The TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) has announced new guidelines on inventory reports in an effort to support letting agents and landlords in-line with the ban on tenant fees, introduced on 1st June 2019.
Also known as the Tenant Fees Act, the new law is applicable to letting agents operating in England, and will mean that tenants can no longer be charged for a range of extra services, which will include the arrangement of inventories. After the implementation of the Act, landlords may have to cover the cost of inventories themselves, instead of splitting the cost or charging tenants. Without this choice, some letting agents could decide to take inventory services in-house in order to minimise their costs.
Inventory guidance published by TDS aims to ensure best practices for letting agents and landlords, who previously may have relied on external parties to complete reports for them on the understanding that the renter would pay a portion of the fee.
Created by TDS in partnership with the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks) and Propertymark, the guide will also offer clarity regarding deposit disputes and deductions in the case of poor quality or unclear inventory reports. By using InventoryBase, you can ensure that inventories are always thoroughly and properly taken.
The guidance is intended to reduce the amount of disputes being raised, as it provides letting agents and landlords with the tools required to conduct a detailed inventory report.
TDS has previously issued guidelines focusing on inventories within a paper called ‘A Guide to Check In / Out Reports, Inventories and Schedules of Condition’ which responded to a number of questions and highlighted the significance of inventories. The newly issued guidance is the first to collect data from three leading organisations in the industry, and contains updates and latest best practice concerning the ban on tenant fees.
One of the authors of the guide and TDS’s Director of Dispute Resolution, Michael Morgan, commented that the organisation is committed to resuming its work in educating the private rental sector, as well as helping its members navigate the constantly changing regulations landscape. He claims that the organisation’s guidance on inventories and commitment complements the considerable expertise of the AIIC and Propertymark.
Mr Morgan goes on to explain that the TDS understands its members’ concerns on the topic of inventories in light of the upcoming ban on tenant fees. However, the organisation understands that the interests of each party in a tenancy agreement are served most effectively by considering check out and check in reports based on content, instead of the individual that compiled them.
Chair at the AIIC, Danny Zane, explained that his organisation understood the importance of unbiased and thorough inventory reports, which are implemented to protect each relevant party. He explained that the AIIC is currently working in partnership with policymakers from the government to ensure that reports are secure and safe for all.
Propertymark’s Chief Executive, David Cox, further added that the ban on tenant fees would have a serious impact on the entire sector, but the industry must not undervalue the importance of thoroughly detailed inventories. They provide certainty and clarity for all parties at the end of tenancies.
View the guidance here.