The recent news that England is moving away from being a nation of homeowners and moving towards long term renting is good news for landlords who are keen to expand their portfolios. With the majority of the younger generations stating they, either through circumstances or choice, have no intention to buy. Inevitably this will lead to longer term lets and with that there is an increased importance for “mid-term” or interim inspections.
A longer agreement is usually preferred by landlords and whilst time is spent negotiating rent increases and AST renewals, the matter of keeping inventories updated and performing interim inspections is often neglected. During the course of a longer tenancy improvements may be made and various items may be replaced. If you do not formally update the inventory, there is no proof as to the standard of work carried out or the existence or condition of the replacement items.
Tenants who know how to work the system could well take advantage of this when the tenancy comes to an end, and without proper evidence they may be able to get away with leaving the property closer to its original condition rather than the improved condition. This will hit landlords in their pockets!
The best way of protecting against this is to update the original inventory by arranging for an independent inventory clerk to visit the property during the course of the tenancy agreement, e.g. immediately after any improvement works, and produce a new condition report of the relevant areas and items. It is essential that this report includes video or at least photographic evidence. This should then be added as an addendum to the original inventory, and signed by both parties and utilised at the check out inspection as the basis for comparison.
Conducting a check out inspection against an inventory that is two years old or more can be problematic if no updates have been made when they should have been. Ensuring that inventories are an accurate base for comparison is therefore very important, and will assist in a quick resolution to any issues and ensure there is no dispute regarding the deposit.