Every landlord wants to complete the end-of-tenancy process as smoothly and efficiently as possible. However, it’s common for disputes to arise surrounding the property’s condition after tenants move out. As well as causing stress for both parties, such disagreements can lead to unfair financial losses. So, can landlords protect themselves and mitigate the chances of a dispute arising?
As readers are probably well aware, landlords and letting agents must hold tenants’ deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. Such deposits may be used to cover costs for damage or maintenance issues at the end of a tenancy, provided landlords can prove their tenants have caused the damage or failed to live up to their maintenance obligations. This is where property inventories come in handy.
How do property inventories protect landlords (and tenants)?
Property inventories provide detailed and concrete evidence of a rental property’s condition. By providing tenants with an inventory at the beginning of their lease, landlords offer clear guidelines detailing how the property should be returned when they move out. As well as increasing the chances that tenants leave the property how they found it, an inventory will decrease the risk of disputes, saving both parties time and money.
Property inventories typically include high-resolution, digitally dated photographs and detailed written reports that log the state of your rental property. If the actions of your tenants have caused financial losses, these reports make it relatively easy to evidence your reasons for withholding some or all of their deposit. Some of the most common reasons for withholding funds include:
- Cleaning expenses: Many landlords ensure their properties are professionally cleaned before tenants move in. If tenants fail to return the property as they found it, landlords may deduct professional cleaning costs from the deposit.
- Rental arrears and unpaid bills: Landlords may withhold the costs of unpaid rent or bills related to the property (e.g., gas and electricity bills).
- Missing items: Landlords may deduct the costs of unreturned inventory items.
- Damage: Landlords may withhold the cover of damages that amount to more than normal wear and tear. Examples of damage could include holes in walls, large carpet stains, broken appliances, or broken chairs.
- Lack of upkeep: Some contracts require tenants to maintain a garden or another element of the property. If they do not live up to these responsibilities, landlords may withhold some of their deposit to cover costs.Of course, as well as providing your tenants with an inventory, you should remember to provide clear guidelines about returning the property at the end of the tenancy. As well as improving your relationship with tenants, such clarity will mitigate the chances of unpleasant disputes.
Keen to avoid a security deposit dispute? Choose No Letting Go to handle your property inventory!
As you can see, producing a detailed property inventory will help to protect your finances and nurture better relationships with tenants. Of course, producing such an inventory can be time-consuming and a little confusing, particularly given the amount of complex legislation landlords must follow. Fortunately, No Letting Go is here to help. We offer detailed pre-, mid-, and end-of-tenancy inventory reports to make your job as easy as possible. Get in touch today to find out more!
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