Accurate property inventory 'vital' as tenancies last longer

by Daniel Jones

An accurate property inventory is "key" as tenancy agreements are lasting longer than ever. This is the advice from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla), as it releases new evidence showing tenants are spending longer in properties before moving.

Malcolm Harrison, spokesman for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, argued recently that there is anecdotal evidence that tenancies are lasting longer.  "The probability is that people are looking to move and stay for longer than they would have done before," he said.

This claim appears to have been backed up by the new research from Arla, which shows the average length of a tenancy agreement has increased by 17 per cent from 16.5 months in 2009 to 19.3 months in 2011.

Arla operations manager Ian Potter believes this trend may be in response to the "tough financial times" faced by tenants.

He also thinks that this trend makes it even more important for landlords to create a comprehensive property inventory at the beginning of each new letting contract.

"This increase in the length of tenancies will inevitably lead to greater wear and tear in rented accommodation and fewer opportunities for downtime between tenancies for landlords to make improvements," explained Mr Potter.

"Landlords and tenants alike should remember that disputes over deposit returns can be one of the biggest headaches facing both parties, but these can be easily avoided if a professional inventory is prepared."

Arla suggests tenants and landlords should ensure that the inventory notes all the contents and features of the rented property, as well as accurately recording their condition. Ambiguous words should be avoided as they may not fully explain the actual condition of the contents and features. It also recommends checking the utility readings to avoid bill disputes.

Landlords should approve any photos taken by tenants at the start of the tenancy, and take any of their own for evidence of the condition of the property.

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Published on: February 15, 2012

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