Novice Landlords Vulnerable to Deposit Disputes warns AIIC

Novice Landlords Vulnerable to Deposit Disputes warns AIIC

8:54 AM, 16th November 2012, About 12 years ago 2

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Novice landlords are at risk of deposit disputes as many are failing to prepare all the correct paperwork, warns the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).

There has been a huge increase in the number of accidental landlords over the last few years as many home-owners have been forced into renting their property, due to range of circumstances from negative equity to the depressed housing market and divorce.

The AIIC believes that landlords, especially accidental landlords, often have unrealistic expectations on wear and tear damage, which ultimately leads to a significant rise in tenant disputes.

All landlords need to be realistic about tenants and wear and tear.  They need to remember that the property is a business transaction and as such, reasonable wear and tear damage to a property needs to be recognised and accepted as part of the rental agreement.

Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC, said: “In addition to having a tenancy agreement, it’s important that accidental landlords ensure all formal agreements and procedures are in place, such as a professional inventory and schedule of condition.

“Landlords and tenants have different expectations when it comes to fair wear and tear issues, so it is no wonder that so many tenancies end in dispute. Landlords cannot expect ‘new for old’ when something is damaged, as everything has an expectancy of useful life and will need to be replaced periodically at the landlords’ expense.

“Tenants have a duty to return the property at the end of the tenancy in a condition consistent with that described on the inventory. This is why it is vital for landlords to have a detailed and accurate inventory to show the condition the property at the start of the tenancy, in order to assess whether its condition is consistent.

“An independent inventory will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. By opening a dialogue and using an independent inventory clerk, disputes can be resolved quicker and without the hassle that is often experienced at the end of a tenancy period.”

The AIIC is offering a new one-day workshop covering the whole check-out process, ideal for all landlords. End of tenancy check-out inspections can be contentious if not handled correctly – causing wasted time, energy and money for all parties. The AIIC expertise offers in depth training on:

  • The practicalities of carrying out a check- out
  • What to look for
  • Finding ‘hidden’ damage to ensure that the landlord’s property is protected
  • What is chargeable and what is not – being realistic
  • Handling your tenant in difficult situations
  • How to compile a detailed check-out report
  • How to avoid going to dispute

The AIIC Check- Out Workshop is being held on Monday 26 November 2012 from 9.30am to 4.30pm at The Hilton Bracknell, Bagshot Road, Bracknell, RG12 0QJ.

The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process.  The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.

For further information on AIIC, please visit

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23:30 PM, 16th November 2012, About 12 years ago

I got an inventory done on the advice of my agent, prior to letting an inherited property for the first time. This seemed a good idea, as we had carried out a lot of refurbishment, cleaning, and decoration work at the request of the prospective tenants, with which they were very happy when they moved in. The trouble was that the inspection was just before moving-in, and we did not see the report until well after. Given that the property was in the best condition it had been for about 30 years, we were appalled to read the description of it's condition - new carpets were described as "bitty", newly laid vinyl as "not clean", much was made of "discoloured" light switches, sockets etc. (all perfectly serviceable), the rear porch was "dirty" (which it would be, being outside!) and so on. The description of the contents was lost in all this irrelevant nit-picking, even though we had left a number of useful items - vacuum, microwave - and some furniture as requested. I wondered whose side they were on! Our tenants are not a problem, but if they were they could leave the property in a much worse state and point to the report as evidence that it was like that when they moved in. By the time we saw the report it was too late to dispute anything. I won't make that mistake again! Has anyone else had a problem like this?

Mary Latham

11:02 AM, 17th November 2012, About 12 years ago

The Inventory is, in my opinion, the most important document a landlord uses. The Tenancy Agreement is important but the fact is that there are so many piece of legislation and regulation in place that many Tenancy Agreements are full of terms which could not be enforced and are therefore irrelevant. A good tenancy agreement is very important but it is the Inventory that can save most of the issues that landlord have to deal with.
We do not need to use an Inventory Clerk, unless we feel that we are not capable of producing an accurate Inventory. Using a phone app. can save time and ensure that the Inventory is accurate and complete. Photographs which are then described in the text are excellent for giving a fair "snapshot" of what the property looked like at the start of the tenancy. A good Inventory will also include all the documents that we have to give our tenants Safety Inspection reports, EPC's Manufactureres In Use and Safety Instructions for all the items that we provide. Since it will be the landlord and tenant who will be having the discussion about compensation for losses and damages at the end of the tenancy it is vital that it is the landlord and tenant who agree the conditition of the property at the start and if an Inventory Clerk is used the landlord should agree the Inventory before it is agreed with the tenant to avoid the situation described by c collins. An Inventory Clerk must give an unbiased report but the landlord must be clear about why they describe items in certain terms so that their expectations at the end of the tenancy can be met.
I am really pleased to see that AllC are offering landlords the opportunity to learn how to produce a good Inventory, attending that workshop would be a good investment for many landlords.
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