I’ve been in the property game for some time now and something that never fails to surprise me is when a property is let, the landlord opts out of having an inventory at the start of the tenancy.
The main reason for an inventory is to protect both landlords and tenants at the end of a tenancy when it comes to organising the return of the tenant’s deposit and ensuring the landlords property is left in the same condition it was prior to the tenants moving in. In the event of a deposit dispute, there exists a signed historical document of proof both parties as well as the relevant deposit adjudication organisation can refer to.
Even with an inventory in place, certain measures should be taken to ensure that it is heavily detailed before the tenants move in. I would argue that one outsource an inventory to a third party inventory company to ensure nothing gets missed (bearing in mind inventory companies sometimes get it wrong as well). I recently spoke with a tenant who, after leaving a property enquired on the deposit release procedure. She wanted to ensure that she would not be penalised for a tear in the carpet which had been there when she first moved in. When I asked her whether she originally brought this up with the landlord her exact words were, “oh yes, and we made a verbal agreement that I would not be charged.” I wonder how the TDS or DPS would look on this in the event of a dispute – not favourably I imagine.
To further illustrate my point, I recall watching a video interview with Sally Lawson, managing director of Concentric Lettings and Vice President of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) who recalls a time where she visited a landlords property who’s property (inside walls) had been painted gloss black. Even though the inventory had been done, the landlord’s inventory did not mention the décor so how could he prove that the property wasn’t black to start with? This just goes to show how the devil is in the details and how comprehensive an inventory report needs to be.
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