As we head into 2016 we’re reminded of an industry that has been growing more rapidly since the introduction of tenancy deposit protection laws, the very catalyst that led to the launch of InventoryBase back in 2012.

For property professionals, employing an inventory clerk to help with this essential administrative duty (detailed property inventory reports) can be the solution to meeting some of the periodic challenges of running a busy enterprise. Landlords and lettings agents are under increasing pressure to conform to the rapidly evolving changes to UK legislation initiated over the last ten years.

The consequences of these changes means that there is now a relatively onerous obligation to perform more and more tasks in a limited amount of time. Now one of the most pressing requirements is for detailed documentation to prove rental properties’ features, fittings and items, including a detailed statement of condition known as the inventory report.

One way for landlords and lettings agents to cope with this additional responsibility is to outsource this duty to a specialist inventory service which may, in turn, utilise technology such as InventoryBase.

As part of an assured shorthold tenancy, the inventory will form an integral part of the legal agreement between landlords/lettings agents and tenants. It is the inventory clerk’s duty to keep track of the property’s condition for the duration of the tenancy.

Some of the routine tasks carried out by the clerk may include check-in, mid-term and check-out inspection visits and photography to record visual evidence as to the property’s condition. This is accompanied by the compilation and maintenance of accurate and objective records. These are then usually verified by professional statements, which offer honest appraisals from different perspectives, for the purposes of comparison and documentation of the facts.

Some key merits of entrusting an inventory clerk to carry out these duties are:

– Protection: The interests of both landlords/lettings agents and tenants can be fairly and objectively upheld, thereby minimising the risk of any misunderstandings or disputes. This can be particularly useful when it comes to ascertaining each parties’ definition of what constitutes “fair wear and tear”, and working out a reasonable compromise, in accordance with the tenancy agreement’s terms. If a fair agreement can be encouraged via the clerk’s impartial role, this could mean the prevention of any disputes and a significant saving of time and money for all concerned

– Professionalism: Independent, accredited full members of the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks) and APIP (Association of Professional Inventory Providers) can offer peace of mind to landlords that the clerk they are employing will adhere to a strict code of professional conduct, which means a more thorough and attentive approach is taken to inventory duties. Membership of a professional body also helps to clarify expectations from the outset as to what the clerk can offer and what landlords/lettings agents can hope to gain from employing the clerk. In turn, this will hopefully lead to more effective and satisfactory business relationships between landlords/lettings agents, tenants and the inventory clerk.

– Regional expertise: Insights offered by a knowledgeable and highly-trained inventory clerk on local legislation and any upcoming changes or issues that may affect properties, particularly regarding environmental issues such as damp or flood risk in certain areas, can be hugely valuable to landlords/lettings agents in planning for the upkeep of properties.