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The importance of inventories

publication date: Jun 13, 2007
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Since the launch of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in April the lettings industry has been coming to terms with the relevant changes. In particular, the scheme has highlighted how necessary an independent inventory is – and an inventory is not just a list.

An inventory must be compiled by a trained professional who is not only impartial but has the awareness and attention to detail that will ensure that the inventory is as accurate as possible.

Landlords should be aware that the inventory process is there to protect their assets – even if a property is not in good condition there are still numerous items that can be mishandled, which can prove very costly to repair or even replace.

ARLA states that “inventories are an absolutely essential document which provides a written benchmark, that should be amended, updated and recreated before the beginning of each new tenancy.”

While most ARLA members have always known and understood this, some are only now realising the full benefit of a good inventory.

Charlotte Sanders, Director of Howard Inventories Ltd. “The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has increased the demand for a professional inventory to be compiled by a skilled and experienced clerk. At Howard Inventories we compile reports for various types of Lets. We represent many private landlords from those who own a single property, to those who own multiple developments. On a daily basis we are reminded just how important our role is in protecting landlords.”

One of their landlords, Mr Lefkavitch, has recently realised how important the inventory process is. He had tenants staying in his Central London flat who thought the property needed an outrageous makeover. ‘After the tenants left the Howard Inventories clerk attended the property to carry out a check out. I promptly received a phone call informing me that the tenants had painted on the walls of every room, big black crucifixes! I could not believe it!”

Thankfully Mr Lefkavitch had an inventory report which proved that prior to the tenancy commencement the art work had not been there. “Thank goodness I had the report – they had also taken pictures which were immensely useful. It cost me £1000 and took 4 coats of paint to cover! This was all deductable from their deposit”

Amanda, Howard Inventories Senior Clerk, says she has seen it all. “From properties that haven’t been cleaned since the start of the tenancy and are rat infested, to tenants who swap items for cheaper versions! The digital pictures we take ensure that there are hardly any disputes – you can’t argue with a photo! Nothing surprises me anymore, except landlords who are still not arranging inventories!”

It is about time the industry realised what needed to be put in place to protect the parties involved in the rentals market. It’s now time for landlords to realise just how significant the inventory process is and how it will work to their advantage.

One ARLA member in particular is delighted with the service they get from the company. Jo Walker, Area Manager, Goldschmidt and Howland said: “The service provided by Howard Inventories to Goldschmidt and Howland is exceptional. Their professionalism and willingness to assist us at short notice and on weekends is second to none.’”