Opinion Tenancy Management

360 Degree Photo Inventories are a real game changer for the industry and more affordable than you might think

Richard Abbots
Written by Richard Abbots

Using an App to create a property inventory, interim or check-out report is not a new concept. Richard Abbots, founder of RLA Inventory Plus, explains that creating the initial report actually plays a small part in the reporting process.  Printing, capturing tenant feedback, signatures and filing can be equally as time consuming – something overlooked by traditional Apps.

The challenge

The motivation behind developing RLA Inventory Plus in the first instance was to help solve the age-old problem of disputes between tenants and landlords/agents.  More often than not, such disputes can be avoided by establishing clear communication at the beginning of a tenure.  However, often tenants don’t interact with their reports at this stage.  There’s two key reasons for this:

  1. They’re too busy to feedback within a week of moving-in. After all, moving house is a stressful time with lots to do.
  2. They don’t understand the value and importance of feeding back. Perhaps because they’ve either never had a bad experience, or are new to the market – eg students entering the private rented sector for the first time.

 The risks of not having a mutually agreed report undoubtedly leads to disputes whereby the tenants defence is often “It was like that when I moved-in”.  In lots of instances that could be the case, but if it’s missed from the original report and not signed by both parties, then it becomes a recipe for disaster.


360° Paperless Solution

RLA Inventory Plus doesn’t stop at simply creating the report, it has an in-built paperless approval cycle – InventorySign.  Once completed, reports can be sent instantly via secure email with an automated SMS alert to the tenants.  The emails can be sent in their native language (ideal for student market), making the simple 2-Step process easy to understand.

Step 1: Tenants sign to confirm receipt of their report (not to approve). The landlord/agent is then informed by email, or via their online desktop dashboard tool that it’s safe to handover the keys.  Of course, this can happen days before tenants are due to collect the keys.

Step 2: After moving-in tenants can view their electronic report with 360 degree room views (standard photos also available) straight from a desktop, tablet or mobile.  This allows them to add comments against items and upload photos straight from their devices camera if they spot an issue they’d like to raise. Example Approval Screen Here


Easy Access = Less Disputes

Providing easy access for tenants and encouraging interaction at the beginning of the tenure inevitably leads to a more detailed report.  The more detailed report about the condition and cleanliness, the less disputes.  Happier landlords and tenants.  For instance, we all have a different perception of what is deemed a ‘Good’ clean or condition standard. However, any significant issues are often clear-cut. As an example, there’s either a hole in the door or there’s not. If the tenant fed-back a minor stain in the living room at the beginning, but at the end there’s a minor stain and a great-big iron burn, it’s not plausible for them to come back with “it was like that before I moved in”.

360° Benefits

 360° photography opens-up a new breed of immersive inventory and check-out report. Example 360 Inventory Report Here. The benefits of which from the RLA Inventory Plus platform are clear to see below:

  • Capture the entire room in one picture for robust ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparison.
  • Improved, more immersive experience for tenants during approval process.
  • Massively reduce time spent taking numerous individual photos of items (standard photography still available).
  • Work entirely offline at the accommodation with no network connection required.
  • Zoom-in and navigate the room from one picture via desktop, tablet or mobile.
  • Reduce PDF file sizes with less individual pictures (ideal for storage and upload to other platforms).
  • Add value to your processes by creating bespoke branded, market leading reports with integrated UK wide compliance (England, Wales, Scotland & NI).

In summary, the automated processes save staff time, reduce admin and printing costs, whilst helping prevent costly disputes.


360° ‘Getting Started’ Costs

As with all RLA Inventory Plus’ continuous updates, there’s no extra software upgrade cost for existing users and with price plans starting from as little as £11.25 per year it’s easily accessible for all.  Of course, if you’re a landlord, letting agent or inventory clerk looking to start creating 360° reports then you’ll need to purchase a 360° camera. Having tried and tested a range of devices, the team are on hand to advise accordingly. To get the low-down simply contact us here or call 0333 358 3638 and an in-house expert can talk you through.


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About the author

Richard Abbots

Richard Abbots

Richard Abbots has a BA (hons) in Business Management from Oxford Brookes University and holds a Diploma with the Institute of Leadership and Management. He is a qualified member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers and also has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with Masters accreditations from the University of Worcester. Richard has a background in risk management and is the founder of cloud-based property reporting software Inventory Hive. Richard has thoroughly researched the ‘Right to Rent’ legislation and the cross overs it has in different areas of law. Due to his extensive knowledge in this area and that of property inventory processes, he has featured as a regular speaker at RLA workshops throughout the UK in 2016.

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