After passing tenant checks and paying a deposit, a good landlord and letting agent will provide you with an inventory in addition to the tenancy agreement. Often created by an independent company to prevent bias, an inventory is a document that outlines in detail the condition of the property before you move in. Knowing the standard of the property at the start of your tenancy helps to set clear expectations of the maintenance required in order to return the property in the same standard at the end of the tenancy. Inventories also help safeguard tenants against unfair deductions from their deposit when moving out of a property. As such, a request for a reasonable fee by the landlord or letting agent for this service is well worth your money.
A Lightning Property Services Inventory will include:
• Full names and addresses of the landlord and tenants
• The date when the inventory was conducted
• A thorough list of the interior and exterior décor/fixtures and fittings along with
• the condition of these items (e.g. ‘small scratches to surface’ or ‘brand new, never used’)
• Meter readings/serial numbers/key lists
• Embedded photographs
• Signatures from the landlord and tenant/s including date/s agreeing to the inventory (e-Signature service is also provided)
• Pages should be initialed
If an inventory is not carried out, or if it was insufficiently detailed, then it may not be clear how the property should be left before departure, which could lead to a deposit dispute. Dealing with a deposit dispute can be stressful and costly for those involved so it’s always preferable to avoid this. According to data published by my|deposits earlier this year in relation to England and Wales, currently only 1% of tenancies require formal dispute resolution, while in 60% of tenancies the landlords and agents return the deposit in full and in 39% a deduction is negotiated with tenants.
Make sure that your tenancy agreement deals with specific topics such as who takes responsibility for the garden and its upkeep, and the levels of cleaning required at check out.
The NLA recommends that landlords or agents conduct a mid-term and a pre-check out inspection which can also help resolve any issues and avoid a dispute.