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As letting agents it’s often the case that you’re asked to work with first time landlords. For the majority of ‘newbies’ it’s equal parts exciting and scary. So many things to know – and an endless list of things to do to make sure both themselves and their tenant are fully protected.

Property inventories are a key part in the process of becoming a responsible landlord, and they need to know that the clerk involved with their property is doing an accurate and thorough job. I’ve spoken to numerous industry professionals who would like to see changes in the law to make sure that every landlord must have an accredited inventory clerk producing the document – but until this happens the quality of the document is the landlord’s responsibility.

How do you make sure you’re getting a good clerk?

Inventory clerks create inventory reports, documenting the contents and condition of the property before the rental period begins. At the end of the tenancy the report is then used to compare the state of the property when the tenant arrives to when they leave. It is crucial in determining if the tenant receives their full deposit back. Clerks can also re-visit the property during a tenancy to provide accurate updates on the condition of the property.

A good clerk will list and describe the condition of everything included in the property. They cover everything from the walls and ceilings to the door handles and locks. In furnished and part furnished properties they will also record the condition of the furniture so the landlord isn’t held accountable for any damage by the tenant and vice-versa.

By choosing a professional body to find inventory clerks you’re giving your client peace of mind.

The Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) – which is a subsidiary of The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) – offers training courses that make sure any of the inventory clerks they endorse work to the APIP Code of Practice.

Other professional bodies exist including the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).

As an agent you know that by using an accredited body like the ones above to find an inventory clerk you can rest assured that the property and its contents are being recorded in the most professional way possible – meaning the landlord will be spared the upset of a potentially messy check-out process.