Commonly asked questions and answers.
Why do I need an Inventory?
Since the change in law governing tenancy deposits in 2007, a thorough and professional Inventory Report has become even more vital to landlords and tenants alike.
An Inventory report lists all furnishings, fixtures and fittings within a property and the condition at the beginning of a tenancy – this report is then used at the end of the tenancy to see if there is any damage, uncleanliness or missing items.
In practise, an inventory report can prove an essential tool in avoiding timely disputes at the end of a tenancy.
Why can’t I do the Inventory myself?
When creating an inventory for the start of a tenancy (or indeed doing the check out), it is advised that you use an impartial clerk rather than creating a list of your own. This ensures a detailed report without bias, and further ensures the avoidance of disputes at the end of a tenancy.
Having an independent assessment of the condition of the property is much more credible to a tenant and a landlord, and more importantly to a disputes panel should there be any conflicting issues at the end of the tenancy.
Why do I need a Check In as well as an Inventory Report?
A Check In of a property is always advised as it affords several benefits over just an Inventory Report. For as well as including everything that an Inventory Report does, it also includes the following:
- A detailed summary of cleaning that is verified and signed by the tenant. When it comes to disputes at the end of a tenancy, there is no doubt that the level of cleanliness is by and far the number one issue of contention. With a check in, we ask tenants to sign a document to confirm the level of cleanliness at the commencement of a tenancy. The tenant is then expected to return the property to the landlord in a similar condition at the end of the tenancy.
- A check of all Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms (a legal obligation since the introduction of The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). We will also immediately inform the agent / landlord if the required alarms are not in place.
- Up to date records of meter readings and the keys handed over to the tenant.
- The opportunity for the clerk and the tenant to raise any major issues that may require urgent attention.
- A full explanation of the Inventory process to the tenant.
- A walk around the property to explain where everything is and how appliances are used.
Can you supply hard copies of the Inventory Report?
Yes we can. We charge an additional fee of £10.00 per copy, and this covers all binding, printing and postage costs.
What happens if the tenants doesn’t sign the Inventory?
Sadly, it is a relatively common occurrence for tenants not to sign and return their copy of the Inventory Report to the agent / landlord. On these occasions, as long as one can prove that the tenant received the Report, whether it be by postal mail or electronic means, then it is assumed that the Inventory Report is wholly and unequivocally accepted by the tenants, and any future disagreements (especially those made at the tenancy) will be ignored.
What is Docusign?
Docusign is a digital, legally recognised means for tenants and landlords to sign Inventory Reports. The main features include the ability to:
- Email the Inventory Report directly to the tenant.
- Have the tenant sign the report electronically.
- Allows tenants to leave comments and amendments.
- DocuSign is safe, secure and legally binding.
- The system also logs whether the tenant looks at the report, and can be used as evidence that the tenant has received the document should they dispute this at a later date.
What happens if the tenant or landlord wished to make amendments?
In usual circumstances, both the tenant and landlord have 7 days from the day that they receive the report to raise any amendments that they feel should be made. In practise, this is best served via email to us, in order that we can have a written account for our records.
We then assess the issues raised in consultation with all parties involved, and if appropriate and amendments are agreed, the original Inventory Report is updated appropriately.
What is fair wear and tear?
‘Fair wear and tear’ is a purely subjective concept used to measure the acceptable amount of deterioration one would expect in a rental property during the term of a tenancy.
The closest we have to a definitive explanation would be that made by the House of Lords. They stated that ‘fair wear and tear’ would constitute:
‘Reasonable use of the premises by the Tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces (i.e. a passage of time).’
There are a number of mitigating factors that one must also take into consideration, this includes such information as; the length of the tenancy, the number and ago of the occupants and so forth.
We at Papoose Property Services are well versed on the understanding of this and will always report in a fair and unbiased manner. More information on the subject can be found at the Papoose Property Services blog.
What happens if there is a dispute?
If there is a dispute between the tenant and the landlord at the end of the tenancy, one should immediately contact their respective tenancy deposit scheme. Should you require any impartial advice, Papoose Property Services are also happy to assist.
Who pays for the Inventory Report and Check Out Report?
Check your Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. Usually one party (either the landlord or the tenant) will pay at the commencement of the tenancy and the other will pay at the end of the lease.
What forms of payment does Papoose Property Services accept?
Payment details can be found at the foot of all invoices issued by Papoose Property Services.
We currently accept Paypal, bank transfer, cheques and we can also take credit card payments over the phone
EPCs? Do I really need one?
Currently, all homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC. There are a few exceptions to this, and these are detailed by the Government as follows:
You don’t need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) if you can demonstrate that the building is any of these:
- listed or officially protected and the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it
- a temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less
- used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
- an industrial site, workshop or non-residential agricultural building that doesn’t use much energy
- a detached building with a total floor space under 50 square metres
- due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents
More information on Energy Performance Certificates can be found via the Directgov website.