3. Do they offer a detailed video inventory?
A common cause of conflict between the Landlord, Agent and tenant is the condition of a property when it is vacated. Where the parties cannot reach agreement on dilapidation, then escalation of the dispute for redress through the Property Ombudsman Scheme or other independent redress schemes is often the only way forward. This is one of the most contentious issues of a tenancy cycle.
Historically paper inventories were used to record “the schedule of condition” of a property at the point of the tenancy starting and a second inventory capturing “the schedule of condition” at the end of the tenancy. Any changes between the initial and second inventory are then assessed allowing for “fair wear and tear” and the resulting issues (should there be any) are deemed “dilapidations”. While this level of due diligence is still in use by many agencies, it has one fundamental weakness.
Although the inventory is compiled by an independent fit and proper person, it is still subject to the “perception” of the person compiling the inventory. When a complaint regarding dilapidation is escalated to TPO Scheme or similar, the question of “perception” is a weakness when it comes to dispute resolution effectively reducing the landlord’s ability to get the full redress they are seeking.
To help avoid this common conflict and its associated costs, the more customer focused Agencies offer a solution …… a detailed video inventory.
A detailed video inventory protects both the Landlord and Tenant with hard to dispute factual (not subjective) evidence of how a property was at the start and end of a tenancy. This all but eliminates the conflict element before it starts. On the rare occasion where one of the parties is being “unreasonable”, this service makes the job of the adjudicator so much easier to complete.
Regent Lettings introduced a detailed video inventory service in October 2011 as part of our premium managed service to our clients. Since we introduced this service have had not one case referred to the arbitration service within the Deposit Protection Service or the Property Ombudsman Scheme to adjudicate over any dilapidation.
This service provides complete transparency in the inventory process, protecting both the Landlords and Tenants interest alike. The old adage is true the (video) camera doesn’t lie – or at least ours doesn’t! It provides a high definition record of the schedule of condition to a level that clearly distinguishes between “fair wear and tear” that occurs over time, and the kind of damage that may need to be addressed before a deposit can be returned.
The video might not be the most exciting home movie you have ever seen, but a video inventory can make all the difference in protecting both landlords and tenants interests.
Our next blog will ask “are you able to speak to existing landlords and tenants of the agency in question? “