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Lack of due diligence could have ‘financial implication for landlords’

Following a recent report which claimed that one third of private tenants would not tell their landlord if they did significant damage to their rental property, landlords are being urged to ensure that they have the procedures in place to make sure tenants can be reasonably charged for damage they cause to a rental property.

A YouGov survey commissioned by TheHouseShop.com last month revealed that 33% of private tenants would not inform their landlord if they caused major damage to their rental property, with 15% admitting that they would attempt to repair the damage themselves – with the landlord none the wiser.

But one way that you can be sure whether tenants have caused any damage to your property is to have an accurate schedule of condition in place.

Some experts, such as Patricia Barber, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), believe that an inventory has become almost as important as the tenancy agreement itself. 

As well as being used as evidence in a dispute, a detailed and precise inventory completed at the start of the tenancy, and again when the tenancy ends, also underlines exactly what is expected of the tenant, while it can also help landlords avoid a disagreement in the first place.

She said: “While it's clear that the majority of private tenants do report issues to their landlords, the third that are failing to do so still represents a high proportion and could have financial implication for landlords.”

Aside from carry out an independently compiled inventory, Barber is also reminding landlords to make sure that stringent processes are in place, including tenant referencing, as well as taking and protecting tenant deposits.

Barber continued: “These three processes can combine to make sure that landlords give themselves the best possible chance to claim money back in the event that a tenant damages their property.

“Tenant referencing increases the prospects of securing 'good' tenants in the first place, while an inventory provides you with the evidence you need to make a deduction from the tenant's deposit.”

Barber also suggests that landlords proactively warn and remind tenants to report damage issues as quickly as possible.

She added: “As we can see from TheHouseShop's study, not all tenants are diligent in their reporting of damages and repairs.

“Issues that are left unattended for long periods could deteriorate and cost more in the long-run. So, reminding tenants of their responsibility to report problems could certainly save landlords money over the course of a tenancy.” 

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