DIY inventories are increasing landlords’ risk of tenant deposit disputes, according to Imfuna, the developer and provider of digital inventory report app Imfuna Let.
Landlords who create DIY inventories often lack sufficient detail to provide evidence in the event of a dispute, claims Imfuna. Often, there are not enough detailed photographs and accompanying descriptions of the condition and contents of the property.
The firm has found that the most common mistake in DIY inventories is a lack of detail.
Inventory reports should contain a full description of the property, with details of any damage and the exact location of the damage, at the start of a tenancy. This should be supported by photographs that are high quality enough when printed in A4 or A3 size, to ensure that any damage is clearly visible.
If you do decide to create your own inventory, we have a comprehensive guide on how to compile a good report that will help you avoid disputes: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-inventories-avoiding-disputes/
The Founder and CEO of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers, 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 on the cupboards.”
He continues: “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 that 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.”
The Director of Oyster Properties in London, Niraj Shah, also 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 that are collated in a professional report are a sure way to prevent disputes from happening in the first place.”