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Tenant Passport - information for landlords and agents

As an agent or landlord you are likely to have questions about the Tenant Passport and the associated deposit guarantee. We hope that the information provided is useful but if there is anything else then please get in touch with us by emailing privatesectorhousing@sunderland.gov.uk

There is no charge for our service and the standards of property that we expect are the minimum legal requirement, so as long as you let your properties in accordance with the law there shouldn't be any issues.

People who have been given a Tenant Passport and qualify for the deposit guarantee have been vetted by Sunderland City Council. These references include checking with current and previous landlords from the last five years, searching our anti-social behaviour (ASB) system, checking for any arrears of Council Tax and Housing Benefit issues and also, when there is reason to do so (for example ASB), checking with Northumbria Police. We will also complete Right to Rent checks and supply the tenant with the government's 'How to rent' booklet.

We also ask that the potential tenant completes online tenancy training, so they have an understanding of their rights, responsibilities and obligations. If they don't pass the referencing or the tenancy training, then they won't be given a Tenant Passport.

All references, however thorough, are only a guide to past history and behaviour and are not a guarantee of future good behaviour or good tenancy management and rent payments to you.

You are still free to complete your own checks, for example credit referencing, or to request a guarantor, all we ask is that you use an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and let a property in accordance with the law.

Once we have completed the inventory and taken detailed property photos, we will send you and the tenant copies. You both need to sign the deposit guarantee agreement when the tenancy starts. You will need to return a copy of the agreement and the inventory to us, and the deposit guarantee will be in place.

We will get in touch with you and the tenant halfway through the deposit guarantee period to check everything is going well. We are available for advice and support anytime during the tenancy, so if you need our help, please just get in touch.

At the end of the guarantee period or end of the tenancy, whichever comes first, we will inspect the property - please contact us to arrange a date giving us five days' notice. After this inspection takes place you can raise a claim if the tenant has broken the tenancy agreement, for example, if there is damage; the property isn't clean; or rent arrears if the tenancy has ended. 

We ask you to submit a claim for damage to the property within five working days of the tenant leaving. We will then give the tenant five working days to respond. Following this we will decide about the validity of the claim and the amount due to you within a further five working days. We use industry standard assessments for damage, cleanliness and fair wear and tear. Payment will be made to you as soon as possible if a breach has been determined. Our decision is final.

What are the advantages of the Tenant Passport Guarantee Scheme?

  1. Tenants have been referenced and some of these reference sources are not normally available to you or a lettings agent, this helps to reduce your risk as a landlord.
  2. There is no need to take a deposit from the tenant. This saves you time as you are not taking payments or processing with the deposit protection provider.
  3. We will complete the inventory and check in and check out inspections which saves you time, and if you employ a third party to do the inspections, this will also save you money.
  4. We have a robust process and procedure for dispute resolution and can provide independent support during the deposit guarantee period.
  5. The tenants have passed our comprehensive training so are aware of what they should or shouldn't do. This should result in fewer problems and a better relationship between you and your tenant.
  6. We have checked the tenants Right to Rent, again saving you time.
  7. We have checked that the property you are renting is free from hazards that could result in harm to your tenants and may result in future enforcement action.
  8. As we check your property and certificates, you know that you are compliant.
  9. We have a set amount of up to £750 that we will pay for breaches of the tenancy agreement which have a material loss to you. This is a higher level of protection that you would normally be able to get from a tenant*.
  10. We are here to support landlords through the tenancy and can signpost and refer to the most appropriate service if requested.

* Based on the maximum five weeks weekly rent under the Tenants Fees Act at an average Local Housing Allowance rental value for Sunderland.

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