What's the point of an inventory?

A landlord will often ask if he really needs an inventory. "It's unfurnished, yes? So there's nothing to list" is a response we often hear. However an inventory doesn't just record things that are in the property, it also records the condition in which the property has been given to the tenant, which can be really important when the tenancy comes to an end.

The reason for this is that the law now assumes the tenancy deposit belongs to the tenant. If a landlord wants to claim on a deposit, he must be able to prove that the condition of the property has changed during the course of the tenancy. If there's no record of the property condition at the start of the tenancy, it is more or less impossible for a landlord to claim the condition has changed at the end. It has been this way since new deposit rules came in 2007.

For this reason, a landlord without an inventory is on weak ground. I had a landlord with a 2 bed apartment who insisted they didn't need an inventory - the property was unfurnished and they had never had one previously. The tenants didn't trash the property, but they did cause damage to a couple of carpets that the landlord wanted replaced. The tenants however claimed the carpets were in poor condition at the start of the tenancy and as such hadn't been damaged by them. When the deposit dispute went to adjudication under the new rules, the adjudicator was unable to decide which party was correct and as such awarded the full deposit to the tenant by default. The landlord thus had to pay for his own new carpets.

Speak to Belvoir! Kingston estate agents today to discuss property inventories. 


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