The introduction of Tenancy Deposit Schemes in 2007 led to a shift in the way the rental market works. In days gone by tenancy disputes were common and costly, but the scheme was introduced to protect both parties- it’s now just as hard for landlords to make false allegations and hang on to deposits as it is for tenants to get away with causing damage and neglect to a property. Denhan Guaranteed Rent says “The 2007 Tenancy Deposit Scheme created more of a level playing field, where tenants are protected from unscrupulous landlords and vice versa. It’s now a lot harder for anyone to play games, which should be seen as a positive for both sides.”
For both landlords and private rental tenants, a thorough inventory is a crucial document. It clearly details the condition of the property prior to a tenant moving in and usually contains plenty of photographic evidence should a dispute arise. It’s a process which should be undertaken with meticulous care and attention- missing out even the slightest detail can have disastrous consequences should the case have to go to court.
Eden Harper, Brixton estate agent stresses that this isn’t a job that just anyone can do. “Undertaking a proper inventory is not as simple as quickly looking around the house to check whether it’s clean and well presented. It should take around an hour to complete a thorough inventory on a normal three bedroom house; more if it has quirky features or is very old”.
The following details should also be included in the report prior to a tenant moving in:
- Meter readings
- Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide test findings
- How many sets of keys are provided, including the location of window and meter keys
- Full itemisation and schedule of all fixtures, fittings and furniture
- Full description of condition of walls, ceilings, flooring, paintwork, lighting, woodwork etc
Many letting agents and landlords are looking to independent property professionals to undertake inventories on their behalf- it’s far quicker and more efficient than having to do it themselves, especially if resources are limited and there are multiple properties in the portfolio. It’s also an ideal option if the landlord and tenant know each other personally and want to avoid a conflict of interest- because the inventory will be undertaken by someone who’s completely independent and impartial, there’s far less room for arguments.
It is however extremely important to do your research before choosing an agency to take on your inventories. All relevant staff should be DBS checked, AIIC certified and highly experienced in able to be able to complete the job to a high standard.
Some people were sceptical about the scheme when it was first introduced, but as Lawsons & Daughters points out, most people are glad it exists now- “The Tenancy Deposit Scheme and inventories aren’t about catching people out, they were introduced to make everyone’s lives easier. Now things are much more transparent than they used to be, and that means more fairness for all parties.”