The management team at City Rental Services have been assisting more property landlords in Bristol with inventories so far in 2017, and we decided to write a full blog post highlighting the importance of full inventories for rented accommodation.
One of the first questions many property landlords in Bristol ask us is whether an inventory is compulsory. Our response is always the same.
Tenancy deposit protection does not make inventories compulsory. However, in practice, they are essential.
Not only is an inventory needed in the sense of a list of items included in the tenancy but will have to record any damage the condition of each item. Any existing defects at the beginning of the tenancy will need to be set out.
If your deposit is intended to cover damage to the property itself, you will also need a condition schedule. Again, this will need to record any damage, which exists when the tenancy starts.
An inventory and condition schedule should be taken at the beginning of a tenancy with the tenant present where possible. The tenant should then sign that they are in agreement. This same documentation will then be used whilst conducting the check out at the end of the tenancy.
If an item of furniture is new or if the property has been recently internally decorated this will need to be recorded in your conditions schedule and a full photographic record is advisable. It is advisable to have any photographic evidence dated.
Published articles have said that there have been a number of decisions by adjudicators under existing voluntary schemes, which show that unless you follow these rules there is little or no chance of you recovering anything out of the deposit for damage.
Likewise, decisions by a District Judge in County Court small claims have also shown that without an inventory and schedule of condition, it is less likely that you will be awarded any part of the deposit to make good any damage caused.
In our experience, it is common for a tenant to claim that the damage already existed when the tenancy started!
If, following the end of the tenancy, you have to make good any damage it is advisable to have proper receipts, estimates and invoices.
If you’re looking for advice on managing rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.