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Forum Spotlight: Who should carry out post-tenancy inspection?

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

One of the many benefits of being an RLA member is that landlords are able to share their experiences with each other and help each other out, on our popular Forum.

This week, a landlord posted in the Forum with a question about carrying out a post-tenancy inspection.

He wanted to know whether other landlords would recommend using a third party to do the inspection, or whether they would typically carry out the inspection themselves.

The landlord said his property was in a poor state of repair considering it had only been rented out for two years. There was laminate peeling from the kitchen doors and the carpet had been ruined.

The landlord was convinced that the tenant in question would not volunteer to put right the damage that they had caused to the property. With this in mind, they wanted to get the views of other landlords on whether a check-out report that was conducted by a third party would carry more weight than something that he could produce himself.

What users on our Forum thought

The first user began by replying that it wouldn’t hurt for this landlord to use a third party inventory clerk to do this. However they suggested this would only be useful if the landlord was able to produce a detailed pre-tenancy inventory, ideally with pictures to go with it.

To prove damage beyond fair wear and tear, the landlord would need to have a good ‘before’ and ‘after’ condition reports.

Another regular Forum user added their opinion, suggesting that deposit schemes prefer detailed inventories compared to photographs. This member even suggested looking at the RLA’s model inventory.

One forum user said that the landlord would be fine to do the inventory, but they must make sure that it is detailed enough.

They added some wise words – that while the inventories  are time consuming at first, they are quick to get used to. They also suggested that both the check-in and check-out meetings should be long, to go through everything in detail.

Insight from the Deposit Protection Scheme

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), which works in partnership with the RLA to offer the best deposit protection rates on the market, through DepositGuard, then contributed their view.

It echoed another use’s opinion, that both inventory and check out reports are crucial documents that it refers to as part of the adjudication process.

TDS said it takes everything at face value, so it is not essential that such check-out inventories and reports are carried out by a third party. However, it is very important that these documents are as detailed as possible.

What should they show?

They should show the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy and then at the end, and they should effectively detail any deterioration and any loss the landlord has suffered.

These reports are conducted in different ways with some people favoring written inventories while others choose to use primarily photographs or video inventories. TDS’s guidance is that if a landlord is using photographs, these should be in addition to the written word.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

1 Comment

  • I have been an independent inventory clerk for several years and have an excellent customer base which is constantly growing due to the detail and accuracy that I put into my reporting. I would happily provide an example of my work to the RLA for you to compare against your own standards. An inventory for a typical 3 bedroom unfurnished house would take approximately 4 hours to complete so it would be unreasonable to expect the inventory clerk to go through all of the details with the tenant at check in. It is more important that the tenant understands the methodology behind the inventory and understand their rights to ask for corrections or amendments within a specified time. Tenants rarely want to stay for the duration of a check out inspection when they realise the time involved in doing this. Many think that this can be a 20 minute process when, if done properly should take at least a couple of hours on most properties. I would be happy to provide additional comments on any of these issues.

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