The Landlord Law Blog has offered advice to inventory clerks, letting professionals and landlords about what they should do in relation to the inventory if a landlord purchases a property which has a sitting tenant in place.
The article resulted from a query from an inventory clerk who was working for a landlord who needed to know his legal obligations relating to the inventory after buying a property with a tenant already in-situ.
Specifically, the inventory clerk wanted to know whether the inventory would be legally carried over or if an interim inspection was the best solution for moving forward. She also queried if it would be best to carry out check out procedures and then produce a new inventory, including a disclaimer explaining the circumstances.
The Landlord Law Blog explained that the new landlord would be ‘stepping into’ the previous landlord’s shoes, meaning that he would be taking over the obligations and rights of the former landlord, but pointed out that the sitting tenant’s position should not be affected.
This means that when the tenancy ends the landlord will have to show that any damage he wants to deduct from the deposit wasn’t there when the tenant first moved in. In practice, this means that he will have to go by the original inventory taken at the start of the tenancy.
It must also be remembered that the new landlord will also have to return the tenant’s deposit paid to the former landlord, even if this hasn’t been passed on. This is because the tenant cannot foot the bill for a change in circumstances beyond their control.
If, however, the new landlord is not happy with the original inventory, or if one doesn’t exist at all, he could opt to have a new inventory compiled after the property purchase is complete, although the tenant has no obligation to agree to this if they don’t feel that it’s in their best interest.
The Landlord Law Blog suggests that the landlord could get an agreement from the tenant by assuring them that they will not be accountable for damage done prior to the second inventory being made.
This demonstrates the value of a second inventory in some circumstances, although some negotiation between the tenant and landlord may be necessary, but it also shows that it is not necessarily important as the original will still apply.