A new product in the increasingly competitive field of deposit alternatives has been launched by lettings and landlord insurance industry giant, Hamilton Fraser.
The new deposit alternative - called Ome - is described by the firm as being “a transparent product aimed at delivering complete market choice for UK tenants and landlords, without compromising their rental wellbeing in the process.”
Ome will operate independently but with support from the Hamilton Fraser Group behind it, including its knowledge of deposit protection having operated the government authorised scheme mydeposits since 2007.
Hamilton Fraser says Ome will also benefit from the company’s own adjudication service HF Resolution, which already provides services to some existing deposit alternative suppliers.
Landlords and agents who buy into the service can continue with their existing referencing provider with the only requirement being that the landlord must comply with Ome’s minimum referencing standards.
Ome will also require landlords and agents to perform property inventories and check-in and check-out reports. This is not only because disputes at the end of the tenancy will be evidence based, but also because it says it creates better transparency and communication between the landlord and tenant, reducing conflict at the end of the tenancy.
Tenants will be held to the exact same obligations as a traditional deposit scheme.
“They must understand that they are still responsible for leaving the property in the same condition they found it, and most importantly that they must pay all the rent and bills they are contracted to pay within the tenancy agreement” says a launch statement.
If a tenant does not look after the property then Hamilton Fraser’s adjudicators will assess the settlement figures owed to the landlord and the tenant will be obliged to pay them. If they don't, the landlord will be financially protected and the tenant will be held liable under contract.
Ome co-founder Matthew Hooker says: “Ome is about offering choice and transparency within the market rather than completely rewriting the tenancy deposit rulebook and I think Ome's Deposit Replacement Membership will be the go-to option for many renters and will complement the traditional deposit schemes in today's rental market.”