Most Inventories are inadequate to stand up in court
The majority of the inventories presented to deposit scheme adjudicators are not worth the paper they are written on, leading to landlords losing deposit cases, says the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
Many landlords and agents are failing to present at court thorough and fully detailed inventories, copies of which have been given to the tenant at check-in and check-out. It is imperative that tenants sign their acceptance of the contents of the check-in within 7 days of the move in, and this signed copy should be retained by either the landlord or letting agent.
An unsigned inventory is still acceptable by deposit scheme adjudicators, if it is dated and proof is available that the document has been given to the tenant at time of check in. Tenant deposit schemes recommend that an inventory is compiled by a suitably qualified professional inventory clerk although landlord’s inventories, if they contain sufficient detail, will still be accepted.
Other useful evidence to use in any end of tenancy dispute are contractors invoices for services like professional cleaning of the property, carpets, windows, oven etc or for gardening. Also needed as evidence are receipts for any items purchased specifically for this tenancy.
Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC, said: “It is so important for landlords to ensure they have all the right paperwork to present to adjudicators. Time and again we see landlords losing disputes because they fail to provide the right evidence to show that a tenant has damaged the property. It should always be remembered that the deposit is the tenant’s property until a landlord can prove justification for any deductions.
“It is vital that there is a thorough and detailed inventory which will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. The inventory documentation serves a number of vital functions, especially if professionally compiled - including providing a catalogue of the let property, an unbiased record of it condition and any items included in the tenancy. It also forms part of the legally binding contract that is set out in the tenancy agreement between the tenant and the landlord.
“Therefore it is vital to have a carefully prepared inventory at check-in, which can be then used at check-out, to enable an accurate comparison of the property’s condition. Without this documentation, landlords and agents could end up significantly out of pocket. The good news is that if landlords and agents have all the right evidence in place, their chances of winning a dispute is greatly improved.”
The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process. The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.