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.”