Recommending a claim on a tenant’s deposit – Whose responsibility is it?

If we go back to basics, the role of an inventory clerk is to accurately record the condition and cleanliness of a property at the start and end of a tenancy.  It is an independent view of the property and the items within it only and most inventory companies have a disclaimer that remind the reader that they are not experts or valuers.

So whilst it may seem like it is providing a service, we would argue that it is overstepping the role of an inventory clerk to provide recommendations for the landlords to claim against a tenants’ deposit.  It is highly unlikely, and probably inappropriate, if an inventory clerk had intimate knowledge of the cost and age of all the items within a specific property.  Being independent is not just a word it has a meaning.  This is why it is usual that the landlord(s) pays for the inventory/check-in and the tenant(s) pay for the check-out.  That also provides for impartiality.

Often agents provide the role of an inventory clerk (however that’s another story for another time!!)  but are they any better positioned at suggesting amounts for a landlord to claim?  Surely, isn’t it only the landlord(s) who is totally aware of the items within the property and their age and cost? And isn’t it the agent’s job to guide the landlord(s) into allowing the appropriate fair wear and tear.

So in our view if the inventory clerk does their job, and their job only, there will be clear evidence from which to measure any deterioration in the property during the tenancy.  Then if the landlord keeps accurate records as to the age and cost of the items within the property and the agents provide guidance as to industry standards with regard to the lifespan of items within the property as well as the decorative order, then there would be little need for an independent adjudication team as the evidence would be undisputable to all parties.

Of course we do understand however that in a perfect World this would be the case but add into it a non perfect World, romanticising or demonising the condition of a property by both the landlord(s) and tenant(s) ; add in a sprinkling of stubbornness and arrogance and a dispute will still occur!!

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