Government urged to ensure the Renters Reform Bill guarantees more transparency for the inventory sector

The Chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks has called on the government to include measures in the Renters Reform Bill that will guarantee more transparency and independence in the inventory process.

Related topics:  Landlords,  Property,  Lettings,  Inventory
Property | Reporter
3rd April 2023
Inventory 580
"Inventory companies have the capability of being the only truly independent agencies operating in the lettings process"

AIIC Chair, Daniel Evans, says at present the "Inventory process is not transparent or independent" adding that there was a significant number of property companies large and small that owned their own inventory firms.

He said: “In those circumstances, it’s very difficult for the process to be seen to be independent. Commercially, lettings agents are there to look after the interests of the landlords, especially in a market suffering massive stock shortages. How can tenants then have faith in a system that might be seen to be biased?”

And he urged the Government to introduce measures in the Renters Reform Bill (set to go before Parliament this year) to ensure inventories are carried out by qualified, independent inventory clerks.

“Inventory companies have the capability of being the only truly independent agencies operating in the lettings process,” he said.

“In the event of a dispute, the inventory will act as valuable evidence to offer to the deposit protection scheme provider and enables a fair decision to be made in the adjudication process.

Ownership links

Evans said: “But if this process is going to have credibility for the tenant as well as the landlord, that inventory must be curated by an independent agency. It’s not difficult to do a bad inventory at the beginning of a tenancy and a good one at the end. The only people that suffer are the tenants and the credibility of the tenancy process.”

He noted that there was a growing number of inventory companies operating in the Private Rental Sector (PRS) with ownership links to large and small property companies.

Evans said: “I think this all began during the financial crash of 2008 when the entire market crashed and firms were looking to increase revenue by any means at their disposal, and when the importance of inventories was being fundamentally established.

“Since then, and with the advancement of technology and digital developments this has become a growing trend and the process has become less transparent as a result.

“And this is not all about tenants. If there is damage to a property during a tenancy, and the landlord wants to claim against the deposit, he or she is still liable for the burden of proof. An independent and objective check-out report will add weight to any claim made. The inventory is a vital part of the evidence.

He concluded: “We know that landlords can benefit from utilising the services of an independent inventory clerk to improve the overall service while maintaining a high degree of professionalism. But this element of choice is being removed by some companies who are using their own inventory service providers.”

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