Property inventories are now no longer just a tool to prevent disputes around cleanliness and condition. With house ownership moving further and further out of reach for renters across the UK, tenants are becoming more assertive and more knowledgeable about their rights.

In addition to this, taxation and legislation for rental properties has become increasingly onerous. In the past few years, we have witnessed the implementation of carbon monoxide and smoke alarm regulations, prescribed information on how to rent, changes to the section 21 notice, Right to Rent immigration legislation and changes to taxation for buy to let landlords. More recent legislation has included mandatory E ratings for EPC certificates, a ban on tenant fees, changes to fitness for human habitation laws and the removal of an allowance for wear and tear in rental properties.

This sits, of course, alongside other existing landlord and letting agent responsibilities, such as electrical, gas and Legionella testing, and compliance with systems for rating housing safety and health.

The aim of this raft of legislation is to improve the standards of rental housing and to make homes safer, as well as to ease the pressure of inflation on house prices.

Compliance with all of this legislation can be made a great deal easier through the completion of thorough and accurate inventory reports. Creating inventory reports for rental properties covers compliance checklists, as well as details of the condition and cleanliness of the home, and these are approved and signed by the tenant.

Inventory reports provide evidence of compliance for landlords and letting agents with the current laws and rules, and offer documentation that mandatory safety checks and equipment were actually in place before a tenancy commenced. For example, testing and confirming that smoke alarms were present and working is crucial. However, without signed confirmation collected from both the tenant and landlord or agent, it is difficult to prove this was the case should the batteries be removed from an alarm.

With legislation such as the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, more and more responsibility has fallen upon agents and landlords to ensure that they offer a safe home environment for their tenants, and that evidence is readily available when requested.

Obtaining accurate evidence prior to a tenant moving into a property is crucial to show how fit for human habitation a property is. Inventory clerk training ensures that professional independent inventory clerks conduct a detailed and comprehensive report for landlords and letting agents. Such training also help prevent bias and offers impartiality to all individuals involved, as well as providing up-to-date knowledge.

A professional inventory report will reveal whether the security of the home is adequate, exits and entrances are clear of obstructions, bathrooms are free of damp, the exterior of the property is in good condition and furnishings and furniture are compliant with legislation on fire safety.

Inventory reports also allow landlords or letting agents to build a trusting and good relationship with tenants. Effective communication and a proactive approach to tenant safety will make tenants feel positive and content, which in turn can lead to longer tenancies. An inventory report which protects all parties will help build this relationship.

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