The 21 branches of London and Home Counties estate agency Townends is to begin offering tenants and landlords an alternative deposits product after parent group Nick Dunning Associates’ signed a deal with Zero Deposit.
Zero Deposit, which launched in February this year with the backing of four other agencies with a combined network of 1,000 branches, enables tenants to cover themselves and their landlord against damage to the property in return for a fee totalling a week’s rent.
This, Zero Deposit and it competitors Reposit and Dlighted claim, is proving popular with hard-up tenants who no longer have to put down a six-week deposit, while landlords no longer need to lodge huge deposits with one of the approved schemes.
Zero Deposit also has an exclusive partnership with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) – who arbitrate any end-of-tenancy disputes.
In London, where Townends has several branches, a six-week deposit costs on average £3,000, according to yesterday’s Rightmove Rent Tracker.
As well as Townends, Zero Deposit has also signed up another Nick Dunning Associates brand, Stirling Ackroyd, whose seven branches will begin offering its product in September.
“Zero Deposit’s offering will reduce the upfront cost of renting for tenants, which in London and the South East where rents are high, is a barrier to moving,” says Matthew Hewitt, Commercial Director at Nick Dunning Associates.
“With this method of deposit guarantee becoming increasingly popular, we wanted to partner with a reliable organisation to ensure we continue to provide tenants with an invaluable service, whilst also continuing to protect our landlords.”