Renters’ steadily rising, the minority of bad tenants will also inevitably grow; giving even more reason to be extra vigilant in how you select your next tenants and carry out your ongoing tenancy management skills.

Vanessa Warwick, co-founder of the property advice forum PropertyTribes.com has a great saying: “The best way to never experience a bad tenant is never to let one into your property in the first place“.

You can use the following check list to protect yourself and your existing tenants from anti-social neighbours.

Yellow Oak Inventories Three Point Anti-Bad Tenant Checklist:

  1. Your 1st pre-tenancy port of call should always be to detailed and methodical tenant referencing procedures;

Credit Check ☐
Employer ☐
Previous Landlord ☐
Previous Letting Agent ☐
Personal References (non-related, professionals e.g. University Lecturer)
Guarantor Reference (if applicable)
Visited tenants’ current home ☐

Digital quick tip: Don’t forget to ask for email addresses as well as phone numbers for references.

A quick google search on your potential new tenant can also be worthwhile.

2. Using an impartial, professional and officially approved property inventory clerk from start to finish, as well as mid-term reviews and regular property inspections, can protect against such common housing hazards as:
– Drug Dens
– Overcrowding
– Damp
– Mould
– Subletting

3. Knowledge is Power

Keeping up-to-date on local and national legislation, relevant to UK landlords and letting agents, will provide a fool proof safety net for the future protection of your investment and well-being. So consider joining or contacting a nationally recognised organisation, e.g. The National Landlords Association (NLA) @nationalandlord, The Residential Landlord Association (RLA) @RLA_News, SAFEagent @Safeagent or The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) @arla_uk, or a local association, accreditation, PiN or group; e.g. The London Landlord Accreditation Scheme @LLAS_UKLAP.
Tap into an ocean of knowledge, such as:
– Deposit Protection
– Deregulation Bill
– Eviction Legislation and Advice
– Universal Credit
– Licensing

An extreme example of a bad tenant reminds us of a story we heard about back in 2013. An enraged French tenant who had been refused their deposit back caused $2,500 worth of damage when he took a sledgehammer to his apartment in revenge! If you don’t believe us, here’s the video!

As experienced landlords ourselves we have had our fair share of bad tenants and now know many fool proof ways to weed them out.  So for more tips on avoiding nightmare tenants please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us, either by phone: 020 3713 4933, by email: info@yellowoak.co.uk or via facebook, instagram or twitter.

“Animal hoarding” – The importance of mid-term inspections

A horrific story in the news recently definitely brings home the importance of quarterly/mid-term inspections, which I’d like to share with you all.

The shocking discovery was made by a Wisconsin landlord, who had heard barking coming from his rented property; only to open the door and almost be trampled by more than 30 dogs!

Employed as a cleaner, the tenant had only lived there since December 2014 but in 4 short months had accumulated 36 dead dogs, 29 dead cats and 85 starving dogs in the rural rented abode!
Given free reign of the house, animal faeces and urine covered the entirety of the property – with dogs found in closets, crates, duct work and some poor puppies were even found in the stove!

Taking almost 5 hours to round up the living animals, the tenant could now face up to three years in prison for ‘felony aggravated animal cruelty’ plus other charges.

Apart from an obvious lack of tenant referencing (as this tenant is apparently notorious for leaving property in an awful state) this could have all been avoided if a simple quarterly/mid-term inspection had taken place.

Without a firm damage estimate yet, the distraught landlord anticipates at least having to cut out and replace the flooring throughout the house. But we would hazard a guess that the costs will run into many thousands of dollars.

So a quarterly/mid-term inspection at the three month mark might seem a little unnecessary but considering this lettings nightmare it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry!

At Yellow Oak Inventories we are true believers that Evidence Is Everything when it comes to your buy-to-let investment. Therefore a quarterly/mid-term inspection, alongside a check-in and check-out report, will ensure that your tenant is looking after your property as well as fully supporting any future deposit dispute claims.

Prevention is better than cure and the condition of your property is of paramount importance. You want it to be both protected and respected; so a quarterly/mid-term inspection coupled with an inventory is a no brainer really, isn’t it?

At Yellow Oak Inventories we offer cost effective prices, for the utmost quality and detailed inventory reports and interim inspections around; from as little as £60 per quarterly/mid-term inspection reports! (excluding VAT).

Contact Yellow Oak Inventories today and discover how we can help you get the most out of your business.

Give us a call on 020 3713 4933 or email us at info@yellowoak.co.uk.