References and contracts sorted with PlanetRent

PlanetRent offers a quick and easy way to reference-check your tenants

Landlords who want to repossess a rented home could have up to 12 months to wait before they can get their property back, according to property dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, talking to Letting Agent Today earlier this week.

The law firm says it’s noticed a big increase in inquiries recently from landlords who now want to recover possession of a property that’s only been let since March. Anecdotal evidence suggests that problems with tenants are now being seen due to pre-pandemic ‘panic-letting’ because landlords were keen to let their properties quickly. In some cases, this meant that the usual reference checks weren’t carried out.

Unfortunately, if a tenant is now causing problems due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour,  possession claims will now join the queue for cases to be dealt with. By 23 August when the evictions ban is lifted there will already be a five-month backlog.

Our advice is that before starting repossession proceedings,  landlords and agents should engage with tenants to try and find a mutually acceptable solution, rather than going through the lengthy and potentially costly legal process.  

We’ve got another solution too. Our new cloud-based lettings platform PlanetRent, automates tenant referencing making it quick and easy and taking all the hassle out of the process for landlords and agents.

The other way to ensure that tenants stick to the rules is by making sure you have a watertight contract with no room for misunderstandings. As well as taking care of references, PlanetRent also prevents numerous potential errors in your contracts:  it is all too easy to forget to change a name or the rent amount, omit prescribed notices, or spot that the words don’t match the numbers. Rogue tenants may be able to take advantage of mistakes like these and PlanetRent takes care of all that for you.  Better still, you don’t need to chase people to sign their contract as our e-signer will do that for you too.

We’re confident that PlanetRent offers a great way for you to improve your entire lease-up journey including the contract. It even has clauses you can add in for pet rent and break clauses – and includes lockout periods.  These are the best way to minimise voids and ensure you don’t have contracts ending in December, January and August – the months when demand is lower.  Enabling the lock-out clause module means that if a tenancy would naturally end in the months you want to avoid, at the offer stage you can tell the prospective tenants that to rent the property they will need a 13-month tenancy, not a 12 month one.

References taken care of and a watertight contract you can rely on. With PlanetRent it’s that easy. So download it today and take advantage of our killer PAYG pricing model.

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Ringley welcomes new smart meter roll-out

Smart meters are coming your way

With the lockdown easing, the roll-out of smart meters in homes across the country is back on the cards. The Government has set out new plans for the installation of the meters to help homeowners cut their energy bills and carbon emissions.

 The hope is that by installing smart meters in every home – which show energy consumption for gas and electricity and track expenditure – savvy consumers could save up to £250 a year on their bills. The meters show exactly how much gas and electricity is being used and track expenditure, helping consumers reduce their consumption. According to the Government, this could slash countrywide carbon emissions by as much as 45 million tonnes – the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road for a year.

Until early March, around 19,000 smart meter installations were taking place each day until the  pandemic put a stop to the roll-out. Now energy suppliers are being given an extra six months to ensure they have taken all reasonable measures to install smart meters in households and small businesses – making up for the reduced contact they have had with customers. New secondary legislation put to Parliament last week, will see a consultation with industry set strict future annual targets that could result in fines if missed.

As a managing agent, we welcome this news. Unless a block has a concierge service or on-site staff, it can be extremely difficult to arrange attendance to carry out meter readings, so smart meters, which automatically send readings to utility providers are a huge improvement.

New build developments are a particular problem because utilities start off on commercial rates – at 20% VAT – with very high usage during construction. When utilities are then transferred post-occupation to block management, it is no easy feat to get the utility companies to stop charging for energy on estimates based on the construction stage despite usage falling significantly.

Cashflow is a careful balancing act in the early days of new-build properties and the faster smart meters come in the better, to protect residents’ hard-earned cash.

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PlanetRent makes deposit-free renting safe and easy

planetrent logo

Agents and landlords can now offer deposit-free rentals safely and easily with our new lettings platform PlanetRent. The average deposit paid by tenants over the past year sits at £1,299 according to mydeposits. With the earnings of a typical Brit estimated by the Office for National Statistics as £585 a week, most deposits would be more than half a month’s income.

By using PlanetRent, your tenants get a much better deal.  Our partnership with deposit alternative provider Reposit ensures landlords are protected while tenants can move into their new home and avoid putting down a hefty deposit.

Here’s how it works. Renters simply purchase a ‘reposit’, which costs just one week’s rent as a service fee. Reposit then offers market-leading property protection of 8 weeks to PlanetRent landlords – with very little admin and zero risk. PlanetRent landlords can use the service automatically, with all of the information around the tenant and the tenancy contract sent to Reposit at the first instance.

Research by Legal and General reveals that 15% of people have no savings at all, and just under a third have less than £1,500 in the bank. With coronavirus upending the economy, household finances are likely to worsen, underlining the need for solutions that reduce key living costs such as renting.

Landlord Today reports that a survey of more than 4,500 private landlords by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), shows 90% of landlords with tenants who are struggling to pay their rent are bending over backwards to help.

By using PlanetRent with Reposit, landlords and agents can cater to renters whose personal finances have suffered from the disruption caused by coronavirus. The partnership between PlanetRent and Reposit allows landlords to house a greater range of people, including those on lower incomes who can’t necessarily afford a traditional deposit, while staying protected, and those looking for their first job, just leaving education or looking for their first home.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of PlanetRent, says:Deposits help ensure landlords are protected from any extra damage caused by tenants beyond reasonable wear and tear but for many renters, they are a huge financial burden and will be even more so thanks to the uncertainty caused by coronavirus.”

The partnership between PlanetRent and Reposit takes the pain out of renting. Our new cloud-based platform really is lettings automated – it’s quick, easy and hassle free for landlords and agents and now its deposit-free for tenants too.

Why not READ our Property Blog:

Landlords: we just made compliance easy!

Landlord compliance is complicated.  Regulations around renting a home are many and some come with big fines for breaches. Already this year, anyone letting a home to rent has had to contend with the MEES Regulations and changes to energy efficiency standards, while new rules on electrical safety inspections are coming from 1 July.

A whole series of other regulations such as right to rent, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and gas safety checks are also down to the landlord to enforce. So we’ve made it easy to keep track of all the latest rules and regs with our newly launched cloud-based lettings platform, PlanetRent.

PlanetRent allows all key documents and files to be accessed virtually. In just one click, all new tenants are provided with legally required documents such as a copy of the Government’s How to Rent checklist and Deposit Protection Scheme details, as well as energy performance and gas safety certificates. This gives landlords peace of mind that every legal box is ticked and helps you avoid compliance-related fines that could cost you as much as £20,000.

Our real-time compliance dashboard tells you exactly what needs doing when:

Property Compliance:  EPCs, Gas safety, HMO Registrations, PAT testing, Passport expiry dates, Deposit certificates, Inventories.

Tenancy compliance:  Right to rent cheques, deposit certificates.

Equipment log:  White goods asset register, meter MPAN/MRPN/SPID No’s , meter locations & serial numbers & boiler maintenance contracts.

PlanetRent automates compliance reports to land on your desk weekly or monthly and/or go direct to your compliance manager or accountant. And best of all, our lettings software means that when the law changes, so do your processes. It’s easy – and it’s automated.

Other competing rental platforms don’t include reports or compliance visibility for landlords but don’t take our word for it. Our killer pricing model means you can pay-as-you-go, and there are no sign-up fees or subscriptions. So why not check out PlanetRent today and find out for yourself how it can save you time, money and hassle – and give you the comfort of knowing that your properties are fully compliant with all the legal requirements.

Why not READ our Property Blog too at

How PlanetRent supports buy-to-let landlords

Buy-to-let landlords can now automate their lettings in a just few clicks with PlanetRent

Are you a buy-to-let landlord? If so, you can now manage your rented homes remotely with PlanetRent. Our new cloud-based, automated lettings platform makes the whole lettings process simple and hassle-free.

With social distancing likely to be with us for some time, PlanetRent reduces contact with agents, tenants and contractors to a minimum by automating all the key processes around letting, re-letting, repairs and even marketing. PlanetRent gives small landlords access to Rightmove and Zoopla as well as helping you to easily create your own website to showcase properties.

 In just one click, PlanetRent provides all new tenants with legally-required documents such as a copy of the Government’s How to Rent checklist and Deposit Protection Scheme details, as well as energy performance and gas safety certificates. This gives you the peace of mind that every legal box is ticked and helps you avoid compliance-related fines that could cost as much as £20,000.

 PlanetRent allows all key documents and files to be accessed virtually and enables fully compliant contracts to be generated in seconds. These can then be e-signed remotely.

A tie-up between PlanetRent and Reposit gives landlords the ability to offer properties as deposit-free while giving them eight weeks rent cover. This means landlords can easily cater to cash-strapped renters who want to avoid the financial burden of paying up to five weeks rent upfront while staying protected.

 We’ve also got tenancy renewals covered. In just three clicks, PlanetRent prompts tenants to see if they want to renew. It then automatically markets properties and triggers move-out checks if the tenant chooses to vacate.

Using PlanetRent adds value for your tenants too. So why not make their lettings journey simple and hassle-free. Our new platform gives renters an easy-to-use portal they can access to see everything about their property including floorplans and utility references, as well as their inventory and contract. As documents get renewed, copies are automatically emailed to them and they can request and monitor repairs through the platform too.

 So why not try PlanetRent today? It’s pay as you go, with no need for sign-up fees or subscriptions, making it really easy to check it out. PlanetRent really is lettings automated, so you can still provide your tenants with a first-class rental experience, even in lockdown.

Why not READ our Property Blog too at

Use PlanetRent on the go – from next week!

planetrent logo

Ringley is excited to announce that next week we will launch our PlanetRent platform, aimed at letting agents, institutions and buy-to-let landlords. Regular readers of this blog will know that for the last few months landlords have been able to sign up to PlanetRent for free via our website. Now we are making it even quicker and easier to use PlanetRent via our lettings automated platform.

PlanetRent gives clients seven key advantages:

  1. Marketing – It’s FREE to list properties to our portal.
  2. Real-time Compliance dashboard:   EPCs, Gas safety, HMO Registrations, PAT testing, Passport expiry dates, Deposit certificates, Inventories – know what needs doing when. The PlanetRent platform also features an equipment log, including a white goods asset register, meter MPAN/MRPN/SPID Nos, meter locations & serial numbers & boiler maintenance contracts
  3. 100% transparency: Landlords/operators can invite agents to the portal, licence them to use marketing assets and watch deals and compliance; preferred contractors can be invited to the portal and keep track of repairs; and accountants can be invited to the panel to access instant reporting.
  4. Our DEALS TRACKER: means paperless, admin free deals on-the-go. Our tracker shows available properties by default (or toggle) and listing contract start & end dates. You can make offers on the go at the viewing, and even produce a contract in less than 10 minutes.
  5. End of lease & renewals: process automated.
  6. Tenant docu-store: Tenants, agents, and landlords can photo report repairs, Contractors are invited to a repair and if the job is not picked up within X hours then the agent/landlord is notified so they can assign an alternative contractor. Tenants can rate repairs: 4* & 5* ratings feed to your landlord website and Facebook and all tenant documents are saved on their login.
  7. Repairs managed – Add your favourite contractors, FAST TRACK repairs via automatic repair routing and job alerts to contractors phones. All parties can track the repair via the logs and you can even adopt or adapt our recommended ‘Service targets’.

Extras for agents

PlanetRent gives you a landlord portal so you can see compliance and track deals. API data is fed into your accounting system, or emails a weekly CSV or rent memo to accounts or we can collect rents by direct debit and account them to you.

Portals for all: 

  • Landlord
  • Landlord’s accountant
  • Agent
  • Invited agent – for ½ comm deals
  • Contractor
  • Tenant
  • Self-employed letting agent

PlanetRent is already connected to all the third parties you need

  • Viewber – for viewings
  • Zoopla – for listings
  • Rightmove – for listings
  • Facebook – for repairs ratings and property ads
  • Evolve – for nationwide inventory services

PlanetRent features Open API technology & ready-made APIs for:

  • Zoopla
  • Rightmove
  • Reposit
  • Facebook
  • Viewber
  • Evolve
  • Tenancy Deposit Service
  • Reposit
  • Sage
  • Xero
  • HMO Services
  • Legal for Landlords

Time is just one of the savings delivered – our platform delivers robust processes that protect you from multiple fines which could cost you up to £20K.

We will tell you more once our new platform has been officially launched so don’t forget to come back and check our blog next week.

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Never lose track of repairs with PlanetRent

Now you can keep track of all your repairs from your phone

 Planetrent offers a fully-automated photo-reporting repairs process, including recommended target response times – all of which you can edit.  The system caters for the accidental landlord with just one or two properties as well as big companies with thousands of homes on their books.  Oh, and it is free!

 Planetrent’s repairs process connects tenants with contractors that the landlord has pre-assigned to different types of repairs or groups of repairs, quickly and simply. Via the app, landlords are able to monitor tenants and nominated contractors while they work out repair arrangements between themselves, sign off jobs and upload ‘before and after’ photos.  They can then view the repair rating that the tenants give when the work is done. 

 By using PlanetRent, the landlord remains aware of the repair and its progress against their service level agreement at all times. Contractors get an exclusivity period to ‘pick up the job’ so the landlord can reassign the repair to an alternative contractor if necessary. He or she can also monitor contractor performance both by tenant ratings (which are automatically triggered) and by speed of resolution against target.

Getting your contractors onto the contractors portal is simple too: just one click triggers a contractor invite. Contractors can accept jobs, add their comments, photos etc from their phone and submit quotes.  

You can use Planetrent as your full repair archive, as well as for rent collection and cash management. So if you would like to feel better-protected check out Planetrent today. You can chat with us online to find out more or get started right away.

Self-managing landlords – our tech solution can cut out tenant compensation claims

 Research by PlanetRent reveals that the number one gripe small landlords have with their rental properties is being given grief by tenants, who often have unrealistic expectations around repairs.

 Any astute landlord knows that if they ignore a repair, more often than not the cost of fixing the problem is going to escalate.  So it is rarely the avoidance of repairs that causes problems but the hassle of arranging everything – as well as the need to temper tenants’ expectations.

 Put simply, a landlord lets and a tenant rents a property (almost always) in good faith, on the understanding that each will behave responsibly: the tenant will protect the landlord’s property and in return, the landlord keeps things in working order.  That said, things do break down, wear out, stop working, or need replacing.  

A savvy landlord will have a service level agreement in place. He or she will ensure that this is pre-advised to tenants before they move in to help manage expectations should anything go awry.  A rental property is not a hotel; there is rarely a 24-hour in-house maintenance engineer in post, and contractors will want to turn up on a weekday, during working hours. Tenants must be realistic and appreciate that this will be the case – they too have a part to play in getting things fixed.  

In our litigious culture, all too often the consumer will seek compensation for this or that.   However, even the rail companies don’t pay out until a train is running late.  A landlord service level agreement serves the same purpose.  PlanetRent provides a service level agreement by way of target response times for the 45 most common rental repair issues as part of its tailor-made tenancy journey.  

This is shared with tenants via email when they move in, on their tenant portal and when they log a repair, it has a ‘target date’ set by the landlord. All of this is a way of managing tenant’s expectations as well as demonstrating that, as a landlord, one is acting reasonably while protecting the landlord’s position.

Next week, we will look at PlanetRent’s fully-automated photo reporting repairs process, making all contact with contractors completely transparent for both landlord and tenant.

PlanetRent is brought to you by The Ringley Group which has more than 20 years of expertise in managing thousands of properties.

Good news for broadband providers – and you!

Faster block broadband made easier

Would you like better broadband speeds in your block? If so, here’s something for you. The government has announced new measures to make it easier to install faster internet connections in blocks of flats where landlords repeatedly ignore requests for access from broadband firms. Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan estimates that an extra 3,000 residential buildings a year will be connected as a result.

Under the law as it stands, to install gigabit-capable broadband in the UK’s estimated 480,000 blocks of flats or apartments, broadband providers need permission from landlords to enter the property and undertake the necessary works. One of the biggest obstacles preventing operators from installing new networks in residential blocks is the building owner’s failure  – in as many as 40% of cases – to respond to requests for access. And while broadband providers can already push for access via the courts, this takes time – and money.

So to solve the problem, the Government is now promising a cheaper and faster process for telecoms companies to get access rights. This will apply when a landlord has repeatedly failed to respond to requests for access to install a connection that a tenant within the building has asked for. And it will give operators a cheaper and more streamlined route via the existing Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to connect the property. The aim is to lower the timescale for entering a property from six months to a matter of weeks, and at a drastically reduced cost.

Good news all round we think.

Why deposit reform is so badly needed

The average deposit costs renters around £1,110. And this sum is often doubled due to delays while tenants try to get their previous deposit back. This leaves a third of renters having to pay a new deposit before they had received their previous one. According to Which? this means almost half of renters having to take out loans to cover the cost of their deposit when moving home. The consumer champion found that 43% of tenants planning to move to a new rental property had to use a credit card, loan, overdraft, or borrow cash from friends and family to pay for the deposit on their new home. The government now accepts that tenancy deposits are a problem and recently published a call for evidence.

More than £4bn of public money is locked up in deposits across England and Wales. So property pundits are now calling on the government to embrace tech solutions to help solve the problem. Ideas for change include:

  • Tax incentives to landlords who opt for alternative deposit solutions 
  • A central clearing system to manage all tenancy agreement transactions
  • An independent adjudicator to settle disputes between landlords and  tenants

 Ringley has been looking after landlords and their tenants for more than 25 years and created a proptech solution – PlanetRent – because of the cumbersome nature of the tenancy process and tenancy compliance.  We know it is hard for tenants to find their deposits and it is equally hard for landlords to ensure their properties don’t suffer damage beyond ‘fair wear and tear’.  PlanetRent offers landlords the option to embrace deposit-free renting so tenants can opt to pay the equivalent of one week’s rent (as a deposit alternative) and the landlord gets eight weeks’ rent cover.  

What we would like to see the government set up, is an easily searchable database of troublesome people, ie those who have LOST previous deposit adjudication.  We support the call for a single independent adjudicator to preside over disputes between landlords and tenants. Letting agents are already burdened with significant legislative compliance including Ombudsman membership and Deposit Scheme membership – so this would really bring private landlords into line with what agents already have to do.   

It would be great for the government to offer tax incentives to landlords who opt for deposit alternatives.  But the challenge here is to satisfy the ‘perfect tenant’ who will be guaranteed to lose one week’s rent buying a deposit alternative, but as a perfect tenant would expect to get their deposit back in full. 

And finally, our view on a single clearing system to manage all tenancy transactions is that this is probably a method to tax any rental income that is undeclared by some landlords!