According to some of the largest providers of inventory services in the UK, independent inventory reporting is to become the perfect companion to the proposed housing reforms from the Government.
It has now been predicted that a single-route, clear complaints system, which was proposed within the Housing Complaints Resolution Service from the Government, could be supported by evidence-based, impartial documents, like independent inventories.
At the close of January 2019, James Brokenshire MP, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Secretary of State, announced that an overhaul of the current redress system for housing would take place.
In addition to proposals for landlords to join a redress scheme, and the launch of a new property ombudsman, plans for a Service for Housing Complaints Resolution were also unveiled.
A Working Group for Redress Reform is expected to announce specific proposals for the Government to consider in early Summer 2019.
Independent inventory experts have welcomed the proposals from the Government to reform the current housing redress, and also believe that the new scheme will strengthen consumer confidence by providing straightforward and accessible procedures for complaints. Property professionals have also stated that they support the plans of making inventories mandatory, as well as preferably independent, in an effort to complement the bolstered redress process.
For example, an unbiased compliance and inventory report could be utilised as testimony for tenants to make a grievance, or to protect landlords and letting agents against unreasonable or unfounded claims from tenants. Inventory reports could also give more weight to a complainant’s case by illustrating and describing the problems clearly.
According to the latest available annual report from the Property Ombudsman, the total money awarded as an outcome of lettings complaints rose by approximately 18 per cent during 2016. The total stood at £931,092, which was around three times the funds distributed for property sales complaints. Besides this, while the average award for lettings grievances increased by 18 per cent, the amount of resolved cases for lettings also increased, by around 11 per cent.
The most common cause of complaints for letting including communication, the management of property and record keeping.
One of the current, official redress services includes a Property Redress Scheme. When conducting their own research, they discovered that inadequately completed inventories were one of the main reasons for a letting agent to be ruled culpable for neglecting to manage rental properties adequately. With so much technology now available on the market for inventories, such as the letting inventory app, the completion of inventories and the role of the letting agent can be completed much more effectively and efficiently. End of tenancy, property management and pre-tenancy tasks can also be handled by software.
As is evident in the research, there is increased activity within the lettings industry when analysing housing complaints. This is why it is so crucial that this new scheme is transparent, and uses records, documents and evidence productively, in a comparable way to the protection scheme for tenancy deposits.
As with the case in deposit disputes, that are managed by tenancy deposit schemes, independent inventories prove extremely important for landlords. This is especially true if the landlord must prove the quality of the home to a property Ombudsman.
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