Landlords warned that inventories are critical to successful tenancies

Landlords warned that inventories are critical to successful tenancies

11:16 AM, 10th November 2022, About 2 years ago 1

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The disputes between landlords and tenants that end in bitter court action could be easily avoided by a thorough, professional independent inventory.

That’s the claim from the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) which say that a qualified impartial inventory clerk, with no potential for bias, can offer protection and confidence to both parties when a tenancy begins.

Daniel Evans, the AIIC’s chair, said: “An inventory is a vital part of the letting process because it establishes the condition of a property at the beginning and at the end of a tenancy.

“And if there is any dispute further down the line, the inventory will be used as the primary piece of evidence by deposit scheme arbitrators or a court of law.

“It is the landlord’s responsibility to prove that the tenant has caused damage to the property and that deductions from the deposit should be made.”

‘Difficult to prove that deterioration has been the fault of the tenant’

He added: “If the inventory contains omissions or is lacking in the necessary detail, the landlord or agent might find it very difficult to prove that deterioration has been the fault of the tenant.

“It’s not merely a list of items owned by the landlord but included in the property, the inventory should contain detailed information about every aspect of a property including standards of décor, fixtures and fittings, all contents, the garden and any outbuildings.

“Observations on the condition are backed up with photographs or video so at the end of a tenancy, accurate assessments can be made about damage and cleaning issues that might be chargeable to the tenant.”

Mr Evans says that tenants are much more likely to trust the process if it can be demonstrated from the outset that the inventory clerk is independent of the landlord or agent.

The check-in report

The inventory – also known as a check-in report – must be agreed and signed off by the tenant and requires detailed images which demonstrate the scale of any flaws in the property before the tenant moves in.

For example, the size of stains on carpets or marks on furniture can be shown by including a measuring rule or even a hand.

Mr Evans said: “Without these indicators, there will be no way of knowing whether there has been further deterioration by the time the tenant comes to check out.

“That could be caused by reasonable wear and tear, but if there has been further damage caused deliberately or by negligence, the inventory is the only means of establishing that fact.”

3% of tenancies end in dispute over the return of deposits

In the UK, 3% of tenancies end in dispute over the return of deposits and the most common reason is lack of cleaning, followed by damage.

According to The Dispute Service (TDS), its Insured Deposit Scheme received 15,116 dispute applications in 2020-21, while its Custodial Scheme adjudicated on 1,660.

But although only a comparatively small number of tenancies end in dispute, Mr Evans says it is in the interest of the landlord or agent to do everything they can to reduce the chances of disagreement over deductions.

He also points to mydeposits.co.uk as it states: “A good inventory can help to avoid a dispute when the tenancy ends. Remember – no inventory means no evidence to negotiate with, which then brings into question whether there is any point in taking a security deposit, as proving the tenant caused the damage will be almost impossible.”


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Comments

Clive Bannerman

9:48 AM, 12th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Surely, cleaning can't be charged, as claimed here?

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