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Don't settle for poor inventories - There is a better way

As a landlord, you will know and recognise that your inventory is one of the most important pieces of documentation that you will have in your arsenal.

As chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks I’ve seen first-hand for many years how important it is to get inventories right to ensure you can prevent deposit issues with your tenants, as well as protect your property. 

However, it is becoming a problematic issue within the industry that landlords are now suffering from poor inventories due to prioritising price over quality and thoroughness. 

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A core philosophy and driving force behind the AIIC is that, as an association, we are committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process and work hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.

The cost of a poor inventory

In the event of a dispute, your inventory will act as valuable evidence to offer to your deposit protection scheme and provide a quick way to make the resolution during the adjudication process. 

A decision by the adjudicators used by your chosen deposit protection scheme will be based purely upon evidence provided by all parties. If you fail to provide satisfactory evidence as a landlord because of a poor inventory, then the tenant will likely receive their deposit back in full.  

Making this a simplified process at the end of the tenancy will ultimately shorten the void period between tenants, which will therefore ensure that you don’t miss out on rental income.

Aggregating a quality inventory

Curating a good inventory compiled to a professional standard, with emphasis placed on being unbiased, is a critical component of the overall process. 

A good, detailed inventory will include a full written report of condition – often known as a schedule of condition – which is a comprehensive review of the property’s interior and exterior. This includes appliances, white goods, décor, fixtures and fittings, all contents, the garden and any outbuildings.

What’s more, a full list of keys (and who they’re given to), equipment serial numbers, meter readings and alarm codes should be noted down, while there must also be a declaration page at the end of the inventory for signatures.

Video or photographic evidence of the condition of the home is also vitally important, although not compulsory. It is, though, the best way of providing an evidence trail and proving if damage has been caused by a tenant or was already there.

Outsourcing to an independent inventory clerk

Knowing where to start with finding an inventory clerk and company to handle their property management needs proves to be quite a challenge to most landlords, which poses a major problem since landlords and letting agencies use inventories on a daily basis. 

Each new tenancy requires a new inventory report, and an inventory clerk will complete this report, hence the best course of action would be to outsource to an independent inventory clerk that will promote a non-biased inventory of the highest quality. 

We know landlords can ‌benefit from utilising the services of an independent inventory clerk by reducing your workload and saving you time by having someone else monitor your inventory reports, which will improve your overall service delivery while maintaining a high level of professionalism. 

This is proven to be true since professional inventory clerks receive specialist training and inspect properties for a living, so one can reasonably expect them to do a better job than anybody else, including the letting agent. 

There is a better way, and by choosing inventory companies that are members of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, you will know that they are trustworthy agencies that will guarantee quality results.

Here at the AIIC, we have our find-a-clerk portal to help you find the right inventory clerk for you.

*Daniel Evans is chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks * 

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    I occasionally use a letting agent just to make sure that I am charging market rents and last time they wanted £65 to prepare an inventory.

    I do them myself on a spreadsheet and never have to pay anything like £65 for replacement items so I think any inventory services are a waste of money.

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    The real question is, is any inventory good enough to get a reasonable amount back from an adjudicator?
    My most recent experience involved a hob that had been cracked by the tenant and I sent the adjudicator a video showing the crack. The adjudicator didn't even work on the basis that it had been cracked and just said it was scratched. If I can't even prove it was cracked how on earth can you prove anything?

    Couple that with adjudicators inventing their own useful life for each item then whats the point?

    Now if a professional inventory company guaranteed a payout then it would be worth it but of course they can't do something like that.

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    I like your last paragraph, an inventory clerk that puts his money where his mouth is, never going to happen is it ?

     
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    Make life easy for yourself don’t bother with deposits or inventories.
    Jim Haliburton
    TheHMODaddy

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    That’s the case already for me for years because it was made a liability not a protection. This is what they call protecting the Private Rented Sector more coming.

  • Daniela Provvedi

    During the last 6 months I needed to replace tenants twice. Both times I had a professional inventory in place.

    1st tenants who left the flat in a bordello, I kept the whole deposit after showing them the before and after photos & videos.

    2nd tenants left with quite a mess, so I kept approx three quarters of their deposit. Again, sent them before & after photos.

    No adjudicators were needed, they realised what pigs they were just by my sending them the photographic evidence.

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