If you take deposit from a tenant, you really must have an inventory to record the condition of the property. If you take a deposit from the tenant and you want to stand any chance of winning any claim for damage, then you really should have an Independent Inventory. Writing an Inventory yourself is better than no Inventory at all, but an Independent Inventory is the best way to go.
Whilst they are not a legal requirement, it is a landlord’s obligation to evidence any claim against a tenant’s deposit. Now that all Deposits must be protected through a suitable scheme, the trustees of the deposit schemes will require concrete and impartial evidence to backup any claim made by a landlord. This is a simple affair for all non-cash rent payment or arrears, but when it comes to damages – it makes an inventory a must.
Only with a thorough and complete inventory, signed and agreed by the tenant at the outset of the tenancy will a Landlord be able to make a claim on a deposit. Without this, it becomes a Landlord’s word against a tenant and in these cases the adjudicator will always side with the tenant meaning you will be unable to claim.
Every landlord should have an inventory for each property as this not only outlines what is in the property, but also what condition it is in. The inventory should include doors and locks, ceilings, walls, light fittings, flooring and carpet, blinds and curtains, smoke detectors, door frames, extractor fans and heating appliances etc. It must cover ALL aspects of the property.As well as all these fixtures and fittings, and furniture belonging to the landlord should be included with descriptions of all aspects of the property.
The inventory should be agreed by both landlord and tenant when the tenant moves into the property. Again, you need to obtain evidence so will need a tenant confirmation signature to confirm they have seen the inventory and agree with its contents.
Of course you can, and Brilliant Landlords provides a basic Inventory Template for all our registered Landlords. However, if there should ever be an issue with a Tenancy and the Deposit comes into dispute, the dispute service arbitrator will not look favourably upon it being prepared by the landlord as the landlord is not independent. Tenancy Deposit Scheme Arbitrators are notoriously favourable to tenants unless there is absolute solid evidence pointing the other way.
Whilst landlords can conduct their own inventory it is not recommended. Furthermore, Landlords are all too often unaware of the level of detail that must go into an inventory. Every aspect of the property must be evidenced. Many DIY Inventories have not provided sufficient evidence and as a result have been worthless.
If you have ever been involved in a Tenancy Deposit Dispute, you will realise the importance of having a fully documented inventory of the property. Even if you have done this yourself, it’s better than nothing but won’t be enough as you will soon realise just who’s side the Arbitrators are on! Getting an Inventory at the outset of the tenancy (before you hand the keys back) could be the best money you spend, trust us, it’s worth it!