What Makes An Inventory Report Watertight?
With dispute situations on the rise due to an increase of rent savvy tenants, the need for a solid body of evidence to support your claim is now more important than ever. In fact, it can even end up saving Landlords from losing £1000’s due to damages caused by tenants.
One of the strongest items of evidence landlords can present in a dispute situation to support their claim will be the Inventory Report. The subsequent Check In and Check Out Report will also be used (If you are not completely sure what an Inventory Report is, you can read up about this here) However, it can assume that any old report will do. Whether that is created by the Landlord themselves, or more commonly, an independent inventory company like us, it should always be top priority to ensure that the report being created is ‘Watertight’
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the qualities of a watertight inventory report:
Without order, there is chaos. By not having a clear and easy to follow structure used across the inventory report it is easy for vital pieces of evidence to be missed.
A professional Inventory report will always include a contents page for quick and easy navigation. This helps anyone viewing the report for evidence navigate through the report with efficiency
A picture paints a thousand words, and in this situation, words that will support your claim. By having high-quality photos in the report it becomes a lot clearer and easier to see differences in the property from the start to the end of the tenancy period. With this clarity comes more definite decisions made about the claim. Furthermore, the images taken should be embedded with a datestamp for further proof to support the report.
METER READINGS AND KEYS
When it comes to disputes which regard unpaid bills or even potential subletting scenarios, documenting the meter readings and keys become a paramount process of the Inventory, Check In and Check Out report.
NUMBERED AND REFERENCED PHOTOS
This one comes back to the structure of the report. If photo numbering and referencing has not been considered in the report, then it will a very tedious task matching up the descriptions to the photo that represents the item in question.
A REGIMENTED AND CONSISTENT VOCABULARY
To make it easier to evaluate changes and dilapidations to a property it is paramount that the vocabulary used remains consistent across the reports. By not having such a method in place comparing reports can quickly become a “you say tomato I say tomato situation” (did you just read that in an American and then British accent?) and this leaves everyone none the wiser with a resolution.
DISCLAIMERS FOR EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Inventory reports can be required at unusual and sometimes inconvenient times. In situations where a report must go ahead no matter what is going on in the property IE, urgent repair work is going on while the Inventory is taking place. A disclaimer should be used on the report to express that this was a factor at the time the report was compiled. After all, the truth is a matter of circumstance.
ALL DETAILS CONSIDERED
A watertight Inventory will leave no stone unturned. When putting together the report, all details should be considered and examined, such as:
- Expensive Items
ALWAYS SIGN THE DOTTED LINE
Lastly, but certainly not least, comes signatures. Receiving the Tenants signature agreeing to the Inventory / Check In report. This signature can come from the Check in or Check Out declaration document where the tenants agree to the report compiled at the check in. Without this signature, it can become very easy for a tenant to deny ever agreeing to the report being fair and genuine.
Lastly, but certainly not least; INDEPENDENCE
By following and ensuring you have all of the above, the Inventory Report will be set up to provide you with a solid body of evidence to support your claim. However, if the claim is escalated to be adjudicated by a third party such as the TDS they will want to determine if there are any clear biases within the supporting evidence. This is what brings us to INDEPENDENCE, we cannot stress how important using an independent Inventory company or clerk is when it comes to ensuring you have a completely impartial and non-bias piece of evidence.
WHAT DOES A WATERTIGHT INVENTORY REPORT LOOK LIKE?
Well, usually it will be a well presented digital pdf or printed hard copy… however we like to think of them like this:
Watertight Inventories; Navigating the Seas of Dispute Situations
Metaphors aside, you can download an example of a ‘Watertight’ Inventory report when you click the button below: