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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8

    Default How Bad Is This Inventory?

    Hello,
    I have a general enquiry for those who have experience of deposit dispute arbitration with The Deposit Protection Service.

    Some background information:
    I’m about to exchange contracts next week to buy a new build fully furnished flat as a rental investment. The flat has already been let to a tenant by the property developer.

    My solicitor has received information covering the background, credit checks and references for the tenant, and they are all satisfactory.

    However, I have only just seen the inventory that the tenant signed. It is just a listing of contents with no photographs or statement of condition. Some of the lines read as:

    1x Washer Dryer
    1x Integrated Fridge/Freezer
    1x Glass & Chrome Dining Table
    4x Dining Chairs
    1x Side Lamp
    Etc…

    There is just the one sentence note at the end stating: Apartment new upon handover without any marks or scratches to floors or walls.

    The inventory doesn’t explicitly state that all the inventory contents such as the white goods, sofas, tables are all brand new.

    (Apologies, when I try to attach the inventory I get a blank window.)

    The question:
    If a dispute were to ever arise when the tenant leaves, how bad is the inventory in terms of my actually winning the dispute?

    For example: the tenant has damaged the sofa, or has cracked one of the refrigerator internal containers etc. Do I have a chance to win since the inventory doesn’t state the contents are brand new, although they are!

    I just want to find out potentially how bad it can get for me *before* I exchange contracts to buy the flat.

    Thank you very much for your comments!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    7,682

    Default

    Terrible, tenant would win most disputes....

    But sounds like these "developers" only know about marketing & signing people up.... & the tenant does not have to allow anyone in (well, it would be difficult..) to do a better inventory....

    Plus side, MOST tenants are OK (as are most landlords & some agents... and one or two developers...) and possibly will be fine.

    Think I'd ask to see tenant credit-checks & reference checks... I think there will have been little or none... (I could be wrong..).

    You could ask for a price reduction...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4,867

    Default

    Developer knew that in all probability he wouldn't have to deal with any such issues as the property would have been sold on.

    From the information you have received there is a risk for you, so if you want to proceed you can price that risk and go back to the developer with your lowered offer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thanks theartfullodger and jjlandlord!

    I suspected the inventory was terrible! Fortunately in this case, credit & reference checks were performed (my solicitor requested that the seller confirm this via their solicitors so doubtful they lied!) They will also give me copies upon completion when I am legally the tenants new landlord.

    I guess, I'll go with the price reducution route and see what they say. The only other thing I can think of is to ask the developer to give me copies of all original invoices/receipts for the goods (assuming they have them!) I can use this to prove everything is brand new and thus the original condition.

    Also, there is always the hope(!!) that this tenant is OK and doesn't damage anything so I won't have a dispute! I'll definitely get a good inventory for the next tenant!!

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    7,682

    Default

    That a credit/reference check was performed is interesting but does not tell you the result (eg "His work said they'd never heard of him, he has 7 CCJs, identity chcek failed, Bankrupt 2011, bank reference was unprintable...".. )

    That you have an invoice saying developer bought 8 Beko washing machines is interesting but proves nothing as regards to THAT inventory...

    Ask to SEE them... the credit/reference checks/....
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4,867

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Physicsman View Post
    Fortunately in this case, credit & reference checks were performed (my solicitor requested that the seller confirm this via their solicitors so doubtful they lied!) They will also give me copies upon completion when I am legally the tenants new landlord.
    I'm with Artful: They are having a laugh.
    You want to see all the references, credit check reports, etc. before making the decision to buy and exchange contracts.

    Actually, this would raise red flags for me because it might suggest that they do not want you to see these documents before it's too late, which is not a good sign.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I've asked to see the checks. The developer has stated they cannot give them to me until after completion due to data protection issues.

    However, the developer has said through the solicitors that the tenant passed all the checks. That's still vague so it is a risk I agree!

    What I've asked them for instead (via my solicitor) is a statement from the seller via their solicitor whether there have been any problems with the tenant and include details if any, for example rental payments in arrears, complaints from neighbours etc.

    Also, I've asked them to provide rental statements for the last 3 months.

    Edited to add: did the developers lie/make a mistake about saying they can't give me the checks before exchange? That is, data protection is not an issue?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    7,682

    Default

    re DPA: It depends on what the tenancy says, some permit info to be passed to others. btw I would also want to see (SEE!!) the tenancy agreement...

    I suspect hiding behind DPA is a useful excuse, and frankly would worry me... you could point out S35 of the DPA 1998
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/35
    allows disclosure in connection with prospective court case and if they don't bleedin' give you the stuff you'll be suing.....

    £5 says this developer may have only been in business for a short time & possibly never filed accounts: Often a particular company is set up for just that development... if so don't expect any come-back in a years time...

    Clip clop, clip clop, hi-ho-silver...!!! My that herd of beef look fine don't they...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    4,867

    Default

    Not sure if this is covered by DPA, but if it were it would prevent due diligence in many such commercial transactions, which does not seem very good...

    Any case, should there be a concern there it can be easily resolved by requesting the tenant to agree to this information being disclosed to you.
    If the developer refuses, or even if the tenant refuses, it may still provide you with useful information.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8

    Default

    They did give me a copy of the tenancy agreement. That looks fine and standard, similar to the ones you can download here or on other sites like landlord law, NLA/RLA etc.

    The developer have been around for awhile, since 94 I think. Probably not a fly by night cowboy outfit - but you never know! It is a risk but haven't found any insurance for it!

    JJlandlord: I'll try what you suggest and see what the developer and tenant say. Good suggestion - thanks!

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