It is a question Peach is often asked by Landlords and the answer is a resounding ‘yes’…and here is why….
Peach attended a conference last year held by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) in Exeter. It stated that for a Landlord not to provide their Tenants with an Inventory was like writing them a ‘blank cheque’. An Inventory & Schedule of Condition provides written, documented evidence of the condition of the property at the beginning of each Tenancy and is the only way a Landlord can prove damage has been caused by the Tenant. This evidence is vital should a Landlord request to withhold some or all the Deposit, especially if it goes to Adjudication. Don’t forget it is the Landlords’ responsibility to prove the damage, not the Tenants to prove otherwise. Without an Inventory the Landlord simply won’t be able to.
How should an Inventory be conducted?
Ideally your Inventory should be conducted by an experienced Inventory clerk trained to ARLA* standards.
What should it contain?
It needs to contain a written detailed description of the property, room by room, inside and out and highlight its condition. It should include embedded, dated and captioned photographs. Conducting an Inventory is a long process and this will be reflected in the cost. If it’s thrown in ‘for free’ beware! You don’t want someone cutting corners with this document because it’s a loss leader for them. Ideally your agency should ‘Check In’ your new Tenants against the Inventory, handing over keys, taking meter readings, checking the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working (a legal requirement) and agreeing and signing a Check In report. This way everyone knows where they stand from the outset of the Tenancy.
To conclude…. the Inventory - in terms of importance it runs a close second to your Tenancy Agreement – so ensure it’s a ‘belt and braces’ one!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article …we hope you found it useful…the Peach Team
*The Association of Residential Letting Agents