Jul 07

We are now members of The PRS


STEF-COOKE-LOGOPRS_Logo_high-smallAs members of the AIIC we are now also members of the PRS, one of the three consumer redress schemes authorised by the Department for Communities and Local Government and National Trading Standards Institute, whose role it is to provide fair and reasonable resolutions to disputes between members of the public and property agents and professionals.

smallShould we receive a complaint, the AIIC Complaints Procedure should be followed in the first instance. However, should the complainant feel they have suffered a financial loss, they will be able to seek an independent adjudication and financial redress through the PRS.


Mar 29

Tenants: you can now use your rental history to improve your credit score


Rental management company Credit Ladder has launched a new initiative that will help people to get similar credit history improvements to those enjoyed by homeowners paying off mortgages.

You must ‘opt in’ to the is free scheme. Then your rental payment information will begin building your credit history from the point you sign up. The data will show on Experian credit reports later this year.

See the Credit Ladder site for more details link


Mar 21

Landlords: a good inventory could save you money

STEF-COOKE-LOGOThe latest TDS stats show that there has been a steep 25% rise in tenancy deposit disputes, with one-third of agents making claims. This is a worrying trend for agents and landlords alike. So, what gives you the best chance of winning or, better still, avoiding, a deposit dispute?

In order to reduce any bias or conflict of interest that may arise due to a dilapidations dispute many agents instruct a third party, an independent inventory clerk, to make an initial Inventory. Private landlords can do the same. You can also instruct a clerk to conduct Check In and a Check Out. For details please contact me:

Stef Cooke

Mobile: 07909 965840

Email: stef@stefcookeinventoryservices.co.uk


Also, did you know that a new, free, online, deposit protection scheme opens on 1st April?

mydeposit logo


my deposits click here link





Mar 09

Why employ an Independent Inventory Clerk?

STEF-COOKE-LOGOFor landlord and tenant alike a comprehensive Inventory is an invaluable document. But why should you consider hiring an independent clerk rather than drawing up one yourself?

Carried out at the start of the tenancy an Inventory should detail the current state of the property at Check In, providing a clear guide as to how the property should be returned at the end of the tenancy. It should also define the terms used in the report that describe the condition or cleanliness of items in the property. It must be clear enough for anyone to understand on first reading.

Landlords: A thorough Check In/Out process is the easiest way for you and your tenant to avoid any possible deposit disputes. If you also have a mid term or Interim Inspection then both you and your tenants will be best placed to correct any issues prior to the end of a tenancy. For you an independentally drawn up Inventory will:

  • Provide an unbiased and fully detailed description of the fixtures and fittings of your property, including any furnishing, also fire labels, blind safety, smoke alarms and CO alarms (where appropriate)
  • Help ensure that your property is returned in a good condition at the end of a tenancy
  • Help avoid a deposit dispute by providing you and your tenant with advice as to what is Fair Wear and Tear
  • Give you access to an independent expert who is abreast of any changes in legislation and can provide advice on how to meet them

Tenants: You need to check the detail of the Inventory as soon as possible. If anything needs to be added or amended you should contact your landlord/letting agent as soon as possible, usually within 7 days. Be sure that you sign the inventory when you have agreed its contents. For you an independentally drawn up Inventory will:

  • Help maximise your chance of having your deposit returned in full as it provides an unbiased description of the current condition of a property
  • Provide you with a clear idea of what to consider when you leave a property
  • Make sure you don’t have a deposit deduction for something you could avoided
  • Give you access to an independent expert who can offer tips and advice on how to maintain a property and retain your deposit with minimal deductions

In the event of a deposit dispute an Independent Inventory Clerk can be asked to give evidence to an Adjudication Process.



Feb 25

Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines

As of April this year, new rules will permit a tax deduction for the cost of replacement furniture, for example. But the Association ofHMRC-logo400x310 Taxation Technicians says that the current draft legislation is still open to confusion and misreading



Feb 25

Energy Information for Tenants

A recent report concludes that landlords, local authorities and energy companies need to better co-ordinate their efforts to identify vulnerable tenants who will most benefit from energy efficiency improvements.

To tackle the problem the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector is calling for inEnergyLightbulb-400x310centives for landlords to implement energy efficiency improvements through being able to offset costs against rental income.


Feb 16

Blind Safety Regulations 2014

Do your internal blinds meet the 2014 Blind Safety regulations?

The AIIC advise that “…as of 1st October 2014 all pull cords for all blinds (whether old or newly fitted) must be 1 ½ meters from the floor to avoid posing a health and safety issue. Any blind that has cords that form a loop must have either a small safety bracket or cleat hook on the wall to enable the cords to be secured/taut, with no ‘give’ to pose a possible choking problem.”

Wall cleat Blind safety

Given that most people tie up the dangling ends of the cords on blinds it makes sense to add a small cleat to all windows that have blinds. Screwed into the wall at 1.5 metres up from the floor, small wall cleats are a cheap, and sometimes colourfully cheerful, way to meet the regulations. They are simple to fix too.

For more detail the BBSA has a leaflet click here

Feb 09

Smoke Detectors and CO Alarms

These are now mandatory in every rental property in England:

  • Smoke Detectors – required to be installed on every floor in the hallway, landing or corridor, even if these areas only lead to a bathroom as this is classed as a habitable area.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms – these need to be installed in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal burning stove or wood burning fire.
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Alarms – The regulations do not (yet) cover the installation of these which would protect tenants from the dangers of common fuels such as gas and oil.

The English regulations state that the alarms must be tested at the start of every tenancy. In Scotland the rules state that they must be powered by a battery that will last the life of the alarm (5-7 years) but they do not have to be tested for each tenancy.

Feb 01

Is Your Deposit Held Correctly?

Do you know if your landlord is holding your deposit in a secure scheme?

Are you a landlord? Do you have all deposits held correctly?


Are £514m Worth of Tenant Deposits Unprotected?


Feb 01

Right to Rent scheme rolls out nationally

Were you aware of this new legislation? Do you know how it could affect you? Landlord News has a closer look


Right To Rent rolls out nationally TODAY


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