We receive calls from existing and perspective customers all the time to discuss aspects of our service and we really take our time to explain to new clients what we do and how our comprehensive inventories really can make a difference to the whole letting process.
It is not uncommon for a tenant to lose a deposit because they've not revisited the original inventory report and brought the property back into the order. Equally a landlord cannot mitigate their loss if the property was never looked after during the tenancy if they have no proof of the condition at the start of the tenancy.
It's a frustrating situation as all too often an inventory is looked upon as another piece of paper in the administrative chain when in reality is has the power to lose or retain a tenants deposit and or add to the landlords costs if cleaning issues remain after check out or damage to the property occurs but responsibility cannot be proven.
So why do you need an inventory?
If an inventory hasn't been compiled it is more than likely that the landlords claim against a deposit will fail...
● Without an inventory report the adjudicator would be unable to establish the obligations as agreed by both parties at the start of the tenancy
● The return of a deposit could be delayed if the adjudicator has to consider additional supplementary evidence instead of a well written report
● A landlord could lose their claim against the deposit if they are unable to prove liability and would end up paying for cleaning issues and or damage that has occurred during the tenancy
● The lack of photographic evidence (or video) could mean that the issues are not correctly weighted and liability apportioned
● Health & Safety of the tenant could be compromised as an inventory will pick up on issues such as lack of the Gas Safety certificate or missing window keys
● An inventory will highlight issues such as damp and mould as well as furniture that does not meet statutory guidelines which could present a fire hazard
● Without a comprehensive report items of furniture or ‘white goods’ could not be identified and any financial loss or damage would be difficult to compensate for
● On-going issues are often recorded in the periodic or interim inspection reports and would therefore go unnoted which could represent a bigger problem at check out
● If the inventory report is carried out by the letting agents internal provision or by the landlord themselves then there is an added need to show to the adjudicator that the process was impartial, open and transparent
The benefits of having an independent inventory report;
● The adjudication process would be able to resolve a dispute in less time and more accurately
● The number of rooms or areas, condition and contents of the property are accurately recorded by a third party so that both the tenant and landlord are equally protected
● Both landlord and tenant know exactly where their respective responsibilities lie
● The adjudicator will be able to establish the property's condition from both the description and any photographic or video evidence
● A check out report will provide a detailed account of the condition of the property and any issues even if the tenant does not attend
● If any issues are challenged then the inventory and any subsequent reports can provide an audit trail for the adjudicator to gain a meaningful comparison
● The report lessens the risk of emotive arguments as the service provider is impartial and accountable to both parties, associations and clients
● Inventory reports can also offer useful and impartial advice from an experienced and accredited service provider
● An inventory supports other documents such as invoices/receipts for professional cleaning, decoration or new furniture, carpets etc
Without an inventory the landlord may not be able to prove, on the balance of probability, that he or she has a legitimate claim against the deposit and the adjudicator cannot correctly assess the evidence or apportion liability, which may then lead to an unfair outcome.
So with all that in mind the following call was quite amusing!!!
Caller: " can you do a bog standard inventory? Nothing fancy... "
Reply: " we only have one standard sir; our best! "