Deposit Replacement Membership and End of Tenancy Resolution
|Section A||Ome’s purpose|
|Section B||For tenants – membership rules|
|Section C||For landlords – membership rules|
|Section D||For all – end of tenancy resolution process|
|Section E||Our responsibility to you|
|Section F||Miscellaneous provisions|
Welcome to Ome.
These terms and conditions lay out how the Ome Deposit Replacement Membership works for both tenants and landlords; each party’s rights and responsibilities and how we help you resolve end of tenancy claims in relation to a tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement.
Where, in these terms and conditions, we refer to:
- ‘landlord’ it may also include the landlord’s appointed letting agent
- ‘tenancy agreement’ it means the contract between the landlord and the tenant for the property
- ‘property’ it means the rental property listed in the tenancy agreement
Who are we?
We are HF Innovations, trading as Ome (“we”, “our” or “us”), a company registered in England and Wales. Our company registration number is 12377493 and our registered office is First Floor, Premier House, Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, WD6 1JH. Our registered VAT number is 341635710.
If you have any questions about these terms and conditions, please contact our customer service team on 0345 634 5402, by email at email@example.com or writing to us at the address above.
Please be aware we will only use your personal information as set out in our https://www.omehq.com/security-and-privacy/
Section A: Purpose
A1. Our main purpose is to:
A1.1. offer a deposit replacement option to tenants, allowing a tenant who becomes a member, to rent a property without paying a deposit
A1.2 offer landlords, who accept the tenant’s membership, the benefit of the Ome end of tenancy resolution process as an alternative to going to court
A1.3 initially assess the case and allow our fully trained case assessors to try and reach an early resolution, agreeable to both parties, or to escalate the case to a fully trained and qualified adjudicator, for a decision
A1.4 consider all evidence provided and where appropriate decide how much the tenant should pay the landlord as a result of the tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement
A1.5 actively assist in and contribute to raising standards in the industry by highlighting and promoting best practice, and by identifying bad practice and helping to eliminate it
A1.6 make decisions on the basis of what we believe is fair and reasonable in each case
The tenant understands that at the end of the tenancy they may be required to pay an amount of up to five weeks rent to the landlord if it is found that the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement.
If the landlord or tenant would prefer to resolve the case at court, they must provide compelling reasons why, and we may request for the amount which would have been dealt through our resolution journey be paid to us, while the case is being decided.
Section B: For tenants – your membership
B.1 Setting up your account
B1.1 Before setting up your Ome membership, you must create your Ome user account by completing the registration process online and providing us with the required information
B1.1.2 The information you will need to provide will include an email address and a telephone contact number. You should tell us, as soon as possible, of any changes to your contact details to make sure you receive our communications
B1.1.3 It is really important that you respond to any requests from us, and in the timescales we reasonably set for you. As we will use the contact details you provide, it is your responsibility to make sure your contact details are correct and for checking your junk folder and voicemails
B1.2 Once you have created a user account you can register for a membership
B1.3 Please be aware that we reserve the right to decline a membership application for any reason
B.2 Starting your membership
B2.1. Your membership begins when we have received the information in paragraph B1 together with your first month’s membership fee and the set-up fee, which are published on our website
B2.1.1.Membership and set-up fees are non-refundable with the exceptions set out in these terms and conditions
B2.1.2 If you have used a discount code, the rules relating to that advertised discount code at the time will apply
B2.1.3 Our fees may change from time to time. Any changes we make will be published on our website
B2.2 Once your landlord has agreed to accept your membership you will not need to pay your landlord a deposit when signing your tenancy agreement. Please note that you may still have to pay an amount up to five weeks rent to your landlord when your membership and tenancy ends as per the end of tenancy resolution clauses of these terms and conditions.
B2.3 Lead tenants:
B2.3.1 Where there is a joint tenancy and all tenants have signed up to a membership then the tenants may nominate a lead tenant. The lead tenant will then be responsible for dealing with the end of tenancy issues on behalf of all the tenants. If any of those tenants have their membership suspended or cancelled we reserve the right to suspend or cancel the other tenants’ memberships too
B2.3.2 Those who are not the lead tenant, agree for us to communicate directly with the lead tenant who will be responsible for sharing the information. We will not be required to pass all information to all of you. If you are the lead tenant, you are responsible for making sure information that we send to you about membership(s) is promptly sent to the other tenants. We may take the lead tenant’s instructions which will be considered to have been taken from all tenants. Any tenant can change this at any time by contacting us to let us know that you would like us to communicate directly with you.
B.3 Using your membership
B3.1 The monthly membership fee must be paid, for the full length of the tenancy and, in advance, on the last working day of the preceding month. For example, your membership fee for February will must be paid on or before the last working day of January
B3.2 If you do not pay the monthly fee, your membership will be cancelled and you may have to pay a deposit to your landlord or move out of the property
B3.3 As you take the benefit of the membership immediately there is no early cancellation of your membership.
B3.4 Your membership will continue until your tenancy ends and you have moved out of the property, unless we have cancelled your membership in line with paragraph B6 below
B3.5 You must let us know if you or your landlord gives notice to end the tenancy. Your tenancy may end earlier than the end date in your tenancy agreement if you have agreed to leave the property early, with your landlord’s permission. We may contact your landlord to confirm the situation.
B3.6 You must tell us, in advance, of any changes to the tenancy or changes which are relevant to your membership, for example, if you are leaving and moving to another property or if there are changes to the people living in the property
B4. What happens when the tenancy has ended?
B4.1 Your membership does not transfer from one property to another, so if you are leaving the property related to your membership, your membership will end. You will need to apply for a new membership for any new property that you wish to use Ome for (section B1)
B5. Your membership responsibilities
B5.1 You must tell us immediately if there are any changes in your circumstances relating to your membership details. This means the information provided by you, or on your behalf, in the online application form. Please see our rights to cancel below, which include failure by you to provide information or providing false or misleading information
B5.2 You agree to:
- comply with all of the terms of your tenancy agreement relating to your membership
- fully comply with these terms and conditions
- reimburse us any amounts we have paid to your landlord in line with the Ome end of tenancy resolution terms and conditions;
- take full responsibility for:
- paying all outstanding rent, bills and other costs which you are responsible for in your tenancy agreement and which relates to your membership
- paying for any loss or damage you cause to the property which amounts to a breach of the tenancy agreement and which is covered by your membership
B5.3 If you do not make any payment to us (including reimbursing us for any payment made following the end of tenancy resolution process) by the due date:
B5.3.1 we may charge interest to you on the overdue amount at the rate of two per cent a year above the Bank of England base lending rate
B5.3.2 any interest will increase on a daily basis from the due date until the date the overdue amount is paid, whether before or after our decision
B5.3.3 any interest must be paid together with any overdue amount
B5.4 All tenants with an Ome Deposit Replacement Membership are jointly responsible to us for any payments we have made to your landlord in line with these terms and conditions. This means that we can ask all or just one of you to pay the full amount of any money you owe us and not just a share
B6. Membership cancellation
B6.1 You may be able to cancel your membership if you have paid a deposit to your landlord. We will require satisfactory evidence of payment before we agree to the cancellation on this basis.
B6.2 You can give us notice of your cancellation by opting to ‘end the tenancy’ in the portal. This will trigger a notice being sent to your landlord and/or agent.
B6.3 You will not be entitled to a refund of any set-up fees or membership fees following cancellation of your membership.
B6.4 We may send you notice that we are cancelling your membership if:
- you do not make your monthly membership payments, pay the set-up fee or any other amounts due to us (including reimbursing us for any payments we make to the landlord on your behalf)
- you do not return any money to us that we paid you in error, and within the required time period;
- you’ve broken any of these terms and conditions in a serious way;
- you did not pay your landlord the amount awarded by the adjudicator, either within the specified time period, or at all;
- you make a statement or provide information to us in relation to your membership which we reasonably suspect is false or misleading;
- we are required to do so by law, regulation or any regulatory body, or to prevent us being in breach or potential breach of any law or regulation
- you become bankrupt or you’ve entered into a voluntary arrangement with your creditors to repay your debts
- we reasonably suspect that your membership (or any other membership you have with us) is being used, or is planned to be used, for an illegal or immoral purpose
- you, or someone you have appointed to act on your behalf, acts in an aggressive or abusive manner to any of our officers or staff; or
- you do not respond to a request from us for information or we reasonably suspect that the information you provide is false or misleading
B6.5 Within 14 days of the date of our cancellation notice you must:
- correct the issue described in the suspension notice; or
- give us a written reason why your membership should not be cancelled, which we might consider reasonable and acceptable
B6.6 If you do not correct the issue, or the reason(s) you provide are not acceptable, then we may cancel your membership
B6.7 If we cancel your membership then we may also refuse any future membership application from you
B.7 After your membership is cancelled:
B7.1 we will contact, and advise your landlord and any other tenants in the relevant property of the cancellation. Cancellation may result in you being in breach of your tenancy agreement and you may be required to provide a deposit to your landlord immediately
B7.2 you agree to continue to comply with our instructions relating to any outstanding case or on-going resolution at the time your membership is cancelled. The instructions may be made by us or an adjudicator
B7.3 if you do not provide a deposit to your landlord, your landlord will still be able to use our end of tenancy resolution process. In these circumstances, we will expect you to engage with us too. If we are required to pay any amount to your landlord following a breach of your tenancy responsibilities, our insurers may decide to pursue you directly to recover the amount directly. We also reserve the right to apply the ongoing membership fee that we would have received to the end of the tenancy.
Section C – for landlords
By inviting the tenant to obtain an Ome membership, you agree to these terms and conditions and it’s important that you read them carefully.
C.1 Setting up and using your account
C1.1 You must create your Ome user account by completing the online registration process. You will need to provide us with information to set up your user account which will include an email address and a telephone contact number. You should tell us as soon as possible of any changes to your details to make sure you receive all our communications
C1.2 It is really important that you respond to communications from us when requested to do so and within the timescales we reasonably set for you. We will use the contact details you provide. You are responsible for making sure your details are correct and for checking your junk folder and voicemails
C1.3 Once you have created your user account you may register a tenant’s membership against any tenancy agreement you manage
C1.4 You can set up either a landlord or agent account
C1.5 You can manage multiple tenancies in your user account
C1.6 You agree to accept the tenant’s membership for the length of the tenancy and will not require any tenant who with a membership to provide a deposit, unless their membership has been cancelled
C2 – Membership cancellation
C2.1 If a tenant’s Ome membership is cancelled (for whatever reason) we will notify you and inform you of the reason. As long as the tenant has paid the first month of their subscription, then you will be able to take advantage of the end of tenancy resolution process, providing a resolution is required in line with these terms and conditions. Alternatively, you can ask the tenant to provide you with a cash deposit as they will be in breach of their tenancy agreement if their membership has been cancelled
C2.2 If a tenant’s membership is cancelled and you do receive a deposit from the tenant, then you accept that you will not be able to use our end of tenancy resolution process
C3 – When the tenancy ends
C3.1 You must inform us when a tenancy ends and/or approve when the tenant confirms their tenancy has ended
C3.2 You and the tenant will be expected to communicate and negotiate any end of tenancy costs or amounts owed by the tenant. If you and the tenant cannot reach an agreement on what is owed, then either party can use the Ome end of tenancy resolution process
C3.3 If the case is being dealt with through our end of tenancy resolution process, you agree to follow these terms and conditions
Section D – End of tenancy resolution process
D1 At the end of the tenancy either the tenant or landlord must inform us that the tenancy has ended which will then need to be confirmed by the other party
D2 From the confirmed end date of the tenancy the parties must negotiate on any amounts claimed by the landlord in relation to any breach of the tenancy agreement, by the tenant
D3 If an agreement is reached, the tenant should make payment to the landlord. We may require the evidence of payment from the tenant
D4 Where the tenant and landlord have been unable to reach an agreement, either party can escalate the case to our resolution team within 60 days of the confirmed end date of the tenancy, in line with these terms and conditions, which will continue to apply until the end of the resolution process
D5 To use this resolution process the landlord must have:
D2.1 a copy of the tenancy agreement
D2.2 a copy of the tenant reference
D2.3 conducted a check in report/inventory, before the tenancy started
D2.4 conducted a check out report shortly after the end of the tenancy
D2.5 evidence to support any claims that the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement.
D6 Any case received after the 60 day deadline will only be accepted at our discretion if compelling reasons for the delay are provided
D7 The parties will be unable to use the resolution journey if they have not attempted to negotiate first unless the tenant has refused to cooperate
D8 Where the tenant refuses to negotiate with the landlord, the landlord can escalate the case to us, with evidence that all reasonable steps were taken to negotiate. In this situation, the resolution journey will continue with the landlord’s claim and evidence only
D9 We expect the parties to use our alternative resolution process. From the date we inform the tenant we have received an escalation for resolution, the tenant must tell us within 10 working days if they really want the case to proceed to court. They must then issue a court claim within 6 months of that date or we may make a default decision, in the same way that the tenancy deposit protection schemes make decisions, and the tenant will be responsible for paying the amount to the landlord
D10 We may delay or stop any action, claim or end of tenancy resolution, if:
D10.1 you have broken any of Ome’s terms and conditions;
D10.2 if we have reasonable concerns about your identity; or
D10.3 if we reasonably suspect that the action, claim or end of tenancy resolution is fraudulent, illegal or immoral. Where possible, we will give you notice of our decision
D11 On receiving a case, it will be allocated to a case assessor who will check that it is an eligible referral, without limitation, by checking that it meets the requirements in section D – first steps.
D12 The case assessor will also make sure that the claim is one which can be resolved by us. Where claims relate to any of the following, we may be unable to deal with the case and will recommend that the parties go to court. In these circumstances, the parties will be informed of our decision in writing, which will be final:
D12.1 a party has already started court proceedings on issues which relate to the tenancy;
D12.2 there are allegations of fraud, police involvement, criminal or illegal activities, duress or harassment by either party; or
D12.3 where it would be more appropriate for the claims to be dealt with through the courts
D12.4 where clause F18 applies.
D13 Providing the case is suitable for resolution the case assessor will then contact both parties within 5 working days to make sure that they have provided their final positions. If they have not then both parties will be given a further 5 working days from the date of the case assessor’s request.
D14 The case assessor will then look at the case (including all correspondence and relevant information) and contact the parties to try to either resolve the case early or reduce the issues for resolution within 5 working days. If the case is resolved in full, or reduced in part, the resolution journey will end in relation to all these issues and confirmed in writing by the case assessor. Any issues not yet resolved will be allocated to an adjudicator.
D15 Our authority to make decisions is limited up to the value of five weeks’ rent in total
D16 Once all evidence has been provided a case will be passed to an adjudicator to make a binding decision based on the evidence provided. Where the adjudicator chooses to make a decision using only the evidence provided, there is no responsibility on the adjudicator to request more evidence
D17 Where the adjudicator finds it is not possible to make a decision based on the evidence provided, they will not make an award against the tenant
D18 The adjudicator has to take fair wear and tear of the property, and its contents, into account and will not make an award which would result in the landlord receiving new for old, also known as ‘betterment’
D19 A ‘Fair Wear and Tear’ guide provides further information on how an adjudicator calculates fair wear and tear but they will take the following into account:
D19.1 the age of the item (or when decoration last occurred);
D19.2 the quality and condition of the item at the start of the tenancy;
D19.3 the length of the tenancy;
D19.4 the general lifespan of such an item/area;
D19.5 the permitted number of occupants (and to a lesser extent the type of occupants).
D20 Our adjudicators are independent from the running of this scheme; being experienced, suitably trained in line with the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and have the ability to deliver adjudication decisions to the same standard as legislative tenancy deposit protection schemes.
D21 Our adjudicators are trained to follow a consistent approach to common issues. Although cases may seem the same to a tenant or landlord, every case is different and the evidence provided will vary depending on the specific circumstances of that case. This means that an adjudicator will not make the same decision in different cases.
D22 Adjudicators have discretion to decide what they believe is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. Where one adjudicator considers a particular course of action is fair in a case, a different adjudicator may consider it fair to apply a slightly different approach. Like a court judge, adjudicators have discretion to make a decision based on the evidence provided. As long as the adjudicator has followed the correct approach and explained the reason(s) for coming to a decision, then that decision will be correct even if a party is unhappy with the decision.
D23 There is no right for any party to appeal an adjudicator’s decision through this resolution journey. The decision is final and binding on the parties and us.
D24 Where an adjudication decision has been made, and the landlord is awarded any money, the tenant has 10 working days to pay the landlord, from the date of being informed of the decision.
D25 If the landlord disputes that payment has been made, we may require the tenant to provide us with satisfactory evidence that payment has been made, such as a bank statement. If the tenant does not pay the awarded amount within 10 working days of the date of the decision, we will send a payment reminder to the tenant. If the tenant still does not make payment within 7 working days of the date of the reminder, we will pay the awarded amount to the landlord on behalf of the tenant, and only where the tenant has failed to make payment in accordance with this paragraph D25.
D25 If we make payment to the landlord in line with paragraph D25, the tenant will be responsible for reimbursing us the amount in full. We will contact the tenant for direct payment and if it continues to remain unpaid after our reasonable attempts to recover the amount, we will decide the best course of action to take next. This may mean taking the tenant to court, referring the case to debt collection agencies or any other course of action we find necessary in order to recover the money. We may also notify credit reference agencies.
A tenant who does not make payment in line with this paragraph may have their membership suspended and/or cancelled in line with our Terms and Conditions for tenants.
D26 The landlord must set out the individual claims against the tenant and provide all relevant evidence. The tenant can then respond, setting out their position on the claims and provide any evidence they believe is relevant. As a minimum the tenancy agreement, tenant reference, check in report/inventory and check out report must be provided by the landlord. Other supporting evidence may include correspondence, contractors’ reports, receipts, invoices, estimates (if appropriate) and dated photos.
D27 It is for the landlord, who is making the claim, to prove that the tenant is responsible for costs as a result of the tenant breaching the terms of the tenancy and that the amount they are claiming is fair and reasonable.
D28 Both parties are responsible for setting out their position clearly. This includes pointing the case assessor and/or adjudicator to relevant evidence to support their position. By agreeing to use the resolution journey both parties accept that the case assessor and adjudicator act impartially and have total discretion to assess the evidence. The resolution journey does not allow the parties to cross examine the other or be involved in the adjudication after the evidence has been provided, unless specifically requested by the adjudicator.
D29 All evidence provided must be relevant and proportionate to the issues requiring resolution. We accept no responsibility for any failure in the system to upload any documents or for the quality of the information. The parties can view their submissions and evidence in their Ome account and are responsible for making sure it is all complete and of sufficient quality to support their case.
D30 We will not be responsible for any error or omission in an adjudication, as a result of the claim, or rebuttal, or supporting evidence was incomplete, illegible, confusing, contradictory or misleading, as long as the adjudicator has taken reasonable care when considering the position and evidence, particularly when a large amount of evidence has been supplied by a party.
D31 In summary, the adjudicator will consider the evidence as follows:
D31.1 dated check in/out report will be given more evidential weight by an adjudicator if it has either been signed by the tenant, clearly received by the tenant (such as in a time and date stamped email), or conducted by an independent third party inventory clerk. If there is a doubt as to the independence of the report the party relying on it should set out why they believe it to be independent.
D31.2 photographic and video evidence, used to support the party’s position. If the photographic or video evidence is not date stamped then it should act in support of other evidence, otherwise the adjudicator cannot be sure when it was taken. If a party intends to rely on the electronic properties of a photographic or video file we recommend the files are emailed rather than uploaded.
D32 We expect all evidence to be uploaded using the Ome account but if evidence is emailed or posted we will not return it unless we are informed, when it is sent, that the party requires it back. Any physical evidence held by us for over two weeks from the end of the resolution journey will be destroyed or shredded.
D32 We cannot be held responsible for any losses as a result of us not returning the evidence when we were not informed, when it was sent, that it is required back.
D33 We will arrange how the evidence is returned, with the party. If it requires special delivery then the cost must be paid in advance by the party requesting the evidence back.
Section E – Our responsibility to you
E1 If we do not comply with these terms and conditions, we are responsible to you for loss or damage you suffer that is a foreseeable result of our breaking these terms or our failing to use reasonable care and skill
E2 Our total liability to you will not exceed the maximum amount of five weeks’ rent in respect of the property to which the claim relates
Section F – Miscellaneous Provisions
F1 At our discretion we may allow the resolution journey to be handled by someone authorised to act on behalf of a tenant. The tenant and/or the authorised representative must write to us, providing reasons and evidence, on why they are handling the case. Examples of acceptable reasons, include:
- tenants difficulty with language or understanding the issues;
- tenants disability or sickness; or
- tenants absence from the UK
F2 We may require evidence that the authorised representative should be allowed to act on the tenant’s behalf. This may include providing, for example, written consent or a power of attorney.
F3 Where a lead tenant has been nominated, they will be able to handle the resolution journey on behalf of all the tenants related to that tenancy. The tenants jointly agree that we can communicate directly with the lead tenant and that the lead tenant will then be responsible for sharing the information. We will not be expected to pass all information to each of the tenants. We may take the lead tenant’s instructions and those instructions will be considered to have been taken from all of the tenants. This can be changed at any time, by a tenant contacting us to let us know that they would like direct communication from us. The tenants agree that where there are multiple tenants, we can ask all or just one of the tenants to pay the full amount of any money owed to us and not just a share.
F4 Each party is responsible for their own costs and/or expenses, as a result of using the resolution journey and an adjudicator will not make any award of costs.
F5 Landlords and tenants are free and encouraged to reach a settlement at any time before the adjudicator makes a decision. Both parties must notify us and provide proof of any agreement, which we may choose to independently check is authentic.
F6 These terms and conditions may need to be updated from time to time. Notices of any changes will be posted on our website, in newsletters and by email.
F7 If we make an error and issue an incorrect payment to any party, that party is required to return the amount on request immediately. If the amount is not returned, we may start legal proceedings to recover the outstanding amount. We may engage debt collection agencies and/or take any other action we think appropriate to recover the money owed. We may also notify credit reference agencies, and the tenant or landlord will be unable to use our scheme in the future.
F8 We may also suspend and/or cancel the tenant’s membership in line with the Ome Terms and Conditions for tenants and, if the parties are currently using our resolution journey for a dispute, we may stop this immediately.
F9 Our complaints procedure cannot be used to complain about, or appeal, an adjudication decision as the parties agree to be bound by the decision of the adjudicator
F10 We are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or any government department. The relationship between us, tenants and landlords is purely contractual
F11 The Ome Deposit Replacement Membership applies to and, is available in, the UK, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands
F12 We are not responsible for delays outside our control. We are not responsible for events beyond our control which prevent, delay or impede our ability to operate the resolution journey or these terms and conditions. If any such events occur, we will notify you as soon as possible and take steps to minimise the effect of the delay
F13 Transferring rights. If we transfer our rights and responsibilities under these terms and conditions to another organisation we will tell you in writing and make sure that the transfer will not affect your rights. You may only transfer your rights or your responsibilities under these terms and conditions to another person if we agree in writing
F14 Third Party Rights. No other person shall have any rights to enforce any of these terms.
F15 If any part of these terms is found to be illegal each of the paragraphs of these terms and conditions operates separately. If any court or relevant authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect
F16 Delay and enforcement. If we do not insist immediately that you do anything you are required to do under these terms and conditions, or if we delay in taking steps against you in relation to your breaking these terms and conditions, it will not mean that you do not have to do those things and it will not prevent us taking steps against you at a later date
F17 Applicable laws and where to bring legal proceedings. These terms and conditions are governed by English law and you can bring legal proceedings in the English courts. If you live in Scotland you can bring legal proceedings in either the Scottish or the English courts. If you live in Northern Ireland you can bring legal proceedings in either the Northern Irish or the English courts
F18 If any of the following occur as a reason for the landlord raising an end of tenancy issue then we reserve the right to assist the parties to come to a resolution to their issues but for insurance reasons we will not cover the five week deposit amount and the landlord will be required to enforce any resolution directly against the tenant.
F18.1 any natural disaster or catastrophe requiring nationwide government intervention;
F18.2 the tenant suffering from or being in fear or threat from any coronavirus including but not limited to Covid-19, Severe Acute Repertory Syndrome (SARS), MERS-Cov or any mutation or variation of or any other infectious or contagious disease which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and/or declared as a notifiable disease to the competent local authority.