Are DIY inventories putting landlords at risk?

Are DIY inventories putting landlords at risk?

According to the latest report from Imfuna, landlords are increasing their risk of tenant deposit disputes as a result of DIY inventory reports.

Landlords who carry out their own inventories often lack sufficient detail to provide evidence in the event of a dispute. Often, there are not enough detailed photographs and accompanying descriptions of the condition of the property and its contents.

The most common mistake in DIY inventories is a lack of detail. Inventory reports should contain a full description of a property, with details on any damage and the exact location of the damage, at the start of a tenancy. This should be supported with photographs which should be high enough quality when printed in A4 or A3 size to ensure that any damage is easily visible.


Jax Kneppers, founder and CEO of Imfuna explains: “To protect themselves from potential disputes, landlords and agents should have a professional inventory report carried out by an expert. This will ensure that the condition of everything in the property is recorded in detail, from sinks and showers to floor coverings and interior décor.

If landlords rely on poor quality, DIY inventories they could find it expensive in the long run. For example, if a tenant cracks a bath panel or damages a shower but claims it was already damaged when they moved in, the landlord could face costs for repair or replacement due to lack of evidence to show the original condition of the room. Kitchens are also a commonly disputed area. If a landlord fails to include a record of the condition of the kitchen units and worktops, then they will have no grounds to charge the tenant for damages, such as saucepan burns and chips and cracks in the cupboards.

Handwritten inventories, with just a few descriptions and no photos, are simply not good enough. It is vital that there is a thorough and detailed inventory report which will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. The inventory documentation serves several important functions, especially if professionally compiled, including an unbiased record of the condition of the property and any items included. It also forms part of the legally binding contract that is set out in the tenancy agreement between the tenant and the landlord.

Without a professional and thorough inventory report, landlords and agents could end up with an expensive repair bill. The good news is that if landlords have a professional inventory in place, they will be protected from a potential dispute.”

Niraj Shah, Director of Oyster Properties in London comments: “Professional inventory reports are an essential part of a tenancy. DIY inventory reports can result in disputes over deposit deductions and responsibility for repair that cause unnecessary hassle for all those involved. High quality photographs and detailed notes which are collated in a professional report are a sure way to prevent disputes from happening in the first place."

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Comments

  1. Landlady14Landlady1401 March 2017 16:34:56

    You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to 'professional' cleaners do half as good a job as I require or am capable of doing myself, (years of being 'marched' in and out of MOD married quarters set a very high standard of both cleanliness, fault finding and evidence recording!.) As the 'professional' had decided to visit the (newly renovated and decorated) property 3 days prior to the appointed time and therefore before my final visit (post workmen) to finish off cleaning before our first letting! Despite my insistence that I should be present, neither he nor the letting agent informed me until I had waited an hour beyond the appointed time. The copy Inventory report, signed by the tenant, which I received a week after the start of the tenancy, did not accurately reflect the condition of the property, or include items eg fridge which, along with various ifittings, the tenant stole when evicted 14 months later owing 4 months rent, leaving mouldy walls lots of 'minor' damage and filth. I had complained to the letting agent in writing and provided time and date stamped photographs on receiving the inventory, but the records were not updated, therfore the check out 'independant professional' had only the signed unamended inventory to hand. Unfortunately you are correct in thinking that any 'arbitration' system is likely to trust the records of the 'professional' than the landlord, until I provided my own date stamped photos which contradicted the report and I eventually got the deposit repaid.

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