When renting out a property, there is always the risk of tenancy disputes and damage to your property, so make sure you have everything legally in place to cover these eventualities.
Private landlords should have a tenancy agreement with their tenants setting out the rules and financial commitments. It is a contract advising both parties of their legal obligations, rights and responsibilities. In the UK it is generally an Assured Shorthold tenancy (AST). The agreement should include names of tenants, rent to be paid, deposit, length of tenancy and a full inventory of what is included in the property, such as furniture, fixtures and fittings.
When entering a tenancy agreement, the tenant must pay a deposit, which is held by the landlord until the end of the term and then paid back in full. If, however, there is a dispute about damage, part of this deposit can be withheld by the landlord in order to repair the damage. This often ends up in dispute.
The inventory should be signed off by both parties at the start of the tenancy agreement. It is a bone of contention with solicitors that landlords don’t use photographic evidence at this point, detailing the condition of the property and the fittings included. Landlords possibly don’t have the forethought to arrange this and suffer as a consequence. Arranging for a photographer to take detailed photos and getting them signed and witnessed would save a lot of headaches for both the landlord and solicitors when dealing with disputes regarding damages to property.
Another safety net would be a video, walking through the property pinpointing items and their condition and dated for proof of existence before tenancy began. If the landlord feels this is not within his remit, he could bring in professionals with property inventory software such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/ to help protect against any damage disputes. There are a number of apps in the property industry designed to produce comprehensive inventories and provide the check-in and check-out process to assist landlords and tenants.
A good inventory is there for the safety of the tenant as well as the landlord. Showing how clean the property is, however, cannot be shown on a written agreement and can only be proven with photographs or videos, duly signed by both parties.