New app helps prevent disputes over rent deposit
3 August 2012
We have launched a new iPhone app, with support from Orchard and Shipman, which aims to prevent disputes between landlords and tenants over deposit repayments by creating a full digital record of a property’s contents and their condition.
Inventories generated by ‘Housemate’ – which include photos - are so comprehensive that there will be few grounds for argument between tenants and landlords over repayment of deposits at the end of a tenancy.
Housemate is being launched to complement the arrival of Scotland’s new Tenancy Deposit Scheme – which went live in July.
We hope that for users of Housemate, arguments over deposits will become a thing of the past
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland
Although designed with Scotland’s private rented sector in mind, the app could be used to create an itinerary of any property. Currently, the app is only available for iPhone - work on other platforms is in development.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity says:
“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. With Housemate, both tenant and landlord will have the proof they need. Not only does it create a full record of what a property contains and the condition it’s in, it also includes photographic evidence. The resulting inventory can then be shared via email. It’s simple but highly effective.
“We hope that 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.”
Angela McLachlan, Director of Operations at Orchard and Shipman, whose Edinburgh letting agent wing Letfirst has been road testing Housemate, says:
“Tenants and landlords are often unsure what to expect from or how to create an inventory. This app demystifies the entire inventory process.
“The great thing about Housemate is its simplicity. It is easy to navigate and has an extensive catalogue of furniture, appliances and other household items from which to select - making it very easy to create a comprehensive photographic and written inventory.
“When Letfirst started using Housemate we quickly realised one of the main benefits is that we can add tenant amendments to the inventory in real-time in the presence of the tenant. Not only does this protect the integrity of discussions, it also helps build a positive relationship between landlord and tenant from the outset which is key to any successful tenancy.
“Letfirst is delighted to be partnering with Shelter Scotland for the Housemate App and looks forward to the positive benefits that we know this will bring.”
For more information and to download the app, visit shelter.org.uk/housemate