Here are my thoughts on ways in which tenants can maximise their chances of getting all of their deposit back at the end of their tenancy:
As the length of tenancies increase, an accurate inventory can hold the key to renters receiving their deposit back at the end of their tenancy. Industry research shows that tenants are remaining in the same property for longer, increasing from an average period of 16.5 months in 2009 to a period of 19.4 months in 2013.
A detailed and accurate inventory can often make moving out of a rental property a far smoother process. As tenants stay in their rented homes for longer it’s even more important to have accurate information on the state of the property from when you first moved in, as there may be greater wear and tear. This means recording the condition of the property with written notes as well as details of the contents, including fixtures and fittings; tenants sometimes choose to take accompanying photos too, which can also help.
It is also important to agree any inventory with your landlord when you move in. This can be a step that is easily forgotten, but it can be vital when trying to resolve and clarify any situations where items get lost, damaged or stolen.
So, before you move into a new rented property, here are a few things to think about:
1. Photographic evidence: Images detailing the property’s condition when you moved in can help ensure there are no disputes at the end of a tenancy. If tenants or an inventory provider chose to do this, these should always be agreed with the landlord and copies shared and kept on file throughout the tenancy.
2. Keep a written record: While images will definitely help in documenting the state of the property and contents when you first move in, it is also useful to elaborate and explain the state of items in a detailed written description. This will help protect you if there is any dispute about the condition of items at the end of your tenancy. Once again it is important to get these descriptions signed by the landlord.
3. Be logical: To ensure you have covered everything and have the most comprehensive list possible, it is important to be logical in your approach in compiling an inventory. The easiest way to do this is by recording items by room; this will help you to compile an accurate and comprehensive inventory.
4. Who’s responsible? Understand who is responsible for the overall upkeep of the property as well as the contents. This information should be in your tenancy agreement, but if you are still unsure ask the landlord or agent and make sure you get the response in writing. This will help resolve any issues at the end of a tenancy where landlord/tenant duties were not specified.
5. If in doubt use a member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP): More professionalism and credibility can be added to the inventory if you use a fully qualified APIP member. Members of APIP are professionally trained in drawing up an inventory and conducting the check in and check out. All members have passed assessments to demonstrate their abilities.
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