Hello and welcome to our latest update… we’re probably not yet getting used to these unusual times but we hope this daily service helps provide some guidance.
First off today, Right To Rent’s new Coronavirus changes.
Letting Agent Today ran a story earlier this week on how Right To Rent is being relaxed during the current crisis, and now the Association of Residential Letting Agents has published a short guide on how to conduct a check on a prospective tenant.
– Ask the tenant to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app;
– Arrange a video call with the tenant – ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents;
– Record the date you made the check and mark it as “an adjusted check has been undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.
If the tenant does not have the right documents you must contact the Landlord’s Checking Service if the tenant cannot provide documents from the prescribed lists.
These measures remain in place until the point when government announce a return to previous arrangements. After that, agents must revert to existing processes.
Within eight weeks of the temporary measures being lifted, agents will also need to carry out full retrospective checks on tenants who:
– Started their tenancy during this period;
– Required a follow-up check during this period.
ARLA says that in these cases, it is essential to keep records of both checks and if the retrospective checks reveal a tenant who should not have entered/continued a tenancy, follow the processes to end the tenancy.
And the association adds: “Please note that because of COVID-19 some individuals may be unable to evidence their Right to Rent and therefore it is vital that agents remember the processes within the code that are in place in order to avoid discrimination.”
Something unusual next – virtual staging.
Many agents, especially in London, ‘stage’ empty properties to enhance their appeal. Expert advice is difficult to get in person during the lockdown but Elaine Penhaul, owner of Lemon and Lime Interiors, is offering two services tailored for the current situation.
The two – virtual home staging and remote staging – will allow vendors and agents to get properties in the right position for a quick sale once the market recovers later in the year.
Elaine, who started staging in 2012 and set up the company in 2015, says: “As an agent you want to help those vendors who have a property they need to sell, to be the first to secure good offers when the market picks up later in the year. This new service allows us to help agents offer vendors the perfect solution whilst we are not able to be out and about.”
The virtual home staging service allows vendors and agents to take a high-resolution picture of an empty room and send it to Lemon and Lime Interiors. The team then virtually fill the room with an interior design scheme and luxury furnishings to make the property looked lived in, which in turn, will help people to visualise themselves living in the property.
All the furniture used is available to purchase so the whole scheme can be bought by whoever buys the house should they wish.
The remote home staging service offers homeowners the chance to have a video call with the Lemon and Lime team of experienced home stagers to learn how to present their home to attract the most interest.
Once any decluttering or rearranging has been done, the homeowner can take photos which can be professionally edited through Lemon and Lime ready to be uploaded to the property portals. Properties already on the market can improve their presentation and appeal in this way and it allows new properties to come to the market with the benefit of professional staging.