FAQs

/FAQs

No. The only way you subscribe is by subscribing to a Pro plan. If all you do is sign up for a Core account, no money will change hands, and we require no payment details.

RentCentral is available in two flavours – Core and Pro.

Core

The Core plan is free, and is perfect for managing a single property with simple affairs.

Pro

Pro plans unlock the full power of RentCentral, including tax worksheets and the ability to rent by-the-room or by-the-flat. It’s perfect for student landlords, HMOs or larger portfolios. Several Pro plans are available, based on the number of properties being managed.

Pro accounts also include the ability to compile SA105 (Property) self assessment tax return data, as well as a host of added benefits.

You can close you account at any time – simply go to Settings -> Close your account.

For technical reasons, we are unable to cancel your PayPal subscription for you – so you’ll need to do this yourself. You can see your current PayPal subscriptions by following this link and logging into your PayPal account: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_subscr-find

You can upgrade or downgrade your account at any time. At the moment we’re not able to do this online (it’s coming soon) so please get in touch if you’d like to change your plan.

Complete the process via the in-app ‘Subscribe’ link, or via Settings -> Change your plan.

Payment for RentCentral is made via the PayPal subscription service. If you haven’t already got one, you’ll need a PayPal account (which is free to setup). The first month’s payment will be taken when you subscribe, and then monthly payments paid automatically when due.

A few years back, websites used to produce printer-friendly versions of their pages. More recently, we’ve been able to write sites that detect that the page is about to be sent to the printer, and automatically formats it to suit.

Any page in RentCentral will re-format itself for printing – just select ‘Print Preview’ (or similar) in your browser to view the re-formatted version.

Update Dec 2013: It is now possible to print all your transaction information from one screen, bypassing the normal 10-transactions-per-page limit. To do this, go to Transactions -> Full transaction list, then use the filters to vary your transaction selection, and select the Print list button.

You can export all your data at any time by going to Settings -> Export your account data as a CSV file or by clicking here (this link will only work if you’re logged in).

A CSV file is widely compatible with most spreadsheet software, including Excel and Numbers. You can also read the contents of the file in any text editor.

Before you record a deposit, make sure the relevant property and tenancy details have been recorded.

If these are correct, go to Accounting -> Add transaction and fill in the form, selecting the relevant details, and category Money in -> Deposits. You should use a positive figure in the value box.

Once you’ve received the funds from the tenant and recorded it in RentCentral (see How do I record a deposit), you’ll need to create a separate transaction recording the movement of the money from you to the DPS.

Go to ‘Account -> Add transaction’ and create a transaction with the category ‘Money out -> Transfer to Deposit Protection Service’. Use a positive figure in the value box.

When returning a deposit to a tenant, use the Deposit Return form. This will show you the value of deposits held for each tenancy and the value lodged with any custodial deposit service. You can also record details of any deductions made.

Note: While Core users can mark tenancies as furnished residential lets, this information is only used when compiling the SA105 tax return form. To do this, a Pro plan is required.

From the HMRC’s Property income manual:

A furnished property is one that is capable of normal occupation without the tenant having to provide their own beds, chairs, tables, sofas and other furnishings, cooker etc. The provision of nominal furnishings will not meet this requirement.

RentCentral uses this information to calculate the rent subject to the 10% wear-and-tear allowance.

When you create a tenancy, RentCentral will automatically create a payment schedule to suit. This will detail the rent payments you expect to receive during the course of the tenancy – normally a fixed value every month or week.

Whenever the rent value varies from the norm, you should edit the payment schedule to reflect this.

Example: A discount period

Bob is letting a student house out for £800/month. The tenancy starts on 1st August.

He creates a new tenancy using these details, and RentCentral creates a payment schedule show £800 due every month.

However, the first month is at half rent, so he edits the payment schedule to reflect the fact that he only expects £400 for August. Now the rent schedule and the rent he receives should match up correctly.

You should also edit the payment schedule if you change the rent more permanently – for example, to reflect a rent increase after a full year of occupation. In this case, check the Copy this value to all subsequent items box when editing a payment.

Example: Recording a rent review

It’s the end of December, and Jane’s house has now been let for a year at £500/month. After conducting a rent review, she agrees with her tenant that the rent will increase to £550/month, starting in January.

Jane edits the payment scheduled for January and sets the value to £550. She selects the Copy this value to all subsequent items box so the new value is copied to February’s (and all other later) payments.

Note: if you’re only using cash-based accounting, none of what follows matters to you

If a tenant pays you up-front for 6 months of their tenancy, it would seem to make sense to spread the payment received over 6 month by using the ‘Tax Options’ box while adding a transaction.

However, this option is for expenses that you pay up-front and then get consumed over time (for example, house insurance over 12 months). These are known as Prepaid expenses.

Inputting this extra information allows RentCentral to calculate the difference between cash- and accrual- based accounting for these items.

However, when it comes to rent payments, RentCentral already knows how much is due each month from the tenancy details. It uses these pre-calculated figures to work out total accrued rent (when working with accrual-based accounts).

You should just add the cash received as one big lump sum, and RentCentral will take care of the apportionment of the rent across the relevant periods.

To see how a large rent payment is spread across multiple months, take a look at the tenancy’s Rent Statement.

Updated Jan 2014: Rent is calculated on either a per-calendar-month or per-week basis.

Example: Rental periods

Bobs’s new tenant moves in on the 1st May. Rent is due monthly. The first rental period runs until (and includes) the 31st May. The 1st June is the first day of the second rental period.

Eric’s new tenant also pays monthly, and moves in on the 15th August. The first rental period runs until (and includes) the 14th September.

Sarah is collecting rent from her tenant weekly. The tenancy starts on the 1st June and the week’s rent cover the period up to (and including) the 7th June. The next payment is then due on the 8th.

Tenancies can finish on any day. If the tenancy does not finish at the end of a monthly (or weekly) rental period then the final rent payment is calculated as follows:

Daily rent = monthly rent x 12 / 365*
or
Daily rent = weekly rent / 7

Example: Final rent payments (complete month)

Lucy’s tenancy (@ £400 pcm) started on the 3rd February will end on the 2nd December. She will pay the normal £400 on the 3rd November and then have nothing more to pay.

Example: Final rent payments (part month)

Gerald moved in on the 1st March, and his tenancy ended on the 8th December. His monthly rent is £500.

He will pay the normal £500 on 1st November (for the period up to and including 30th November) and then £132 for the final eight days in December.

The calculation for December is (£500 x 12 months / 365 days*) x 8 days = £132.51

Example: Final rent payments (part week)

Dave moved in on the 1st September, and his tenancy ended on the 20th November. His weekly rent is £75.

The final full week for Dave’s rent runs from 10-16th November. The rent for his final four days (from 17th – 20th) are calculated as follows:

£75 rent / 7 days x 4 days = £42.85

*note that this will be slightly different in a leap year, where there are 366 days.

If you have an interest-only mortgage, all (100%) of your mortgage payments are interest. Life is nice and simple.

However, payments made on a repayment mortgage are a mix of interest and capital repayment.

It’s important to split these payments into their two categories, as the capital repayment portion is not an allowable deduction for tax.

In order to do this correctly, you’ll need a statement from your mortgage lender detailing the repayment portion of each payment made. This is often included in a yearly summary document, and may not be readily available each month – if this is the case, just record every payment as 100% interest initially. You’ll need to remember to edit and update the values (and create the relevant capital repayment transactions) once you have all the data – and definitely before you complete your tax return.

Example: Interest only mortgage payments

Eric has an interest-only mortgage. He pays £500/month for it.

There’s no element of capital repayment here, so Eric records the expense under Money out -> Mortgage interest.

Example: Repayment mortgage payments

Bob has a £100,000 mortgage on a property. It’s a repayment mortgage and each month Bob pays £400 to his lender each month.

Initially Bob records the entire payment (£400) under Money out -> Mortgage interest.

At the end of the year, Bob gets a statement from his lender with details of the capital repayments made over the course of the year. With this information, Bob can now update his transactions.

Each payment he’s made has repaid £50 of capital, so he edits his original transactions thus:

The value of the existing Mortgage Interest transactions is changed to £350 (£400 – £50 capital repayment)

He also adds transactions under Money out -> Mortgage capital repayment: 12x £50 transactions (one each month) to correspond with the interest payments made.

If you can’t be bothered to add a Mortgage Capital Repayment transaction each month (and edit every interest payment value), you can lump them together into two transactions – one to adjust the interest payment (this would normally be negative in this situation) and one to add the capital repayment.

Mortgage arrangement fees come in two flavours – those added to the loan, and those paid up-front.

In both cases, you should record the cost under Money out -> Other finance costs.

If the arrangement fee is being added to the loan amount, you should make sure the mortgage value recorded also includes this fee.

It can be easy to forget to record fees added to the loan, as they don’t feature in your bank accounts – at least until you have to repay the mortgage.

Example: Mortgage arrangement fees added to loan

Bob has a £100,000 mortgage on a property. The arrangement fee was £995, and he’s chosen to add this to the loan amount.

Bob creates a new mortgage with a value of £100,995 (£100,000 + £995) and also creates a new transaction under Money out -> Other finance costs for £995.

Example: Mortgage arrangement fees paid upfront

Helen has a £75,000 mortgage on a property. The arrangement fee was £1,495, and she’s chosen to pay this upfront.

She creates a new mortgage with a value of £75,000 and also creates a new transaction under Money out -> Other finance costs for £ 1,495.

RentCentral supports uploading the following formats:

  • OFX (Open Financial Exchange)
  • QIF (Quicken Interchange Format)
  • CSV (Comma Seperated Values)

Most UK banks will allow you to download statements from their online services in at least one of these formats. If you have a choice, go for OFX first, QIF if OFX isn’t available and finally CSV if it’s your only choice.

Formatting CSV files

If a CSV file is your only choice, you may need to re-jig the data before you upload it to RentCentral.

RentCentral has mappings for several popular CSV formats (including PayPal), but if your bank isn’t on the list, you’ll need to sort the data as follows:

  • Open the CSV file in a spreadsheet program – for example, Excel
  • Drag the columns of data around so they fit the following order:
  1. Column 1: Date (in the format d-m-y or d/m/y). Years can be 2- or 4-digits
  2. Column 2: Transaction description text
  3. Column 3: Transaction value. Positive figures = money into account, negative figures = spending from account

Make sure there are no header rows or spaces – the very first cell on the top left should be the date of the first transaction.

Here’s a quick sample of how your finished file should look:

Sample csv format

If you do find you have to re-jig the data in this way you can always send us a sample CSV file and we’ll add a map to the system to suit.

The difference between cash-based and accrual-based accounting is mainly one of timing.

In cash-based accounting, an income or expenditure is recorded at the moment the cash changes hands.

For accrual-based accounts, these items are recorded at the time they were incurred, rather than when the cash changed hands. This is called the tax point.

Often these two systems produce the same result.

Example: Cash-based and accrual-based accounting producing the same result.

It’s Valentine’s day. Eric buys a bag of nails to fix up his broken toilet (don’t ask).

He pays £5.

This is a small cash purchase (doesn’t qualify as a capital purchase), and he paid for and received the goods the same day.

Eric records a £5 expense under Property repairs, maintenance and renewals. The date of the transaction is 14th Feb, and the tax point is the same – in fact he can leave it blank.

Cash-based and accrual-based accounting systems will treat this item the same.

Example: Cash-based and accrual-based accounting producing different results.

Bob has had the builders in. They finished on 1st March, and sent him an invoice for £5,000 on 3rd March.

Bob finally pays the invoice on the 5th September.

Bob records the transaction thus:

A value of £5000

A date of 5th September

The tax point for this is the date of the invoice – the 3rd March

In this case, a cash-based accounting records the expense on the 5th September, whereas an accrual-based system records it on the 3rd March (and in a different financial year).

In some cases, you may also make prepaid expenses. A typical example of this would be home insurance – it’s paid for up-front for the entire year, but you ‘consume’ the insurance over a period of time.

To account for this, you can spread expenses over a number of months. This allows RentCentral to calculated the amount of any pre-paid expenses used in a particular period.

Finally, these two systems vary in the way they record rent:

  • A cash-based system records the amount of rent you actually got paid
  • An accrual-based system records the amount of rent you were due, regardless of whether you actually received it.
    You’ll need to record any bad debts to adjust the figures as and when they occur.

In general, you can use a cash-based system if your rental income (before deducting any expenses) is less than £15,000 per year (further details on the HMRC site).

Note: the iCal feed included in all Pro plans, but not available on the free, Core plan.

The iCal feed allows you import and view RentCentral events in your current calendar application. As your events change in RentCentral, changes will be reflected in your calendar.

In order to setup your calendar application, please follow the relevant set of instructions:

If you’re a smartphone user, simply navigate to the calendar page using your device and click on the webcal:// link to import the calendar data into your phone.

All payment processing is performed by our payment partner, PayPal Europe (https://www.paypal.com/uk). The only details we receive from them are confirmation of the payment amount, the email address of the payee and the account to which the payment relates. These details are kept in a secure database.

No bank account details or card information ever ends up in our hands

As with any web service, we’re at the mercy of general internet performance.

Our servers have a 99.995% uptime guarantee (that’s only 2 minutes downtime a month), but we can’t control your ISP, your computer or whether you drop you router down the stairs.

Because of this, we perform twice-daily database backups and encourage you to download your data (using the link at Settings -> Export your account data as a CSV file) regularly.

With these measures in place, we’re confident we can provide the level of service you require.

As we’re dealing with financial information, safety and security are important.

While using the service, you’re connected to our servers using an encrypted connection – check for the https:// identifier and padlock symbol in your brower’s address bar to confirm this.

All our servers are UK based – actually somewhere in the Reading area. Our hosting partner, Memset, takes security very seriously – find out about their measures and procedures.

You should have a browse of our enthralling privacy policy to find out what we may or may not do with your data.

Create you new block of flats as a property, and select ‘This property is a block of flats’ at the bottom.

Once the block is created, you can then add individual flats to you block in the same way as adding rooms to a single property.

RentCentral treats a block of flats, and the individual flats within it, in the same way as a normal house that’s rented by-the-room.

Some properties can be split up into rooms or flats – this is useful if you’re renting out your property by-the-room (for example as an HMO or student let), or if you own a block of flats.

In the normal course of business, each property can only be let one way – you can either rent rooms & flats, or rent the whole property. It’s not possible to do both at the same time. To help simplify the process, RentCentral makes a couple of assumptions for you:

  • Properties with associated rooms/flats are assumed to be rented by-the-room/flat. They cannot be rented out whole.
  • Properties without rooms/flats are assumed to be rented out whole.

This is all fine and dandy when you set up your property for the first time – just add the rooms or flats if necessary, and don’t if not.

However, you may be in a situation where a property was previously rented by-the-room/flat, but you now wish to rent it out whole.

In order to do this, you’ll need to disable all the rooms/flats of this property. RentCentral will then allow you to record a tenancy where you rent the property whole.

Why not just delete the rooms/flats?

In the situation where you’ve rented the property by-the-room/flat previously, individual rooms/flats will have tenancies and transactions associated with them. For this reason it’s not possible to just delete them and continue to keep track of all your accounts. This is why the disabling process is included.

If you want to allow others to update and edit your RentCentral account, you’ll need to create a record for them in People.

If you select the System Administrator option when adding a new record, RentCentral will send an password to their email address, so that they can log in.

Naturally, you should only give access to those you trust.

Due to the way RentCentral works, each email address can only be used once – and this applies across all the RentCentral users.

If you’re getting this message and the email address is not used in your account, there’s a chance that another RentCentral user has it registered with theirs.

To resolve this issue, either leave the email address out (they’re not required unless you’re setting up administrators) or use an alternative address.