It seems a long time ago that we first sat down and started building Zero Deposit. We saw a huge opportunity to improve the market and help landlords by making moving easier for tenants. Reflecting back, we had good reason to. Here’s my take on the 12 months that’s passed and why we’re seeing a market that’s set to ignite.
Doing it the hard way
We decided very early on that we wanted to build the UK’s only FCA regulated deposit replacement guarantee and set the bar high for our market. It wasn’t the easiest option, we could have launched sooner by compromising on this but weren’t willing to.
Once a landlord understands the offering, the fact that the tenant still needs to pass affordability checks and will still be personally liable for any damage at the end of the tenancy, it really becomes a no brainer, given they will receive more cover than a traditional cash deposit along with the added protection put around the product. Paul Deveney, Director, Acorn Group.
It was the right thing to do for agents, landlords and tenants. Our product stands alone in the security we offer, and that is why so many agents have chosen to partner with us. In fact, of the top 50 UK letting agents who are offering deposit replacement company-wide, 75 per cent have chosen Zero Deposit.
From very early on, our partner agents have seen the benefits Zero Deposit provides:
Ticking off the milestones
We are breaking records almost every week. We have just launched our 2,000th agent partner office, and we expect to have covered 9,000 tenancies by the end of June, with well over £10m of deposit cover provided to landlords.
We’re helping our agent partners to navigate the challenges of the Tenant Fees Bill, particularly as Zero Deposit comes with six weeks of deposit protection, beating the new five week cash deposit cap. And when we claim we provide protection, we mean it. Every individual guarantee is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, part of Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms and is further bolstered by protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Financial Ombudsman Service. This makes our product even more attractive for landlords.
Keeping agents at the heart of our service
Our growth is a testament to the quality of letting agents in the UK. There are other products out there that pay more commission or give agents more freedom to sell, but the majority of agents are choosing the product that offers their landlords the best protection. They are already reaping the rewards.
Tenants love the service
We’re delighted to say Jonathan’s feedback is backed up by the numbers. We survey every tenant who buys the product and our Net Promoter Score (NPS) is on a par with major brands like Apple, John Lewis and Amazon and we have received over 450 reviews on Trustpilot, rating Zero Deposit “5* Excellent”.
Having Zero Deposit available to our landlords and tenants gives us a competitive edge. The landlord reaction to Zero Deposit has been really encouraging. They’ve been over the moon with the outcome. A faster let and a quality tenant, basically the two main things that a landlord looks for. We’ve 41 live Zero Deposit guarantees and I don’t believe we’d have let those properties if it weren’t for this product. It is definitely the right product at the right time. Jonathan Ayre, Area Lettings Manager, Rook Matthews Sayey.
With so much evidence emerging on the beginning-of-tenancy benefits of deposit replacement, understandably agents need to know that the end-of tenancy claims process works too.
With over a year of experience, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to test the claims process, with many of our guarantees having already ended. We have seen many tenancies end with no issues, but we have also seen a significant proportion end in a claim, as expected. Our objective is to ensure that under Zero Deposit, claims are handled quickly and fairly and that’s exactly what we’re delivering. Several claims have been received and resolved on the same day, with payment following within 48 hours.
So what’s next?
We’re nowhere near satisfying our ambition and we have big plans for the next 12 months to further cement our position as the market leader, and also to keep doing what’s right for agents, landlords and tenants. We have just announced our partnership with the Residential Landlords Association and there will be further partnership announcements in the coming weeks and months, giving our agent partners the opportunity to align their brand with the best product on the market. We’d love you to join us.