The Tenancy Deposit Scheme discusses the importance of Inventories
In an article published with Arla in October, The team at the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) looked back on the challenges and lessons learned in 2020. Facing similar changes to so many of us with regards to working from home and upping online communication, they also discussed the specific challenges landlords and tenants face when it comes to deposit returns, stressing the importance of inventories.
During the article The TDS said ‘What has been noticed, not just during lockdown but over many years, is how due diligence, care, and attention is taken at the beginning of a tenancy can make life so much easier for letting agents and landlords at the end of a tenancy. It may seem obvious but by making sure all parties are fully aware of their responsibilities and are in agreement about the initial condition of the property, inside and out (with supporting dated photographic evidence) deposit disputes can be avoided, saving significant time and money in the process. Whilst it may not feel beneficial at the time to carry out a comprehensive inventory and check-in report at the start of a tenancy, the pay-off is clear when the tenant moves out.’
Their comments echo that of which we have heard many times from disgruntled landlords in the middle of disputes. Too often, Landlords can see the initial cost of an inventory as off-putting and believe it is not necessary, as it is not a legal requirement. It is only upon checking the tenant out of the property and they find issue with the property, that they often realise they have no formal record to fight their case.
Damages and disputes can be very costly for a landlord and you can do everything else correctly at the start, taking deposits and believing this protects you from loss if the property is returned in a bad state. Sadly, if the tenant disputes that the damage was their doing, you are often left powerless without proof.
All of our inventory reports contain 30-60 pages of images and detail and is signed by both the landlord and tenant to confirm agreement. With this document, the landlord can ensure they have a reliable reference document if there were to be issues with the property.