An inventory protects landlords and tenants

by Sarah Ashcroft

A good property inventory should be as important to the landlord as it is to the tenant.

Landlords taking on new tenants should always include a thorough inventory of the property with the tenancy agreement.

Malcolm Harrison, spokesman for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, said that failing to provide an inventory is very short-sighted as they protect both parties in the event of a dispute.

An inventory, if carried out properly, provides evidence for the state of the property when the tenants moved in.

"A landlord can't go in and say the carpet was spotlessly clean at the beginning of the tenancy unless he can prove it," Mr Harrison said.

But by the same token tenants will not be able to blame a mark on the carpet on a previous tenant if they did not point it out when they moved in.

Mr Harrison said that while inventories have always been an important aspect of tenancy agreements, they are becoming even more vital as the period time people stay in a rental property increases.

In today's climate a tenant may have taken the property for six months or a year, but due to their circumstances may be unable or uncomfortable to move house, change jobs or anything else to rock the boat.

"He may then stay there for much longer than he intended to in the first place, by which time you are two or three years down the road and who is going to remember anything anyway?" Mr Harrison asked.

The comments follow recent reports that tenants are using social media to spread the word about landlords who have taken their deposit unjustly.

As more people are forced to rent by the inaccessibility of the housing market, tenants are becoming more aware of their rights and naming and shaming bad landlords.

Having an inventory  can prevent disputes that turn into animosity down the line.

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Published on: July 12, 2012

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