A fully electronic check-in process can help to protect landlords’ properties and tenants’ deposits as students return to university over the coming weeks.
At the same time, an automated check-in can help reduce contact between all parties while the government's social distancing measures remain in place.
That's the message from No Letting Go - the UK's largest provider of inventory services - which says that in-person contact can be limited through automation and electronic signatures.
"Thanks to technology, the days of tenants needing to physically attend check-in are long gone," explains Nick Lyons, founder and chief executive of No Letting Go.
"Most student renters are likely to want to carry out as much of the rental process as possible from their smartphones, so being able to view and sign-off an inventory online has become increasingly popular," he explains.
He says that while the student experience will be very different this year, the fundamentals of renting a property will remain the same.
"Landlords and agents need to make sure a thorough inventory and check-in process is carried out, while tenants need to assess the documentation carefully and only sign it off when they are happy."
Using an automated check-in process, tenants can make comments and add their own photos before agreeing to the inventory report.
At the same time, agents and landlords can automate the chasing of signatures to save time and complete the process on schedule.
Although lockdown restrictions have been relaxed in recent months, the government is still advising people to practice social distancing where possible.
No Letting Go says it has been providing a 'no contact' service since the property market reopened in mid-May.
"We have been offering this service for a number of years as it is the most efficient way to complete a comprehensive inventory check-in which suits all parties," says Lyons.
"As students return to a new university landscape, it's important they feel safe and secure with the opportunity to limit contact with others when finalising their tenancies."
He adds that agents and landlords must continue to reassure renters that they won’t be disadvantaged by not attending a check-in at the start of the tenancy, mid-term inspections and check-outs at the end of their tenancy if they are carried out by an independent third party.
"The check-in, mid-term inspection and check-out process can now all be carried out with zero contact while still maintaining independence and protecting tenants and landlords," concludes Lyons.