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Pictures are great, but there’s no substitute for a good description when it comes to inventories according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The before and after photos that fill inventories should always be accompanied by a “clear narrative as to what the photo is showing”. Photos, they say, are mainly for reference and should be dated.
The date is especially important; a landlord recently lost a dispute because the photograph inventory he provided his tenant with did not include a date or detail description.
The quality of the pictures and video needs to be high too since the detail isn’t always visible.
Pat Barber, Chair of The AIIC, explained: “We want landlords and agents to be better informed in the event of a dispute, that means providing quality evidence to substantiate their claims for withholding the deposit.
“The law clearly states that the deposit remains the tenant’s money and that they are entitled to get it back at the end of their stay, provided they have met the terms of the tenancy agreement, so the onus lies with the agent or landlord to provide proof.
“We have seen some excellent inventories with the right balance of detail, supported by photography and video. But, more often than not, the photographs submitted in inventories are little larger than thumbnails and hence make it extremely difficult to see detail. To back up a damage issue, along with a detailed description, any photographs need to be of a reasonable size, so that the damage can be actually seen clearly. A glossy inventory that relies heavily on photographs will be of little use in a dispute.”
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