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Are landlords favoured by inventories run by letting agents?

An industry trade group claims inventories conducted by lettings agents may be seen as biased towards landlords rather than truly independent.

Daniel Evans, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, says there is a “significant number” of agencies and property firms that own their own inventory operations.

“In those circumstances, it’s very difficult for the process to be seen to be independent. Commercially, lettings agents are there to look after the interests of the landlords, especially in a market suffering massive stock shortages. How can tenants then have faith in a system that might be seen to be biased?” he asks.

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Instead Evans wants the government to use the imminent Renters Reform Bill to ensure inventories are carried out by qualified, independent inventory clerks.

“Inventory companies have the capability of being the only truly independent agencies operating in the lettings process. In the event of a dispute, the inventory will act as valuable evidence to offer to the deposit protection scheme provider and enables a fair decision to be made in the adjudication process” he says.

Evans claims there is now a growing number of inventory companies operating with ownership links to large and small property companies.

He continues: “I think this all began during the financial crash of 2008 when the entire market crashed and firms were looking to increase revenue by any means at their disposal, and when the importance of inventories was being fundamentally established. Since then, and with the advancement of technology and digital developments this has become a growing trend and the process has become less transparent as a result.

“And this is not all about tenants. If there is damage to a property during a tenancy, and the landlord wants to claim against the deposit, he or she is still liable for the burden of proof. An independent and objective check-out report will add weight to any claim made. The inventory is a vital part of evidence.

“We know that landlords can benefit from utilising the services of an independent inventory clerk to improve the overall service while maintaining a high degree of professionalism. But this element of choice is being removed by some companies who are using their own inventory service providers.” 

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    Another unsolicited push to further their single interest. Completely devoid of evidence. Low quality self promoting articles like this are an annoying irrelevance.

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    • K B
    • 11 April 2023 09:09 AM

    My last inventory was undertaken by an independent inventory company. They were unable to provide me with photos or a signature from the tenant acknowledging the inventory. Will never use an independent inventory company ever again

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    Daniel Evans has no excuse not to know better. Regardless of who carries out the inventory, the DPS gets to judge if the damage goes beyond fair wear and tear based on the evidence presented. Given that the evidence needs to be fact based photos or videos that show the before and after state - I fail to see how the collecting of this evidence can be biased.

    This smells to me of someone with a nothing job, trying to justify their existence with spurious anecdotes.

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    I am not too bothered about Inventories since Deposits were ravaged by Shelter in 2007, when they got the Deposits changed from protecting the Property to protecting the Deposit itself, so I gave up
    taking Deposits and doing Inventories it’s a waste of time and no protection for landlords.
    I am more concerned about the rent shortfall.

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    Message to Tenants

    Take good care of my property and don't break or lose things and you won't need to worry about the inventory as you will get your full deposit back.

    I have only once had a major disagreement about damage when a tenant replaced a virtually new expensive carpet with a much cheaper one because his daughter and her moron boyfriend had burnt it with cigarettes in a strictly non smoking house.

    I managed to get some compensation only because I pointed out that the tenant might need my reference for a future property but I was still several hundreds out of pocket. Sanded and varnished floors are now my norm, with room floors revamped in under a day for around £40 of varnish. EPC and HMO inspectors prefer carpets for heat and noise insulation but they're not having to pay the replacement costs.

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    GREEDY Mr Evans on a warpath to drum up even more business for his self-centered greedy self , I do my own inventories, if i did not and needed to pay greedy Evenses 300£s for check in check out inventories i would just then pump up the rents even more, making the renter pay for it in the long run. and then they wonder why rent increases are no the agenda. too much Goverment inteference>

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    I get 3rd party inventories done and every time it has proved to be useful tool. The tenants have a very detailed with photos, over 60 pages inventory. They probably do not look until the end of the tenancy after they see the deductions. I tell the differences between the check in and check out, if there is damage with page numbers for ease of reference to all. During a 2 year stay during pandamic, students burnt the window sills, carpets, soiled the new mattresses and other damages. The damage costs were more than the deposit. They did not get any refund. There has also been the case, where the tenants removed all movable furniture, paintings, lamps etc from the property, damaged the wooden floor by smoking. They did not wish to pay beyond the security deposit. However for cheaper rents, either the agents or I do the inventories with pictures so again no problems, here. TDs has accepted both kinds of inventories. Pictures during check in and check out should show the state of the property. We do need Mr Evans to put his oar in it. He wants landlords to spend even more money by having his share.

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