Q: WHAT IS PROPERTY INVENTORY REPORT?
A: An inventory is a visual inspection and description of the condition and cleanliness of the fixtures, fittings and contents of a property.
An inventory report can prevent a lot of disputes between tenants and landlords, so it’s extremely useful.
Q: WHY INVENTORY IS IMPORTANT?
(Don’t forget that tenants have more rights in the UK than landlords!)
A: The Tenancy Deposit Regulations that were formalised in 2007 have changed the face of letting property.
They established a clear framework for dealing with deposits and any deductions made from them. No longer can a landlord just take an amount from the deposit based on what he feels is fair to cover damage. Now, any deductions must be itemised, justified and any damage or loss proven before any money can be taken. This is why the inventory, check-in and check-out are now so important.
As an independent third party, our reports document the exact condition of the property and its contents at the start and the end of the tenancy. Any damaged or missing items will be highlighted in the check-out and this document can then be used as the basis for a deposit claim.
However, if an inventory and check-in is not done at the start of the tenancy, or if it is inaccurate, it can be almost impossible to claim for any damage or loss.
Q: THE FINAL INVENTORY CHECK OUT AT THE END OF TENANCY?
A: Ideally, on move out day the landlord should do a final inventory check out. The inventory must be checked and agreed with the tenant before the deposit being returned.
It’s imperative that the inventory is checked immediately before the tenant leaving, so there can be no argument about any damage occurring after the tenant has gone. The deposit should only be handed back with in 7 to 14 days if there are no outstanding issues when the inspection is complete.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF ITEMS HAVE BEEN DAMAGED?
A: If there’s a general consensus between the parties on what has been damaged, then estimates should be drawn up for repairs/replacements. The tenant should be informed of all the costs in writing and amounts of deductions from the deposit.
A tenancy deposit scheme should be holding the deposit, and they should be made aware of what has been agreed, so they can distribute the deposit accordingly.
If the deposit doesn’t cover the amount needed to carry out the repairs, an invoice itemising all costs involved for additional payments should be sent to the tenant. If the tenant is insured, this evidence should be provided for the insurance company.
If items need to be replaced then it’s the landlord’s obligation to consider betterment. This means that the original age and condition of the replaced item should be taken into account when estimating the replacement cost.
Q: WHAT IF THE PARTIES CANNOT AGREE?
A: If the parties cannot reach agreement as to which items have been damaged, the severity of the damage, the repair or replacement costs etc, then great care should be taken in:
– Recording the state and condition with photographs
– Obtaining estimates for repair or replacement costs
– Informing the tenant/landlord in writing
All disputes will be handled by an independent and free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service provided by the scheme the deposit is secured with, which will aim to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action.
Each scheme will contain an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service, so both tenant and landlord will need to contact the appointed scheme. If both landlord and tenant agree to use the service, they will have to agree to accept its decision and will not be able to apply to the courts. If you or your landlord does not agree to use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme service then the dispute will usually go to the county court.
Q: I’m LETTING OUT MY PROPERTY UNFURNISHED – DO I STILL NEED AN INVENTORY?
A: Yes, absolutely. What happens if two days after they move in, your tenants break your fridge door? Or damage any other white goods? Without an inventory, how will you ever prove that the tenants are responsible for the damage?
Q: WHY CAN’T I JUST DO THE INVENTORY MYSELF? OR GET MY AGENT TO DO IT?
A: You can – just don’t expect any court in the country to take that report seriously.
In order to be legally binding, and to convince a court that you have merit on your side, your inventory must have been prepared by a neutral party. No matter how honourable you and your letting agent are, no court will view you as a ‘neutral’ party.
Q: MY TENANT WANTS TO MOVE IN A DAY EARLY, BEFORE THE CONTRACT STARTs. WE ARE ON GREAT TERMS, SO SURELY THAT’S OK?
A: Landlords be warned! If you are having a check-in, do not let tenants move in prior to that report being done!
It is vital that the check-in be done on the day that the tenants move in, or even the day before; but not after they have already taken up residence. If the tenant and/or their belongings are already in your property, then you cannot prove that any damage they cause was not already there!
Q: ARE YOU ABLE TO REFUND FOR UNUSED VIEWINGS?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot offer a refund for unused viewings. If it is cancelled, and we are notified 24 hours in advance we are happy to return the full deposit.
Q: CAN I ORGANISE MORE THAN ONE VIEWING AT A TIME?
A: Yes, the representative can handle more than one viewing in the 1 HOUR they have at the property. This will be a matter for you to organise.
Q: WILL CONSULTANT BE FAMILIAR WITH MY HOME?
A: Yes, the consultant will know your property details, and will visit your property in advance to get an assessment of the key selling/renting points of your home.
Q. DO YOU COVER THE WHOLE OF THE UK?
A: Please see our coverage area section.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE
Q. WHEN DO I NEED EPC?
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is:
- Rent/To Let
You must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you put your property on to the market to sell or rent.
New legislation changes took effect as from the 9th January 2013
An EPC is required as follows:-
- Individual houses (i.e. a self-contained property with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) – one EPC for the dwelling.
- Self-contained flats (i.e. each behind its own front door with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) – one EPC per flat.
- Bedsits or room lets where there is a shared kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom (e.g. a property where each room has its own tenancy agreement) – no EPC is required.
- Shared flats/houses (e.g. a letting of a whole flat or house to students/young professionals etc. on a single tenancy agreement) – one EPC for the whole house.
- Mixed self-contained and non-self-contained accommodation – one EPC for each self-contained flat/unit but no EPC for the remainder of the property.
- A room in a hall of residence or hostel – no EPC is required.
There are fixed penalties for failing to provide an EPC or make one available when required. The fixed penalty is £200 per dwelling. There is a six month time limit for any enforcement action to be taken.
Q. HOW LONG WILL AN EPC ASSESSMENT TAKE?
Our EPC Assessors roughly take around 30 to 40 mins for a typical 3 bedroom property. However, for complex properties with multiple floors or extensions, EPC assessments may take longer.
Q. WHEN WILL I RECEIVED MY EPC AFER THE ASSESSMENT IS CARRIED OUT?
We have a speedy turnaround time and will make sure that you receive your EPC Certificate within less than 24 hours.
Q. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A EPC ASSESSMENT?
An Energy Performance Certificate provides detailed information, from a wide spectrum of factors, that give a clear picture of a home’s energy efficiency performance. These factors includes:
1. Lighting: It is considered whether you use energy saving light bulbs
2. Insulation: How thick are the walls of your home? Do you have cavity wall insulation installed in your home? Do you have single or double glazing?
3. Heating system: The EPC inspection considers whether your home has a central heating system or an energy efficient boiler. It is also considered whether water is heated only on demand or it is stored.
4. It is taken into consideration whether you generate your own energy. Do you use a solar panel or wind turbine with a micro-generator?
All these factors are collated to attribute an energy efficiency rating to your property, which is calculated out of 100, and then categorized into 7 bands, A-G. The carbon emission of your home is also taken into consideration here. Suggestions are given to improve your energy efficiency rating.