Inventories and deposit disputes

A deposit is paid by a tenant at the time of moving in to protect the landlord and their rental property against damage, for any additional cleaning that is required or to cover rent arrears. At the time of the tenant moving on, a decision is made on what deposit is to be returned based on any additional costs the landlord is facing or any outstanding rent that is owed. 

Fortunately, in the main deposit returns are settled easily and quickly. However, when the tenant disputes the decision, it is important for the landlord or their agent to have clear evidence in proving how the tenant has been in breach of the tenancy agreement and how the landlord has incurred loss as a result. It is down to the landlord or their agent to provide this proof and an inventory is the main way to be able to demonstrate this.

So, what does an inventory cover? An inventory is an established way of proving the condition of the property at the start of any tenancy, as well as any contents included. Both parties will agree to this report which is carried out when a tenant moves in and provides a comprehensive record which is then used at the time the tenant moves out.

An inventory at check in details the condition of the property in a comprehensive report, down to information on the decoration, any markings, professional cleaning, exterior condition and so on. Photographs are useful in supporting the inventory, as well as any receipts or invoices for cleaning or new appliances for example. It is a record that is agreed by all parties and therefore vital for checking against at the time the tenant leaves the property and often means that parties can readily agree to any deposit deductions that are needed and these are seen as fair.

Agents or landlords can compile the inventory themselves, and at Pennington we provide this as part of our fully managed service for landlords. Disputes are very rare in managed properties because of this, as well as the regular inspections and ongoing communication so most tenancies end without any issues. If there are any problems the inventory helps to ensure a fair outcome is achieved.

Inventories are one of the valuable services Pennington offers in our Pick and Mix suite to landlords who opt not to have a fully managed service. So, for landlords who prefer to have a letting only or a letting and rent collection service, we can offer inventories as an extra service and you do not have to be a Pennington client to benefit. In addition, landlords who self-manage can call on us for an inventory or other services we offer as and when they need to.

If you would like any advice on inventories or any other aspects of the letting process, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help.

Robert Ulph
Managing Director / ARLA Propertymark Advisory Board


Tel: 01394 337590