Since introducing the Tenant Fee Ban in 2019, there has been a sharp rise in the Landlord produced DIY Inventories and Check-Outs.
Ask most inventory companies and they will tell you that after introducing the act, they saw a decline in work, nothing major, though. Now add in inflation and the backlash of covid. We are seeing this happen again.
But is this a good or bad thing?
Why have an inventory?
Inventories provide detailed documentation of the condition of a property. We will use this as evidence when, and if, a tenant damages a property.
Most tenants won’t cause any damage, things happen yes. But in the long run, many tenants don’t cause damages a landlord would not cause if they had lived on the property. This is Fair Wear & Tear. A landlord can not claim for a few scuffs and marks to walls, etc.
There are other tenants that douse issues, dont ’report issues or in some very few cases dont ’care at all.
Having a good, well prepared and documented inventory helps a landlord claim back some of these costs or helps a tenant prove damage was there when they moved in.
Is a professional inventory worth the expense?
If we had £1 for every landlord who prepared their own inventory or paid for a very cheap sub standard inventory. Then went back to a professional inventory company for help. After a bad tenant, we would be on a beach somewhere sipping cocktails.
Every landlord has a bad tenant at some point, it’s similar to a friend of ours saying ‘If you own a motorcycle it’s not if you have a crash it’s when you just hope you can walk away’.
The same if for tenants and landlords when we have a bad tenant and our deposit claim is £1278 a £75 inventory is nothing.
Professional inventory or DIY inventory
It’s in the details, photos are not quite enough for a deposit dispute. Making a small room look big is easy. Forgetting to photograph a corner because you forgot or there’s a watermark you don’t want to be seen is even easier. Though most wouldn’t do this, a few have ruined it for us all.
Having an independent professional inventory clerk inspection avoids any mistakes.
Professionals are professionals for a reason
Inventory clerks know what they are looking for. Most of us live in the same way and cause similar damage to a property. Knowing what and where to look can speed up the process. Knowing the ‘tricks’ people used to hide damage is also a valuable skill.
One party may look at a property through rose-tinted glasses. Especially if children and grandchildren grew up there. I have seen a landlord in tears saying a tenant ruined their property, but the inventory painted a very different picture.
Definition of terminology
My definition of clean differs from the next person. Your definition of damaged is not the same as a few chips on a door frame. An inventory clerk will and should describe what they see, not simply saying ‘damaged’. Photos help explain this further by adding context, but text is king for an excellent report.
Weight with dispute services
All tenancy dispute services prefer an independent, unbiased inventory by a third party. That’s not to say they throw DIY inventories out; they just don’t have the same clout as a professional inventory.
We believe a professional inventory is key, but we would. It’s in our name. If a DIY inventory is your only option or the option you wish to go with, then make sure you provide as much text as you do photos. Professional Inventories will always be the preferred option. Ask your lettings agent, they will agree.