10:10 AM, 18th January 2012, About 12 years ago
Landlords are losing cases when tenants complain about non-return of deposits because they are failing to take good property inventories.
Most landlord inventories fail to stand up in court or dispute resolution, argues the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The AIIC slams landlords for inventory failures and suggests they should employ professional inventory clerks at property handovers.
The list of failings includes:
AIIC chairman Pat Barber said: “Landlords should ensure they have all the right paperwork to present to adjudicators. Landlords lose disputes because they fail to provide the right evidence to show that a tenant has damaged the property. It should always be remembered that the deposit is the tenant’s property until a landlord can prove justification for any deductions.
“It is vital that there is a thorough and detailed inventory which will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. The inventory documentation serves a number of vital functions, including providing a catalogue of the let property, an unbiased record of it condition and any items included in the tenancy. It also forms part of the legally binding contract that is set out in the tenancy agreement between the tenant and the landlord. “Therefore it is vital to have a carefully prepared inventory at check-in, which can be then used at check-out, to enable an accurate comparison of the property’s condition. Without this documentation, landlords and agents could end up significantly out of pocket.”
Steve Harriott, chief executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme – one of the three main deposit protection services – agrees inventories are important and says that only 58% of landlords bother to take one when they let a property.
“While we do not say, in spite of continual pressure from professional inventory companies, that the inventory has to be professionally prepared, we do say that the inventory must be comprehensive and a clear record of the property’s condition and backed up by a check in and check out report. The absence of these will severely jeopardise the landlord’s prospects of making a successful claim for a deposit deduction,” he said.