Our average inventory now on a 2-bed property is 70 pages long. The inventory consists of text, photographs and a summary detailing the cleanliness of the property, all meters which are date and time stamped, along with all the other photos including in the inventory.
You may ask why do we do this in so much detail? We believe it is only fair and transparent for both the landlord and the tenant to have a fair and balanced summary and condition of the property.
Why are we trying to achieve this? When the tenant vacates the property at the end of their tenancy, we have a clear view of what the property was like when they moved in, and they will have signed each page of the inventory to confirm that the contents are correct and it will also give them a chance to make any amendments at that time, if they felt our comments were incorrect at the start of the tenancy.
When it comes to doing the final check out, we can do a proper check out to protect the landlord, so that he/she receives the property back first of all cleaned, as we insist on the property being professionally cleaned before a tenant goes in and provides receipts and the same when they leave. Cleanliness is not classed as wear and tear and it is probably one of the things in our industry that you get disputes on.
Then we move on to how the tenant has left the property. We need to look at a number of factors, such as how long the tenant has been in the property, to allow fair wear and tear, what the property was like when the landlord gave the property to the tenant, was it completely redecorated or was the decoration 3 to 4 years old. Also, what was the age of the kitchen, bathroom, furniture etc. It is reasonable, if the tenant has been in occupation for 2 or 4 years and the property had been redecorated 3 to 4 years prior to them moving in and we are looking at it that the carpets are worn and the decoration is in a poor state, then the tenant would NOT be held responsible, as this is fair wear and tear.
But, if there is a hole in the door or severe damage to a wall, then this would be for the tenant to put right or pay for a contribution towards this, as it would be down to neglect.
In the rare event that there is a dispute between the tenant and landlord, what is fair wear and tear and what is neglect, carelessness and damage and could not be settled, this would then be passed to the deposit resolution for them to decide. The main thing the adjudicator is looking for is to assess whether what the landlord is claiming, is fair wear and tear or is the landlord being unreasonable and that the claim is going to be looked at as betterment to the property.
This is a very timely process and on average can take between 2 to 3 months for the adjudicator to assess. I would advise any landlord to try and be reasonable with a tenant and to come to an amicable agreement at the end of their tenancy.
Next month’s edition will be on the Right to Rent checks.