How to make the paperwork more efficient

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    How to make the paperwork more efficient

    Morning all.

    I make audible grunts when i have to prepare a set of paperwork for a tenant entering a property, not of the time taken but the sheer amount of paper and ink used. with that in mind is there any way to be more efficient with the paperwork.

    At present i give them the following in paper form.

    Application form
    Tenancy agreements
    Right to rent checks
    Inventory
    Document checklist
    Deposit Cert
    Prescribed information
    How to rent booklet < This one really cheeses me off as it could be condensed down into a couple of pages rather than being a thick booklet with pretty graphics.
    Privacy statement
    copy of epc
    copy of gas cert
    General property information.

    This runs to 70 odd pages with all the related guff, and most of it just gets thrown in a drawer no doubt rather than read anyways.

    At the moment its bullet proof in terms of having all the t's and i's crossed and dotted, particularly for section 21 purposes, however i want to cut down on the amount of paper so heres my ideas, and i wanted it to be scrutanised for any obvious problems.

    I am a dab hand at websites as i was a nerdy type in a previous life so i was going to create a portal system that allowed the tenant to transfer a lot of the information into an online form that would then be stored digitally. Things like the Application form would be easy enough but i wanted to go one step further and create digital versions of the inventory too so that this can be filled out on a tablet or laptop in person when signing a tenant in and out, complete with photos. This could then be emailed to the tenant or retrieved from the portal at any time using a username and password.

    For the information that has to be sent to the tenant, mainly privacy statement, how to rent, epc, gas cert and both the deposit cert and prescribed info, can this be served via email? how would you confirm receipt of this? would a reply saying "ive got them thanks" be sufficient in them being legally served?

    That would leave the tenancy agreement and right to rent checks as the only paper versions (8 pages in total), and it might just save a tiny part of the rainforest in the process.


    Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.





    #2
    You can serve some of the documentation if the tenancy agreement says you can.

    The tenant has to be given the opportunity to sign the Prescribed Information so that might be an issue. You can sign things electronically, but you'd probably be a pioneer there.

    That's a lot of personal information online, so your back end would have to be pretty secure.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      I give the application form, GSC, EPC, How to Rent, appliances manuals, property information and legionella information all by email and inventory photos on a CD Rom. Saves a lot of paper/ink

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        #4
        Today Appeal Court declared Right to Rent checks illegal in England.(Breach of Human Rights).

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          #5
          I email the How to rent guide, EPC and the privacy statement as it's huge. However I still put everything in paper format in a folder (except the privacy statement) because I find it handy for viewings and it gets photographed for the inventory. I can't see any other way. I had noticed that the DPS terms and conditions had shrunk.
          I hate to add to your misery but I also provide Fire safety in the home and Fire safety in rented accommodation (I thought it was advised)

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by slooky View Post
            I can't see any other way.
            I think that there are plenty of other ways. If you prefer paper that's fine, but the only things I think you need on paper are the AST, deposit paperwork and inventory along with a page of signatures that everything else has been received by email. Its easy enough to keep copies of everything else on your phone or a tablet to take with you.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for your responses. So its deemed an acceptable delivery to send a lot of the documents via email to a tenant, and get them to sign a document checklist to say they have received XYZ via email?

              The last thing i want is to be in front of a judge over a section 21 and it being thrown out because it wasn't hand delivered on premium quality paper by Sir Elton John on a pink unicorn.

              Comment


                #8
                The judge will tell you if that's valid when it gets to court based on then case law.

                Probably best to have signed permission from ALL tenants on paper to use email before starting.
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                  #9
                  You should have a signed bit of paper to say that service of notices and documents by email is acceptable to both of you. A clause in the tenancy agreement would be fine.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by dazwalsh View Post
                    How to rent booklet < This one really cheeses me off as it could be condensed down into a couple of pages rather than being a thick booklet with pretty graphics.
                    There is a HTML version published that uses lots less ink.

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                      #11
                      Just be aware of storing information electronically. Under the GDPR rules you will have to pay to register confirming that you are storing such information, which may hold tenants personal details. In this day and age where we all want to cut down on paper waste it would make sense to store information electronically but this is yet another way of squeezing money out of LL. Apparently if you store all your paper work in folders and immediately destroy all emails and such like , off your hard drive including stuff on memory sticks, that's ok and you don't have to pay! Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of it all. Good luck. MrsDee

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                        #12
                        I know thats the ICO pisition, but I am not convinced they are right. For one thing its quite difficult to eradicate emails and other electronic communication completely. I also think that trying to operate solely on paper files and snail mail is going to be far more expensive in the use of my time than the £40 it costs to register with the ICO.

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                          #13
                          mrsdee,

                          Perhaps its late and ive had a few beers but i dont see the difference between storing tenants details on paper or on an offline memory stick?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Frankly, neither do I. apparently it's all to do with GDPR and if your memory stick or device was lost or stolen and the tenants personal details fell into the writhing hands. We would them be held responsible for divulging their personal details without permission. The assumption is a folder containing such information would remain at home. I know, I know,... someone could just as easily break into my home and steal stuff including papers etc. Like I said before, it's just another ill conceived idea to bleed more money out off Landlords.... like allowing the tenants to sue over mould caused by the tenants lack of cleaning skills! Mrs Dee.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by dazwalsh View Post
                              Perhaps its late and ive had a few beers but i dont see the difference between storing tenants details on paper or on an offline memory stick?
                              There isn't any difference in the regulations either.
                              If you store personal data in a system organised so that it's retrievable, it's subject to the rules.

                              The ICO website doesn't follow that logic, and if you use its advice tool and say that you don't store data electronically, its advice is that you don't have to register.
                              Which I think is wrong, but that's what it says.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment

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