The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), which has been campaigning since 2016, is still hopeful that the Government will introduce some form of mandatory independent inventories legislation in the near future.
The rental trade body believes that mandatory independent inventories for all private rental properties would provide greater protection and higher professional standards in the sector.
An independent inventory, which is commonly compiled by an inventory clerk, details a property’s condition at the start and end of a tenancy, which protects tenants from unreasonable deposit deductions, as well as protecting landlords’ property investments. They also provide landlords/letting agents with the means to pursue deposit deductions for cases of genuine damage and poor property upkeep.
Independent reporting is crucial, the AIIC argues, as it ensures impartiality and the existence of a professionally compiled set of documents. If a deposit dispute does occur, an independent inventory could become crucial evidence for both parties.
If you do decide to create an inventory yourself, we have a fantastic guide to help you make it as thorough as possible: https://landlordnews.co.uk/guides/a-landlords-guide-to-inventories-and-avoiding-disputes/
As part of its ongoing campaign, the AIIC has petitioned and lobbied the Government, conducted educational talks in London, and held a series of meetings with deposit protection and property redress schemes.
The Chair of the AIIC, Danny Zane, says: “We’re knocking on all of the relevant doors to make compulsory inventory reporting a reality in the private rented sector (PRS).
“The importance of impartial check-ins and check-outs taking place at the start and end of each tenancy cannot be underestimated. As rents rise and subsequently push up the value of average security deposits, it’s vital that the tenant’s money and landlord’s investment are offered the required protection.”
He continues: “Of course, even tenancies using zero deposit schemes can end in dispute or with property damage when the tenancy ends.
“Wider adoption of independent inventories will contribute towards fewer deposit disputes, while these documents remain invaluable in the event that a disagreement between landlord and tenant is referred to a deposit protection scheme.”
The organisation believes that, as the Government increases regulation of the PRS, mandatory independent inventories must be one of the final pieces of the puzzle.
A ban on upfront letting agent fees charged to tenants, as well as a six-week cap on security deposits, are due to become law next spring at the earliest. The AIIC insists that legislation around mandatory independent inventories would complement these policies.
Zane argues: “In order for the deposit cap to be truly effective, landlords and tenants need to be sure that the money is protected, not only by a deposit protection scheme, but by an impartial inventory, which provides full details of the property’s condition.
“Moreover, if rents rise due to the ban on fees, as expected, then typical damage deposits will increase as a result. This means landlords will need to be able to call upon an inventory to prove deductions. At the same time, higher sums of tenants’ money will be at risk and so they will need the assurance that it’s protected by impartiality.”
Over the coming months, the AIIC says that it will continue to campaign for mandatory independent inventories by raising awareness and meeting with relevant stakeholders.