WHY A DIGITAL INVENTORY?
Inventories were a lot easier before Tenancy Deposit Schemes. Back then a description of the items in a property and a record of their condition was perfectly acceptable. The tenants signed the inventory and the cost of any damage or missing items were deducted from the deposit held by the landlord or letting agent.
Today the tenants’ deposits have to be lodged in one of three Tenancy Deposit Schemes authorised by the Scottish Government. Any disputed claim for damage that remains unresolved has to be put before the Scheme’s Arbiter for their decision.
The move in inventory signed by the tenant signed is crucial in any subsequent claim at the end of the tenancy. This is also true of any supporting evidence, such as carpet cleaning receipts, prior to the tenant moving in.
The more detailed and exact the inventory the greater the likelihood of the tenancy scheme adjudicator agreeing replacement or repair costs to a landlord.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Our digital inventories are specifically designed to record a ‘Snapshot in Time’ of your property. Each full colour photo is dated and referenced to a written description included in the inventory.
‘Overview Shots’ show each room in context and items are recorded in ‘Individual Shots’ to show their condition and existence. Any damage is highlighted and recorded, as in the example opposite where a pen is used to show scale for a carpet stain.
‘Readings Shots’ record the utility reading on entry to avoid any future disagreement when the tenant leaves.
The modern digital inventory typically runs to over 20 pages of photographs and description. A competent digital inventory takes hours to prepare and do come at a cost of between £100 and £180 for a standard two-bedroom unfurnished property.
HOW IS THE INVENTORY USED?
Typically, in the lettings market letting agents give or email the inventory to the tenants with an instruction to check it off and return, signed within so many days. Failure to return is taken as agreement on the part of the tenant.
An inventory can be used in a number of evidential situations.
1. A claim on a tenant’s deposit with the tenancy deposit scheme
2. A claim with the Housing Tribunal
3. An insurance claim
A claim on a tenant’s deposit with the tenancy deposit scheme is the use most landlords link to move in inventories. Landlords are not however restricted to the limited sum locked up in the tenant’s deposit.
Where damage or repair claim exceeds the tenant’s deposit, a Landlord can turn to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland. Access to the Tribunal is free to both tenants and landlords, however woe betide a landlord without real, hard evidence.
Finally, insurance claims are an area often forgotten when it comes to using an inventory as evidence of loss.
I DON’T WANT AN INVENTORY
Very occasionally landlords decide not to have an inventory as ‘there is nothing worth claim for in an unfurnished property.’.
The consequences of not having an inventory created for each tenancy removes any opportunity to claim against a tenant other than using the deposit against rent arrears.
There is the cost of the inventory and any additional cost an agent will charge for a claim going to adjudication.
That said, both costs are allowable against any tax paid.
There is also the message sent to the tenant that whatever happens to the property, the landlord will pay for it.
At the end of the day the decision is the Landlord’s to make.
Personally. I go with a full inventory for my own properties.
We are always keen to help landlords and answer any questions you might have.
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