Landlords,

It’s all about risk assessment…

This is especially true when it comes to property investment. Property investment is guaranteed to deliver healthy long term profits for many people and hence makes it a very attractive proposition. However, it is an investment that should not be made lightly. People should be aware of the facts surrounding the property investment business. Property investment is more than just easy profit, as there is a decent possibility of making loss making decisions.

If you plan to invest in ‘Buy to Let’ property, you must take precautions that will limit your risk and exposure when you can. If you cannot reduce the risk, be prepared for financial loss.

One of those risks is the potential for damage and theft by a Tenant. Furniture can go missing; ovens and fridges can be broken and/or be un-cleaned for the period of tenancy.

At National Inventories, we have to be prepared for horror stories. Such as one premises whose cat flap had been locked in the ‘to let in but not out’ section and when our Clerk turned up, the premises was full of dead stray cats. But to find premises which have been ripped apart by the last Tenant or simply never cleaned is quite common.

To protect yourself against this, an Inventory is required, together with a description of its condition.

The cost of any damage caused by a tenant should be claimable against the tenancy deposit but this can only be done if sufficient evidence is available to prove that it was the Tenants fault.

New laws for Tenancy Deposit Schemes

Since the 6 April 2007 all landlords of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales have been required to join a mandatory Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The scheme does not apply to deposits taken before the scheme came into force (6 April 2007), unless and until a new replacement tenancy agreement is signed.

There are two aims:

  1. To ensure good practice in deposit handling
  2. To provide an alternative dispute resolution service

Landlords can choose from two types of scheme an insurance based or a custodial scheme ( see below).

Who will run the schemes?

Scheme operators

The Government awarded contracts to three companies to run its tenancy deposit schemes on 22 November 2006.

The three schemes are:

  • The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) - the only custodial deposit protection scheme – is free to use and open to all Landlords and Letting Agents. The service is funded entirely from the interest earned from deposits held. Landlords and Letting Agents will be able to register and make transactions online. Paper forms will also be available should internet access be an issue. The scheme will be supported by a dedicated call centre and an independent dispute resolution service.
  • For further information please go to www.depositprotection.com
  • Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL) is a partnership between the National Landlords Association and Hamilton Fraser Insurance. This insurance-based tenancy deposit protection scheme enables landlords, either directly or through agents, to hold deposits. Letting agents can also join the scheme.
  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is an insurance-backed deposit protection and dispute resolution scheme run by The Dispute Service that builds on a scheme established in 2003 to provide dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry

If you need to claim against the deposit, you will need evidence to support it. This is where the Inventory comes in. You will require a complete Inventory of all the contents and their condition within the rental property.

This Inventory will also allow you to monitor the conditions of these items, BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the tenancy.

When a Tenant moves out and a piece of furniture is missing or damaged, you will have the evidence to support it. This is also why the inventory report should be clear and concise and preferably, have photographic evidence to back up the descriptions. Please see our example report by clicking here.