Protect your Property with a Water Tight Inventory 1st Dec 2015

Recent research has revealed that landlords who insist on doing their own inventories make common mistakes, which puts them at a higher risk of losing a deposit dispute. The main mistake is lack of detail, with landlords failing to produce adequate photographic evidence accompanied by sufficient written commentary about the condition of the property (internal and external), and its contents at the start and end of every tenancy. If landlords do not have this, it may not be possible to retain money from the deposit to cover any damage, cleaning etc.

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations were introduced in Scotland on 7th March 2011, in order to safe guard tenants’ deposits from rogue landlords who frequently kept deposits at the end of a tenancy.

Deposits are taken in order to protect the landlord against non-payment of rent, or other costs such as damage. At the end of the tenancy, in the majority of cases, there is no dispute. However sometimes there is disagreement between the landlord/agent and the tenant, and in these cases tenancy deposit schemes aim to resolve deposit disputes as efficiently as possible.

Previously, the only course of action was to pursue the tenant for costs through the court. However now tenancy deposit schemes provide an alternative dispute resolution service to help landlords and tenants reach an agreement about deposit repayment. Therefore it is essential that landlords are able to fully evidence the state, condition and cleanliness of their property at the start and end of every tenancy. Landlords are putting themselves at risk of expensive repair bills if they do not have a water tight inventory.

Increasingly disputes are going in favour of tenants, as there is not enough evidence to support the landlord’s claim. Research shows that since the tenancy deposit scheme was introduced, tenants have been awarded more of the disputed amount than landlords at adjudications (Tenant Deposit Scheme Annual Review 2015). Dispute reasons include cleaning (67%), damage (47%), rent arrears (25%). redecoration (20%), gardening (10%), other (33%). Cleaning and damage are clearly the biggest reasons for dispute, hence the necessity of having a water tight inventory.

The Key Place use bespoke inventory software to provide detailed and accurate inventories embedded with photographs. We would urge all landlords to agree to an inventory being carried out at their property at the start of every tenancy. It is essential that you safeguard your investment, and we will do everything we can to help you.