When a property is secured by a holding deposit, a pre-contract agreement is then signed by all parties, and this will outline exactly what needs to be done, and most importantly, by when. A lot of stressful situations can be created unnecessarily by missing these deadlines, and we then need to apply extra pressure in order to make sure things are getting done, and there is a real reason for this, especially in the student market.
Generally, for a single let property, the process is simple. We load everything through our referencing system, get an answer back and arrange the paperwork. The law gives us a two-week window from taking a holding deposit to getting the contract signed, unless there's an agreement otherwise, where there are circumstances that require it. Nice and easy, open and shut, but that's not an interesting blog and something that isn't really possible in the student market.
So, when we let a student house, it's usually anything from six to nine months before the tenancy starts, and you may think this is AAAAAAGES… well it is, and it isn’t. It would be fine if only had one house to worry about, but we have around two hundred, and the logistics of getting every one of those houses, with between two and nine tenants in each, through the referencing process, getting the guarantors signed, contracts signed, deposits collected and registered, first rents in and all the associated phone calls and questions that naturally need to be asked and answered is an awful lot of work. Now during this period, please also know that we are desperately trying to rent the rest of the portfolio out, so the background work is constantly getting bigger and bigger. Add to all of these issues that each of the houses need to have their present tenancies ended, the houses cleaned, maintenance logged and sorted (usually all within a ten-day turnover), inventories taken, if any properties have the need, new photographs taken for the next set of marketing, and then the move in for each of these houses, the picture you can see is getting very congested.
The reason for us explaining this process, is that a lot of deadlines are missed, and we can sometimes be judged for being a bit harsh in pushing people to get things done on time, but if things are left to hang around, then the summer move-in period can become a logistical nightmare for us, and we know very well that if houses are not ready, then we have to spend a lot of time apologising and making things right.
We don’t expect all the sympathy out there to flow our way, but we hope that by seeing things from our perspective as far as administration and logistics are concerned, you may also then understand why these deadlines are so important.
If in any doubt please refer back to the pre-contract agreement issued at the outset, and you will see the clear path everything needs to take.