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You might be tempted to try to save money by not paying for a professional inventory, including check-in and check-out reports, at the start and end of your tenancy, but here are our top 10 reasons why this would be false economy:

1: You’d be surprised how much damage a tenant can do

Most tenants will treat your property with respect, but some are careless, some are thoughtless and a few are even reckless and can cause thousands of pounds of damage, even to an empty property. We’re talking burns on worktops, stains on carpets, holes in walls, smashed windows and broken doors. The list goes on and on. 

2: You need proof of damage or theft

Without an inventory that details the condition of the property and all of its contents at the start of the tenancy, you won’t have any proof of any damage or missing items at the end.

If you find yourself in a dispute with your tenant over any deductions you make from their deposit, they have the right to complain to the scheme you used to protect the money, and you’ll be asked by adjudicators to provide evidence of your loss. Without an inventory, you won’t have a leg to stand on.

3: It’s pointless taking a deposit without an inventory

Because you won’t be able to prove any damage or theft by your tenant, the deposit itself will be worthless to you. 

4: An inventory could help avoid dispute

One of the biggest causes of arguments between landlords and tenants is the state of cleanliness of the property on check-out because, let’s face it, we all have different standards. An inventory prepared by an independent third-party will usually state in black and white whether the property has been cleaned to a “domestic”, “good domestic” or “professional” standard, which should head off any arguments.

5: Not all of us know what is “wear and tear”

Landlords have to allow for a certain amount of natural deterioration to a property during a tenancy, but it’s often hard to know what’s “fair wear and tear” and what ‘s excessive, so it’s useful to have the independent opinion of an inventory clerk when deciding whether to make a deduction from the tenant’s deposit.

6: We can’t rely on our memories

It can be hard to recall the precise state of a property and its contents when a tenant moved in, especially if they’ve lived there for a few years, so an inventory is a useful reminder. 

7: A professional will be more thorough than you

An inventory clerk should make a note of every little detail in your property and list damage that you might not have even noticed until after you’d refunded the tenant’s deposit. For example, I once failed to spot that a tenant had broken a kitchen dimmer switch and smashed an expensive light fitting.

8: You’ll save time

You could write an inventory yourself, but it will take hours to prepare, it might not be as thorough as a professional’s, and it might not be admitted as evidence if you get into a dispute with your tenant as it could be deemed to be less accurate than one prepared by a professional. 

9: Tenants often expect one

Even though it’s not a legal requirement to provide an inventory, tenants often ask for one for their own peace of mind. If you say, “oh I haven’t bothered to prepare one”, you’ll look unprofessional and you might give your tenant the impression you don’t care about the property.

10: It might encourage tenants to behave better

If they know that you have a record of the condition of the property and all of the contents at the beginning of the tenancy, they’ll know that you’re going to check for damage and breakages at the end, so they’re more likely to take good care of everything and let you know of any problems. 

When you consider how much time it takes to prepare a detailed, thorough, professional inventory, they’re not only essential to protect your investment, but they’re also really good value for money. Plus, the cost is tax-deductible!

Upad offer competitive prices for inventories, contact us on 0333 240 1220 for a quote. 

Find out about Upad inventory services

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By The Upad Landlord
04 Apr 2017

Categories: Inventories, Buy to Let, Tenant Issues

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