Renters in Norfolk can save thousands of pounds with another agent offering a 'deposit free' scheme
PUBLISHED: 11:27 13 June 2018
You could save money when renting in Norfolk with another lettings agent announcing today it is offering properties with ‘no deposit’ required. Property editor Caroline Culot finds out more.
People renting a home in Norfolk can save having to pay upfront what can amount to thousands of pounds with another letting agent announcing today it is offering a ‘deposit free’ scheme.
Sowerbys, which offers rental properties across the county, is the latest of a handful of agents in Norfolk now offering a scheme whereby no costly upfront deposit is needed.
Instead of paying the deposit, usually a full month’s rent, which tenants are expected to pay in addition to the month’s actual rent, you pay a one-off membership fee of just one week’s rent plus VAT.
It comes as the government plans to introduce new legislation which bans upfront fees charged by letting agents as well as capping deposits. Other agents already offering deposit free schemes in Norfolk include Leaders and Spicerhaart.
Ed Tyman, Sowerbys’ group lettings manager, said: “It’s clear the current deposit system needed a fresh approach and aligning with developing tenant and landlord expectations. The private rental sector continues to grow and evolve rapidly and the need for innovative technology-based solutions to streamline the customer experience has never been greater.”
So, how does it work?
The tenant pays only the one-off fee upfront with a ‘pay as you leave’ policy, covering any damages to the property at the end of the tenancy.
For the landlord, the scheme is said to be beneficial in that it enables more people to rent, and pay-outs in the event of damage are said to be faster than through the current tenancy deposit scheme. The new scheme is organised through a company called ‘flatfair’ which Sowerbys has partnered with.
Mr Tyman continued: “This ‘pay as you leave’ policy is fairer and much more transparent, because tenants can see exactly what they’re being charged for and why.
“At Sowerbys we also recognise that moving can be a financially stressful time for tenants. Flatfair provides choice, transparency, quicker resolution and cash flow; we are delighted to be able to support renters across Norfolk, whilst providing our landlords with even more piece of mind”.
But some agents are sceptical of the scheme. Mike White, of Norwich-based Martin & Co, said: “The tenant fee ban contemplates a total ban on anything related to a tenant starting a tenancy so it will be interesting to see if these schemes, where they pay a commission to the agent, get caught up.
“If so they will be dead in the water and the early adopters could well find themselves in bother. Hence cash will remain king for us until these have been fully proven.”
Private tenants now make up more than 21 per cent of British households (due to rise to 24 per cent by 2021) and the average deposit has soared to £1,254 (and £2,128 in London).
If you want to find out more about Sowerbys’ new deposit-free renting scheme, or are interested in renting a property through Sowerbys, please visit the website or contact them on 01362 693560.