Landlords are increasing their risk of tenant deposit disputes as a result of DIY inventory reports, according to Imfuna, developer and provider of digital inventory report app Imfuna Let.
Landlords who carry out their own inventories often lack sufficient detail to provide evidence in the event of a dispute. Often, there are not enough detailed photographs and accompanying descriptions of the condition of the property and its contents.
The most common mistake in DIY inventories is a lack of detail. Inventory reports should contain a full description of a property, with details on any damage and the exact location of the damage, at the start of a tenancy. This should be supported with photographs which should be high enough quality when printed in A4 or A3 size to ensure that any damage is easily visible.
Jax Kneppers, founder and CEO of Imfuna explains: “To protect themselves from potential disputes, landlords and agents should have a professional inventory report carried out by an expert. This will ensure that the condition of everything in the property is recorded in detail, from sinks and showers to floor coverings and interior décor.
“If landlords rely on poor quality, DIY inventories they could find it expensive in the long run. For example, if a tenant cracks a bath panel or damages a shower but claims it was already damaged when they moved in, the landlord could face costs for repair or replacement due to lack of evidence to show the original condition of the room. Kitchens are also a commonly disputed area. If a landlord fails to include a record of the condition of the kitchen units and worktops, then they will have no grounds to charge the tenant for damages, such as saucepan burns and chips and cracks in the cupboards.
“Handwritten inventories, with just a few descriptions and no photos, are simply not good enough. It is vital that there is a thorough and detailed inventory report which will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. The inventory documentation serves several important functions, especially if professionally compiled, including an unbiased record of the condition...
of the property and any items included. It also forms part of the legally binding contract that is set out in the tenancy agreement between the tenant and the landlord.
“Without a professional and thorough inventory report, landlords and agents could end up with an expensive repair bill. The good news is that if landlords have a professional inventory in place, they will be protected from a potential dispute.”
Niraj Shah, Director of Oyster Properties in London comments: “Professional inventory reports are an essential part of a tenancy. DIY inventory reports can result in disputes over deposit deductions and responsibility for repair that cause unnecessary hassle for all those involved. High quality photographs and detailed notes which are collated in a professional report are a sure way to prevent disputes from happening in the first place.”
Imfuna’s mobile apps, including Imfuna Let, offer an easy way to note a property’s condition at the start of a tenancy, as well as a side-by-side comparison report to highlight places where damage has occurred. By using Imfuna Let’s software, landlords can ensure that the necessary level of detail is present in an inventory report to prevent disputes. Simple yet powerful, concise yet comprehensive, embrace the power of digital with Imfuna. A free trial of Imfuna’s inventory report and survey apps is available at www.imfuna.com©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law; always seek professional advice. Legislation changes, so check dates on these articles. If you have questions go to the LandlordZONE® Forums