Confessions of a . . . Letting Agent 1st Dec 2015There are a number of landlords who see inventories as being an unnecessary expense, and so decline our offer of doing one for them. 4 years into the deposit scheme, and I could give you numerous examples of why this is a bad idea, and why a small upfront cost could really pay off in the long run. Here is one such example.
We manage a house in West Lothian. It was the landlord’s family home, where she lived when she was younger with her parents. Of course I’m sure her parents were very house proud, and kept the house and garden well. We asked the landlord if we could do an inventory prior to letting the house, however she declined and said she would do it herself. We explained the possible pitfalls of this but she dug her heels in and insisted on doing her own inventory. It was minimal – no comment on the cleanliness or condition of the interior, and no mention of the garden and exterior space. However it was entirely her choice not to let us do one.
We had good tenants in the property. They looked after it well, although the garden was a bit untidy. We had asked the owner to provide some tools prior to the start of the tenancy so that the tenants could maintain the garden but she refused. On exit, the tenants left the property in a perfectly reasonable condition. The garden was a bit overgrown but they had done their best without any gardening equipment.
The landlord and her dad visited the property. They said the garden was dreadful (it actually wasn’t but they had high expectations, plus they didn’t provide any tools). However the biggest problem was that the dad claimed that the driveway had sunk! He said that the tenant’s 4x4 hadn’t been parked on the slabs but had been parked on the gravel, therefore it had sunk. To rectify the damage would cost £500. The landlord wanted us to go to Safe Deposit Scotland to get money from the tenant to cover the cost of fixing the sunken driveway and getting someone in to do the garden.
We explained to the landlord that under no circumstances would she be awarded any money from the deposit scheme, as there was no evidence of damage as nowhere on the inventory was there even a mention of the outside of the property. She wasn’t very happy!
Over the last 4 years, we’ve been through the adjudication process a number of times and have won virtually every time. This is because we only go to adjudication if we have evidence to back up the claim. In this case there was no evidence at all, and so we told the landlord we would have to charge her if she wanted us to go down this very time consuming route. Again, she wasn’t very happy! However she did see sense and reluctantly agreed not to go after the deposit.
We continue to manage this property and the landlord still refuses to let us do an inventory – amazing but true!! As I say, this is one of many examples regarding lack of inventory provision. If you are a landlord reading this, you should be doing everything you can to protect your investment property, and high up on that list is an all singing, all dancing inventory. You really could save yourself a huge headache and a lot of expense in the long run.