As a landlord or letting agent, if you’re worried about securing money from deposits to repair any damage to your property caused by tenants, you should be looking at how robust your inventory is because it can play a crucial role in resolving disputes.
What is a property inventory?
A property inventory, also known as a Schedule of Condition, is used to record the condition of a rental property.
The inventory should be prepared before a new tenancy, and the tenant and landlord, or agent, can use the inventory at the start of the tenancy to go around the property comparing the notes to the actual condition of the property and ensuring they are in agreement regarding the property’s condition.
At the end of the tenancy, the condition of the property can be reviewed again, and a comparison made between its current state and the initial inventory, identifying any damage that may have occurred during the tenancy.
The key to an inventory is that it provides proof of the agreement between the tenant and the letting agent or landlord about the state of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. The tenant should always review the completed inventory and then sign to confirm their agreement with it and understand their responsibility to return it in a fit and proper state.
What does an inventory contain?
An inventory needs to be thorough, containing details of the condition of each room and including all fixtures, fittings and decorations, noting existing damage, such as stains, wear and tear, or broken items.
As well as a written record, an inventory needs to contain photos of each room and photographic evidence of any specific points of interest that clearly shows the detail and extent of the damage.
How do inventories resolve disputes?
The detailed and robust recording of a property’s state means that if any disputes arise at the end of a tenancy regarding its state, it can be used to make a judgement on any claim.
If the landlord attempts to withhold a tenant’s deposit, or part of that deposit, to pay for repairs to the property, an adjudication process must be entered into as part of the deposit protection scheme holding the tenant’s deposit.
Adjudicators will make their decisions based on the evidence presented to them on documents such as the inventory, tenancy agreement, check-in and check-out reports and receipts or estimates for work needed on the property. They don’t ask for any further evidence, talk to the parties concerned or visit the property, which makes the record-keeping in inventories critical, to avoid the matter coming down to one word against another.
How does this benefit parties in dispute?
Clear evidence of the changing state of a property makes it quicker to resolve disputes, and the outcomes are then binding on all parties.
Quickly resolved disputes also mean properties aren’t left empty between tenancies, protecting the landlord’s income. It may also be a condition of the landlord’s insurance to complete an inventory.
No Letting Go.
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamlining costs, reducing your workload and protecting you in the case of a dispute, then contact No Letting Go today.
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