Inventories when done properly can be crucial in a tenancy deposit dispute but many landlords are putting themselves at risk by using a DIY inventory rather than a professional one.
Now digital inventory firm Imfuna Let says landlords should avoid using their own inventories because they lack the level of detail necessary to provide evidence should there be a dispute.
In many cases, these inventories also lack detailed photographs and descriptions of the property's condition as well as the contents.
The firm says that the lack of detail from landlords is the most common mistake they have found with DIY inventories which should contain a thorough description of the property and include details of any damage and its exact location.
The inventory should be taken at the beginning of a tenancy with supporting photographs which should be in high enough quality so they can be printed in A4 or A3 sizes so any damage can be easily seen.
‘Landlords should have an expert carry out a professional inventory’
The chief executive of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers, said: “To protect themselves from disputes, agents and landlords should have an expert carry out a professional inventory to ensure the condition of everything is recorded in detail from the showers and sinks to the floor coverings.
“Landlords relying on poor quality DIY inventories could find it expensive in the long run should a tenant claim something was already damaged when they moved in the landlord could face the repair costs or replacement because of a lack of evidence showing its original condition.”
Mr Kneppers says the most commonly disputed area is the kitchen because landlords have not recorded the condition of worktops and kitchen units and have no grounds for charging for damages including chips and cracks as well as saucepan burns.
He added: “A handwritten inventory with just a few descriptions and no photographs is not good enough. It is vital there is a detailed and thorough inventory which enables both parties to be treated reasonably and fairly.”
Numbers of older tenant rocket
Meanwhile, there's been a big rise in the numbers of retired people looking for homes to rent, says Girlings Retirement Rentals.
Part of this is, says the firm, down to the rise in changing attitudes to renting over the last 10 years as well as recognising the benefits that renting can bring in later life.
They say the numbers of households age 65+ account for 10% of those in the private rented sector and the numbers are growing rapidly.
Indeed, they say the number of enquiries they are receiving are reaching record levels and their experiences are backed-up by the National Landlords’ Association which says that the number of retired people moving into rented homes since 2012 has risen by 200,000.