Landlord News

App Helps End Deposit Disputes

Em Morley - September 3, 2012

Shelter Scotland has launched a new iPhone app, aimed at stopping disputes between private landlords and tenants over deposit repayments.

Housemate

The new application, named Housemate, is designed to create a full digital record of both the contents of a rental property and their condition. It is hoped that the loggings made by the application will be so conclusive that there will be little in way of argument between landlords and tenants at the conclusion of a tenancy agreement.

Housemate has been introduced to coincide with Scotland’s new Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which became active in July. Despite being primarily designed to assist Scotland’s privately rented sector, the application can be utilised for any kind of property. At present, the application is only compatible with the iPhone, with work continuing to ensure that it will eventually be available on all platforms.

Proof

Director of Shelter Scotland, Graeme Brown, believes that the application will prove to be highly beneficial to tenants and landlords alike. Brown said: “Too many tenants have all or part of their deposit withheld unfairly and their chances of arguing successfully for its return are often compromised by a lack of evidence.” However, he states that with Housemate, “both tenant and landlord will have the proof they need.”[1]

App Helps End Deposit Disputes

App Helps End Deposit Disputes

 

Brown went on to say that Housemate not only creates “a full record of what a property contains and the condition it’s in,” but also “photographic evidence.” This can subsequently be shared via email, a process that Brown describes as “simple but highly effective.”[1]

Mr Brown said that his company’s wish was: “For users of Housemate, arguments over deposits will become a thing of the past and landlords and tenants alike can enjoy a positive, mutually-beneficial relationship.”[1]

Simplicity

Housemate is being sponsored by property services organisation Orchard and Shipman. Director of Operations, Angela McLachlan, said: “Tenants and landlords are often unsure what to expect from or how to create an inventory. This app demystifies the entire inventory process.”[1]

McLachlan suggests: “The great thing about Housemate is its simplicity.” She says that the application is “easy to navigate,” and is “very easy to create a comprehensive photographic and written inventory.”

In addition, McLachlan suggests that one of the applications’ main benefits is that one can “add tenant amendments to the inventory in real-time in the presence of the tenant.” This in turn, “helps to build a positive relationship between landlord and tenant from the outset which is key to any successful tenancy.”[1]

To download Housemate for your iPhone, you can do so for free from www.shelter.org.uk/housemate

[1] http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/news/archive/2012/september_2012/new_app_to_prevent_disputes_over_rent_deposit