Property firms using their own inventory services are undermining the sector's integrity, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.
It wants the government to include measures in the Renters Reform Bill to guarantee more transparency and independence in the inventory process by ensuring it is carried out by qualified, independent inventory clerks.
AIIC Chair Daniel Evans (pictured) says property companies with their own inventory firms make it difficult for the process to be seen as independent.
'Commercially, lettings agents are there to look after the interests of the landlords, especially in a market suffering massive stock shortages,'� he explains. 'How can tenants then have faith in a system that might be seen to be biased?'�
In the event of a dispute, the inventory acts as valuable evidence for the deposit protection scheme provider and enables a fair decision to be made in the adjudication process. If there is damage to a property and the landlord wants to claim against the deposit, they are still liable for the burden of proof, meaning that an independent and objective check-out report adds weight to any claim.
Evans says the increase in inventory services with links to property companies began during the financial crash of 2008. Since then, and with advancements in technology, this has become a growing trend and the process has become less transparent as a result.
'We know that landlords can benefit from utilising the services of an independent inventory clerk to improve the overall service while maintaining a high degree of professionalism,'� he adds.
'But this element of choice is being removed by some companies who are using their own inventory service providers.'�