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Shocking new figures from The Video Inventory Agency have shown that poorly prepared inventories are costing the residential property market millions every year in lost claims.

Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS) in 2007, the onus has been firmly with the landlord to prove their case. However as a result of improperly prepared inventories and lack of proper evidence, landlords now have less than a 1 in 10 chance of winning in the event of a deposit dispute.

In 2009 there were 23,500 deposit disputes – a figure which is growing exponentially each year. Within the same period, 92 per cent of these cases found in favour of the tenant, costing landlords an estimated £12 million in lost claims.

TVIA conducted the research to highlight how the residential property market has been “consistently undermined” by incomplete, or sub-standard inventories.

Launched in 2009 by property investor Frazer Fearnhead, TVIA offers state-of-the-art video inventories that have been designed to protect the assets of letting agents, landlords assets. and tenants. Using similar practices to police standard operating procedures for filming crime scenes, each written inventory produced by TVIA is supported by high-definition video evidence that has been designed to stand up in court.

Speaking of TVIA’s findings, Frazer said: “When it comes to inventories, landlords have traditionally got away with the bare minimum. In my time I have seen inventories that have been scribbled on the back of an envelope. However, since 2007, the balance of power has swung in favour of the tenant. This is positive since many would-be cowboys have been pushed out of the market; however it also means that law-abiding landlords are losing money unnecessarily.”

Frazer launched TVIA after an incomplete photographic inventory on one of his own properties meant there was no evidence to corroborate a deposit dispute. He resolved to protect the property community with an innovative service that left no room for doubt.

One year after its launch, TVIA provides video inventories for clients such as Winkworth, Belvoir Lettings, Watersons and Martin & Co, whilst franchisees deliver evidential solutions for more than 200 letting agents, property managers and landlords throughout the country.

As official partner to the Residential Landlords Association, TVIA is now urging landlords to pay more attention to inventories in a bid to protect their assets by recording the condition of their rental property and its contents.

“Video inventories are watertight and cost-effective” adds Frazer. “A visual record speaks volumes and it is clear from our work that video inventories are the future for the industry. To minimise disputes, adjudicators need to have as much information as possible that will help prove a case and with video content, there is no room for debate.”

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By Sue
15 Jul 2010

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