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Property Inventory: Why It Should Be Considered by both Tenants & Landlords

The landlord/tenant relationship is a common one in the UK, with a reported 3.8 million people living in rented accommodation in England alone. However, while many tenants enjoy a long and prosperous relationship with landlords, there are also those whose association is less than amicable.

We’ve all heard the stories about landlords from hell; there are enough of them out there to give landlords everywhere a bad name. Nevertheless, the nightmarish tales do not exist solely on the side of the property owner – there are also stories of tenants from hell, making the landlord’s life misery and ruining a rental property.

Most of the issues that occur between both parties in a rental agreement are because of one thing: blame. Landlords blaming tenants for causing damage and tenants insisting damage was pre-existing, it is a common situation; however, it is also one that never has to surface. Playing the blame game pits your word against the word of the other party, the result of which generally ends up being settled in court. A simple document such as a property inventory, though, will instantly eliminate any issue over any aspect of a property.

Property inventories for landlords

As a landlord, it goes without saying that you want to protect your home, your livelihood. Since 2007 and the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), it has been much harder to do this. The old days of having full control over a deposit are gone – tenants have more rights and they know this. Since the TDS was brought in, tenants are now more willing to challenge the holding of a deposit; some will do it even if they know they are in the wrong. While this can be frustrating, they are well within their rights to do this and they have a pretty good chance of winning if a case went to court. The only way you can prevent this from happening is with a comprehensive property inventory.

An inventory, when carried out by an agency, will list all of the contents and record the condition of a property using both written and photographic methods. The inventory will be taken just before a tenant moves in and just before a tenant leaves, to make clear what, if any, damages need to be repaired and paid for out of a deposit. Inventories are generally carried out with a tenant in attendance and must be signed by the tenant, giving you as the landlord assurances that your property is protected.

Property inventories for tenants

As a tenant, the reasons for considering an inventory are the same as those of a landlord: you do not want to be blamed for something you haven’t done. While the Tenancy Deposit Scheme is in place to ensure your deposit is protected, an inventory report will provide you with that extra assurance that you need to leave a property without any hassle.

There are times when landlords and tenants do not agree on certain things – one thing they can both agree on, though, is a property inventory.

Image sources on flickr: Michael Mandiberg & Orin Zebest

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