I explained that all residential tenancy deposits must by law be protected by being lodged in a government-recognised scheme such as the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), which is evidence based.
This means that the decision to either return or withhold a deposit at the end of a tenancy is made by considering any differences between the condition of the property at the beginning and the end of the tenancy.
I went on to tell him that this can only be achieved when a formal inventory has been created. This is as important in respect of unfurnished properties as it is for furnished ones, because a good inventory is not just a list of contents, but also a statement of condition of those contents and the actual fabric of the building.
For example, whilst the lease may have a clause stipulating that the property must be returned in the same condition in which it was initially taken, how can this be proven without a schedule of condition?
There are several other reasons to have an inventory prepared apart from the obvious one relating to identifying missing contents. Perhaps a tenant has broken something and has replaced it with an inferior substitute – possibly one that does not comply with a landlord’s legal obligations, such as a non-fire retardant sofa.
An inventory also prevents tenants from requesting repairs or improvements to things that were actually evident at the time of letting. Additionally, when a tenant knows that every item and its condition has been recorded, they are more likely to treat the property with the respect it deserves.
Of all the costs associated with letting and protecting your investment, the small cost of producing a watertight inventory is probably one of the most important for your own peace of mind. These can vary from a basic written inventory to a photographic or video inventory to accompany the written part. The tenants would sign at the beginning of the tenancy meaning there will be no comeback on you as the landlord once tenancy has ended, and in the event of a dispute you would be covered.
We do provide an inventory for our fully managed properties but the option is there with the ‘let only’ package to purchase a full photographic inventory.
I hope this is of some help. If you would like to call to discuss this or any other rental issue please call me on: 02477 674545