Landlords are being warned to act professionally when collating evidence in order to replace inventories at the conclusion of tenancy agreements.
Research from the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) suggests that a number of landlords are only using photographs as evidence in inventory cases. This is leaving them open to often costly disputes over these issues.
Collating inventories in a professional manner
In cases where substantial damage has been caused, for example carpet burns or stains, then photographic evidence will adequately suffice. However, for smaller damages, photographic evidence alone needs to be backed up by written inventory.
The AIIC say that all inventory reports should contain a thorough description of the condition of all contents within a property. Locations of any damage should also be thoroughly noted. Photo’s supporting the claims of any inventory report should be of high quality, with no colour distortion or blurriness.
Chair of the AIIC Pat Barber, says the law favours the tenant in deposit disputes. Barber said that, ‘The law clearly states that the deposit remains the tenant’s money and that they are entitled to get it back at the end of their stay, provided they have met the terms of the tenancy agreement, so the onus lied with the agent or landlord to provide proof.’
In other useful advice, the AIIC said that the use of photographs should be for additional evidence in inventory cases. They recommend that before and after photographs are used. These photographs should be dated and include a clear description of what they are showing.