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Do not underestimate the importance of a thorough inventory

Assessing what constitutes fair wear and tear to a rental home is among the least understood areas of the lettings process, and one which can create much ambiguity and cause the most disputes when a tenancy ends.

Alleged property damage, cleaning and redecoration are generally among the most common reasons for a dispute between landlords and tenants, which can sometimes end up involving an adjudication service.

To help minimalise potential disputes, it is good practice to have a detailed and accurate inventory completed at the start of the tenancy, and again when the tenancy ends.


If the tenant has agreed the inventory at each stage, this reduces the potential for a dispute to arise at the end of the tenancy, and that is why the Association for Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) is launching a campaign aimed at ensuring all parties involved in a tenancy thoroughly check their inventory reports within seven days of receiving them.

An inventory, which records the condition of the property with written notes, photographic evidence, as well as details of the contents, including fixtures and fittings, will be helpful in supporting a claim on a deposit, because if a disagreement does arise, a decision to resolve the matter will be based on the evidence provided by both the landlord and the tenant.

Failure to provide suitable evidence, such as an inventory, in support of a claim, may affect the outcome of the dispute.

But Daniel Zane, chair of the AIIC, warns landlords of the dangers of tenancies not verified by an independent, third party inventory report. 

He said: “Since the introduction of the tenant fee ban and other challenges to the property sector, we have seen a rise in inventory reports being carried out by parties with stakes in the tenancy, such as landlords and agents.”

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    Whats the point of Inventory when we have no deposit anymore.


    Def do inventory Micheal. It sets a line to how a tenant leaves a property that we can prove so we can enforce payment. Cos everyone thinks we just lie to take the bond

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    Always take security Deposit. No SD no tenancy.
    Always get a signed an up to date Inventory.
    Always carry out 2 or 3 month Inspections.
    Very simple rules for the very simple minded Deposit adjudicators.

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    I got so fed up with disputes over cleaning etc. that I then did it professionally and got the incoming tenants to confirm it had been done professionally and commit to use the same professional cleaners to bring the property back up to standard at their expense when they left. They know that the return of their deposit will at very least be delayed if they don't comply and I no longer have to do or pay for the cleaning.

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    Is it true we can’t ask for the house to be cleaned under these new rules? I always ask for guarantors. I don’t use adjudication just wait and go to court if it’s a large amount

  • David Lester

    I feel that the Inventory should go further than just pointing out what is wrong, it should have recommendations and estimated costs. This would be fairer for LL and Tenants and save arguments or bad feelings upon departure.


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