For years when it comes to inventories, landlords have got away with scribbling a few notes on a bit of paper about the condition of their property. The general principle being that an accurate inventory were not needed. This was because as a landlord you were both ‘judge and jury’ and if and what part of the deposit was withheld to cover the costs of repair and cleaning. This is not to say that tenants had no remedies if they felt aggrieved with the decision. Under the pre April 6 2007 system they were able to take the landlord to court if they thought that they were unreasonably withholding their deposit. The judge would then decide on the merits of their claim. However, the ‘hassle’ and inconvenience to the tenant of carrying this through meant that in most cases tenants did not take matters any further, especially where the sums involved were small.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) will change this cosy amateur approach to inventories in several important ways:
No longer will the landlord have the benefit of controlling the monies from the outset
Because of point 1 many tenants are likely to feel emboldened to take on the landlord if they think they even have a chance of winning the argument. There is likely to be a large jump in the number of cases where the tenant disputes the withholding of all or part of their deposit
The inventory will become far more important for many landlords as it is the key document in proving the condition of the property before a tenant moved in
The way of assessing disputes will now change. Rather than matters being resolved through the courts, most will be decided by independent arbitrators. Arbitration is generally seen as less adversarial and fixed by legal procedure than the courts and this is likely to result in outcomes that differ from those that occur currently
Here at Finishing Touches our property inventories service provide you with a check in inventory, mid term inventory and a check out inventory. This will ensure that both landlords and tenants are protected.