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Mandatory inventories – how much would they benefit both landlord and tenant?Wear and tear is one of the main causes of discrepancies between landlords and tenants. It is a grey area as to what constitutes wear and tear? What one person might feel is normal, everyday wear and tear, another may feel is overuse, damage or neglect. Although everything will be written down and signed in the inventory, it is still an individual’s assessment of what state an item should be in at the end of tenancy or interim inspection. It is ambiguous and open to discussion, while also causing a high number of disputes at the end of a tenancy.

Obvious property damage and poor cleanliness are easy to identify, particularly if there is a proper inventory report in place, along with documentary evidence such as photos. That is why so many professional landlords invest in software to keep clear records of all correspondence with tenants in one place. Now, calls are being made for mandatory independent inventories for all private residential tenancies. The call is being made in a petition by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC). A detailed inventory carried out at the start and end of a tenancy can also be a crucial tool in ensuring landlords are sticking to their obligations regarding fire safety legislation.

It could be included in the inventory that the property has everything in place to comply with regulations regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as fire and furnishing safety regulations.

A national, independent inventory scheme such as this would certainly standardise reports throughout the UK. An inspection which is independently carried out would offer protection to landlords and tenants, while reducing the number of deposit disputes.

The AIIC argues that independent inventory reporting will make the letting process more transparent for everyone. It points out that one-fifth of all households are in the private rental sector, with this number set to rise as even more households are priced out of the property market. Furthermore, research suggests one-third of tenants surveyed have had their deposit withheld and more than two-thirds believe their landlord did not have sufficient reason to do so. About 40% of students also lose more than one-third of their deposit and eight out of 10 do not sign a photo inventory.

A transparent, nationally-approved inventory scheme could go some way to standardising reports and making the system fairer for all.

InventoryBase are currently supporting the AIIC in their campaign to make independent inventories mandatory within the UK.

Sign the petition here:

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