Importance of inventories highlighted as landlords struggle with rules

British landlords could benefit from thorough, fair inventories of their properties as 60 per cent never perform inspections and don’t understand rules which affect tenant deposits

The research from My Property inventories added that 80 per cent of landlords had said evidence from an inventory had helped in a tenant deposit dispute.

It highlights the need for buy to let landlords and investors to ensure that the necessary paperwork is completed for every property that is rented out.

Some 60 per cent of landlords said they couldn't grasp how the betterment principle works although 90 per cent were quite sure on what was meant by fair wear and tear.

Simply put, the betterment principle means that old items cannot be replaced with new and then charged to a tenant. Some compensation is allowed towards such items but not to cover the entirety of costs.

Buy to let landlords must be realistic

A total of 60 per cent of landlords questioned said they never visit their properties to check their condition, something that is done regularly by just six per cent.

This has lead to landlords having “unrealistic expectations” of what they can claim against tenant deposits at the end of tenancies, according to Danny Zane the Director of My Property Inventories.

Tenants should return a property to the condition in which it was first let to them, although there is an allowance for wear and tear.

“The key problem is that agents, landlords and tenants have different expectations when it comes to fair wear and tear issues,” Zane explained.

“There is a distinct difference between fair wear and tear and actual damage.”

Buy to let landlords and investors who are aware of the state of properties in their portfolio are less likely to face unexpected charges when tenancies are concluded.

Being aware of work that needs doing can also help to ensure a smooth handover at the end of a tenancy while clear inventories mean that both parties understand their position in any dispute.

Written and photo evidence helps to maintain the state of properties and can be used to settle any disputes on check out.

For example, landlords can expect a tenant to cover cleaning costs from their deposit if marks or damage exist in the property and on its contents at the end of a tenancy but were not there at the start, as documented by photographic evidence.

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