Why do I need an inventory?
"The Inventory.....an essential document and necessary investment, protecting the interests of both landlord and tenant". Since April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales have been protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. The aim of the scheme is to ensure good practice in the handling of deposits so that if a tenant is entitled to have their deposit returned they can be sure that this will happen. The scheme also provides an Alternative Dispute Resolution of disputes.
What can be done to avoid disputes?
It is of course vital for both landlord and tenant to agree the condition and level of cleanliness of the property at the beginning of the tenancy. This may sound obvious but 34% of disputes relate to the standard of cleaning and a further 28% to damage to the property or contents. An accurate inventory and schedule of condition will detail the fixtures, fittings and contents when the tenant check-in and again when they check-out.
Mike Stimpson, chair of the National Federation of Residential Landlords believes that "landlord's can't expect to withhold the deposit. Equally, tenants who damage a property or leave it in a filthy condition mustn't expect to get their deposit back", and ARLA notes that an inventory is "an essential document that provides a written benchmark, which should be amended, updated and recreated before the beginning of each new tenancy. The costs should be seen as a neccessary investment that helps protect the interests of both...."
What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?
Wear and Tear: What is fair? (A guide for landlords)
A guide to deposits, disputes and damages
Advice on inventories