With the average deposit figure now standing at £2,172, according to data from the Association of Residential Letting Agents the provision of inventories is more important than ever in the private rental sector.
Disputes over the deposit are one of the biggest problems between landlords and tenants at the end of a tenancy but many of these potential problems can be avoided if a professional inventory is prepared at the beginning of the tenancy.
Tina Doyle, Property Manager for College and County says “The inventory is not just a simple list of items in a property but it also includes a description of the condition and cleanliness at the start and end of the tenancy, enabling one to be compared against the other. Photographs are a good support for comments made in a written inventory but should not be considered a replacement for the written word.
It is also important to understand the rule of betterment. Some aspects of a property, such as paintwork, will naturally deteriorate over time, therefore a landlord should not request that items be restored to a condition surpassing the quality established at the start of the lease. Landlords need to allow for fair wear and tear by the occupier relative to the length of time in the property, the number of occupiers and their age.“
A good inventory can give both landlords and tenants peace of mind throughout the occupation period. It should form a key point of reference for any deposit return queries or issues over reported damage. The inventory is not designed to catch tenants out, but rather to ensure both parties are in agreement over the quality of the property being rented.
College and County have only had one deposit go to dispute since the introduction of the deposit registration scheme and this was due to a landlord and client being unable to agree on a disputed sum of £70. The arbitration of the dispute took over four months and they ruled that both parties should split the sum equally – something that we had been advising them to do four months earlier!