PlanetRent – lettings are now just a click away!

planetrent logo

PlanetRent is our new automated lettings platform. It’s launching this week to save landlords and agents time, money, and hassle. PlanetRent automates and simplifies lettings by harvesting data and digitising all the key processes, making lettings quick and simple for everyone involved.

 Covid-19 has brought the traditional lettings process to a halt and we’re all having to find new ways of working remotely. So at Ringley, we have reacted fast to the lockdown, bringing forward the launch of PlanetRent, our cloud-based platform that helps landlords and agents cope with the social distancing measures introduced by the government in response to coronavirus.

PlanetRent connects agents, landlords, tenants, contractors, accountants and site staff, each through their own portal, so they can access the data they need, enabling them to carry out transactions from the comfort and safety of their home.

While coronavirus means the government has urged people not to move unless absolutely necessary, as social distancing measures are gradually lifted Ringley expects to see a surge in rental demand. We think households will want to avoid the expense and hassle of buying or selling a home and lenders are likely to tighten mortgage requirements in response to the economic uncertainty, giving renting renewed appeal.

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of PlanetRent, says, “Coronavirus has undoubtedly caused huge disruption to the housing market but as the crisis fades we will still be left with the same problem of a rental market stuck in the analogue era when we are in the digital age”.

By automating key functions and replacing a host of existing subscriptions and manual processes, PlanetRent saves landlords and agents considerable time and expense. Read last Tuesday’s blog to check out the detail and find out how PlanetRent can take the hassle out of lettings in just a few clicks.

And if you’re a buy-to-let landlord, come back on Thursday when we’ll be looking at the ways PlanetRent will help support you and your tenants.

Why not READ our Property Blog too at

Spring launch for FREE lettings app – for landlords and agents

planetrent logo

We have been inviting our clients to use our PlanetRent app for free for a while now, but in Spring 2020 we will launch to the market. PlanetRent is our revolutionary mobile portal that automates property lettings, marketing, advertising, repairs AND compliance.  PlanetRent has already secured runners up places in the EG PropTech awards, reached the final in the Global PropTech awards and won a RESI award too.  

Whether you use a letting agent or self-manage, PlanetRent brings a new level of transparency to lettings and delivers a corporate institutional welcome journey to tenants as well as automated reporting, so you can see and be part of your agent’s transactions.  You can connect tenants directly with your favourite contractors, offer deposit-free renting –  and we’ve automated most things in between.  

We will be running webinars to share lettings reimagined in 2020 – if you would like to be included please email and she will be sure to invite you. 

Our Residents App is coming in 2020 too

We are also in the process of completing a residents’ app. This will enable:

  • repairs tracking
  • rating of repairs
  • messaging site staff
  • and bookings…. (community halls and other community spaces)

There will also be a module for sites with communal heating so we can better coordinate visits for heat interface unit servicing.  And, to help build and promote community, we will be introducing ‘neighbour to neighbour services’ too. 

 Look out for updates over the next few months.

Why the ‘landlord vote’ could make all the difference at the polls

Who will be walking through this door on Friday morning – and what impact will they have on the PRS?

With just one day left until the General election, private landlords could have a decisive role to play in choosing the next government.

According to data obtained by The Times from HMRC, (source: Landlord Today) in 124 UK constituencies, the number of people declaring income from property in 2017/18 was “the same as or larger” than the overall majorities of those candidates elected in 2017. Of these,14 are in London, 12 are in the South East, 11 are in the East Midlands, 11 are in the North West, 10 are in Yorkshire and The Humber, nine are in the South West, eight are in the East of England, six are in the West Midlands and three are in the North East.

Of these seats, 55 were won by the Conservatives in the last election, 39 were won by the Labour Party in 2017 and seven were won by the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, 25 seats could see landlords decide the final results. The same is true for nine seats in Wales and six in Northern Ireland.

In these areas, the “landlord vote” could become very important tomorrow. So for anyone who is still undecided which box to put their cross in, here’s a reminder of the main parties’ policies on the PRS.

  • The Conservatives have pledged to scrap Section 21 notices for landlords, introduce a ‘lifetime’ deposit that moves with a tenant, ban the sale of new leasehold homes and restrict ground rents to a peppercorn rent. 
  • The Labour Party has promised to introduce a new range of tenants’ rights, including open-ended tenancies, government-funded renters’ unions, and will scrap Right to Rent checks. It has also said it will consider introducing rent controls in certain parts of the country and giving councils powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords.
  • The Lib Dems will introduce a new Rent to Own scheme for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
  • The SNP wants to incentivise councils and individuals to bring empty properties into use, making them available to rent or buy.
  • Neither the Green Party nor the Brexit party has any specific pledges centering on the PRS.

Whatever your political persuasion, one thing is certain. Whoever finds themselves in No 10 on Friday morning, there are plenty more changes to come for landlords and their tenants. So let’s hope any new direction is carefully considered. The impact on landlords as well as their tenants must be taken into account if there is to be a positive outcome for the housing market as a whole.

PlanetRent: helping landlords and tenants build better relationships!

If your tenants are calling you out to change their lightbulbs, you need PlanetRent – now!

Here’s something you might not expect. According to research from broadband and utilities provider Glide, more than a fifth of renters expect their landlord to fix their broken Wi-Fi  – and more than a third think they should be responsible for changing their lightbulbs for them!  The study surveyed 1,000 tenants who are either currently renting a property, or have previously rented, to find out which issues they expect their landlords to be responsible for dealing with.

Other surprising findings were that one in seven tenants (14%) said they would leave a dispute over how to split bills with flatmates for their landlord to sort out and almost a quarter (23.2%) admitted they would leave a dispute over parking up to the owner of the premises to resolve.

 Of course, landlords are legally responsible for dealing with certain problems that arise both inside and outside rental properties on their tenants’ behalf. Obviously, where and when those responsibilities pass over to the tenant is not always clear.

By downloading our PlanetRent app we make the tenant journey absolutely transparent – so both landlords and tenants know where they stand.

For the landlord:

  • we highlight along the journey what the landlord has to do / what their responsibilities are. For example, since the tenant fee ban came into force,  it is now their responsibility to pay the inventory fee, and the system has been restructured to show this.
  • PlanetRent provides service level agreements, so tenants know how fast repairs will be carried out.
  • we automatically provide the How to Rent guide and deposit leaflet – which the landlord HAS to provide to each tenant when they move in or they get fined. This outlines all the tenant’s rights, responsibilities and obligations.

For the tenant:

  • we automatically tell the council about a new tenant so they can recharge council tax to the correct person.
  • we make the tenant’s cleaning responsibilities clear from the outset.

PlanetRent is lettings, automated. We make the tenant journey quick and simple and make it easy for landlords to remain compliant with all their responsibilities. So why not download the app today – its free!

Why bother with an inventory?

“Why bother with an inventory?” This was a comment spotted online, beneath an article looking at the importance of inventories to landlords and letting agents. It’s a fair question. Unless your tenancy began before 1 June, check-out fees and charges for services such as a professional clean at the end of your tenancy are now banned unless there are good reasons for them. However, deposits have been capped not outlawed altogether and landlords are still entitled to deduct money at the end of a tenancy if damage has been done. But robust evidence is needed.

The Association for Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) says, “assessing what constitutes fair wear and tear to a rental home is among the least understood areas of the lettings process, and one which can create much ambiguity and cause the most disputes when a tenancy ends”. Alleged property damage, cleaning and redecoration are among the most common reasons for a dispute between landlords and tenants, the AIIC says. And the Tenancy Deposit Scheme confirms that more than 60% of TDS disputes involve cleaning.

So setting a benchmark for cleanliness and the condition of the property and its fixtures and fittings is crucial. That means providing a detailed and accurate inventory. At the start of the tenancy, the tenant should check and sign it off – ideally, says the AIIC, within seven days This should be done again when the tenancy ends

To make this easy for our clients and their tenants, at Ringley we have our own app called Quick Inventory. You can just download via the app store – it’s as easy as that! And if you would prefer a third party to provide an inventory for you, we have partnered with evolve who will do it on your behalf. Go to to find out more.
An inventory should include written notes and photographic evidence, as well as details of the contents. If the tenancy ends in a dispute, evidence provided by both the landlord and the tenant will be needed to resolve the problem. So don’t get caught out – download our app today.

What do renters want?

Are property providers getting it right?

Here’s something interesting. Global law firm CMS has just published wide-ranging research into renting around the world. Urban being: the future of city living is a major piece of work and one of the most interesting aspects is the section on What renters want.

The researchers look in detail at how consumer preferences differ between generations and from the views of rental property providers. CMS says “As the popularity of the residential sector grows and more players enter it, one of the key means to differentiate will be through a serviced offer, so getting the right blend of amenities is key. So there are decisions to be made about what is actually going to make a difference in terms of customer retention”. This report aims to provide some pointers.

According to the researchers, the property sector has got four of renters’ top five preferences right. These are: proximity to transport links and place of work, outdoor space and safety and security. However, a spacious living room area is the third most important feature of a rented home to 54% of consumers but only 26% of property professionals think this would be important. And larger kitchens also come out high on the list.

Other factors where the industry and its customers are markedly out of sync include permission to keep pets (10% to 43%) and car parking (46% to 19%). Views also differ on whether a spacious main bedroom is required (49% to 14%).

Property providers could learn a lot from this report. And it makes interesting reading for all of us living or working in the sector. To download a copy, click here.

The top 10 property hotspots are outside London

Buy-to-let: where’s the best UK location?

Forget the south of England. The best places to let property are now in northern towns and cities, according to new research from Rightmove, which analyses asking rents outside London.

Data from the property website shows that northern towns and cities now dominate the top ten places where asking rents have increased the most – excluding the capital – since July 2018. So if you want to get the best return on your investment, where are the best places to buy rental property?

Pudsey topped Rightmove’s table for highest rental growth. Tenants in the West Yorkshire town can now expect to pay around £680 per calendar month. That’s a 12% hike from £607 pcm a year ago. Commenting on being placed at the top of the leader board, John Sheader, lettings manager of Manning Stainton in Pudsey, said: “It’s booming in Pudsey; as an area it’s really close to Leeds and …with people who work in the city moving to Pudsey, the demand has increased and so its prices have been playing catch-up. It’s only 15 minutes from Leeds city centre by car, and even quicker by train – Pudsey has a station with direct access into Leeds. It’s the perfect location for younger people.”

Pontypridd in Wales was second in the table, with Bury in Greater Manchester coming in third. Both towns have witnessed year-on-year asking rent increases of 9%.

Esher in Surrey was the only place from the south of England to make the top ten, with average asking rents rising 8% from £1,614 in July 2018 to £1,743 in July this year. The west London suburb is also home to the highest asking rents outside the capital.

In Scotland, the highest rental growth was in Stirling. Average asking rents increased in the city by 7% from £658 to £707 pcm between July last year and July 2019.

Rightmove’s Rental Trends Tracker for Q2 2019 also reveals that around the country (excluding London) asking rents stand at a record high of £817 per month, running at 2.7% up on a year ago as rents continue to steadily rise.

Demand from tenants looking for a new home increased 7% between May and June, an uplift seven times bigger when compared to the previous four-year average of just 1% at that time of year, as tenants waited to move until after the fees ban came into force in England on 1 June.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside believes a range of drivers are pushing rents to a new record high. Fewer landlords – as some have exited the market due to more punitive taxes – have combined with lower tenancy costs to create higher demand for rented homes. “It’s the more northerly locations that have driven this increase and they dominate the top ten hotspots when you exclude the capital’s more rarefied market,” he says. “These rent jumps are good news for landlords who have ridden out the tax hikes, though they may cause some tenants to falter after the initial excitement of the potential of upfront savings under the tenant fee ban.”

Top ten rental hotspots (for two-bedroom properties):

Rank Location Average asking rent (July 19) Average asking rent (July 18) % change
1 Pudsey £680 £607 12%
2 Pontypridd £550 £505 9%
3 Bury £629 £578 9%
4 Newcastle Upon Tyne £701 £644 9%
5 Esher £1,743 £1,614 8%
6 Stirling £707 £658 7%
7 Durham £579 £539 7%
8 York £833 £776 7%
9 Rochdale £535 £499 7%
10 Dundee £611 £570 7%
Note: The data for towns/cities comprises average asking rents for two-bedroom properties only, between 1 July 2018 and 31July 2019.

No slowdown for BTR pipeline in the Northwest

Last week, the Northwest Insider event looked at issues around housing supply and demand. Life by Ringley MD Sam Hay was there, so for those of you who are interested, here are a few of the most interesting takeaways. 

When it comes to rental values, build to rent property continues to command a premium. Pounds per square foot does not come into BTR, instead it’s all about quality of product. Rental growth for July was around 1.13% but Andrew Cook from M&G commented that there will be pressures on pricing as more schemes come onto the market.

Low entry costs on BTR flats are making things much easier for renters. Increasingly, people want a transient way of life and easy entry and exit, so they are likely to try different buildings before they settle longer term. Lifestyle choices are changing fast and renting is no longer frowned upon. Renters react positively to being viewed as customers, not tenants; maintenance issues are dealt with fast and longer-term leases are expected to take off. As a result, BTR is a huge growth area with 1.4 billion total investment this year in Manchester alone. Manchester is currently at the hub of BTR and is very much being used as a test case. Manchester City Council thinks there will be an undersupply but at this moment in time, due to Section 106 requirements, consents are slowing down.

One downside of the BTR explosion and the high demand for one-bedroom homes, according to Tim Heatley from Capital and Centric, is that Manchester city centre is not ready for families. Chris Shaw from Urban Splash agrees. He thinks offers in our town centres need to change, and there should also be schemes in rural areas. Maybe with new ways to sell being considered, such as pre-approved mortgages where you turn up and pick your home. At the moment it is easiest to develop BTR schemes in city centres and building an investment case in other locations can be difficult.

Lambert Smith Hampton told the Northwest Insider audience that 54% of all housing investment in the North East is now for ‘alternative’ homes, such as BTR and student accommodation. The success of the latter in Manchester and other university towns has provided a model for new developments in the region. Diversification and a huge undersupply of high quality residential housing are now driving investment in residential portfolios as opposed to the standard commercial property investment model. There is even an argument in favour of BTR as a separate asset class.

Better together – merger will give landlords a stronger voice

Great news for private landlords last week. The two largest landlord organisations in England and Wales, the National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association, announced in the press on Friday that they plan to merge.

The newly unified organisation will be called the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). It will have a membership of more than 80,000 landlords, who between them are thought to manage around half a million properties. That’s about 10% of the private rental market.

We think a single organisation focused on representing landlords is a great idea. The NLA and RLA do a huge amount of work in parallel. Bringing them together gives landlords a much stronger voice – something they badly need in the current climate.

Every single survey carried out in the sector finds landlords frustrated and despondent. Margins are being hit at both ends. The combination of the ban on upfront tenancy fees, the squeeze on mortgage interest tax relief and the threat of Section 21 being withdrawn is a serious threat to people’s livelihoods. It threatens to force landlords out of the market when good quality rental property is badly needed around the country. And all this is happening while our beleaguered buy-to-let landlords are still expected to provide the quality housing for tenants that successive governments have failed to deliver themselves.

Add to this today’s announcement that, if elected, the Labour party is considering introducng a right-to-buy for private tenants (more on this later in the week) and it’s pretty clear why landlords need robust support from a member organisation that can effectively represent their interests.

The stronger a voice that private landlords can have to put their case to government, the better – and we wholeheartedly support this merger.

The plans have been approved by the boards of both organisations and the new association is expected to launch officially on 1 January 2020, assuming the merger is approved by members later this month. Watch this space – we’llkeep you posted.

Insurance: are you covered?

Your landlord should be insured for this kind of damage but what about the contents of your flat?

Insurance, like braces on your teeth or income tax, is a necessary evil. It’s a topic that needs be taken seriously. We’ve blogged before about the importance of ensuring you have the right cover in place. So we want to share some new research from Aviva with you.

According to the insurer, which provides cover for one in four UK households, a growing number of renters are putting themselves at risk by choosing to remain uninsured. Aviva polled 2,057 people in June, including 567 respondents living in rented accommodation and 585 respondents who own their house with a mortgage. The results are interesting.

First, the vast majority of renters taking part in the survey, don’t have any form of protection in place; life insurance, critical illness cover or income protection. This means they may have trouble paying their rent if they unexpectedly have a drop in income and compares badly to homeowners. Three out of five people with a mortgage told Aviva they have some kind of protection insurance in place.

The research also reveals that only two out of five households living in rented accommodation have contents insurance. This rises to nine out of ten homeowners with a mortgage. Aviva calculates that this means almost six million renting households could be without any insurance cover at all if their possessions are damaged by fire or flood or stolen.

The reality, of course, is that the responsibility of buying a house or flat often triggers the purchase of life insurance and contents cover. And buildings insurance is a standard requirement. This is not the case for tenants, who are also likely to spend a larger proportion of their income on housing costs and so have less spare cash. Aviva found that on average renters spend 35% of their income on rent, compared to the 25% spent on a mortgage. And people living in the private rental sector are paying the most, with figures averaging out at 40%; this is considerably higher for many people renting in London.

No surprise then that insurance is an expense too far. If you’re young and single, the need for life insurance may seem negligible but contents insurance is a different matter. People living in flats may feel they have added protection from theft due to block security, concierge staff or just knowing there are plenty of other people for thieves to choose from. However, fire, as we all know too well, is often devastating and can leave people literally with just the clothes they are standing up in. And leaks from neighbours’ flats can quickly destroy fixtures and fittings as well as personal possessions.

Never assume your landlord’s insurance will cover you. It may pay for redecoration if the bathroom upstairs floods but it won’t pay out for that damaged laptop or your book collection. So if you are renting your home, think again about contents cover. It’s cheap and quick to buy online. You may never need it – but is it worth taking the risk?