11:27 AM, 11th March 2011, About 11 years ago 2
Part 1 of a 2 part series.
With over 23,500 deposit disputes last year – a figure that is set to increase as tenants become more aware of their rights – it has never been more important to have a professional (and independent) inventory.
Many inventories fail to convince the adjudicators because they fall far short of the evidential standards required. The fact that over 90% of cases are found against landlords indicates that if you do not supply the tenant with a proper professional inventory you may as well not bother at all.
These are the most common reasons inventories fail – with tips on how you can ensure your inventories are up to scratch:
Problem 1: The landlord used an old inventory that didn’t reflect the condition of the property’s contents accurately. This is a common problem when agents or landlords try and cut costs by using an old version rather than pay for a new inventory.
Solution: Clearly a new inventory must be done at the start of each tenancy if it is to properly reflect the condition. Some companies offer an “inventory remake” but this is undermining the credibility and evidential strength of the inventory. Not recommended.
Problem 2: The inventory was dated significantly before the start of the tenancy (and therefore the property may have changed condition in the meantime).
Solution: Ensure that the inventory is scheduled to be conducted as shortly as possible before the tenant moving in date.
Problem 3: Photographs have not been signed and accepted by the tenant which means they could have been taken at any time.
Solution: Ideally, tenants should sign each photograph or each page the photographs are on. Tenants need to sign to say they have received the written inventory and supporting DVD, and they then have 7 days to raise any objections or it is deemed to be accepted. Any video recordings need to be time and date stamped and an independent 3rd party should keep a copy of the recording.
Problem 4: Items claimed for were not recorded on the original inventory.
Solution: Ensure that properly trained clerks conduct the inventories and that they follow a systematic process so all items are covered. Ideally, they should use a video camera as a half hour high definition video, at 25 frames a second which is the equivalent of 37,500 still images.
Problem 5: The inventory just lists items with no schedule of condition.
Solution: All inventories should clearly state the condition of each item. It is absolutely essential. Consider using a simple numerical grading system.
A further 5 hints and tips – part two.
This Guest Article has kindly been submitted by Simon Thomas of The Video Inventory Agency Ltd.
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