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PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: TDS | Manning Stainton | Help me Fix

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking & NewsNow.

Landlord survey shines spotlight on hygiene

A survey conducted by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) asked over six hundred landlords and agents about cleanliness in their private rented properties. Cleaning topped the list of most frequent reasons for tenancy deposit disputes in 2020 and 2021, so TDS were keen to find out more about the experiences of property professionals at the end of a tenancy.

Some 64% of respondents said they had raised a deposit dispute due to cleanliness issues in the property. This was despite 83% specifically stating tenant cleaning obligations in their tenancy agreements.

The poll asked landlords and agents which rooms of the home suffered the most issues regarding cleanliness. 84% of those surveyed reported that kitchens were the dirtiest room at check-out, closely followed by bathrooms. Bedrooms, living rooms, appliances and windows were frequent offenders too.

Whilst less than half of property professionals don’t conduct interim cleaning checks during the tenancy, three quarters made it standard practice to professionally clean their rental properties before the start of each tenancy, regardless of the cleanliness from the previous tenancy.

Steve Harriott, Chief Executive at TDS said: “We hope this information helps tenants to understand their obligations when they move out, and which rooms require deeper cleaning before they leave their rented property. 

“By putting in the extra effort, many tenants can avoid any of their deposit being deducted at the end of tenancy. It’s encouraging how many property professionals include specific points in their tenancy agreements regarding cleaning, and also the number that ensures professional cleaning happens as standard.”

The Dispute Service has recently published further findings in its Annual Review 2020/21, which goes into detail about other common causes of deposit disputes, resolutions, and adjudication times. The report can be accessed via the TDS Information Lounge.

Manning Stainton acquire Ryder & Dutton 

Yorkshire-based Manning Stainton has bought out Ryder & Dutton, leveraging some HSBC funding, to put together a strategically large network of branches ranging from Leeds to Manchester. The two brands are in many ways similar, and it would seem to be a great fit. 

But as the world turns digital, how much value is there in buying physical branches? Mark Manning is the real estate veteran and very safe pair of hands who will step up as the group’s managing director, said: “The value in the estate agency industry is within its people, and combined, we have the best people in the business.”

The core value of any estate agency business is often said to be its people, yet a recent UK analysis suggests 40% of agents take positions elsewhere every 18 months.

Certainly, the critical mass of these businesses knitting together seems a great venture, but with technology eating up processes within real estate, are physical branches with large core staff the future? I ask this again as the property consumer is increasingly taking control of the process themselves rather than looking through the plate glass window of an estate agency branch.

Strategically speaking, a great time to do a deal with transaction levels at an all-time high, supporting optimistic valuations for the business, but the fickle housing market always proves to be so. 2022 is not going to be 2021 on repeat.

Help me Fix delivers on what it promises 

When you’re busy and, lo and behold, yet another problem arises, you just want a fast reliable solution. Well, that happened two days ago. A relative who lets a property close to me called. Her tenant had a problem with their plumbing, but she was out of the area. 

Not the best situation to have to sort out, especially as it was evening time. Zara, my squirrel-chasing four-legged co-director rolled her eyes as if to say our evening walk was over. But then I remembered Help me Fix.

The company’s offering is crystal clear: “Whether you’re a letting agent or multi-let landlord, the problem of the initial call-out is always the same. Most physical call outs are unnecessary, but until you know what the problem is, have a professional take a look, and see if it’s something the tenant can fix themselves, you are always in a position of uncertainty.

Imagine if engineer availability, time actually getting to site, and ‘the call-out charge’ were no longer a problem. Imagine if the engineer that was diagnosing the issue didn’t have a vested interest in getting the repair work. Would this affect the recommendation they made?

Help me Fix can improve service to your tenants, save you time and cut back on maintenance costs. The whole service is built around improving tenant experience, which in turn improves tenancy length, payment of rent on time and reduces the headaches of the day-to-day management of your properties.

Zara’s ears pricked up as I put everything into action. It was painless, instant, and just got sorted. I spend my life dealing with tech that improves real estate, but what I learnt from Founder Ettan Bazil was that he came at the problem of letting maintenance from the sharp end. Bazil is a qualified tradesman who saw that landlords were being overcharged for problems that could be often nipped in the bud. Help me Fix set out to streamline the whole process. 

Ettan Bazil said: “Help me Fix is a professional service, disguised as a piece of software, not the other way around, that saves money for landlords, increases passive income for agents, reduces workload and stress for property managers, and eliminates waiting times for tenants.”

What Help me Fix does differently is that it sits in between landlords, property managers, tradespeople and tenants. Simply put, it gets the right engineer to the right person quickly and efficiently, and Zara is thankful for it because she got her walk.

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Andrew Stanton Founder & Editor of 'PROPTECH-X' where his insights, connections, analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are based on writing 1.3M words annually. Plus meeting 1,000 Proptech founders, critiquing 400 decks and having had 130 clients as CEO of 'PROPTECH-PR', a consultancy for Proptech founders seeking growth and exit strategies. He also acts as an advisory for major global real estate companies on sales, acquisitions, market positioning & operations. With 100K followers & readers, he is the 'Proptech Realestate Influencer.'