When the Government introduced its radical Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme in April 2007, little did most landlords realise how complicated this new scheme was going to be and how much it might cost them.
It’s no longer possible for a landlord or letting agent simply to deduct any costs of tenant damage from a rental deposit unless the tenant agrees that they can. And if the tenant agrees to dispute the Landlord’s demand, then the landlord has to make a formal claim either via the courts or via the Government’s appointed Dispute Service.
This means that, if the landlord’s inventory isn’t rock solid , clearly showing that the tenant is responsible for any damage, then the landlord’s claim will fall.
An inventory report is an “AS SEEN” snapshot report detailing the state of the property and its contents at the time of the Inventory Inspection. It should also include any existing cosmetic blemishes, such as peeling wallpaper or flaking paint. You should be extremely thorough and give it you full attention.
Rather like an insurance, inventories are a “should-have” instead of a “must have” and as such you will only really appreciate the product when something goes wrong and you need it.
Under current legislation there is no regulation or guidance for those undertaking a tenancy agreement. By definition, a deposit is taken as a safeguard against dilapidations or damage, which can only be proven through a process of inventory and check-out.
On the day the tenant moves in, both the tenant and agent (or you, if you’re letting privately) will be expected to agree the exact condition of the contents of the property. All parties will initial each page and sign it. Make sure every party has a copy of the signed document. This should avoid any unnecessary disputes that may be caused by the tenant during the tenancy.
It is recommended that the landlord schedule regular three-monthly inventory checks at the property in order to assess any damage that may have occurred. You must provide the tenant with sufficient notification of your intention to visit the property for the purpose (24 hours should be sufficient). A further benefit of an interim inventory check is to note and act upon any dilapidations or health and safety issues needing immediate attention.
At the end of the tenancy the inventory should be carefully checked to identify whether the state of the property and or contents of the the property have changed in any way. From this an assessment can be made as to whether there is a dilapidation claim made against the tenant.
There are various companies around the company that can offer services to Landlords such as:
turtlehomes.co.uk recommend inventoryclerk.com who are the largest and fastest growing network of inventory clerks in the UK. They appear to offer competitive prices and have embraced the Internet by offering features such as an online calender booking system.
If you would rather compile the inventory yourself but need a template then it may be worth having a look at inventoriesRusTM, they provide a system which allows landlords and tenants to produce their own, high quality photographic inventories, but following simple online instructions.