Are you taking inventories correctly?
I would like to stress the importance of an inventory.
I have been told by a landlord once ‘I don’t need an inventory because my property is unfurnished’.
I hope that no one agrees with that statement.
I would say ‘would you mind if your tenants took all the internal doors or painted your master bedroom walls, gloss black…… When they leave? Is that okay with you?’
The tenants have not damaged anything, but it would still cost to put these things right, and that should not be at a landlords expense.
I would go as far as to say if you are taking a damage deposit but not going to preparing an inventory, you are wasting your time. I am being honest.
The only thing you would be able to do with the deposit would be to attempt to claim any rent arrears.
Because you have no evidence of anything, damages, or any missing items.
So if you are taking a deposit, please prepare an inventory.
In 2007 it became law the deposit had to be registered, so now if any damages cannot be agreed between the landlord and tenant, and we mustn’t forget the damage deposit is the tenant’s money, it has to be sent to an adjudicator to agree any deductions. An adjudicator will:
• Have never seen your property
• never met you
• doesn’t know you are a good landlord
• doesn’t know you provide great property
• They don’t know the tenant either
So they will only make a judgement on what evidence is put in front of them and that will be the inventory and the checkout. If just one of these documents is missing, you will lose any charges you are more than likely wanting to make.
As law states at all times it is the tenants money, are you as the landlord must prove if you are entitled to a claim of any of his money.
Inventories must be very detailed. If you have a handle on a shower door, write this down and not just ‘shower door’. If you have bulbs in a property that are working, again write these down. Everything has been detailed in description of the item.
We can start with the top of the room the ceiling, the light fittings, coving, walls, windows, curtains, curtains tracks, skirting’s, doorframes and doors. Sockets and carpets, even thresholds. Don’t forget cleanliness.
I once was given a double sided piece of a4 paper for a fully furnished three bedroom property!
You have to be factual
Photographs. We didn’t need them many years ago, but now it is so important, just as important as the detailed document itself. Now with smart phones and tablets it is so easy to add photographs. Don’t forget photographs for checkouts as well.
The checkout report is equally as important. You need evidence at the beginning and the end.
I can’t really argue with a photo. If they is a large stain on the carpet, and you can’t argue with that.
The other important thing is to ensure your tenants sign inventory or at the very least sign to say they have received it and what they need to do with it. Giving a timescale to make any amendments. Without this, the document becomes invalid.
Betterment. Have you heard of this?
I landlord is not allowed to be in a better position than when they were at the start of the tenancy.
Four example if a carpet has an average lifespan of 10 years and the tenant had lived at the property for five years. If the carpet was down 2 years prior to that, it has had seven years of its life span.
The tenant has put 20 hair straight burn marks all over your carpet. You cannot charge a tenant for a whole new carpet. But you can charge the difference for those three years that the carpet has left.
So for example if the carpet cost £100 you can charge of £30.
You have to proportion the amount you are claiming from the tenant’s damage deposit. Be fair and don’t put yourself in a position of betterment.
Regarding how much deposit we can take.
We have another piece of legislation coming in call the ‘tenant fee ban’.
This comes in on the 1st of June 2019 and the limit you can take, will be changing. At the moment being an unlimited amount to, which has been confirmed will be five weeks rent. This will be capped as a maximum.