PROPTECH-X ‘Property News Briefing’: Deposit-free Renting | Property Alert Service

Andrew Stanton’s daily Property News Briefing in association with Estate Agent Networking.

Depositless Renting for Students and Working Professionals

PRESS RELEASE / Housing Hand: UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has revealed details of its new, Depositless renting service. Available to working professionals, UK students and students from overseas, the Depositless option will allow renters to move into a property without a deposit.

“There are a number of deposit alternative products on the market, in particular insurance bonds that are limited in their scope and coverage and that only pay out at the end of the tenancy. We wanted to go above and beyond those – to offer something that would be better for renters and better for accommodation providers.”

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

This new approach to deposits is rolled into Housing Hand’s guarantor service, which renters can use in place of a personal guarantor. The service provides the reassurance that accommodation providers need that they won’t end up out of pocket if the tenant defaults on their rent.

The Depositless service means that tenants can move in without a deposit, as that is now covered as part of the Housing Hand guarantee. Any claims are covered straight away (rather than landlords having to wait until the end of the tenancy), in addition to the terms of the regular guarantee. Housing Hand upholds a 100% payout rate on all valid claims.

“This is a new approach to deposits. By extending our guarantee cover to include deposits, we are providing clear reassurance to landlords. We’re also facilitating access to the private rented sector and to purpose-built student accommodation for young people who might otherwise have struggled to come up with the amount required for a deposit.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

Depositless renting is one of a host of new services that Housing Hand has developed since the start of the pandemic. An early appreciation of the pandemic’s likely impact on renters led the firm to invest inward, resulting in it launching a free-to-use new House Finder Service earlier this year. That was followed by the release of a new Partner Portal to support accommodation provides to grow their revenue.

Now, Depositless renting has become the latest service to make renting easier for all concerned.

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Property Alert Service needs to go further, faster

COMMENT / Jonathan Rolande, NAPB: A free Government alert scheme aiming to combat fraud needs to “go further and faster” to combat property crime, a leading expert warns today.

Less than one-per cent of UK homeowners have signed up to HM Land Registry’s Property Alert Service, according to newly published figures.

The alert flags suspicious activity and has been heralded as a key tool in the ongoing war with property-fraudsters.

But Jonathan Rolande of the National Association of Property Buyers believes the service should be “scaled up” to have a greater chance of success.

He said: “Generally it’s an excellent service but one of the biggest issues our members find is that only 10 properties can be registered at a time. This excludes many medium sized buy to let owners.

“What also concerns me is that a large proportion of victims of property fraud are elderly people who at times can be quite vulnerable and might not be in a position to use such a service.

“We need to see more encouragement urging relatives of people within that demographic to register on their behalf.

“The fact that only one per cent of people are signing up will be music to the ears of property fraudsters, whose crimes cause misery for all of those affected.”

Mr Rolande said he believes letting agents should also be advising landlords to opt in to the potentially “lifeline service”.

“Used properly this can help reduce the chances of falling victim to fraud,” Mr Rolande added.

His comments come after Freedom of Information data illustrated how, in the past eight years, a total of just 275,537 people have signed up to the service.

The data emerged following FOI requests by the property and legal fintech group Thirdfort.

Under the rules of the alert, an owner is able to register up to 10 properties.

But with approximately 29 million homes in the UK, it is probable that fewer than around 1% of property owners have signed up to receive alerts on their property, despite the significant risks of title fraud.

The figures follow recent reports that a man in Luton returned home to discover that his house had been sold without his knowledge.

HM Land Registry launched its Property Alert service in 2014 to help tackle property fraud. Email alerts will be sent when HM Land Registry receives an application to change the register as well as for official searches. This enables property owners to judge whether the activity is suspicious and if they should seek further advice.

The Property Alerts are free to use, offering a quick and simple way for homeowners to protect themselves against property title fraud. They typically take around three minutes to sign up to and provide an early warning of suspicious activity, allowing property owners to take immediate action.

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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