Testimonial From a Tenant Liaison Officer
Stacie Boyd-Price talks about her experience in the private rental sector in Weston-super-Mare and the benefits of working with KeySteps.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Stacie Boyd-Price and I am the Tenant Liaison Officer for Cadogan House Ltd, owned by Paul and Sharon Routledge, who are well established private landlords with a centrally located office in Weston-super-Mare.
What drew you to this line of work?
I originally started working for Cadogan House, back in the year 2000, not long after they purchased the property that I was living in. I wanted a fresh start with new challenges and they gave me the opportunity to try something different, which I gladly accepted.
What kind of properties do you deal with?
At the time, it was mainly bedsits and studio flats that I looked after, but as their portfolio grew so did my knowledge and experience; I was and still am dedicated to my job. Although we no longer have any bedsits with shared facilities, all the flats are self-contained in a variety of sizes.
How did you get involved with KeySteps?
It was shortly after I started working for Cadogan House Ltd, that I met Maggie for the first time, who was working alongside Gary Twinn for the Woodspring Deposit Guarantee Board. They were dedicated to helping people who were not able to pay deposits or advance rent and over the years they saved many people from homelessness and the horrors of sleeping rough. After meeting them we began accepting people with Deposit Bonds virtually straight away.
What are the benefits of working with KeySteps?
Although things have changed over time and the Woodspring Deposit Guarantee Board has evolved into KeySteps, they are still committed to the same cause and are still offering on-going support and advice, as well as the Deposit Bonds for those that are eligible.
What are the advantages of accepting a written Deposit Bond?
Maggie is now running KeySteps and works with Julia, they make a great team and offer a much-valued service. Tenants with Deposit Bonds benefit greatly, as the follow up service is impeccable and goes way beyond the call of duty. Landlords benefit from a great working relationship secure in the knowledge that if things do go wrong the Bond is there as a safety net. Although if any problems arise, KeySteps are always happy to work with me to try to find a solution. Usually tenants are so grateful for the help that most situations can be quickly resolved.
What do you think about the quality of the potential tenants that KeySteps suggests to you?
We have had some great success stories over the years and because KeySteps take the time to listen to our requirements they always ensure that the prospective tenants they send to us are suitable for the flats that we have available. As we have a duty of care to all our tenants this is vital because we do house a lot of vulnerable people with a variety of needs and we always take existing tenants into consideration when re-housing new people.
Do you ever refer clients to KeySteps?
I get enquiries about flats daily and we do get people who have ended up in a homeless situation through no fault of their own, such as relationship break ups and loss of employment to name just a couple. These situations aren’t always something that they are prepared for and starting again can be very daunting, especially when you have nowhere to go. I have referred a lot of people to KeySteps and I always get good feed-back on how well they were treated at such a vulnerable time in their lives.
How do you find the claim process if you need to claim against the Deposit Bond at the end of a tenancy?
On occasions, sadly things do go wrong and we do have to claim on a Deposit Bond, but the process is not difficult and Maggie ensures that the claim is paid as swiftly as possible. I feel that KeySteps are extremely helpful to landlords and tenants alike and I can honestly say that I have never heard a bad word said about them and the work they do is invaluable.
How do you see the future of the rental market developing/changing over the next couple of years? What threats or opportunities to do envisage?
No-one knows exactly what the future holds for the rental market, but there will always be a need for housing and more people are choosing to rent as they are not able to buy. Whatever challenges may lie ahead, I hope that we are able to continue to work with KeySteps in providing a secure base from which to build a brighter future.