When do I have to move out? When do I get my deposit back? What cleaning do I have to do? When do I get my deposit back? What about my bills? When do I get my deposit back? What do I do with our keys? When do I get my deposit back? What’s a ‘checkout’? When do I get my deposit back? Is the Landlord going to make any deductions? When do I get my deposit back? Why is this taking so long?

Sound familiar?

I think pretty much every letting agent up and down the country can relate to this barrage of questions, via email or calls, on many if not most of their concluding tenancies. They can be frustrating, time-consuming and usually delay a member of staff’s work which, rather ironically, leads to a delay in returning the tenant’s deposit.

Understandably, most tenants don’t know the steps required in between notice and refund and, even if as an agency, you send a document explaining the process, it is rare for that to be read and fully digested.

So, how do you educate tenants about this process and have them engage?

The reality is, written content struggles so, if you’re going to do something ‘in house’

I would advise either some graphics that make the process more visual/image-driven or (and I think this is the best approach) do a video.

These methods will ensure the best tenant engagement and should help, at least a bit, to reduce tenant queries. It’s also ideal if you can update a tenant at each key event so, even if there is nothing for them to do, they know the process is progressing.

Tackling these issues was one of the cornerstones of designing and building The Depositary.

If the platform was to work, we knew that it had to deliver an improved tenant journey/experience in what is, for many if not most, the most stressful and frankly worst part of the renting process.

We wanted tenants to clearly understand the multitude of steps involved in an easily digestible format- so we have a visual ‘timeline’ on large screens and a ‘progress wheel’ on small ones.

Customisable email templates

What is more, we have approximately 30 different emails (all of which our agents can further customise) exclusively for tenants (a typical tenant will receive 10-15 different emails on their journey with us), which cover:

  • Weekly emails to help them get ready to hand the property back during the last four weeks of each tenancy
  • Notifications that a Checkout has taken place and also when the report has been completed but is under review by the agent
  • Deposit deduction proposals and ongoing negotiation
  • Final reconciliation, including the gathering of bank details and forwarding addresses

Our approach clearly works!

Our agent community, all report a dramatic reduction in chasing calls and emails, and tenants from across the country have raved about how our platform has demystified the process and that they usually get their deposit faster than on previous tenancies (on average, our agents refund the deposit within 14 days of a tenancy ending versus the national average of 21).

Deductions process that works for everyone

Our deductions process has also had a similar impact- with our agent community and their landlords having to take a purely evidence-led approach from the offset. As a result, over 70% of all deductions proposed in our platform to date are agreed upon by tenants without any form of negotiation. Tenants feel they are facing justified and substantiated deductions and agents save minutes, if not hours, on unnecessary negotiations.

Much of the contention that comes from tenants in the conclusion of a tenancy is born out of a lack of understanding, a fear they will face unfair deductions and won’t see their money for weeks if not months.

Anything you can do to address these issues will positively impact the productivity of your agency and the relationship you have with your tenants when parting ways.

To learn more about The Depositary, visit their website at: www.thedepositary.com. Alternatively, book a demo with TDS and The Depositary where you can find out more about the core functionality of the end-to-end platform.

Interested in switching tenancy deposit schemes?  Discover why landlords and agents are also choosing TDS: https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/join/switch/

About the author

Kristjan Byfield

Kristjan Byfield - The Depositary

Kristjan has been a tenant in London since 1998, living at 9 different properties – and counting. After a brief stint as a professional actor, he became an estate & letting agent in 2003. In 2004, together with An Deckers, they decided to launch their own agency – determined to build a service that placed both Landlords and Tenants on equal footing at its core. He is passionate about the amazing hard work that great letting agents across the UK do every day, frustrated by the way they are perceived and referred to in the press and determined to establish their value in the eyes of tenants and landlords alike. He is driven to help develop a rental sector that works for all and is probably best described as the Viking of Proptech.

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