Why Property Logbooks are a riveting read
Levelling up with a logbook
In February 2022 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities released its Levelling Up White Paper, it made the case that upfront information was to be mandatory in the home buying and selling process. It said that the UK Government and the industry will work together to ensure the critical material information buyers need to know – like tenure type, lease length and any service charges – are available digitally wherever possible from trusted and authenticated sources, and provided only once. If necessary, the UK Government will legislate. The good news is that this critical information can be easily digitally provided with a twindig.
What is a property logbook?
A property logbook is a very useful tool for every home buyer, homeowner, home seller and landlord. It is a physical record of all the vital information about your home, think of it as the ultimate Wikipedia page – the source of all knowledge and insight about your home.
What is a digital property logbook?
A digital property logbook is an on-line or digital version of a physical property logbook. Twindig is a provider of digital property logbooks. A digital property logbook is much more practical than a physical one. You can access it wherever you have access to the internet.
You have everything you need to know and remember about your property at your fingertips– you can’t google ‘When did last service our boiler?’, but you can twindig it.
What is the purpose of a property logbook?
The purpose of a property logbook is to provide a place where a homeowner or renter can store all the important documents they need to maintain and manage their home in one place. It is there to help households get organised and to avoid that nasty feeling you have when you cannot find an important document or think you have lost it.
Property logbooks come into their own when moving house and when planing building, repairs or maintenance projects. If you have all the information you need to move house stored in a property logbook before you put your home on the market it is one big thing less to worry about and can significantly reduce the stress of moving home as it will reduce the delays that can be faced during the conveyancing process. With no need to worry about documents and paperwork you are freed up to focus on the more interesting and enjoyable task of buying and focusing on your next home.
Property logbooks for homeowners
Property logbooks help homeowners stay on top of managing their home, from reminders to get the boiler serviced or to check the best utility deals, to a secure a safe place to store warranty and guarantee information. You will never forget that important date of loose that important document once it has been recorded or stored in your property logbook.
We call a property logbook a ‘twindig’ – a digital twin of your home, which you can access via your smartphone, making your twindig a really useful place to store things like floor plans and the sizes of your windows. If you are in John Lewis wondering if that sofa will fit through your door or what size curtains you need, all your measurements will be to hand on your twindig.
Can’t remember the exact colour you painted your living room, record it in your twindig and we will do the remembering for you.
To start your twindig simply register your property on twindig.com today it will only take a couple of minutes but could save you hours. Once registered find your property and start your digital property log.
Property logbooks for home buyers
Our homes are the biggest and most expensive purchases most of us ever make and we often let our heart rule our head when making that all-important decision about which house to buy. Very few of us would buy a second-hand car without an MOT or no service history, but houses do not have MOT certificates or service histories and this is where property logbooks come in.
Property logbooks give you peace of mind that a home has been well maintained and looked after. They can also serve as a ‘user manual’ telling you where important things, like the stopcock, are and how the boiler works and what to do if the boiler goes out.
Property logbooks will allow you to better compare properties you are looking at – which has the newest kitchen appliances, how old is the bathroom, when was the double glazing fitted.
If the seller has gone to the trouble to put a property logbook together it shows they have little to hide and the home is in good working order.
Property logbooks for home sellers
When selling your home a property logbook acts as a cross between a CV and a Linkedin profile for your home it is both a practical source of truth as well as a marketing tool or brochure drawing potential buyers attention to your home’s best features.
If you have recently fitted a new kitchen show pictures and tell potential buyers about all the hard work you put in to get the kitchen just right. If your en-suite has the best power shower in the world make sure you mention it in your property logbook.
On the practical side detailing a full-service record – boiler, gutters, painting and decorating, replacement windows, re-wiring etc will show that you have looked after the home and that there are unlikely to be any skeletons lurking in the cupboards.
Home sellers can also produce summary logbooks that can be emailed to potential buyers after they have viewed the property.
Estate agents give the gift of a property logbook
Estate agents are now able to offer their clients a branded property logbook, which can be set up for the market appraisal and left with the homeowner whether or not they are appointed. Agents may also like to invite their existing or former clients to claim their logbook to help the agent stay in the homeowner's mind when they are not actively looking to buy or sell a home.
Twindig will contact the homeowner on the agent's behalf with an update on house prices and transactions in the local area. As the property logbook includes the contact details of the agent it is very easy for the homeowner to get in touch when they are ready to sell.
You can watch a property logbook explainer video here
Property logbooks keep estate agents in touch with clients
It is understandable that agents focus on winning new business, but a property logbook provides an easy way to stay in touch with your existing clients. Twindig provides a monthly update to on local house prices, home sales and housing market data to each property logbook holder, giving the agent an effortless touchpoint with their current, past and potential clients keeping them front of mind as homeowners think about house prices and the housing market.
Mandatory upfront property information is coming:
Let property logbooks take the strain
It will soon be required for every property portal listing to include mandatory upfront information before it can go live. Property logbooks can be used to collect the required upfront information material property information, helping get the home on the market as quickly as possible. Providing a property logbook at the time of market appraisal provides a clear path to collect the data and have it ready at the point of instruction.
Property logbooks save you time and money
If you are selling your home and you have a complete property logbook, you are what we call 'Sale Ready'. Being sale ready gives confidence to the buyer that you are a serious seller and having all the documents ready saves time. You will be surprised how just a simple missing document can add weeks to the buying and selling process, especially if the missing document is not noticed until a critical point and then the conveyancer has to request it, you have to find it, send it to your conveyancer who then sends it to your buyer's legal team who in turn will take time to process the new information. If each person in the chain is missing just one document, you can see how time adds up and a sale may fall through.
Property logbooks and Stamp Duty
The 'COVID' Stamp Duty holiday provides a clear example of how a property logbook can save you money as well as time. Those buyers able to complete their purchase before 30 June 2021 stand to save up to £15,000, this saving falls to £2,500 if completion occurs between 1 July and 30 September 2021 and there are no stamp duty savings from 1 October 2021.
You can see the impact on stamp duty costs of
- house price
- location, and
- timing of purchase
Property logbooks for landlords
Our experience is that landlords use property logbooks as the properties user guide or how-to manual. Similar in scope to the folders found in holiday lets and holiday rental properties: how the washing machine works, where is the stopcock. They are also good places to store things such as the gas safety certificate, EPC and check-in inventory records.
If prospective tenants can see a thoughtful ‘user manual’ and a record showing how regularly and how well the property is maintained the property will command a higher rent and the tenants are more likely to look after the property.
Should landlords have property logbooks?
We believe that property logbooks make life easier for landlords. Logbooks for landlords provide an easy way to store all the compliance and regulatory information the landlord has to make available to their tenants such as the gas safety certificate and EPC.
The twindig logbook also provides a secure way for the landlord to share documents and information with their tenant, which saves on the hassle of printing, posting and storing paper documents.
Landlords can also securely store important and useful documents such as tenancy agreements and inventory checklists on their digital property logbook.
What does a property logbook include?
As a minimum, think about your experience of renting a holiday home or apartment and how useful you find the folder of – how the boiler, TV and dishwasher work and where the nicest pubs and restaurants are. Property logbooks are meant to be practical, but they can also be used to help a potential buyer see themselves in the home and make them feel at home and welcomed in your home.
On a more practical note, the Residential Logbook Association (RLBA) recommend that the digital property logbook would include:
Your properties Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN)
The Title Number as stored at the Land Registry
Handover packs (where things are and how they work)
Building or retrofit works completed with guarantees and building regulation approvals
History of sales transactions
History of rental tenancies if applicable
Lettings MOT if applicable
Ground rent and leasehold information if applicable
Details of utility company providers
Government information such as flood risks
If selling up to date search and other local authority information
What documents does a landlord need on their property logbook?
The amount of documents landlords are required to keep and provide copies of to their tenants seems to increase each year and a digital property logbook provides a great place to keep and store these documents, and with a twindig, landlords can share the documents electronically with their tenants.
We would suggest that landlords keep copies of all the following documents on their twindig property logbook:
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Landlords must have a valid EPC for each property they rent out and a copy should be shared with all new and prospective tenants. A landlord can share their EPC with a tenant via their twindig property logbook. An EPC is valid for 10 years from its date of issue.
Energy Performance Certificates or EPCs summarise the energy efficiency of your home. Your home will be awarded a rating between A (very efficient) to G (Inefficient).
The EPC will also include recommendations on ways to improve your homes’ energy efficiency. Making your home more energy-efficient will help you save money because your home will use less energy.
An EPC allows you to compare the energy efficiency of different homes. The EPC also shows how much energy and money you could save by taking action and installing products to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
The EPC will show you the estimated energy costs to run the home for three years. It will also show how much money you could save over the same three year period by installing energy efficiency improvements.
For more details about Energy Performance Certificates, you can read our full EPC guide
Electrical Safety Certificate
Landlords are required to have the electrical installation in their rented properties inspected and tested every five years. The inspection covers the electrical installations in the property and must be carried out by a qualified electrician.
Landlord must provide tenants with a copy of the report before they move in, or for existing tenants within 28 days of the inspection.
Electrical Safety Certificates can be stored and shared from the landlord's twindig digital property logbook.
Gas Safety Certificate
Landlords must have every gas appliance and flue in their rental properties checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
Existing tenants must be provided with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of its completion and new tenants should be given a copy at the start of their tenancy.
Landlords must retain copies of each Gas Safety Certificate for at least two years. All copies can be stored and shared electronically on a landlord twindig property logbook.
Fire safety risk assessment
Landlords are required by law to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance such as an open fire or wood-burning stove.
Landlord's have to ensure that all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy
You can read the UK Government guide on fire safety in shared or rented accommodation here
We recommend that Landlords annually check the working order of their alarms annually, review their fire safety risk assessment, document the details of the review in the property logbook, and share the results with their tenants.
Deposit Protection Documents
Landlords must place their tenant's deposits in a tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it and supply the tenants with the following information:
The amount of the deposit taken
The address of the property
The name, address and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme where the deposit is held
The name, address and contact details of the landlord and any third party who contributed to the deposit
How to rent checklist
Landlords should provide tenants with a copy of the UK Government's How to Rent guide. Copies can be stored on the landlord's twindig property logbook.
Legionella risk assessment
All landlords must assess the risks to their tenants of exposure to Legionnaires disease, a pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria found in water. You can read the Health and Safety Executives Legionnaires guide and here is an example of a Legionnaires risk assessment form that can be completed and stored in a landlord's property logbook.
How much does a digital property logbook cost?
Twindig provides you with a free digital property logbook template. To get started just register your property on the twindig platform – it will only take a few minutes and we believe it will save you hours in the long run and might save you money if our reminder tool helps you save on your utility and insurance bills.
Twindig does not charge you for your digital property logbook, although you may have to pay for some of the documents (such as an EPC certificate or local authority searches) you wish to store securely on your twindig.
Do I have to have a Digital Property Logbook?
No, it isn’t mandatory to have one, although the Residential Logbook Association (RLBA) is working with a number of parties under the guidance of the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) with the objective of all residential transactions to be supported by a regulated residential logbook.
Twindig will ensure that its digital property logbook will comply with any legislation as it emerges.
Should I have a property logbook?
Yes, but only if you want an easier less stressful life and an easier way to manage your home. We also believe that having a readily available digital property logbook will make your life easier. If you complete your logbook fully it will act as google or Wikipedia for your home, a very useful resource to have at your fingertips and dip in and out of as you need it.
Will I need a Property logbook in the future?
The Law Society currently has a call for evidence running with respect to the use of digital assets. In our view, digital property logbooks are an excellent way to use digital assets to speed up and reduce the stress of moving home. Whilst currently only a call or evidence this could be the first of several steps which may see the requirement to hold digital property records in the form of a digital property logbook enshrined in UK Law. But why wait until it becomes law? You can start your digital property logbook today and start enjoying the benefits it brings.
Property logbooks and material upfront property information
The UK Government is looking to make the disclosure of material upfront property information mandatory when selling a home. This means that before a property can be listed on an estate agent's website or property portal the required material upfront information will need to be collected, collated and displayed.
Property logbooks are a great way to get this information ready in advance so that the buying and selling process can sidestep costly delays because of missing material information.
Property logbooks could save you £1,571
Research from Propertymark found that when a housing transaction falls through or fails, consumers lose on average £1,571.
When Propertymark asked consumers what is most likely to prevent a sale from falling through, 88% said that the solution was in having more information about the property upfront. This would make the property market and sale ready and reduce the risk of a buyer changing their mind when new information about the property came to light further along the homebuying journey.
Property logbook vs Home Information Packs
The idea of a property logbook is not new. Part 5 of the UK Housing Act 2004 set out legislation for a Home Information Pack (HIP or hip). HIPS became mandatory on 1 August 2007 but were suspended on 20 May 2010.
They were required to be available from the time a home was put on the market for sale. Essentially, they were a static tool a snapshot in time to benefit the seller.
Digital Property Logbooks, on the other hand, are a living and breathing resource that adds value to the homeowner whilst in the property and will benefit both the buyer and the seller when and if the homeowner chooses to sell their property. In the age of the amazon review and readily available digital information, digital property logbooks are conspicuous by their absence.
What is a Home Information Pack or HIP?
Home Information Packs were introduced in the summer of 2007. They were a ‘Ronseal’ product, a pack of information about a home including up to date Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), local authority searches, title documents and where relevant guarantees and warranties.
When launched the Government believed that the introduction on HIPs would speed up housing transactions and reduce the number of housing transactions which fail to complete.
The HIP had to be available in full and less than three months old on the first day the property is marketed. The HIP had to have the following information
For freehold properties:
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Property Information Questionnaire
Title documents and Land Registry title number
Local authority searches
Additional information required if the property was either leasehold or commonhold:
Copy of lease
Building insurance policy
Contact details for landlord or managing agent
Recent service charge receipts and accounts
Why were HIPS scrapped?
The UK Government suspended HIPS requirements on 20 May 2010, calling HIPS ‘expensive and deficient red tape’
If HIPS was scrapped do we need Digital Property Logbooks?
In 2010 HIPS were viewed as expensive and as potentially acting as a brake on housing market activity. However much has changed since 2010. It is now possible to collate much of the information deemed necessary by HIPs digitally at very little cost.
Access to digital information has transformed the way we look at data. Digital Property Logbooks also more of a carrot to the HIPS stick, rather than being red tape, they provide useful live data to the homeowner and act as a marketing tool to the seller. Consumers and homebuyers are now used to seeing detailed information on the internet about every product they purchase so it is now accepted that detailed information about a very expensive purchase (your home) should be readily available.
Twindig has created skeleton ‘digital twins’ or digital property logbooks for every residential property across the country. To add some flesh and bones to your twindig and to start your own digital property logbook register your property on twindig today.
Is BASPI the new HIP?
On 15 March 2021, the Government supported Home Buying and Selling Group published its 'Buying and Selling Property Information (BAPSI) dataset, which is designed to be the 'one source of truth' when it comes to property information.
On the launch, Kate Faulkner, the Chair of the Home Buying and Selling Group said:
“This is a major step forward in trying to make life better for those moving home. Far too often sales fall through after an offer is accepted, due to a lack of information provided to the buyer and part of the reason for moving home taking 20 weeks is that we don’t collate enough information upfront. The BASPI together with the Pledge recommending sellers to instruct legal companies on day one of marketing, can go a long way to improving the home moving process for consumers and also for the daily lives of those in the industry.”
We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the bottlenecks in the home buying and selling process and re-energised the industry's plans to make the home buying and selling process much easier.
Since the launch of the BASPI, The Law Society launched a new pilot scheme (TA6 Part 1) to encourage sellers to start collating the key information needed to sell their home at a much earlier stage of the process.
Property logbooks coming of age
The launch of both the BASPI and TA6 Part 1 pilot show that property logbooks are coming of age and will increasingly be used in the future. Twindig is proud to be part of the property logbook movement and to already offer a FREE property logbook template and secure online document storage for every home across the UK.