No inventory ………. oh Dear!!

by Readers Question

11:26 AM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

No inventory ………. oh Dear!!

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No inventory ………. oh Dear!!

Inventory for Landlords and TenantsAccidental Landlords question regarding “no inventory”

I have taken over as the landlord of a property after a divorce. Before this I was never involved in the property business!!  Anyway the house was purchase about three years ago and the first tenants that took the property are still in situ.  My issue is that I have no evidence of the state of the property prior to the tenant occupying it and I am worried that if they now left and the house was in disrepair I would have not claim against the deposit because I cannot prove what state the house was given to them. 

Any ideas on what I can do to protect myself in the event of a dispute?

Thanks

Sharmela Patel



Comments

12:44 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

was the deposit protected/lodged in a deposit protection scheme? If it was and it went to dispute i.e you considered damage had been done but the tenant disagreed, I'm not sure you would have much chance of arguing if, you had no proof of condition, the burden of proof always rests with the landlord. You could however do an inventory now, although it may be too late for damage up to the present time at least it would cover you going forward if any further damage were to occur.

12:49 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

I doubt you could make any deductions from their deposit if you have no evidence of the property when they moved in, so take steps now to ensure you are not in a vulnerable position. Visit the property at a mutually agreed time and prepare a new inventory for the property. Better still, if the contract term is up any time soon, prepare a new tenancy agreement and inventory at that time and, in consultation with your tenants, ask them to sign both. This will start you afresh with your tenants and you will have what you need in place for when they eventually vacate. Presumably you do have the deposit now secured under your name in a tenancy deposit scheme? Best wishes in your new venture.

Graeme

13:55 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

You can look at this in 2 ways, I think. Firstly, you can't do much about the last 3 years. But if you have a working relationship with your tenants, you could explain that the paperwork needs updating/correcting - perhaps at the next rent/tenancy review - and do an inventory then. That will at least protect you from this day forward. Assuming that the tenants haven't made any complaints/maintenance requests - one might hope that the property is not in too bad a state. You can always do an inspection every 3 months to keep an eye on it.
Secondly, are your tenants showing signs of moving on, or are they very settled and perhaps going to stay another few years?? If the latter, I would forget the inventory because after 5/6/7 years of 1 tenant I would expect to have to do a full redec/new carpets etc. and therefore the inventory is less critical. You have to be far more lenient as to what is "fair wear and tear" after a long tenancy.

14:56 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Without doubt you need to agree with them a time to enter the property and do an inventory as it is now.............take a camera............forget the past who can say what condition it was in then but you tell them you are doing it now to cover them and you..as is only fair.

Any obvious neglect or bad disrepair situations you have an opportunity to discuss with them while you are there...............you can judge alot by how they react...........and they may even volunteer to put it right straight away................remember there are a lot more nice people than bad people!! Assume you have a copy of their tenancy agreement from way back? Presume you may need to do a rent review soon?

Patrick..

16:00 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

I would start afresh with the tenants. Let them know who you are and prepare a new inventory, (photographic is best) ensure it is signed by both parties as it protect both parties.check the status of the deposit and amend to your name, finally review the contract and even draw up a new contract with the tenants. Good luck.

17:04 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Unfortunately, it appears that it would be difficult for you to prove the state and condition of property at the start of the tenancy and difficult to claim. I would suggest you remain on good terms with your tenants so you can agree a solution with them on the condition of the property when they vacate.

18:07 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Unless you are a professional landlord and well versed in these things you also might be better to recruit the services of a professional agent who should be well able to advise and assist you with this problem. These agents can be expensive, and I suspect that you get what you pay for. However a London based agent we use for one of our London properties has proved to be extremely good value for money despite charging a high fee of 13% of the gross rent. For this fee we are able to bounce problems over to them instructing them to get it sorted. I know that it would have cost far more than that personally trying to sort out any hassle - and not unusual hassle either. They will certainly be able to sort out the inventory problem for you.

19:09 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

I Agree!

20:14 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

Given the length of time that has passed on the tenancy it is going to be very difficult to assess the condition of property 3 years ago until now!!!
I would be looking at 'Damage Limitation' speak to tenants explaining the situation that you were taking on the 'managing' of the property and that from now on you would be doing regular inspections. Commencing with an immediate inspection and thereafter every 13 weeks therefore building a healthy Landlord/Tenant relationship.
And, after 3 years the property may need a little 'Freshening Up' so with that coming from you it would give you extra credibility with your Tenant, helping them - to help you - care for the property!!!

21:15 PM, 28th January 2013
About 6 years ago

I went through a similar thing except it was not a divorce but a death and my brother and I then added Landlord to our resume's but it was one HUGE MESS! Lease agreements were expired, title deeds were missing, rent was not paid up to date, no inventory was done and we had no previous experience in managing property..but slowly and thinking positively we first tried to develop good relationships with the tenants and luckily they were good people, but we had to start a-fresh with everything!

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