No inventory ………. oh Dear!!

No inventory ………. oh Dear!!

11:26 AM, 28th January 2013, About 11 years ago 32

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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?


Sharmela Patel

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18:27 PM, 29th January 2013, About 11 years ago

I think the main thing here is to provide reassurance to the tenants as to the relationship of both as you as now new LL and tenant.

You will have to accept the condition of the property as it is now.

You need to ascertain whether any deposit has been lodged.

I would suggest you meet the tenants to start a new relationship with them.

This would mean new AST of 6 months length


New DPC and PI; would recommend using mydeposits

Dealing with any issues that have not been resolved in past years.

It could well be appropriate to suggest redecoration along with a commensurate rent increase along with fixing ALL outstanding problems.

The tenants will be naturally concerned as to how you will be behaving as a LL.

A rent increase would not be unreasonable; though I think you would wish to effectively 'give' them something for the rent increase.

3 years is not an unreasonable period to consider redecing.

It is far more cost effective to retain 'good' tenants than go through all the hassle of soucing new ones.

They appear to be good tenants and would think retention is the best way for you to go!
Oh yes and see if you can obtain RGI on these tenants; then you will have all bases covered!

19:29 PM, 29th January 2013, About 11 years ago

I would add that if you have any date stamped photos of the property that would help in the event of a dispute when your tenants do vacate. Also any paper trails of any problems with the property help, but without a proper inventory you don't stand a great chance. Get one done ASAP.

Mary Latham

20:33 PM, 29th January 2013, About 11 years ago

In my opinion the most important thing is to reasure your tenant that he is safe in his home and that you do not intend to change anything unless he has concerns. When a rented property changes hands, even in your situation, tenants are often nervous of loosing their homes or rent increases or changes to the relationship between themselves and the landlord.
I have never been in this situation but if I was I would email or write to the tenant and tell them that I am now the landlord and ask if I could come and introduce myself to them. I would go at a time to suit them and take a bottle of wine/box of chocs (depending on the type of tenant). The last thing I would want to do at that visit is to inspect THEIR HOME. I would want to know if they were happy with the property or if there were any repairs outstanding. I would talk about the relationship I hope to have with them and make they understand that I hope that they will stay in the property for as long as the want. I would introduce the subject of documents. Before going I would gather all the documents together but I would not take them - walking in with a file would feel too official. I would tell them that I would like to formalise the relationship now that I am the landlord and this would mean starting new Tenancy Agreement, with their permission.
The Issue of tenancy deposit protection that has been raised is also an important one because you will be repsonsible legally from the day that you took ownership and you have just 30 days from that date to ensure that the deposit is protected, even if you have not recieved it, and that the tenants have the Protection Certificate and tenants information from the scheme. If you did not get the deposit in the handover this will not protect you from legal responsiblity because you are now the landlord.
Please post again if you need more information. Good luck
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Joe Bloggs

21:37 PM, 29th January 2013, About 11 years ago

if the property is still ok i would be taking lots of dated photos belatedly.

Neil Woodhead

23:43 PM, 29th January 2013, About 11 years ago

If you are happy with the tenant and property is in an acceptable condition best to advise tenant of change in circumstances take a snap shot/inventory as at today's condition and enter into a new tenancy, with a rent review, in your name. With change in ownership and tenancy agreement, liability for transferring over deposit for previous tenancy into your new TDS account should lay with your ex husband.

0:48 AM, 30th January 2013, About 11 years ago

Find a good letting agent and sit down with them and get them to go through with you what they would do if the tenant had come to them looking for a property (don't forget to ask the agent to explain what your liabilities are as a landlord). Write them all down as questions and make an appointment for you to visit the tenants at the property (this way you get to see inside the property).

Explain the situation to the tenants re-assure them you wish to continue as if nothing had changed and gently ask the questions getting them to provide the proof I.e have they got a copy of the receipt of the deposit they could show you? They probably won't let you take paperwork away so make notes,take photo's and if your phone can video the documents this will allow you to re-type them giving you a rough copy for future use and save the video on your pc.

I assume as you say you had nothing to do with the tenancy before that the tenancy agreement was between your ex-partner and the tenants so could now be invalid this gives you the opportunity to start a new agreement with them and get an inventory company in, it wont help if damage has already been caused but does give you a good starting point to work from.

If they agree to a new agreement I would probably swallow the costs myself just to keep things sweet,who knows additional costs at the wrong time could turn a good regular payer into a bad one and cost alot more in the long run.

I would now instruct the agent to do a six month agreement etc and set the wheels in motion, you now have six months to either read up on how to be a good landlord or watch property prices with a view to sell. Good Luck!
Remember High agent fee's doesn't mean there a good agent neither do low fee's!

1:51 AM, 30th January 2013, About 11 years ago

I have looked through the suggestions/advice given so far, and would like to add that you check if there is an EPC for the property. Your ex-partner or the letting agent should have provided it - it is valid for 10 years. If there is no EPC, you do need to order an EPC inspection to be done as soon as you can as it is a legal requirement. If there is gas in the property, there should also be a gas safety certificate (by law, the tenants must be given a copy) - it is valid for 12 months. If there is no up-to-date certificate, you need to have the inspection as soon as possible. I would use an inventory clerk to prepare an inventory - the clerks I have used have been quite thorough. It may be possible to use the services of a letting agency to organise these things for you, and advice you, but you should negotiate the fee. The fee of 13% mentioned by Colin Stanley below is too high, as it covers finding a new tenant and you already have the tenants in situ. Good luck!

sharmela Jansari

2:54 AM, 30th January 2013, About 11 years ago

Thanks guys! The tenant is ok, the property has been mine for a year but I couldn't get out to see it. I went over a few weeks ago because the oven stopped working. A new oven was put in the property two years ago but when i went to see it it was trashed and I had to replace it. The shed roof has a whole in it and whatever they have in there is ruined. I am tempted just to get it taken away. Otherwise the bathroom is a state because they do not clean it. The tenant is a lawyer, a bit aggressive and has made a point of telling me she is not an idiot (just passed her exams). I've been asked to sort the bathroom out but other that giving it a good clean there is nothing wrong with it.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

4:07 AM, 30th January 2013, About 11 years ago

Oh lovely! I'd give this headache to an agent if I were you for what it costs. Are you happy for her to stay? There's a lot worse than a dirty bathroom to have to worry about here!

Sam Wong

5:15 AM, 30th January 2013, About 11 years ago

Plenty of sound advice here.

The important thing is to decide if you want to keep the tenant. I would go for a common sense approach.

If she keeps paying rent on time without to much hassle, changing an oven every couple of years isnt a real issue. Neither is her personal hygiene. If she stays for another 3 years, would you really want to be get too tough with having to clean out the mess and another lick of paint ?

She is unlikely to do much more damage than what she has already or hasnt done in the past 3 years. Damage limitation is a good idea but not sure if I would personally bother - after 3 years.

On t he other hand, if I am not happy with a tenant for whatever (business) reason, I would simply give notice to quit. But if she has been there for 3 years and has been paying rent on time without too much prompting ......

Whatever you decide, you will still have to make sure you are in a sound position with things like EPC, Landlord Gas Certificate, deposit registration etc. All part and parcel of being a landlord - it is far cheaper and more profitable to be on good terms with your tenants and generally being a good landlord providing decent properties.

I can give you some contacts if the property is in Brum.

Hope that helps.

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